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MANILA, Philippines - The Congress is now on the process of finalizing a bill that amends the existing Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 in an effort to review the minimum age of criminal responsibility.
"We are hoping that the bicameral conference panel would, before adjournment of the 15th Congress in June, be able to reconcile conflicting provisions of the proposed statute, special provisions related to the covered age-range of youthful offenders," the authors said in a statement published Wednesday.
The measure mandates the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council to conduct every three years a study on the age of discernment of Filipino children, which will be the basis of a legislative review on the minimum age of criminal responsibility.
The House version of the bill defines a youth offender as "a child above 12 but at least 15 years of age who acted with discernment and a child above 15 years old but under 18 years of age at the time of the alleged commission of a criminal offense."
The proposed measure also mandates that a juvenile delinquent be under the custody of the Department of Social Work and Development upon being found guilty of an offense.
The child who commits murder, parricide, homicide, kidnapping, rape, robbery, drug trafficking or other offenses punishable by more than 12 years will also be presumed to have acted with discernment.
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