A second chance for children in conflict with the law

Written by Melvin Nuñez

Watch this #TulongHindiKulong video advocacy "A second chance for children in conflict with the law" produced by UNICEF Philippines. 

Children are forced to commit crimes because of poverty and the unfavorable environment in their families and communities. 

There is no evidence that putting children in institutions or detention decreases criminality. Instead, children in conflict with the law must receive rehabilitation support, education, and other social services to give them a second chance in life and help them reintegrate into society. 

This is their right as children. #TulongHindiKulong

“Kami naman po! Millenial’s Edition”, says youth participants advocating for juvenile justice

Sta. Maria, Bulacan – “Hindi sa iyong nakaraan nakasalalay ang iyong kinabukasan”, voiced-out by the youth participants during the Juvenile Justice Volunteers Congress as part of the advocacy to oppose the lowering of the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility from 15 years old to 12 years old and advocates to strengthen the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act. Among the individuals that supported the message is the Filipino actor, Mr. JM de Guzman, as he sent a video message and sang a song of redemption addressed to the participants of the activity.
The Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation (HLAF) together with youth participants from partner barangays and child rights organizations joined hand-in-hand for the annual Juvenile Justice Volunteers Congress last Nov. 24-26 at Sitio Lucia Garden and Hotel Resort, with a theme, “Kami naman po! A Millennial’s Participation in addressing issues concerning juvenile justice in social media platform.”
Youth members of the Barangay Children and Youth Association (BCYA) from Malabon, Navotas, and Quezon City and youth from child rights organizations came together to attend the three-day congress. This year’s theme focused on the role of today’s youth towards their participation in using various social media platforms.
As the event started, HLAF spearheaded the facilitation of the activities among the youth as each of the participants showered the world with colors through the Color Your World activity. Teamwork among the participants was also molded as they went through every stage of the team building activity. The Color Your World Activity aimed to remind everyone that every child deserves a colorful life and future. And to remind everyone that treating children as criminals deprives them of a colorful life and a bright future.
The second day of the event involves the plenary session. Invited speakers discussed different topics such as role of the youth in the social media campaign by Ms. Melanie Ramos-Llana, and social media and responsibility by Ms. Nirva Anna dela Cruz.
"Bawat isa sa inyo, tinawag kayo para dito. May plano si God kung bakit kayo nandito. Isipin nyo na kailangan niyong maging maayos kasi kailangan kayo ng Pilipinas.”, Ms. Nirva Ana Dela Cruz quoted while giving her talk about social media and responsibility during the plenary session. After the plenary, break-out sessions were also participated by the youth which are facilitated by different experts in theatre presentation, mobile photography and digital arts.
Ms. Marichris Arienda, President of the Children World Aid Program from Bicol, also graced the event as she gave an overview of the film “Rehas” in relation to the existing campaign on strengthening the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act. She also thanked HLAF for giving her the chance to be part of the event. Moreover, she also gave a brief message for the students about using social media. “Be a responsible millenial. Be a responsible Facebook user.”, she quoted. Nicole Arienda, youth representative of the Children World Aid Program also said, “We need to fight for our rights pero wag din natin sanang kalimutan yung mga responsibility natin.”
Youth delegates also come up with a performance that speaks about their stands and advocacy about juvenile justice. Presentations were showcased in the structured socialization night. Invited guests were also present in the event. Youth participants from Brgy. Culiat also showcased their talents as they entertained everyone with their wowing theatre act performance which depicts the current issues faced by the youth today. As one of the participants stated, “Everyone is an artist and everything is art.”
A video message from JM De Guzman surprised the participants. The actor left an inspiring message which says, “At alam ko na marami ring kabataan na kagaya ko na maaaring mas malalim pa nga o mas mahirap ang pinagdaanan o pinagdadaanan ngayon sa buhay nila. Maaaring dahil sa kapabayaan ng mga magulang, pang-aabuso, karahasan na naranasan nila na maaaring nag-udyok sa kanila na gumawa ng mga maling bagay tulad ng pag-dodroga, bisyo, paggawa ng krimen dahil sa hirap ng buhay. At siguro, oras na, oras na para boses naman ng mga kabataan, nyo, ang madinig at maunawaan.”
On the third day of the Congress, a forum was made to address the queries and concerns of the delegates. This also gave the youth delegates the chance to process their experiences in the duration of the event. Suggestions and recommendations for the next Juvenile Justice Volunteers’ Congress are also gathered during the forum. Ms. Claudette Almadin, HLAF’s Senior Community Organizer, processed the inputs of the film “Rehas” which was shown among the participants. Words of encouragement for the youth to actively involve themselves in activities like JJVos and synthesized the three-day congress  was delivered by Mr. Jun Tumamao, HLAF’s Senior Social Worker.
Since 2012, HLAF has been providing a venue for all the children and youth members organized by the barangays that the organization has trained in the annual Juvenile Justice Volunteers’ Congress to get together and share ideas with having in mind the right of children to participate in 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 the children, the elderly and those who are sick.  One of HLAF programs, the Center for Restorative Action Program, empowers the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) in different barangays to be able to implement the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act (JJWA). Moreover, HLAF also sees the need to conduct activities which involves children to prevent them from being juvenile delinquents and serve as role models not only to every child but to be responsible citizens of the nation as well.

