BY VINCE JACOB VISAYA
TUGUEGARAO CITY (November 26)—At least 52 youth offenders or “Children in Conflict with the Law” (CICL) have been facing drug and rape charges in the Cagayan Valley Region, the Regional Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (RJJWC) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development-Region 2 said on Friday.
Social welfare officer Shiela Marie Apostol of the RJJWC noted in a news briefing that the trend of cases in the country should be given attention as the country celebrates the 11th Juvenile Justice and Welfare Awareness Week with the theme, “Pagbabago ay Panigurado kung Tututukan natin ang Juvenile Justice Law.”
The region’s youth offender havens house 16 CICLs at Bahay Pag-asa in Cauayan City, 11 in Santiago City, and 25 at the Cagayan Valley-Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (CV-RRCY) in Cagayan.
The council’s studies show that the youth offenders had been involved in drugs, rape and other illegal charges because of family problems, a dysfunctional environment and the influence of peers.
Lawyer Maria Liza Guzman, Cagayan prosecution attorney, also noted an uptrend in children’s cases compared to the past years, but she did not specify the data.
The Department of Justice and other agencies have been embarking on a massive information drive to enable people to understand the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act (Republic Act 10630) and to help calm down the situation, she added.
The Regional Prosecution Office workers have been visiting local government units and initiating lectures and education campaigns, Guzman said.