Child-led local advocacy initiatives pushed
Kevin Gaitan, Internal and Advocacy Communications Specialist
Children have the right to share their voice and views on matters that concern them.
“We need to speak up and do something about the issues that affect us,” shares 16-year-old child leader Jessa. “
In Misamis Occidental, children expressed alarm about the lowering of the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility (MACR) in their communities. “We took videos and used it as campaign materials,” Jessa added.
“Children are the most vulnerable,” pointed 17-year-old Ken, a child leader and Barangay Children’s Association officer. “If MACR will be passed into law, this will cause great harm to children,” he added.
The MisOcc Federated Children’s Association gathered Supreme Student Government officials and spearheaded the campaign in educating the community about House Bill number 2.
BCA Officers and other child leaders took rounds from house to house to explain to children and parents about the move to lower the MACR at the lower house.
“The parents are unaware, so as the other children,” Ken added, “We need to educate them,” he said.
“If children will live together with convicts, there will be chances that they will be influenced to commit bigger crimes, most especially if they [children] are innocent,” Ken concludes.
“Just like the butterfly, it starts from an ugly pupa, and later turns into a fully bloomed beautiful butterfly,” illustrated Mark, 17. “Same with us children, if you jail us, you jail our dreams, too.”
As part of their initiatives, a 3-day children and youth camp was held giving children an avenue to tackle more issues and concerns present in their communities through creative presentations.
Children in unison shared their piece: “We suggest that our government should intensify its efforts in strengthening the implementation of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.”
The Subcommittee on Correctional Reforms is set to meet after the recommendation of the Technical Working Group chaired by Congressman Salo introducing the substitute bill that would focus on strengthening the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act implementation.—World Vision/August 7, 2017