Millennials ready to advocate juvenile justice

Millennials ready to advocate juvenile justice

Youth from partner barangays actively participate in the Color Your World activity during the 2017 Juvenile Justice Volunteers Congress, Nov. 24, 2017. HLAF

STA. MARIA, Bulacan – “Hindi sa iyong nakaraan nakasalalay ang iyong kinabukasan!” (Your future is not dependent on your past).

This is what more than 100 youth participants of the 2017 Juvenile Justice Volunteers’ Congress declared in support of the advocacy to oppose the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15-years old to 12-years old and to strictly implement the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.

The Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation (HLAF) gathered youth participants from partner barangays and child rights organizations like the Barangay Children and Youth Association (BCYA) from Malabon, Navotas, Quezon City, Caloocan, Bicol, and Laguna for the annual event from Nov. 24 to 26 at the Sitio Lucia Garden and Hotel Resort, this year with the theme “Kami naman po! A Millennial’s Participation in addressing issues concerning juvenile justice in social media platform.”

‘God’s plan’

“Each one of you is called for this. God has a plan why you are here. Think that you need to be ok because the Philippines needs you,” said Nirva Delacruz, one of the plenary speakers on the ins and outs of social media campaigns.

Meanwhile, Melanie Ramos-Llana gave a talk on the power and reach of social media and networking sites in the world. In the afternoon, attendees participated in break-out sessions on theatre presentation, mobile photography, and digital arts.

Marichris Arienda, president of the Children World Aid Program based in Bicol, gave an overview of the film “Rehas” in relation to the existing campaign on promoting the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006. She also gave a brief message for the students about using social media. “Be a responsible millennial. Be a responsible Facebook user,” she said.

Nicole Arienda, youth representative of the Children World Aid Program also said, “We need to fight for our rights, but let’s also not forget our responsibilities.”

Implementing JJWA of 2006

In a video message, Filipino actor JM de Guzman encouraged the young people to be the voice for children in conflict with the law (CICL).

“And I know that there are also many young people like me who are probably going through more serious or more difficult circumstances in their lives right now. It could be because of the neglect of their parents, abuse, violence that they have experienced that have probably pushed them to do wrong like drugs, vices, crimes because of life’s hardships. And now is probably the time, now is the time for the voice of young people, your voice, to be heard and understood,” he said in Filipino.

On the third day the youth delegates got the chance to process their experiences during the event. Claudette Almadin, HLAF senior community organizer, processed inputs on the film “Rehas” which the participants watched. Jun Tumamao, HLAF senior social worker encouraged the delegates to actively involve themselves in activities like JJVos during his synthesis of the proceedings of the three-day congress.

Since 2012, HLAF has been providing a venue at the Juvenile Justice Volunteers’ Congress for children and youth members organized by the barangays to come together and share ideas about matters that affect them.

HLAF is a non-profit, non-government organization that advocates for the protection and promotion of the rights of persons deprived of liberty especially children, the elderly, and the sick. One of the HLAF programs, the Center for Restorative Action Program, empowers the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) in different barangays to implement the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act (JJWA) of 2006. CBCPNews