BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved a resolution requesting the Juvenile Justice Welfare Council (JJWC) under the justice department to release P5 million from the annual budget of the said department as the contribution of the national government for the construction of the long-overdue Bahay Pag-asa at Balenben, Irisan, Baguio City.
The resolution authored by re-elected Councilor Maria Mylen Victoria G. Yaranon stated the local government has the available counterpart of P5 million for the construction of the Bahay Pag-asa, as well as available funds for its subsequent operation ,to serve as a haven for juvenile delinquents from the different parts of the city.
Section 37 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being and that it shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.
Further, Section 9 of the same Constitution provides that the State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights while Section 2 of Republic Act (RA) 9344 or the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006, provides that pursuant to Article 40 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, the State recognizes the right of every child alleged as, accused of, adjudged, or recognized as, having infringed the penal law to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child’s sense of dignity and worth, taking into account the child’s age and desirability of promoting his or her re-integration. Whenever appropriate and desirable, the State shall adopt measures for dealing with such children without resulting to judicial proceedings, providing that human rights and legal safeguards are fully respected.
The resolution added that the State shall ensure that children are dealt with in a manner appropriate to their well-being by providing for, among others, a variety of disposition measures such as care, guidance and supervision orders, counselling, probation, foster care, education and vocational training programs and other alternatives to intuitional care.
RA 10630, the law that strengthened the juvenile justice system, provides for the establishment of an intensive juvenile intervention and support center for children under the minimum age of criminal responsibility in a Bahay Pag-asa.
The resolution added that a Bahay Pag-asa refers to a 24-hour child-caring institution established, funded and managed by local government units and licensed or accredited non-government organizations providing short-term residential care for children in conflict with the law who are above 15 but below 18 years of age and part of the features of the Bahay Pag-asa is an intensive juvenile intervention and support center which will cater to children in conflict with the law who are awaiting for disposition of their cases or transfer to other agencies or jurisdiction.
The resolution stipulated that the city’s Bahay Pag-asa will be managed by a multi-disciplinary team composed of a social worker, a psychologist or mental health professional, a medical doctor, an educational or guidance counsellor and a barangay council for the protection of children representative. The team will work on the individualized intervention plan with the child and the child’s family.
By Dexter A. See