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Camiguin authorities reminded of laws protecting minors involved in crime

MAMBAJAO, Camiguin (PIA) -- Law enforcement agencies in the province of Camiguin were reminded to be aware that there are existing laws that protect minors involved in criminal incidents. 

This came after a spate of phone theft incidents involving teenagers hogged local headlines in Mambajao in recent days, prompting authorities to clarify to the public why minor offenders should not be treated like ordinary crime suspects. 

“In recent weeks, naa ta'y mga kawat sa cellphone, luckily, naa ta'y mga na-recover nga cellphone, and then naa ta'y upat kabuok nga na-claim na nila, ang atong mga suspek ani kay children in conflict with the Law (CICL) o mga bata pa gyud sila, mga edad 16, 15 ug 17 [In recent weeks, we've seen instances of cellphone theft. Fortunately, we've managed to recover some of the stolen phones, and four individuals have claimed their belongings. The suspects in these cases are children in conflict with the law (CICL), young individuals aged 16, 15, and 17],” said Lt. Benjamin Bacolcol, deputy chief of Mambajao.

He emphasized how critical it is to address the underlying reasons behind theft incidents, especially those that involve minors.

Deputy Provincial Prosecutor Lester Labiano emphasized that under Republic Act 9344, or the act establishing a comprehensive juvenile justice and welfare system, minors are exempted from criminal liability. 

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) can be contacted to conduct intervention programs for legal measures in place to address juvenile involvement in criminal activities, he continued. Children can also file cases, go through resolution procedures, and be directed to the DSWD for proper use of their exemption.

“Subo kayo pamalundumon na nakadungog ko nga naa diay ta’y mga bata nga nalambigit sa pagsubok sa balaod [I am sad that we have children involved in breaking the law],” Labiano said, expressing his sentiments about the incident.

Preventive methods were also cited to encourage community members to take action and protect themselves and their belongings, such as keeping an eye on public spaces, especially during high-risk periods, installing proper lighting in common areas, streets, and entry points to deter potential thieves, reporting any suspicious activities promptly to law enforcement, and exploring technology solutions such as smart home security systems to enhance security measures.

The unfortunate involvement of children in criminal activities is a reminder of the importance of preventive measures, including community vigilance, proper lighting, and technology solutions. Together, these efforts aim to create a safer environment while addressing the root causes of juvenile involvement in theft cases. (PACR/PIA-10)

Deputy Chief of Police PLt. Benjamin Bacolcol (left) and Provincial Prosecutor-Fiscal Lester Labiano (right) engaged in a discussion at the Alerto radio program on January 16, 2024, to address theft incidents and clarify laws and interventions, with a focus on cases involving children in Mambajao. (Photo courtesy of FM Radio Camiguin)

About the Author

Recthie Paculba

Regional Editor

Region 10

Camiguin Information Center Manager 

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