MANILA, December 6, 2017–First shown on Nov. 25 in celebration of Children’s Month, the film Rehas, which revolves around the stories of four children in conflict with the law (CICL), aims to show the public the real roots of criminal behavior among minors.
“We [made the film] to let them (the public) know that children might be a victim of circumstances and they need to have a second chance. We must impose restorative justice and give these children a chance to dream again,” said Children World Aid Program Inc. (CWAPI) executive director Marichris Arienda in an interview.
Some one thousand students from Cabagnan High School in Legazpi City, Albay, saw on Nov. 25 the movie Rehas, which tells the stories of Jun-jun, Dominic, Francis, and Christian, who were all accused of crimes ranging from murder to drug dealing.
According to Arienda, factors like poor parenting and supervision, peer pressure, social isolation, family conflict, and poverty are often overlooked as factors that come into play when minors break the law.
“Children need a second chance. Children are not criminals,” she added.
Arienda called instead for the stricter implementation of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 (JJWA), also known as Republic Act 9344, which stresses rehabilitation rather than punitive action for CICLs.
More implementation needed
“…the State recognizes the right of every child alleged as, accused of, adjudged, or recognized as having infringed the penal law to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child’s sense of dignity and worth, taking into account the child’s age and desirability of promoting his/her reintegration,” reads R.A. 9344.
“Our call is to continue our advocacy with the participation of all stakeholders and that includes children, parents, community, school, churches and CSOs to implement JJWA or R.A. 9344 in their respective area,” she said, noting as well the importance of establishing functioning Local Councils for the Protection of the Children down to the barangay level as mandated by law.
Parties interested to organize a screening of the film Rehas in their parish/school/university/barangay, may email firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 09086160784/09953241390. CBCPNews