Church renews opposition to amend juvenile justice law

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MANILA, Oct. 5, 2012— The prison ministry of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has reiterated its opposition to a House bill seeking to lower the age of criminal liability.

The CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) criticized the move of legislators to change a law “that has not been fully implemented.”

“The place for children is school and not in jail,” said Rodolfo Diamante, ECPPC executive secretary.

“We deplore the general thinking that children have to be incarcerated and punished in order for them to be corrected,” he said.

He was referring to House Bill 6052, which has been passed on third and final reading. The measure seeks to amend the RA 9344 of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act (JJWA) of 2006.

The CBCP agency made the statement Friday, ahead of the Catholic Church’s annual celebration of the Prison Awareness Sunday on October 28.

Diamante added that the law is only a measure that embodies the principle of “restorative justice” and that is in consonance of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Along with other child rights organizations, the ECPPC have been lobbying to oppose the amendments of the JJWA.

Diamante also called on its local volunteers in prison service (VIPs) in different dioceses to manifest their opposition to amendments of JJWA by writing their respective congressmen and the senators. [RL/CBCPNews]





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