Restorative justice: Giving children in conflict with the law a new shot at life

November 29, 2017

A new hope springs forth for children in conflict with the law (CICL) through restorative justice, which was the highlight of the 6th Juvenile Justice and Welfare Consciousness Week.

With the theme, “Mapagkalingang Hustisya, Ugaliin at Pagtibayin,” the week-long commemoration zeroed in on the importance of providing CICL and youth offenders a second chance in life through rehabilitation and reintegration.

Ang mapagkalingang hustisya ay isang paraan o pagtingin sa hustisya na nagbibigay diin sa paghilom o pagpapatawad ng naging biktima; pananagutan sa nakagawa ng kasalanan o nagkasala; at pakikilahok ng bawat mamamayan sa pagbuo ng maunlad at ligtas na komunidad,” Atty. Alberto Muyot, DepEd Undersecretary for Legal Affairs, shared during the kick-off program spearheaded by the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC), in partnership with SM Cares on November 19, 2017 at SM City Fairview.

“It is our way of encouraging all duty-bearers and stakeholders to be more receptive in practicing the restorative justice approach in building safer communities,” Atty. Muyot added, further emphasizing the important role that various stakeholders play in this noble mission to protect and promote the welfare of CICL.

He further stressed that there is still a lot of work to do, and called for everyone’s full support in the implementation of RA 9344, otherwise known as the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.

The principle of restorative justice was also reflected in the masterpieces of young students who trooped to the venue to showcase their artistic skills and join the cause through the on-the-spot poster making contest.

The celebration further promoted the inspirational story of a former CICL who overcame struggles and succeeded at becoming a licensed teacher. An advocacy music video entitled “Isang Pagkakataon Pa” was also launched.

Atty. Tricia Clare Oco, JJWC Executive Director, said that the featured story is just one of the many testimonials they have documented. “This is proof that with proper intervention and rehabilitation programs, and the support of the community, we are able to affect change in the lives of these children,” she enthused.

Other officials who graced the occasion were Department of Justice (DOJ) Assistant Secretary Cheryl Daytec-Yangot; Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) Executive Director Mitch Cajayon-Uy; and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) directors Gemma Gabuya of Region III, Helen Suzara of the Social Technology Bureau, and Alice Bonoan of the Protective Services Bureau. Children and youth advocates, as well as friends and partners from national government agencies, non-government and civil society organizations, and local government units were also present in the event.