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
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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.

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