On February 28, 2017, members of the Social Development Committee (SDC) of the Regional Development Council (RDC-VI) unanimously approved the move to support the campaign against lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

The SDC endorsement came after the Regional Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (RJJWC) representative, Ms. Katherine Lamprea, presented to the committee members their position paper on House Bill No. 2 or the proposed “Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility Act.” The petition paper highlights, among others, the following points regarding lowering the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 9 years old:

1. It will not stop children from involvement in crimes;
2. It will not help reduce the crime rate in the Philippines since adults commit more (around 98%) of crimes reported in the country;
3. It will not protect or help children, as it is against the best interest of the child and will further re-victimize them;
4. It will be costly and burdensome to the government;
5. It ignores scientific proof on children’s brain development;
6. It is against our legal obligations as a State Party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child;
7. It is unconstitutional; and
8. It is not the solution, instead, government should address the gaps and ensure the full implementation of RA 9344, as amended by RA 10630.

The SDC is expected to endorse the resolution of support for the campaign against the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility Act to the Regional Development Council during its first quarter meeting on March 30, 2017. The SDC members also showed their oneness to the cause by affixing their signatures to the 1M signature campaign dubbed as “I SAY NO TO LOWERING OF MACR.”

The RJJWC encouraged the SDC members and the public to support the call against lowering MACR by visiting http://www.change.org/p/petition-no-to-lowering-of-minimum-age-of-criminal-responsibility and signing the petition. Further details on the position paper may also be found online. (DRD/NEDA)