Press Release
August 23, 2006


The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the landmark law addressing the plight of thousands of children in jail was finally signed on August 15, 2006. Senate Majority Leader and main proponent of the law Kiko Pangilinan in festivities at the Sabana Youth Center in Tondo, Manila, with the Juvenile Justice Network and the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC) of the DSWD & DOJ, today lauded the JJWC for finalizing the procedures and guidelines for the execution of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 or RA 9344.

The Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act is truly a groundbreaking piece of legislation as it aims to change totally how our justice system deals with children in conflict with the law (CICL). However, there have been criticisms in the laws implementation early on. Some say that it disregards the rights of the many victims of crimes committed by CICL. However, I argue that we should first allow the restorative justice to take effect. Now that the laws IRR has been put into place, we expect to reap the full benefits of the restorative system for children behind bars, Kiko said.

One of the salient points of RA 9344 is the exemption from criminal liability of children below 15 years old, and those above 15 but below 18 years old who acted without discernment. Under the law, the child will not be held liable through the criminal justice system but will be made accountable under the juvenile justice system. The child in conflict with the law will be subject to individualized community-based rehabilitation programs instead of being criminally prosecuted.

The criticisms and resistance to change is expected. Implementing the law at this early stage may seem inconvenient but the long term goal of reforming our children and defining our collective future is well worth the effort, Kiko furthered.

Also present during the celebration were Usec. Alicia Bala of the DSWD, Dean Rey Salvosa of the Consuelo Foundation, basketball star Vince Hizon, Optical Media Board Chairman Edu Manzano, and many other supporters of the Juvenile Justice & restorative justice system.

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