Lawmakers cross partylines to amend law

Published by rudy Date posted on April 7, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – Lawmakers are crossing party lines in an effort to amend the Juvenile Justice Law to make it more effective in reaching out to children in conflict with the law.

Speaker Prospero Nograles is calling on his colleagues in the House of Representatives and their counterparts in the Senate to amend Republic Act 9344, otherwise known as the “Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.”

“Since its effectivity there have been reports about the improper, ineffective and inefficient implementation of the law,” the House leader said in a statement.

Nograles is the principal sponsor of House Bill 6077, which seeks to amend RA 9344.

He stressed the need to refine some of its provisions, such as the transfer of supervision and control of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The Speaker said the council would be more effective and efficient in implementing the law when placed under the administrative control of the DSWD.

He said the proposal also ensures the participation of local government units.

“Being involved in the implementation of the law at the grassroots level, they will be properly consulted in the crafting of policies and strategies on juvenile justice and welfare,” Nograles said.

In July 2008, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez made a proposal to hold parents liable to pay for torts and criminal acts of their minor children if they are found to be negligent of their parental duties.

House Bill 4042, entitled “The Parental Act of 2008” will also encourage parents to spend more time and effort at monitoring the activities of their children, as they will be held personally accountable for their children’s actions.

Under the bill, parental liability includes payment of an amount ranging from P50,000 to P100,000 depending on the crimes their minor children have committed.

Crimes covered by the bill include malicious and willful injury to the person of another; malicious and willful injury or damage to the property of another, whether real, personal or mixed; the willful taking, as well as stealing and carrying away, of the property of another, with the intent to deprive the owner of the possession.

The bill also lists as punishable crimes the exploitation of another minor child by using him, directly or indirectly, such as begging and other acts which are inimical to his or her interest and welfare; and the possession, handling or carrying of a deadly weapon regardless of ownership.

Nograles’ proposed law, on the other hand, provides for the periodic evaluation of the age of discernment of children, as a basis for possible future legislative review of the act.

Most significantly, the measure seeks to authorize the DSWD to provide the council with a separate appropriation in the annual General Appropriations Act, the Speaker added.–Delon Porcalla, Philippine Star

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