Advocates and implementers of juvenile justice come together for the BCPC Congress 2017



Sta. Maria, Bulacan- “Tayo Rin Para Sa Bata:  A community's response to the challenge of sustainable implementation of juvenile justice” served as this year’s theme of the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation for the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children Congress 2017 participated by among 165 delegates from the members of the BCPC held last December 11-12 at Sitio Lucia Resort.

The congress showcased the remarkable and effective barangay practices from the partner barangays of HLAF in accordance to the implementation of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act in the community level.

During the first day of the event, participants from Quezon City, Malabon City, Navotas City and Caloocan and other active implementers of the law protecting the children and the youth were gathered. Barangays who were already chosen and qualify for the Tatak Barangay Contest presented their practices among the audience and the judges. These barangays were from Brgy. Culiat, Commonwealth, and Greater Lagro, Quezon City.

Child Protection Officer of UNICEF, Mr. Jesus Far; Ms. Marlyn Verian-Pulga from ASMAE Philippines; and Information Management Officer of CARE Philippines, Mr. Randy Rimpongan graced the event and headed the panel interviews among the contenders in the Tatak Barangay Contest. This contest was made to determine the best practices of the barangays in implementing the JJWA. 

Napakaraming struggle pero ang nakakatuwa po kay Bimbo ay pag tinatawag siya eh nagbibihis siya ng maganda. Parang sige lang, continue lang. Yun po ay malaki nang pagbabago, yung magbibihis siya, laging nakangiti, nakayakap. Napakahirap buksan ang puso ng bata para makapagkwento, ito po ay dahilan sa mga case manager namin. Nakakuha po kami ng katuwang sa pagsulong ng karapatan ng mga bata.”, Kgd. Cristina Bernardino addressed while presenting their entry for the Tatak Barangay Contest during the Congress.

During the Gawad Kalayaan with the theme, “Para sa mga Mapagpalaya”, nominees and winners for the Tatak Barangay Contest and other categories to highlight the remarkable efforts of the youth, adults and organization behind the success of their practices in the barangay were given recognition and trophies.

The winners for the Tatak Barangay Contest were:

Tatak Barangay Award Champion- Brgy. Commonwealth, Quezon City

Tatak Barangay Award First Runner-Up- Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City

Tatak Barangay Award Second Runner-Up- Brgy. Greater Lagro, Quezon City


"Naniniwala ang HLAF na bawat tao ay may dignidad. Kung gusto nating i-promote ang dignity ng bawat tao, mas maganda na makikipagtulungan ang HLAF sa gobyerno, nakikipag-usap sa bawat duty bearers. Yung objectives na yun ang siyang naging tali kung bakit tayo ay nagkaroon ng isang magandang bonding because we all want to promote yung dignidad ng tao, kahit ano pa ang kanyang nakaraan.”, said Atty. Rommel Alim Abitria as he welcomed the invited guests and participants during the Gawad Kalayaan 2017.

Other participants who were recognized during the event were:

Outstanding Child Rights Advocates (Individual Children/Youth Category)

Mark Kevin Amador - Brgy. Commonwealth, Quezon City
Sherwin Bumanglag - Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City

Charles Solar - Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City

Ma.Michaella Balleta Flores - Brgy. Longos, Malabon City

Outstanding Child Rights Advocates (Individual Adult Category)

Kgd. Cristina Bernardino - Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City

Alvin Abdul - Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City

Thricia Mae Esguerra - Brgy. Tinajeros, Malabon City

Xyza May Espinosa - Brgy. Tinajeros, Malabon City
Rubilyn Abagao - Brgy. Commonwealth, Quezon City
Melbrian Aňoza - Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City

Outstanding Child Rights Advocates (Organization Category)

Anak ng Culiat Theater Group - Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City
City Government of Navotas City
Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) of Brgy. Greater Lagro, Quezon City
Malabon City's Barangay Children and Youth Association (BCYA)

Best Case Managers (Individual Category)

Alelia Bernardo - Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City
Ramir Aroc - Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City
Leticia Siasit - Brgy. Longos, Malabon City
Merlie Quilala - Brgy. Longos, Malabon City

Mercy Aloro - Brgy. Commonwealth, Quezon City

Best in Case Management (Organization Category)

Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) of Brgy. Longos, Malabon City

Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) of Brgy. Commonwealth, Quezon City
Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) of Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City

On the second day of the Congress, the panel interviewers composed of HLAF’s Executive Director, Atty. Rommel Alim Abitria, winners of the Tatak Barangay Contest representatives- Ms. Rubilyn Abagao (Brgy. Commonwealth), Kgd. Cristina Bernardino (Brgy. Culiat) and Ms. (Greater Lagro). Sherwin Bumanglag and Mark Kevin Amador (Outstanding Child Rights Advocate Children/Youth Category); Ms. Mhel Soque (Navotas) and Ms. Alelia Bernardo (Brgy. Culiat) also joined the panel interviewers as the open forum went through. The forum aimed to share the experiences of their respective BCPC members among the other participants.

"Bakit nga ba may BCPC Congress? Ito yung platform natin na naga-gather tayo, nakikita yung mga iba’t ibang city. May mga ibang privinces kung saan pinag-uusapan natin yung problema at challenges at best practices para ma-sustain ang juvenile justice sa community level.", said Ms. Claudette Almadin, HLAF’s senior community organizer as she facilitated the open forum.

HLAF annually conducts the BCPC Congress in order to recognize the efforts made by the barangays in exercising the JJWA among the community level and also discuss the challenges they encountered while implementing their programs for the entire year to adapt and gather strategies to further implement their practices.



Ateneo CLED students partner with HLAF to conduct a forum on jail conditions and lowering of the MACR

Written by Eriel A. Gabriel and Ma. Luisa Bautista



Ateneo School of Law- To have a deeper understanding of the present conditions of jails in the country and tackle its underlying issues and the notion to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility, Clinical Legal Education (CLED) students of the Ateneo School of Law, in partnership with the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation, congregate to conduct a forum last November 27, 2017.

Participated by the students from CLED and other HLAF staffs, the forum started with an opening remarks delivered by Atty. Rommel Alim Abitria, HLAF’s Executive Director and instructor of the CLED program. “We would like to know if imprisonment is an effective solution to crimes.” Atty. Abitria quoted.

J/Insp. Jayrex Bustinera, BJMP of the Manila City Jail, served as the first speaker who discussed the current conditions of detention facilities and jails in NCR. An experience from a former inmate was shared by Mr. Nestor dela Cruz.

In relation to the present notion to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility, Dr. Yvonne Entico, Psychiatrist from Medical Action Group gave a scientific explanation about the cognitive ability of a child to understand the consequences of their actions and why they should be given separate treatment from the adults who committed unlawful acts.

Ms. Claudette Almadin, RSW, Senior Community Organizer of HLAF, introduced the Focused Reintegration of Ex-Detainees (FRED) program of the organization.

After all the speakers gave their talks, the open forum was opened to give the attendees the chance to ask questions to the speakers. As the questions were answered, Mr. Edward Chua, student representative of CLED 102 formally closed the forum.

This initiative served as an avenue for the speakers from different sectors to hear each side and to be able to also address the issues to the CLED students present in the forum.