Senator Chiz Escudero speaks before Filipino-Americans celebrating the 117th anniversary of the Philippine Independence Day at Hilton Universal City here in Los Angeles. Photo: Joe Cobilla

Senator Chiz Escudero speaks before Filipino-Americans celebrating the 117th anniversary of the Philippine Independence Day at Hilton Universal City here in Los Angeles. Photo: Joe Cobilla

MANILA  (Mabuhay) – A separate detention facility exclusively for children and young people in conflict with the law should be constructed to better facilitate their rehabilitation, Senator Francis Escudero said Monday.

In a statement, Escudero said he and running mate Senator Grace Poe plan to allocate funds for the construction of a juvenile detention center should they win in the May 9 elections.

“Layunin namin na maglagay ng hiwalay na detention facility at ang pondo ay dapat na manggaling sa national government. Hindi kasi kakayanin ng local government unit,” he said.

“Kapag nagawa natin ‘yan at hindi pa rin umuubra, doon natin siguro dapat tingnan kung paano pa natin maaayos ang batas. Pero tingnan muna natin ‘yung proseso na may paglalagyan talaga sila na hiwalay sa common criminals pero naka-detain pa rin.”he added.

The senator said building a separate detention facility for young offenders will enable the full implementation of the country’s existing juvenile justice law, Republic Act No. 10630 or the Juvenile Justice System and Welfare Act of 2013.

Exclusive detention facilities for the youth will also ensure their protection, treatment and rehabilitation, he added.

Under the law, a child above 15 years old but below 18 years old can be exempt from criminal liability and be subjected to an intervention program unless he or she has acted with discernment.

However, the exemption from criminal liability does not include exemption from civil liability.

Although RA 10630 was signed in 2013, Escudero said the law has yet to be fully implemented due to the lack of a infrastructure for youth offenders

He said that the law explicitly provides that juvenile delinquents cannot be detained in municipal jails alongside hardened criminals as administrative and criminal charges await authorities who will violate the law.

“Young people who commit crimes should be treated differently than adult criminals, and the only way to do that is to put them in a juvenile detention center that would provide them with positive, pro-social opportunities and ultimately rehabilitation,” he said. (MNS)