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
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.
CWC and UNICEF are all part of the Juvenile Justice Network-Philippines
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.”
who had earlier participated in a program featuring the wards
of MYRC, agreed with Dr. Alipui.
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.
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
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:
UNICEF Manila, 901 0177 or 0917 866 4969, firstname.lastname@example.org
UNICEF Manila, 901 0173 or 0917 858 9447, email@example.com