Priest blames poverty for soaring young offenders

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MANILA, Nov. 19, 2012— The increasing number of young offenders has been attributed to the inability of government to provide for the citizens.

A youth ministry official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said that the rising wave of crime involving the youth is manifestation of grinding poverty.

Aside from poverty, unemployment and even family breakdown are pushing young people beyond the fringes of society.

“I believe that among the main factors here are poverty and illegal drugs,” said Fr. Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Youth.

“Poverty is still a very common cause (of crimes) in the country and second to this is the tension they see in the community,” he said.

Police records showed a continuing increase of children in conflict with the law and have almost tripled in the last four years.

According to the Philippine National Police Women’s and Children Protection Center (WCPC), a significant increase of minor offenders was also recorded in the early years of the Aquino administration.

PNP figures revealed that from 1,825 young offenders in 2007, the number has jumped to 5,318 cases in 2011, or marking a 290 percent increase.

The statistics further showed that there were 2,158 juvenile cases in 2008; 2,735 in 2009 and 4,246 in 2010.

“The figures released by the PNP is very alarming and at the same time very challenging and inviting especially to all the sectors in the community,” Garganta added.

“What is really needed here is for the community, including the government, church, family and all other sectors, to work properly to address all these problems,” he said.

Among the common crimes committed by younger offenders, include theft and robbery, sexual abuse and physical injuries. (RL/CBCPNews)





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