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Lowering age of criminal liability, mandatory ROTC to put children in further danger —child rights alliance

An alliance of child rights advocates slammed on Tuesday the progressing bills on the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) and mandatory Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program in senior high school, saying they would only put children in further danger.

“These proposed bills are but monstrous, especially for children. These mandatory ROTC and lowering of the MACR directly violate children’s rights and would put Filipino children in further danger," Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns Secretary General Eule Rico Bonganay said in a press release.

During a forum on Tuesday, Bonganay said lowering the MACR will only have a small impact on crime rates, noting that 98 percent of crimes were committed by adults.

“Two percent lamang ng kabuuang cases na naitala sa buong bansa  ay committed by children,” Bonganay said.

Bonganay said that they initiated a petition against the lowering of MACR where 600 child rights-based groups and personalities already signed.

The lowering of MACR from 15 years old to 12 has been approved by the House of Representatives on third on final reading.  

Recently, the House also approved on third and final reading the measure making ROTC mandatory in senior high school, which aims to inculcate the spirit of nationalism among the Filipino youth. 

Salinlahi Youth Caloocan chapter’s Mark Christian Bonganay opposed the proposal. He said the mandatory ROTC in senior high school is unnecessary to ingrain nationalism among youth.

“We would like to show our nationalism through learning about our history and knowing that we can do something to help our communities and not through participating in a program riddled with abuse of those in power and corruption,” he said in a press release.

During the forum, Mark Christian said Filipino and Panitikan, which were ordered to be excluded from college core subjects should be made mandatory in schools instead of ROTC to inculcate the spirit of nationalism among students.

“Maraming pong alternatibong pamamaraan ang pwedeng ilatag ng gobyerno  para magbigay kaalaman at itanim sa mga puso’t isipan ng mga kabataan yung diwa ng nasyonalismo,” he said in a forum.

“Una, magkaroon ng konkreto at magandang curriculum,” he added. —LDF, GMA News