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DSWD reiterates support for restorative justice, welfare system for kids in conflict with the law

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has reiterated its support to strengthen the implementation of the principles of restorative justice in order to uphold and protect the welfare and rights of children in conflict with the law (CICLs) as well as children at risk (CARs).

DSWD Undersecretary for International Affairs, and Attached and Supervised Agencies (ASAs) Emmeline Aglipay Villar issued this statement during the celebration of the 18th anniversary of Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act (JJWA) on Monday (May 20).

“With the commitment of all actors from the legislative, executive, and judiciary, the duty bearers at the different levels of governance, the non-government organizations, and development partners, we have made huge and needed changes. Nonetheless, we still have much to do because of the continuing and evolving challenges and issues affecting our children,” Undersecretary Villar said in her message.

Undersecretary Villar said the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC), together with stakeholders must commit to shape a “Bagong Pilipinas” where CICLs and CARs can change and be the best version of themselves.

During the event, Usec. Villar discussed the plans and support needed to bolster the implementation of the JJWA, as amended.

These include the implementation of the Comprehensive National Juvenile Intervention Program (CNJIP) at the local levels; implementation of deradicalization program for children engaged in terrorism and violent extremism; the establishment of agricultural camp for children; development of a 5-year policy research and evaluation agenda; institutionalization of the Juvenile Justice Information System (JJ-MIS); and institutionalization of the Support for Bahay Pag-Asa Project.

Undersecretary Villar’s presentation was followed by the State of the Children’s Address (SOCA) by Tanya Criscita Manalo, a child representative from the Regional Juvenile Justice and Welfare Committee Region IV-A (CALABARZON), who emphasized the need for the continuous provision of necessary interventions for CICLs to help in their reintegration in their respective communities.

“Sa pagbabalik ng mga CICL sa komunidad, hangad din ng lahat na sana ay matulungan silang patuloy na makapag-aral, makapagtrabaho at mawala ang diskriminasyon sa mga CICL. Pangarap din ng mga batang may suliranin sa batas na maibalik ang tiwala sa kanila, makatulong sa kanilang mga pamilya at komunidad, at sa kapwa bata at maging isang advocate sa pagsulong ng mga karapatan ng bawat bata,” Manalo said.

(With the return of CICLs to their respective communities, everyone wishes to help them continue to study, work and eliminate discrimination against CICLs. It is also the dream of children who have problems with the law to restore trust in them, help their families and communities, and fellow children and become an advocate for the advancement of every child’s rights.)

In reply to the SOCA, DSWD Asst. Secretary for International Affairs and ASAs Elaine Fallarcuna delivered the response of Secretary Rex Gatchalian as the Council’s ex-officio chairperson.

Secretary Gatchalian’s response emphasized the various interventions the DSWD will implement in collaboration with other national government agencies to ensure that CICLs will be granted continuous educational support, livelihood support, skills training and employment, family support, legal assistance, aftercare programs, and psychological services.

With the theme, “Sa Bagong Pilipinas, Bawat Bata May Pag-Asa! Sa Juvenile Justice Law, Bawat Bata may Pagkakataong Magbago!,” the JJWA 18th anniversary celebration was also attended by various Council members of the JJWC, other partners, and stakeholders.

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