wednesday, 30 january of 2019


Philippines legislature passes bill lowering age of social responsibility to 12

After a third and final review of House Bill 8858, the Philippines House of Representatives passed a bill lowering the minimum age of social responsibility to 12 years old.

The original version of the bill, which proposed lowering the age to nine, faced criticism and backlash for detaining children who commit crimes related to government failures like committing theft because of poverty. The second reading of the bill included last-minute changes that made its way into the final version. The representatives finally agreed on 12 as the new minimum age of social responsibility and amended the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, which previously set the age of responsibility at 15 years old.

HB 8858 now exempts liability for certain crimes committed by minors who are under 12 and likely the victims of exploitation from adults who use children in the commission of crimes. The caretakers of these minors now face additional regulations with mandatory intervention programs for repeat offenders and possible civil damages. Those who are between the ages of 12-18 will be detained at institutions like the Bahay Pag-asa youth care facility which is meant to rehabilitate and better integrate minors back into society upon release instead of serving time in an adult prison.

However, opponents of the bill are still concerned that lowering the minimum age of social responsibility would integrate young children into the criminal justice system way too early in life.

(Published by Jurist, January 28, 2019)

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