From 9 to 12: How the Philippines Promote Every Child's Rights and Protect Them from Harm

The actions made by hypocrites disagree with what they say. A hypocrite, for instance, would claim "a commitment to promote every child's rights and protect them from harm" while ignoring children who wander aimlessly on the streets. While I was growing up, the sight of a young child dangerously clinging on the back of a jeepney while vending cigarettes was really nothing to be concerned about. A teacher of mine said once, "Do as I say and not as I do".  Hypocrisy is so prevalent simply because it is easy to do. Doing what is right is more difficult than just saying what is right. We see it everywhere and in the Philippines, the previous Aquino administration is a glaring example. Sadly, the Philippines seems sinking into a greater depth. Words of a hypocrite are now likewise prejudged as wrong. There is a growing infatuation with people who do exactly what they say, and it no longer matters if what they do and say are fundamentally wrong as long as it is sincere and honest. Consequently, voices of hypocrites are automatically dismissed and this is unfortunate for we have forgotten that more often than not, hypocrites are actually saying what is right. Specifically, at this time, the hypocrites are opposing a proposed bill in Congress that will lower the age of criminal liability in the Philippines. Fortunately, the opposition seems to be gaining traction such that in a matter of hours, the minimum age in the proposed bill has been changed from the very young age of 9 to 12, something that is still unacceptable given what we now know with regard to how a child's brain develops. But at least, there is a sign of hope.

Above copied from the Philippine Star


Those who support the lowering of the minimum age may have a number of reasons, but for most, it seems that they simply want to be on the same side as the current president, Duterte. Duterte seems to have gained infallibility simply because he is not seen as a hypocrite. But there is no real data that support a need for such lowering. Some supporters provide the following numbers:


Above copied from RealNumbersPH

To put the numbers in the correct perspective, there are millions and millions of 9-17 year olds in the Philippines. 1954 is therefore a very small percentage. Furthermore, the lowering of the age is from 15 to 9 while the numbers shown above include those who are older than 15. The previous post in this blog shows that most of the children in conflict with the law are 15 years old or older.

Another favorite point raised by those who support the proposed bill is the claim that children who are found criminally liable are not going to be sent to jail, but to a rehabilitation center:



It sounds good. The thing is, an intensive juvenile intervention and support center is simply a euphemism. One should note that the above is not an amendment. This definition of an "intensive juvenile intervention and support center" in the current Revised Rules and Regulations Implementing Republic Act No. 9344, as amended by R.A. 10630.  There is nothing new here, and there is no indication that these centers even exist in every province or city, and are able to handle all cases. One can simply take a look at the current status of Philippine basic education and arrive at the conclusion that it is not possible for the Philippines to implement these since it is already failing in basic education, a much easier task than intervention and supporting children in conflict with law. Children nonetheless are being detained and no euphemism can hide that fact. Worse, most of the children who are being incarcerated in these "youth jails" are associated not with the serious crimes enumerated in the bill, but with less serious crimes like theft.

Above copied from
"STATUS OF CHILDREN IN CONFLICT WITH THE LAW IN SAMAR, PHILIPPINES: INPUT TO INTERVENTION PROGRAM"

The cases of children in conflict with law in the Philippines are also well known to be associated with a child's not meeting his or her basic needs. Poverty is a key factor. What children need is a sincere "commitment to promote their rights and protect them from harm". And this cannot be answered by punitive measures or even intervention as in "youth jails".

Hypocrites do not act on their word, but it does not mean what they say is generally wrong. On the other hand, sincere people are not necessarily infallible. People can be sincerely wrong.

Above copied from Save the Children

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