Press Release
May 16, 2006


The landmark bill addressing the plight of thousands of children in jail sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Kiko Pangilinan in the Senate is finally a law after the ceremonial signing of President Arroyo in Malacañang today. The Juvenile Justice Bill is now R.A. 9344.

We welcome the signing of the Juvenile Justice Bill into law because this piece of legislation is crucial to the welfare of thousands of children who are suffering detention along with adult criminals. These children are experiencing the horrid conditions of incarceration; each days delay encountered in ensuring the full implementation of the law is a day too late for thousands of children inside prison, Senator Kiko said.

Senator Kiko was joined by the Juvenile Justice Network and the UNICEF in Malacañang for the signing.

This issue rises above partisan politics. We have shown today that we can set aside our differences to come together for the sake of the welfare of our children. This is what our people expect of us and we are committed to doing more for our people, Kiko asserted.

The bills passage is long overdue and we are thankful that children in jail are given the hope and a lease for a better future. I thus urge the DOJ and the DSWD to immediately convene the council without further delay to pave the way for the immediate implementation of the law, Senator Kiko added

Among the salient points of R.A. 9344 is the creation of a welfare council under the Department of Justices administrative supervision, headed however by an undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The law also provides that children 15 years and below will be criminally exempt while youth offenders aged 15 to 18 years old can only be criminally charged if they acted out the crime with discernment. It also outlines the immediate turn over of children in conflict with the law to social workers upon apprehension. The Juvenile Justice Law will formally come into effect on May 22, 2006.

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