MCKS, HLAF team up for a medical and dental mission at Navotas City Jail


Around 120 inmates of Navotas City Jail participated in the Medical and Dental Mission led by MCKS Caring Heart Foundation and the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation yesterday, Oct. 16. 

Doctors and dentists from BJMP and City Social Welfare and Development Office of Navotas joined hand in hand to give health services to the inmates of dorm 1 to dorm 6 of Navotas City Jail. 

The medical and dental mission happened at Navotas City Jail is the fifth commencement to the series of medical and dental mission with HLAF's partner jails as part of HLAF's indicator.

The way children are regarded and protected is a reflection of a community, says HLAF for the Children’s Month Celebration ‘17


With the theme “Karahasan Wakasan, Bata Protektahan”, the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation (HLAF) sees that in this year’s celebration of Children’s Month, the theme incorporates all issues concerning children and wants to establish that the way children are regarded and protected is a reflection of a community and its people.

As a member of the Child Rights Network, this week-long celebration serves as a platform to promote the campaign towards strengthening the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act and oppose lowering the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility from 15 years old to 12 years old as filed on the Senate Bill 1603: Amending RA 9344 by Sen. Franklin Drilon.

The network has made a line-up of activities that will run from November 20 to 22 in the House of Representatives. It serves as an opportunity to commence the activity and tap people from different sectors to be aware of the current situation of children in the society.

“Mr. President, today is a good day to be reminded of the state's responsibility to "provide special protection to children from all forms of abuse, neglect, cruelty exploitation and discrimination and other conditions, prejudicial to their development." Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros quoted in her speech during the Celebration of National Children's Month and the United Nations' Universal Children's Day.

The series of activities started with the caravan participated with the members of the CRN and HLAF’s barangay partners composed of BCPC members and children from the barangay. Participants were gathered at the Quezon City Memorial Circle and went to the lobby of the House of Representatives. The traditional ribbon cutting marks the start of the program which was made by the invited speakers and child advocates who also shared their messages. Various child advocates from different partner organizations also showed their support by attending the opening program.

Each of the organizations is also given the chance to set-up a booth as a way of introducing their organizations in the participants of the event. After the opening program, all of the participants also attend the Plenary Session in the North Wing of the HOR which was attended by 232 house members. During the opening of the session, two choir groups, whose members are all children showcased their talents as they sang the prayer and Philippine National Anthem.

All of the activities made during the day involves the great participation of the children and the youth and highlighted their importance in nation building. The network also sees this as an avenue towards raising awareness about the importance of the proper implementation of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act among every unit in the country. 

“Naniniwala ang HLAF na ang maling pagpaparusa sa kanila ay pagpapakita ng karahasan sa mga bata. (HLAF believes that unfair punishment to the children signifies violence against children). The responsibility of society for child protection is never ending. It is everyone’s business!” HLAF’s Senior Social Worker, Mr. Jun Tumamao, RSW, quoted in relation to this year’s Children’s Month Celebration to the current move to lower the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility from 15 years old to 12 years old.

Barangays continue their advocacy to implement the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act and to promote children's rights

Written by Georgia Sacrez, Jsa Turabillia and Ma. Luisa Bautista

Last Aug. 16, the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc. (HLAF) Center for Restorative Action (CRA) initiated the Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting with partner barangays from Malabon City and Navotas City held at the Barangay Dampalit Multipurpose Hall.

