UNICEF supports additional guide in handling children who violate quarantine rules
The additional guide seeks to ensures the handling of children who violate curfew and quarantine rules is in accordance with the law for juvenile justice
UNICEF Philippines fully supports the implementation of the additional guide in handling children who violate quarantine rules, which was recently signed and released in an advisory by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
The additional guide seeks to ensures the handling of children who violate curfew and quarantine rules is in accordance with the provisions of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act (RA 9344 as amended by RA 10630). It extends to the barangay level the steps that will prevent detention of children, as well as the recommended interventions in lieu of detention, with emphasis on adopting alternatives even for violations not related to the quarantine.
“As we continuously ensure a protective and caring environment for children at all times, we thank the DILG and the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) for championing the additional guidance note that reinforces the best interest of children during this distressing time. We hope that local government units implement this to safeguard our children and give them the physical, emotional, and psychological support they need,” said Patrizia Benvenuti, UNICEF Philippines Chief of Child Protection Section.
Some of the key points of the guidelines include:
- Defining vulnerable children such as children at risk, children in conflict with the law and children in street situations.
- Enumerating the appropriate steps from first contact with the child to turning over the child to guardians, or referral services if necessary.
- During custody of the child, refrain from vulgar language and sexual advances, displaying firearms or other instruments of force or restraint.
- Always preventing violence and unnecessary force and ensuring the child fully understands the situation.
- Suggesting intervening actions for the child such as online counselling or community volunteering.
The additional note was drafted and submitted by CWC, together with the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC), Philippine National Police Women Children and Protection Center (PNP WCPC), Humanitarian Assistance Legal Foundation (HALF), and UNICEF.
In April, a Joint Memorandum Circular of the CWC and DILG was released to ensure that the rights and best interest of children are protected during the implementation of the community quarantine amid the concerns of discrimination, non-equal treatment of individuals, and some cases of arrest and violence in reprimanding the public in instances of violations, specifically among children.