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Gary V goes to "jail"

© UNICEF Philippines/2005/Garcia
Pop sensation, Gary Valenciano, UNICEF Philippines ambassador, clasps the hand of a boy at a youth detention center in Manila.
Keep children
out of adult jails.
Urge our lawmakers
to pass the Comprehensive
Juvenile Justice Bill.
Send an e-mail to the
Juvenile Justice Network-Philippines.

 


Makati City, 16 August 2005. “Children have no place in jail.” Thus said Nicholas Alipui, country representative of UNICEF to the Philippines during a press briefing at the Manila Youth Reception Center (MYRC) late last week. The facility is a rehabilitation center for children in conflict with the law (CICLs).

Alipui visited MYRC with Lina Laigo, executive director of the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC); Atty. Alberto Muyot, project officer, UNICEF-Manila; representatives of Consuelo Foundation, and singer and recording artist Gary Valenciano – or Gary V. – who is also an ambassador of UNICEF.

Consuelo Foundation, CWC and UNICEF are all part of the Juvenile Justice Network-Philippines (JJNP).

“Nothing is more important than providing a loving and caring environment for children. It is heart-breaking to see children, many of whom can be easily rehabilitated, in jail because society has given up on them,” Alipui stated.

He added that we have had a juvenile justice bill in Congress for more than six years. “Once it is passed, we will fully be in compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It’s time to fast track this bill and have it passed as quickly as possible. We are on borrowed time; time in Congress belongs to the children.”

Gary Valenciano, who had earlier participated in a program featuring the wards of MYRC, agreed with Dr. Alipui.

“I would encourage people to go out and get involved. Stand up for it. We have to keep pushing. We must have a voice so loud government cannot ignore it,” Valenciano said.

The Comprehensive Juvenile Justice System Bill hopes to give children in conflict with the law (CICL) another chance by making the justice system more child-sensitive. Using the approaches of Restorative Justice, the bill focuses on rehabilitating CICLs instead of punishing them. The accountability of the offender is emphasized; the impact of the crime of the victim to the community is assessed; and ways in which the offender can repair the harm are determined.

The Bill also calls for the creation of the Office of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) under the Department of Justice (DOJ) that will take charge of the program implementing and coordinating with 13 government agencies involved in the program.

The Juvenile Justice Network-Philippines (JJNP) encourages individuals or groups to write letters or postcards to Congressmen from their district, as well as to the Senators – even the President – and ask them to work toward the speedy passage of the CJJB.

 

# # #
For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Dale Rutstein
UNICEF Manila, 901 0177 or 0917 866 4969, drutstein@unicef.org
Alexis Rodrigo
UNICEF Manila, 901 0173 or 0917 858 9447, arodrigo@unicef.org
Clarie Agbayani
jjnetphil@consuelo.org



 
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