TLF Share renews call: No to lowering MACR
“Restore, don’t punish.”
The 18th Congress is to formally open in a few days. This early, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III has already filed Senate Bill No. 5, which revives the proposal to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) of children.
This proposed measure had been strongly opposed during the 17th Congress, and we had been victorious in doing so. But we should not rest easy. The Senator seems to be in such a hurry to punish children, while remaining mum on the continued rise of human rights and gender-based violence perpetrated across the country.
This is to gently remind the Senate President, with his fellow pro-MACR constituents, that it is the duty of the State to protect, promote, uphold, respect and fulfill the rights of its members - more particularly, the children.
Studies and researches have shown that lowering the age of MACR does not address the problem of juvenile offenders. The State should know how to dig deeper and probe on the real causes as to why children end up on the streets, committing crimes and hurting others.
What we need is to assess our policies and programs in terms of their responsiveness to the needs of children. Punishing should never be the solution. We have to be cognizant of the reality that many parents are unprepared to carry the responsibility of providing a good quality of life for themselves and their children.
TLF Share is an organization that believes in championing the rights of those that are left behind and hardest to reach. We stand together with child’s rights advocates in resisting Senate Bill No. 5.
We encourage the State to look into how it could create a safer, more conducive and enriching community for children - our Legislature should pass measures that would allow children to express themselves without fear of threat, stigma and discrimination.
We encourage the Local Government to revive and strengthen Bahay Pag-Asa, transform this facility into a place that truly restores and nurtures children, that children may be able to start life anew.
We call on our fellow non-government and civil society organizations to never waver in our work in paving the way for a better society for our children. When the very institution that is supposed to protect and nurture children starts to turn away from them, we hold hands and link arms tighter to defend the future generation.