Thursday 1st December 2016 

PHILIPPINES: PLAN’S CHILDREN NOT CRIMINALS WORK FIGHTS PROPOSED LEGISLATION TO LOWER AGE OF CRIMINAL LIABILITY FROM 15 TO 9

Child rights organisation Plan International is working to halt the Philippine Congress’ attempt to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 9, a shocking law that will treat young minors as adult criminals.

Since 2006, the age of criminal responsibility in the Philippines has been 15, following landmark legislation that created a separate justice system for children, based on the principles of prevention, education, and rehabilitation.

“Why target children?” Plan International asks as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte continues to rule with a hardline approach, and 98% of all reported crimes in the Philippines are committed by adults.

“Half of reported crimes in the Philippines involving children are crimes like theft, which is often linked to poverty. Instead of punishing children as adults, we must address the root causes that drive children to commit these crimes in the first place,” explains Ernesto Almocera, Plan International Philippines Communications and Advocacy Manager.

Plan International, alongside other organisations in the Philippines, launched the Children Not Criminals campaign to urge lawmakers to reconsider the proposed legislation and to instread fully implement the 2006 Juvenile Justice Law and increase investment in prevention.

Of the children who do commit crimes in the Philippines, most come from families with low socio-economic backgrounds, separated parents, and experience family or domestic violence. We must support these children, not turn our backs on them,” said Mr. Almocera.

“Children who are in conflict with the law must be educated on the consequences of their behavior through diversion and positive discipline, not through harsh, criminal punishment that increases chances for them to be hardened criminals,” added Almocera.

Proponents of the bill aim to approve the bill at the House of Representatives before the Congressional recess by mid-December.

ENDS

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Ernesto Almocera, Plan International Philippines Communications and Advocacy Manager, please contact Plan International Australia’s media manager Clare Price on 0490 252 743 or email clare.price@plan.org.au

About Plan International
Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. We believe in the power and potential of every child. But this is often suppressed by poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination. And it’s girls who are most affected. Working together with children, young people, our supporters and partners, we strive for a just world, tackling the root causes of the challenges facing girls and all vulnerable children.  We support children’s rights from birth until they reach adulthood. And we enable children to prepare for – and respond to – crises and adversity. We drive changes in practice and policy at local, national and global levels using our reach, experience and knowledge. We have been building powerful partnerships for children for over 75 years, and are now active in more than 70 countries.

About Plan International Philippines
Working in the Philippines since 1961, Plan International helps children to realise their rights to health care, education, protection, and a high quality of life. Plan International Philippines now works in over 400 villages within 30 municipalities in Masbate, Occidental Mindoro, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Western Samar, and Southern Leyte.