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The State of Juvenile

Delinquency in the Philippines

and the Urgent Need for
Legal Reforms

Allan Jose J. Villarante

API Fellow, The Nippon Foundation
Research Intern, Japan Legal Aid Association

29 November 2002
Kokugakuin University
Tokyo, Japan
  The Philippine government has apparently
undermined the severity of juvenile
delinquency problem in society.
  This neglect has contributed to the upsurge
of juvenile-related crimes that has caused
enormous questions on the socio-political,
economic as well as security programs of the
Definition of a Child

  Every country defines the concept “child” or “juvenile” in various


  In the Philippines, a child or minor or juvenile or youth is any

person below 21 years of age except those emancipated in
accordance with law.

  However, a juvenile or youthful offender refers to one who is over

9 years of age but under 21 years of age at the time of the
commission of the offense.

  A 9 year old child or under who commits a crime is exempted from

any liability.
The Filipino Children: A Situationer

  The Philippines is a nation of children

  Besieged by an infant mortality rate of

42.73 per 1,000 live births

  28% of children under age 5 are either

severely and moderately underweight

  26% of children from 1-6 years old

suffer from iron-deficiency anemia
The Filipino Children: A Situationer

 As of year 2000, 34.7 million children (45.9 % of 75.5 M

Filipinos) are under 18 years of age



No. of Population Basic Services

113,040 people one (1) hospital
24,417 people one (1) doctor
22,309 people one (1) nurse
578,124 people one (1) dentist
722,654 people one (1) midwife
The Filipino Children: A Situationer

  Approximately 1.5 million street-children

all over the country with an average annual
estimated increase of 6,365

 Around 60,000 children are prostituted

with an annual average increase of 3,266,
making the Philippines the fourth in the list
of countries with the most number of
prostituted children

 1out of 3 Filipino children experience

State of Juvenile Delinquency

Table 2. Detained Persons Per Month for the Crime of Vagrancy

Sector No. of Persons Percentage

Detained (%)

Men 220 10
Women 630 28.63
Street-children and
poor and homeless kids 1,350 61.36

TOTAL 2,200 100.00

State of Juvenile Delinquency



Table 4. Extent of Drug Abuse Among Juveniles

Regular Users - 1,800,000

Occasional Users- 1,600,000

TOTAL 3,400,000

Source: UNICEF-Philippines
State of Juvenile Delinquency


Table 5. Sex-related Crimes Committed by Juveniles

(Age Range from 12-21 years old)

Sex-related Ave. No. of Ave. No. of Reported Percentage

Crimes Reported Cases Cases Involving (%)
Monthly Juveniles Monthly

attempted rape, 1,850 380 20.54
act of
molestation, etc.}
State of Juvenile Delinquency


Table 6. Philippine National Police Statistics 2000

on Common Crimes Committed by Juveniles

Murder and Homicide 118 2.5%

Physical Injuries
(normally caused by fights) 388 8.0%
Rape and Acts of Lasciviousness 583 12.0%
Robbery and Theft
(property-related) 2, 544 52.5%
Drug related 673 13.9%
Other Crimes 539 11.0%
Causes of Juvenile Delinquency

  Extreme poverty

  Lack of opportunity to attend school

  Family instability, disorganization and


  Substance abuse

  Media influence and role-modeling

Filipino children who reach the age of 9 years old could be as good - or as bad - as an
adult under the existing system of treating juvenile offenders, where many of them are
charged and tried as grown-ups. Today, as many as 30,000 children may be growing
into adulthood in various city, municipal and provincial jails.
Problems with Juvenile Justice

  Prevalence of procedural loopholes

  Negligence and insensitivity
  Lower age of criminal responsibility
  Absence of a proper court of jurisdiction
  Social stigma and problems of reintegration
  Poor and congested jail and juvenile detention facilities
  Absence of lawyer/counsel
Functions of the Legislative Research Staff
Salient Points of the Proposed
Juvenile Justice System Bill
Salient Points of the Proposed
Juvenile Justice System Bill
Salient Points of the Proposed
Juvenile Justice System Bill
Salient Points of the Proposed
Juvenile Justice System Bill