Almost 1,000 Children in Conflict with the Law (CICLs) have been released from Bahay Pag-asa, Regional Rehabilitation Center Youth (RRCY), and other youth detention facilities, the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council bared Tuesday, Nov. 24.
JJWC Executive Director Atty. Tricia Oco disclosed this during the virtual kick-off event of the 9th Juvenile Justice and Welfare Consciousness Week from Nov. 22 to 28.
She said the JJWC, chaired by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, has assisted in the release of 973 CICLs in the youth detention centers, Bahay Pag-asa and RRCY nationwide.
“Nakikita nyo naman po buong number ng mga bata, 376 from Bahay Pag-asa, 254 were released from RRCY, 343 were assisted by Public Attorney’s Office para marelease din po sila. Ito po yung talagang for release na kaya lang nung nagstop ang operations natin hindi agad sila natutukan so we coordinated with the concerned agencies para matulungan ang mga batang ito,” Oco said.
(You have seen the total number of the children, 376 from Bahay Pag-asa, 254 were released from the RRCY, 343 were assisted by the Public Attorney’s Office to ensure that they will be released. These were for release, however, when the operations were stopped, we were not able to closely monitor these cases so we coordinated with the concerned agencies so that these children will be given the necessary assistance.)
She laments that the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit the country starting March, has “limited” the CICL’s access to justice.
“For instance, their court hearings were moved. Some of them hindi nila alam kung kailan ang next schedule because the courts also struggle on how to adjust nung pandemic (Some of them, they don’t know their next schedule because the courts also struggle on how to adjust during the pandemic),” Oco said.
“Some of them kailangan na silang marelease pero hindi pa po naprocess ng courts ang kanilang cases. So what we did, we coordinated with the courts and at the same time, sabi namin, gawin natin itong Legal Assistance Program para meron tayong mechanism to assist these children even without the pandemic,” she said.
(Some of them have to be released, but the courts failed to act on their cases. So what we did, we coordinated with the courts and at the same time, we tell ourselves, let’s make it Legal Assistance Program so that we have the mechanism to assist these children even without the pandemic.)