Juvenile council helps child offenders through art

MANILA -- The Juvenile Justice Welfare Council (JJWC) kicked off its 6th JJWC Week on Sunday through an on-the-spot poster painting contest emphasizing the importance of promoting restorative justice and giving youth offenders who have gone astray a "second chance" to correct their mistakes.

The contest's theme was "Mapagkalingang Hustisya, Ugaliin at Pagtibayin" and 29 contestants from different schools in the country showed their artistic skills in a bid to highlight the event's message.

Topping the contest was Daisy Louise S. Segui from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela, who received a PHP10,000 cash prize.

Her artwork depicted the symbol of justice for children.

"Ang bata ay nagkakamali dahil di pa niya alam ang tama sa mali. Nangangailangan siya ng tulong sa magulang. Kung bawat isa sa atin ay gagawin ito, mapapatibay natin ang hustisya. At kung ipaglalaban, ito ay mapagtitibay sa mga susunod na henerasyon (A child errs because he/she is not aware of what is right and what is wrong. There is always a need for parental help. If all of us will help the children, we can strengthen justice. And if we will stand up for this, it can be a strong foundation for the next generation.)," Segui said.

Rolly Santiava placed second through his artwork which implied that justice should be based not on status in society, but rather on the kind of offense. He received PHP 7,000 as cash prize.

Kathya Marea Palles bagged the third place through her artwork titled "Hustisya." She received PHP 5,000 pesos.

The activity also featured the success story of a child in conflict with the law (CICL) through the showing of an advocacy video. It showed how Jerry Adkin, a former CICL from Zamboanga del Norte, turned a new leaf through the intervention of the "Bahay Pag-Asa" program.

Adkin is now a teacher at the Pange Elementary School in Siayan District of Zamboanga del Norte.

"They (advocacy video) are proof that with proper intervention and rehabilitation programs and support of the commuynity, we are able to affect change in the lives of the children," said JJWC executive director Atty. Tricia Clare Oco.

"It is important that the public will also understand that we all have responsibility to ensure that we should also bring back to society the youth offenders," Oco said.

She emphasized that an enabling environment should be in place as the community works together for the healing process "and not mere punishment."

Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Atty. Alberto Muyot, meanwhile, said CICL must be given a second chance.

He also said that CICL should not be placed together with hardened criminals as they can be victims of both physical and sexual abuses.

He also agreed that proper implementation of the JJWC law should be the strongly supported.

"Kung susundin po ang batas, malaki po ang tsansa na mare-rehabilitate ang mga batang ito. (If we will follow the law, there is a big chance of rehabilitating these children.)" Muyot said.

Dancing to the tune of the music video "Isang Pagkakataon," the Craze for Hope flash mob consisting of different youth participants called on authorities to create a safer and restorative environment for children.

The observance of JJWC Week is aligned with the celebration of National Children's Month. JJWC is an attached agency of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The winning artworks will be displayed in an exhibit at the SM City Fairview Annex 2 from Sunday to Friday.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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