Musical freedom for juvenile delinquents
MANILA, Philippines – Freedom comes in many forms. Music is one of them.
“Musikalayaan: A Celebration of Musical Freedom” was organized by recent Ateneo graduates for the young inmates of the National Bilibid Prison on Monday, May 27.
The benefit concert aimed to raise funds to buy musical instruments for the young detainees. It was held in partnership with the Ateneo Musicians’ Pool (AMP), who provided technical consultation and performers for the event.
The group’s leader, Arvin Boller, said that the group thought of the project after their immersion in the National Bilibid Prison.
“While we were there, we saw in them a passion to learn. Despite their isolation and their limited options in prison, they still try to do something productive,” Boller said.
Boller added that the youth detainees have side projects in Bilibid. Aside from studying, the detainees also sing, dance and make music.
“Nung last day namin…nakausap namin sila. Marami sa kanila sobrang passionate about music and the arts, yung tipong paglabas, marami sa kanilang gustong maging rocker o maging performer,” Boller noted. (During our last day, we talked with some of them and we found out that many of them were passionate about music and the arts. After serving their time, some of them want to be rockstars and performers.)
Human rights activist Risa Hontiveros attended the event to support her son, who was part of the band Downdraft.
“The advocacy seems to be at peace with the idea of restorative justice, kung bakit in-abolish natin dati ang death penalty,” Hontiveros said. (The same reason why we abolished the death penalty before.)
Hontiveros noted that the criminal justice system should focus more on restorative justice than punitive justice, which is based on penalizing criminals.
“Hindi lang dapat parusa pero dapat restoring relationships that were shattered by crime. Turuan yung mga convicted to acknowledge their crime against other members of the community,” Hontiveros added. (The justice system should not just be about penalizing criminals but more about restoring relationships that were shattered by crime. We should teach the convicts to acknowledge their crime against other members of the community.)
Furthermore, Hontiveros maintained that juvenile delinquents deserve a second chance. “This is the reason why I am against lowering the age of criminal liability,” she added.
In July 2012, Iloilo City Rep Jerry Treñas pushed to lower the age of criminal liability of children to 12 years old (via House Bill 3815 or the Protection against Juvenile Criminal Exploitation act). The bills is pending in the Lower House.
According to the National Survey of Inmates and Institutional Assessment by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), there were more than 2,600 juvenile delinquency cases reported in 2009. In 2010, the number fell to 1,200 cases.
The DSWD, however, claims that there are still many unreported cases in the country.
Boller said that the group also plans to hold music lessons for the inmates besides giving them musical instruments. “This is our tribute to their musical talents,” Boller added.
Other performers in the concert included Mat Yuchico, Anj Florendo, and bands Kaleidoscope Eyes and End Goliath. The event was held in Route 196, Katipunan Extension. – With reports from Celline Alias/Rappler.com
For those interested in supporting the project, you may contact Arvin Boller at 09178927097 or tweet him at @genso19