“Our youth is the hope of our motherland.” Quote our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. As it was during his time, how come a big percentage of our youths faced or are still facing cases against delinquent acts now? Each and every child’s moral high ground starts at the very home cultivated by their parents. But what of those children who are forced to live on the streets, forced into prostitution, drugs and slavery just to fend for themselves?
For many young people today, traditional patterns guiding the relationships and transitions between family, school and work are being challenged. Social relations that ensure a smooth process of socialization are collapsing; lifestyle trajectories are becoming more varied and less predictable. The restructuring of the labor market, the extension of the maturity gap (the period of dependence of young adults on the family) and, arguably, the more limited opportunities to become an independent adult are all changes influencing relationships with family and friends, educational opportunities and choices, labor market participation, leisure activities and lifestyles. It is not only developed countries that are facing this situation; in developing countries such as the Philippines as well there are new pressures on young people undergoing the transition from childhood to independence. Rapid population growth, the unavailability of housing and support services, poverty, unemployment and underemployment among youth, the decline in the authority of local communities, overcrowding in poor urban areas, the disintegration of the family, and ineffective educational systems are some of the pressures young people must deal with. (http://www.wowessays.com/dbase/af4/lvw152.shtml, 2010)
Young people who are at risk of becoming delinquents often live in difficult circumstances. Children who for various reasons—including parental alcoholism, poverty, breakdown of the family, overcrowding, abusive conditions at home, the growing HIV/AIDS scourge, or the death of parents during armed conflicts—are orphans or unaccompanied and are without the means of substinence, housing and other basic necessities are at great risk of falling into juvenile delinquency. The number of children in especially difficult circumstances is estimated to have increased from 80 million to 150 million between 1992 and 2000 all over the world. (http://www.wowessays.com/dbase/af4/lvw152.shtml, 2010)
Juvenile offenders have fast risen over the years according to the Philippine National Police. The government then passed on its law against juvenile crimes known as Republic Act 9344 on April 28, 2006 and was signed by then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. This is to establish a comprehensive juvenile justice and welfare system and create the juvenile justice and welfare council under the Department of Justice. This act exempts minors 15 years of age and below from criminal liability and only allows criminal punishment for minors above 15 to below 18 years of age if it is proven that they acted with discernment. Unfortunately, criminals have taken advantage of this law by employing minors to do their bidding.
After this law has been passed on and implemented, the crimes involving minors have risen by 18% in 2008 alone with most offenders committing theft with poverty and survival as primary reasons according to the statistics and figures shown by the PNP. (To be further discussed on chapter II)
Under the Republic Act 9344 or widely known as the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, the state is mandated by the constitution to protect the people and maintain peace and order. Moreover, the State must ensure the physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being of the youth. The prevalence of criminal activities by the youth who are members of criminal juvenile organizations (e.i fraternities, street gangs, syndicates), coupled with the immunity granted by the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act , is...
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