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NDFP Special Office for the Protection of Children condemns the US-Duterte regime for seeking to lower the age of criminal responsibility

26 January 2019

Coni Ledesma
Special Office for the Protection of Children
Press release

Activists holding placards rally against the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility in front of the Senate building in Manila on Jan 25, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

The Special Office for the Protection of Children of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines condemns in no uncertain terms the efforts of the US-Duterte regime, through its House of Representatives, to lower the age of criminal responsibility  of children from 15 years old to 9 or 12 years old.

In so doing, the US-Duterte regime has intensified its attack on the toiling masses of the Filipino people, particularly the children.  Not content with the burning and bombing of alternative tribal schools and the extra-judicial killings of young children in its anti-drug war, the regime  now set its sight on legalizing and institutionalizing its ruthless and vicious assaults against Filipino children’s rights

Using as basis that children are now being rampantly exploited by crime syndicates, particularly drug syndicates, the Duterte government through the  House of Representatives says that lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR),  merely acknowledges that “most children above this age, especially in these times when all forms and manner of knowledge are available through the internet and digital media, are already fully informed and should be taught that they are responsible for what they say and do”.

This move of the Duterte regime is a violation of the international law on the rights of children. 

Statistics show that only 2% of crimes committed are by minors.  Of this 2%, 92% are crimes of petty theft and other non-serious offenses.  Besides, incarcerating children is not the solution to the problem.  Putting the young children in jail with older, hardened criminals will only turn them into criminals.

 Criminalizing children is not the cure for the problem.  The solution is to address  the root causes of poverty, and the building a society that is free from oppression and exploitation. That will ensure that children will realize their great potential to make positive contributions to society and so, they will not get involved in criminal activities.