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

Written by Ma. Luisa Bautista


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.




HLAF, in partnership with BJMP, initiates the 3rd Quarter Jail Paralegal Officers' Kamustahan

Written by Ma. Luisa Bautista

Bureau of Jail Management and Penology - Forty six Jail Paralegal Officers (JPO) attended the 3rd Quarter JPO Kamustahan last Nov. 8 at BJMP - NCR.

As a platform for new learnings and sharing updates, HLAF invited resource persons to tackle revised guidelines of continuous trial, sample of cases about plea bargaining, and discussion of RA 10951 highlighting Theft and Stafa cases.

Assistant Regional Director, Jail Senior Supt. Milet G. Batac, shared her gratitude during the opening remarks of the Kamustahan. She also emphasized that she's looking forward to the fruitful discussions between the resource persons and the participating Jail Paralegal Officers. 

Atty. Megan Musni from Office of the Court Administrator talked about the revised guidelines of continuous trials. During the open forum, participants raised a question if the discussed revised guidelines will apply to pending cases. Atty. Musni said that it will apply even in 10 year-cases.

The discussion was followed by PAO Central Office represented by Atty. Maria Baja as she tackled about the People vs. Estipona case as a sample of plea bargaining drug case. It was seconded by HLAF's Jail Decongestion Officer, Atty. Jean Aubree Ruby Sadural, about the RA 10951 as an act adjusting the amount or value of property and damage which a penalty is based. And the fines imposed under the revised penal code amending for the purpose act of 3815 otherwise known as the Revised Penal Code. The discussion highlight the penalties of Theft and Stafa cases. Also, John Vincent Castro, a Ateneo Clinical Legal Education (CLED) student shared their experiences and how they drafted letters for Stafa and Theft (provided by CLED students) and they can share it with Jail Paralegal Officers. 

The participating Jail Paralegal Officers requested for table of penalty per cases. Also, PAO representatives offered that they can give assistance for Alpha list and can identify quality inmates for release.

Jail Senior Supt. Milet G. Batac said during the closing remarks that she's thankful for all the resource persons who allotted time to attend the Kamustahan to discuss topics that will be beneficial to JPOs and entertaining their inquiries.

HLAF and BJMP-NCR are very thankful for all the participating Jail Parelegal Officers that actively participated during the 3rd Quarter JPO Kamustahan.



HLAF, DLSU Dasmariñas partners for a juvenile justice training

Written by Eriel A. Gabriel


DLSU-Dasmarinas- Fourty-six enrolees coming from different regions completed the three-day training course on juvenile justice entitled: Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 (RA 9344 as amended by RA 10630) The Legal, the Welfare and the Restorative Side last October 25-27, 2017.

The Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation partners with the De La Salle University - Dasmariñas, one of the leading academes in the country with first-hand experience in handling institution-based CICL through their Bahay Pag - Asa Dasmariñas, to give a better understanding of the juvenile justice among the participants of the training course.

In the first day of training, HLAF’s Senior Community Organizer and Social Worker, Ms. Claudette Almadin, RSW, facilitated the training and welcomed the attendees. Participants of the training course on Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006 are also divided into six groups and presented their creative representation about the difference of a child and an adult, and the difference and implications during the Child Sensitivity discussion.

Atty. Rommel Alim Abitria, Executive Director of HLAF, discussed the salient features of the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006 on the second day of the training course. Each of the participants were also given the chance to raise their questions as the discussion about the law went through.

The third day revolved in the discussion of the healing effects of crime and simulation of the Restorative Justice Conferencing. The participants was divided into six groups and presented a scenario about a child who committed a crime and presented their way of handling such kind of situations in the community.

It ended with the awarding of certificates among the participants together with a staff from DLSU-Dasma and Ms. Almadin of HLAF. Dean Alrien Dausan of the College of Criminal Justice also graced the closing part of the training.

This is the second part of the three sets of training course which focuses on concepts about juvenile justice. The remaining training course will be held on November 14-16 at the same venue.


HLAF, universities and child-rights organizations collaborate for a video launching activity in public advocacy campaign on strengthening the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act

Written by Eriel A. Gabriel

In partnership with the NGO coalition behind #ChildrenNOTCriminals campaign to strengthen the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc. tapped different universities and organizations in Metro Manila, Region 1, Cagayan de Oro, Bicol and Legaspi  to conduct the video launching activity simultaneously last September 29.

Eight universities and partner organizations conducted the video launching activity in partnership with HLAF to extend their support to the advocacy campaign in strengthening the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act. HLAF seized the chance to amplify the target audience of the campaign as well as to inform people about the importance of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act.

Last September 29, BALAOD Mindanaw facilitated the forum entitled: “Criminalizing the Child: a Forum on Lowering the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility” held in Cagayan de Oro. The one-day forum aimed to gather the stand of the participants from different organizations and government officials about the minimum age of criminal responsibility as well as the implementation of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act in the city which served as the platform of HLAF to also incorporate the video launching activity which was attended by over a hundred participants.

On the other hand, Bicol University, UST-Legazpi, Universidad de Manila and Regional Juvenile Justice and Welfare Committee (RJJWC) Region I participated the simultaneous launching of the videos on the same date in their respective universities and offices which were attended by students and government officials who are inclined with the implementation of JJWA.

Each of the participating universities expressed their involvement in the campaign by making support statements and posted it on their social media accounts with hashtags #ChildrenNotCriminals #muntingtiniginyongpakinggan #kahitbataako #anongmagagawamo? #PagtibayinagJJWA.

Other participating organizations and universities like Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan and Ateneo Office for Social Concern and Involvement (OSCI) conducted the video launching activity on September 30 respectively. HLAF Communications Officer, Ma. Luisa Bautista together with Juanito VInluan, HLAF Parelegal officer facilitated the activity attended by the freshmen students from the College of Law.

OSCI have incorporated this video launching with the Focused Reintegration for Ex-Detainees (FRED) seminar of HLAF, which was one of the programs of the organization for ex-detainees. This was also attended by the law students of the same university.

The Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) participated in the campaign by including the activity on their forum about disaster preparedness which was attended by the junior and senior social work students from PLM and UDM which was held on Sept. 20.

The video launching on different areas in the Philippines will proceed accordingly to disseminate the campaign to strengthen the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act.