Credit to Author: jvicente| Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2019 07:28:08 +0000
MANILA, Philippines — No budget was allocated for the construction of child-caring reform centers or the “Bahay Pag-asa” in the 2019 budget.
This was revealed on Tuesday during a Senate hearing discussing the bills that seek to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR).
“Construction of Bahay Pag-asa, there is no appropriation for 2019,” Senator Franklin Drilon revealed during the Senate hearing.
Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC) Executive Director Tricia Oco bared that there are only 63 Bahay Pag-asa centers in the country, with three under the supervision of non-government organizations (NGOs) and 60 others are being operated by local government units (LGUs) — five of which are non-operational.
Oco also noted that some Bahay Pag-asa facilities do not reach the minimum standards for the child-reform centers due to insufficient budgets.
“They (Bahay Pag-asa) do not have sufficient budget. Kawawa po yung mga namomonitor namin na Bahay Pag-asa. Sub-human conditions, they lack the minimum staff requirements, they even lack food for children,” Oco said.
“Some of the Bahay Pag-asa we saw mas malala pa sa kulungan, wala silang programs, wala silang beds, wala silang cabinets,” Oco added.
She also said that there is no Intensive Juvenile Intervention Support Center (IJISC) in a single Bahay Pag-asa in the country, which should have been established in every child reform center to initiate the rehabilitation and the intervention of children in conflict with the law (CICL).
The JJWC executive director then appealed on the Senate floor that a budget be provided to LGUs for the Bahay Pag-asa as the LGUs are the ones operating the child-reform centers.
“It’s really not just the construction of Bahay Pag-asa but we really need to provide a budget to LGUs because they are the ones operating the Bahay Pag-asa,” she said.
Senator Richard Gordon, chair of Senate committee on justice and human rights, suggested that LGUs should segregate a certain amount of money from their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for Bahay Pag-asa.
“‘Yung LGU talaga, ang dami nilang IRA, dapat mag-gawa sila dyan eh. Dapat naka-segregate, siguro dapat sabihin natin doon na a certain amount of money from the IRA must be dedicated towards the effort to try and minimize the acts of juvenile crime and rehabilitation,” Gordon said during the hearing. /jpv