Philippine artists' group opposes lowering of age of criminal responsibility
MANILA, Philippines – The Concerned Artists of the Philippines is among the groups that are opposing the bill to lower the age of responsibility.
On January 21, the House committee on justice approved the bill that would amend Republic Act (RA) 10630 and lower the minimum age of criminal liability from 15 years old to 9 years old. (READ: LIST: How the House justice panel voted on lowering criminal liability age)
On January 23, during second reading at plenary, the chamber approved the bill with a last-minute change in the proposed minimum age: from 9 years old to 12.
In a statement, CAP called the proposal “an assault on the rights of children and a reflection of the continuous attacks on human rights on all fronts.”
“Children are not criminals. We reject the proposed lowering of the age bracket of criminal responsibility. The notion is barbaric, disrespectful of human dignity, ignorant of social conditions on the ground, and entirely unsupported by scientific and scholarly evidence,” it said.
“Juvenile delinquencies mirror the state of dysfunction and more systemic problems in Philippine society. In the end, justice should be restorative and rights-based,” the artists' group said.
At the same time, CAP lauded those who protested the bill, among them several celebrities who took to social media to voice out their disapproval.
“Let us continue to protect our children and youth from this assault of the state. Let us demand accountability from the real perpetrators and enforcers of criminal behavior in the Philippines,” CAP said.
CAP was co-founded in 1983 by National Artist for Cinema Lino Brocka to unite Filipino artists against the oppressive dictatorship of then-president Ferdinand Marcos. It is an organization of artists, musicians, filmmakers, and cultural workers committed to upholding freedom, justice, and democracy.