Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Wednesday the government should shoulder the cost of building and maintaining halfway houses to rehabilitate children since many local government units are unable to finance hem.
Lacson said that while the present Juvenile Justice Act (Republic Act No. 10630) provides funding for “Bahay Pag-asa” or half-way houses, many LGUs lack the resources to operate them.
“There are provinces that may not be able to build, much less maintain, such facilities. Funding for this is no joke. It may run to tens if not hundreds of millions of pesos,” he said.
“It should be the national government that provides the budget for this, instead of the LGU,” he added.
Lacson, chairperson of the Senate Committees on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, said such funding could be taken up in the bicameral conference committee working on the passage of the P3.7-trillion national budget for 2019.
After conducting a public hearing last Tuesday on a Senate bill seeking to reduce the age of criminal liability of minors from 15 to 12-years-old, Sen. Richard J. Gordon, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said he would push for the realignment of P72-billion in “pork barrel” funds to finance the construction of half-way houses. (Mario Casayuran)