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Jun 4, 2009

(RA 9344)

I. PURPOSE (Sec. 2)

  1. The State recognizes the vital role of children and youth in nation building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.
  2. The State shall protect the best interests of the child through measures that will ensure the observance of international standards of child protection, especially those to which the Philippines is a party. Proceedings before any authority shall be conducted in the best interest of the child and in a manner which allows the child to participate and to express himself/herself freely. The participation of children in the program and policy formulation and implementation related to juvenile justice and welfare shall be ensured by the concerned government agency.
  3. The State likewise recognizes the right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty and exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development.
  4. Pursuant to Article 40 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 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. Whenever appropriate and desirable, the State shall adopt measures for dealing with such children without resorting to judicial proceedings, providing that human rights and legal safeguards are fully respected. It shall ensure that children are dealt with in a manner appropriate to their well-being by providing for, among others, a variety of disposition measures such as care, guidance and supervision orders, counseling, probation, foster care, education and vocational training programs and other alternatives to institutional care.
  5. The administration of the juvenile justice and welfare system shall take into consideration the cultural and religious perspectives of the Filipino people, particularly the indigenous peoples and the Muslims, consistent with the protection of the rights of children belonging to these communities.
  6. The State shall apply the principles of restorative justice in all its laws, policies and programs applicable to children in conflict with the law.


BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD - refers to the totality of the circumstances and conditions which are most congenial to the survival, protection and feelings of security of the child and most encouraging to the child's physical, psychological and emotional development. It also means the least detrimental available alternative for safeguarding the growth and development of the child.

CHILD AT RISK - refers to a child who is vulnerable to and at the risk of committing criminal offenses because of personal, family and social circumstances, such as, but not limited to, the following:

  1. being abused by any person through sexual, physical, psychological, mental, economic or any other means and the parents or guardian refuse, are unwilling, or unable to provide protection for the child;
  2. being exploited including sexually or economically;
  3. being abandoned or neglected, and after diligent search and inquiry, the parent or guardian cannot be found;
  4. coming from a dysfunctional or broken family or without a parent or guardian;
  5. being out of school;
  6. being a streetchild;
  7. being a member of a gang;
  8. living in a community with a high level of criminality or drug abuse; and
  9. living in situations of armed conflict.

CHILD IN CONFLICT WITH THE LAW - refers to a child who is alleged as, accused of, or adjudged as, having committed an offense under Philippine laws.

DIVERSION - refers to an alternative, child-appropriate process of determining the responsibility and treatment of a child in conflict with the law on the basis of his/her social, cultural, economic, psychological or educational background without resorting to formal court proceedings.

DIVERSION PROGRAM - refers to the program that the child in conflict with the law is required to undergo after he/she is found responsible for an offense without resorting to formal court proceedings.

INTERVENTION - refers to a series of activities which are designed to address issues that caused the child to commit an offense. It may take the form of an individualized treatment program which may include counseling, skills training, education, and other activities that will enhance his/her psychological, emotional and psycho-social well-being.

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE - refers to a principle which requires a process of resolving conflicts with the maximum involvement of the victim, the offender and the community. It seeks to obtain reparation for the victim; reconciliation of the offender, the offended and the community; and reassurance to the offender that he/she can be reintegrated into society. It also enhances public safety by activating the offender, the victim and the community in prevention strategies.

STATUS OFFENSES - refers to offenses which discriminate only against a child, while an adult does not suffer any penalty for committing similar acts. These shall include curfew violations; truancy, parental disobedience and the like.


1. ABSOLUTE EXEMPTION: a child 15 years of age or under at the time of the commission of the offense

2. CONDITIONAL EXEMPTION: a child above 15 years but below 18 years of age

3. NON-EXEMPTION: a child above 15 years but below 18 years of age, if shown he or she has acted with discernment

4. CIVIL LIABILITY: exemption from criminal liability does not include civil liability

 Presumption of minority (Sec. 7)


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