The TWG meeting was conducted by HLAF Team as part of the CRA-Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) Training in monitoring and mentoring strategies with the partner barangays.

Representatives from the BCPC partner barangays in Malabon and Navotas gathered at the TWG meeting were from Brgy. Tañong, Brgy. Tanza, Brgy. San Agustine, Brgy. Hulong Duhat, Brgy. Dampalit, Brgy. Longos, Brgy. Baritan, Brgy. West Navotas and Brgy. Tangos.

Before proceeding to the barangays’ report, HLAF Community Organizer, Ms. Emy Torrefiel led the discussion on the needed forms and requirements for the annual Juvenile Justice Volunteers’ Congress. This year’s JJVos theme “Sa Tulong ng Aktibong Pakikilahok ng JJVo, Tamang Pagpapatupad ng JJWA ay Masisigurado” focuses on the impact of the involvement of children and youth in the juvenile delinquency prevention and implementation of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act at the community level. Also, this year will mark the fifth year of conducting the Juvenile Justice Volunteers (JJVos) Congress. It will also be an avenue for the participants to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act being one of the landmark legislations in the country.

BCPCs’ representatives from partner barangays of Malabon and Navotas reported their progress and statistics about the children in conflict with the law and children at risk cases. Some barangays also mentioned their interventions that helped them to lessen the CAR and CICL cases in their barangay. Different reports are as follows:

Barangay Tañong

Barangay Tañong shared one of the activities that their BCPC members are doing in their barangay. The barangay have an activity on scavenging of goods to contribute in their BCPC funds.

Barangay Tanza

Barangay Tanza reported that last July, their barangay held their organized BCPC seminar and BCYA committee. Also, to help the CICLs and CARs, Barangay Tanza conducted a clean-up drive and gardening involving CICLs and CARs in their barangay.

Barangay San Agustin 

Ms. Carol, a volunteer of BCPC from Brgy. San Agustine, stand as a representative of their barangay to report their program of “pagpapa-aral” for the CICLs and CARs to help them build their ground on education. She also mentioned the success story of one of the cases they handled in the barangay. The case of a 17 year old was a former CICL and today, he is now helping his parents in their everyday activities.

Barangay Hulong Duhat

Baragay Kagawad Vlady Garcia presented the reports and updates on the barangay’s statistic report of 88 curfew cases and zero case on CICL and CAR. He also shared that the barangay have two latest success stories. According to Kagawad Garcia, the counseling program is the first step in their intervention for their CICL and CAR cases. Also, the barangay’s BCPC have a list of names of CICLs and CARs for the continuous monitoring and visitation.

Barangay Dampalit

According BCPC Focal Person of Barangay Dampalit, Ms. Kimberly Fernandez Jugo) noted that their barangay held sports festival and livelihood program of paper bags for their youth as part of their intervention. To date, the barangay don’t have existing CICL and CAR cases.

Barangay Longos

Barangay Kagawad Edna Morit presented the barangay’s organized list of CICL and CAR cases data on their log book. She also mentioned the step by step intervention program for their CAR and CICL cases.

Barangy Baritan

To date, Barangay Baritan reported that their barangay currently have a record of one CICL case and six CAR cases.

Barangay West Navotas

The success story of Barangay West Navotas was presented by Mr. Manuel Salao, a BCPC representative from Baranagay West Navotas. He shared how they were able to attain their new BCPC headquarters. Also, he reported that as of to date, the barangay have zero record of CICL and CAR cases.

Barangay Tangos, Navotas

Ms. Geraldine Gonzales presented the update of Barangay Tangos’ BCPC program. The issue that the barangay was currently focused on was on teenage pregnancy inclined with the increasing cases of CICL in their barangay.


In the later part of the activity in the TWG meeting, the partner barangays were divided into groups according to their batch. HLAF’s Senior Social Worker and HLAF’s Senior Community Organizer, Mr. Luis Singgangan, RSW and Ms. Claudette Almadin, RSW, asked the group to write a position paper on the BCPCs stand about the lowering of the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility (MACR) from 15 years old to 9 years old. They explained how the position paper can be used and what will be the content of the paper.


HLAF considered the TWG meeting as a successful and good update from the BCPCs of partner barangays from Malabon and Navotas. HLAF looks forward in the future works of the barangays in working together for juvenile justice.