Duterte’s MACR not about children, but Dictatorship
Legislators aim to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) to below fifteen (15) years old in such a rushed manner, seemingly ignoring all scientific evidence and expert warnings, as if the country is being run down by children rampaging in the streets causing public mayhem and mass pandemonium. Neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate provide evidence that lowering the MACR will substantially contribute to solving criminality or drug trafficking.
But before they were children in conflict with the law (CICL) they were children living in poverty (CLIP), vulnerable to abuse, neglect and exploitation. Many of them have become the President’s “collateral damage” in his anti-drug operations; thousands have witnessed extreme violence, became traumatized orphans bereft of adult supervision and social guidance. They will never trust the government again.
In lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility, our children are sacrificed as an excuse for lousy law enforcement, inept crime prevention and failed development policies. Instead of enacting national protective and rehabilitation mechanisms for poor minors affected by the multiple impact of deepening poverty, organized crime and extrajudicial killings, government wants to punish them for these social maladies.
This is typical of government’s quick-fix, trigger-happy, corruption-bred policies that are solely focused on terrorizing the population in the guise of addressing crime. House Bill 8858 is not about protecting children, but a political deal between House Speaker GMA and President Duterte that must be accomplished before the election period starts.
Lowering the MACR is yet another brick laid in the foundation of Duterte’s authoritarian project. It is railroaded on the people while extrajudicial killings continue to victimize drug suspects, political critics, peace activists and human rights defenders. It is pushed to demonstrate Duterte’s drive for dictatorship. And dictatorship must be established if Duterte’s cronies and allies are to continue to dominate and profit from the country’s political and economic life with impunity.
Thus resisting dictatorship is to resist the lowering of the MACR, and all other proposed “death bills” that Congress enact which have nothing to do with crime prevention, national reconciliation, poverty alleviation, peace and security or social justice.