Akbayan today joins members of the Child Rights Network in lobbying legislators against the passage of HB02 which seeks to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 9, otherwise known as the Batang Bilanggo Bill (BBB).
Together with children advocates, Akbayan went room to room visiting legislators' offices to distribute holiday cards with messages coming from children themselves. These messages implored legislators not to support the BBB.
Akbayan supports CRN, the children and their families in their holiday wish for the legislature to turn its back on a patently cruel legislation that will stunt children's growth and would rather incarcerate rather than rehabilitate delinquents.
Given the current state of our justice system, jampacked jails with snail-paced courts will only mean minors who commit infractions that could otherwise be rehabilitated will instead be subjected to further risk and abuse when mixed with regular inmates.
This approach, which BBB will legalize will not solve the problem of criminality. It will only scratch the surface and allow the big time crooks and syndicates to get away with trafficking children.
BBB is only treating a symptom, rather than rooting out the poverty that lies behind the vulnerability of children to come into conflict with the law. BBB is prescribing a hammer to solve the problem of an ant, it is like pouring acid on a burn.
Akbayan calls on all legislators to turn their back on this absurd measure and focus on solving the problems that matter most: lifting poor families out of poverty so keep their children away from crimes and a life of misery.