Why are policymakers keen on lowering MACR? | Inquirer Opinion

Why are policymakers keen on lowering MACR?

05:02 AM June 04, 2019

I cannot seem to understand why there is a “clamor” among policymakers to decrease the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) in the Philippines when the global trend is to increase it.

I stand with the position of professional and civic groups opposing the proposed measure. First, we need to consider evidence that children below 15 or 12 years old may know what is right or wrong, but most of the time fail to internalize the consequences of their actions.


Rather than putting them behind bars, we should focus on addressing this problem. The government can establish institutions that can assist our children, their families and communities in educating them about responsible citizenship; or perhaps existing institutions can do a better job in bridging the gap.

Second, the most common reasons for children being in conflict with the law can be traced back to poor education and poverty. Perhaps, alleviating the condition of these children and their families will take away the motivation to commit crimes. The recognition of the root cause of societal problems will prevent us from promoting backward policies such as lowering the country’s MACR.


Why are our policymakers keen on putting these children behind bars especially when the justice system is juvenile? Juvenile in the sense that it is still struggling to cope with the current number of children in conflict with the law. Therefore, it is unjust to subject children to criminal trials and/or shelter them under dilapidated facilities under a system that clearly doesn’t put these children’s welfare on top of its priorities.

Why are we putting much focus on children in conflict with the law when they account for only 2 percent of registered crimes? Shouldn’t the focus shift to the adults and big crime groups that intimidate and exploit children to do the dirty job for them?

What’s happening, clearly, is like the current war on drugs. This administration is scratching the surface and targeting the most vulnerable, instead of capturing the masterminds.

REINER LORENZO J. TAMAYO, RN, [email protected]

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TAGS: Inquirer letters, MACR, minimum age of criminal responsibility, policemakers, Reiner Lorenzo J. Tamayo, young offenders
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