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According to the PNP’s 2016 Manual in Handling Children at Risk and Children in Conflict with the Law: “A ‘child in conflict with the law’ or ‘CICL’ refers to a child who is alleged as, accused of, or adjudged as, having committed an offense under Philippine laws.”
In the Philippines, a child or a minor is legally defined as a person below 18 years of age. Under the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, age 15 is the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR). Lawmakers, however, have been pushing for the lowering of MACR from 15 to 12 – a move that has been strongly opposed by many child rights advocates and experts.
How many CICLs are there in the country?
The PNP Women and Children Protection Center has reported that from January to December 2020, authorities arrested 15,892 CICLs. Of these, 1,806 were undergoing diversion at the police level and 9,502 were turned over to Local Social Welfare and Development Officers (LSWDO) or DSWD representatives. A total of 2,447 CICLs were turned over to their families, while 3,111 were at large. Thirty-seven juveniles were incarcerated in facilities under BJMP.
Crimes allegedly committed by CICLs in 2020 were rape (1,506 offenders), violation of RA 9165 (Prohibited Drugs) (1,207), theft (765), and other crimes (10,079). In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, 1,452 were arrested in violation of RA 11332 (Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern).
As of December 2020, there were 37 Bahay Pag-asa facilities across the country, funded and maintained by local government units. Meanwhile, in Regional Rehabilitation Centers for the Youth, there was overcrowding. From January to December 2020, there were 1,118 beds but 1,738 “clients” served in these beds.
— PCIJ, March 2022