Press Release
April 16, 2006


Senate Majority Leader Kiko Pangilinan today urged Malacañang to immediately sign into law the Juvenile Justice Bill following President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos Easter statement that she will spare all death row convicts and that the maximum penalty will be commuted to life imprisonment.

As President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo gives attention to adults behind bars, I ask the president to also prioritize the plight of children who suffer the harsh conditions of incarceration. I call on her to immediately sign the Juvenile Justice Bill that will get children in conflict with the law out of jails and into rehabilitation programs. Each day of delay in Malacañang s approval exposes our children to real threats of exploitation, molestation, and other forms of abuse, Kiko said.

The Juvenile Justice Bill, which addresses the plight of thousands of children incarcerated along with adult criminals, was passed by the bicameral panel and is awaiting Malacañang s approval. The measure creates a comprehensive juvenile justice system under the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Justice.

A key provision of the bill is that it prohibits the detention of children in jails. The Juvenile Justice Bill is long overdue. It finally passed the complex process of Congress and I hope that Malacañang will handle the measure with urgency. Each days delay means one day too late for many of our youthful offenders. I am certain the President, as a mother, would drop everything if her children were placed at risk. She should do the same for the sake of our nations children. She should sign into law the juvenile justice measure without delay. Kiko ended.

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