Press Release
January 29, 2019


*Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on the SWS survey showing that majority of Filipinos want to retain MACR to 15

As Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, I am elated at the result of the survey. We are vindicated. This confirms the voices we are hearing in our consultations with the communities. Amid the fear-mongering and confusion pushed by those who want to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) in the country, we see this as validation of the work we are doing to protect the best interest of the children and a testament to the public's desire to protect minors and not expose them to further harm.

This also shows that the public is aware that children in conflict with the law (CICL) are victims of criminal syndicates and poverty, and that eliminating the latter is the more urgent priority. It belies the belief of those who want to lower the MACR that it has popular public support.

The survey also points to the public's clamor for the full implementation and funding of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act as manifested by their inclination to put CICL under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Bahay Pag-asa facilities and the barangay.

They say that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, the survey warns, those who want to lower the MACR will answer to an entire nation.

The writing on the wall is clear. The people have spoken. Leave our children alone.

I hope this will signal a turn in the tide on this issue, end the fake and unscientific debate on arbitrary numbers and guide us lawmakers in making the right decision.

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