A French family and House Bill 2

By: Jason A. Baguia January 13,2017 - 09:56 PM

It is Fiesta Señor weekend, when Catholics in the Philippines celebrate the truth that the Savior of the world blessed infancy in his own childhood.

In the run-up to the feast day that falls each year on the third Sunday of January, the Lower House conducted an online poll on whether or not the age at which a child may be held liable for crime may be lowered from 15 to nine years old.

I voted “No”. Childhood is sacred, right? A child embodies what love exists between his mother and father and is formed in the womb by the Creator.

But adults are quick to justify passing the buck on raising children well. House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro explained in a note to their proposal, House Bill 2, that the current age of criminal liability spoils “youthful offenders who commit crimes knowing they can get away with it.”

I do not know if such a determination may be made so swiftly. A child would know that a sweeping summary of the contents of another person’s mind takes superhuman powers like those wielded by the fictional Jean Grey or Prof. Charles Xavier.

When the Child of Bethlehem became the Nazarene on Golgotha, He asked for forgiveness for the adults who nailed his hands and feet. He said, “They know not what they are doing.”

The bill’s authors claim that lords and pushers who use children as mules compound the country’s illegal drug woes.

So how about tracking down and jailing those hoodlums who recruit and deploy the young and innocent?

How about keeping children off the streets to shield them from criminal syndicates?

How about assigning police teams to peaceably enforce curfews for kids?

Has obsession with the narcotics war become so total human resources needed to implement such a measure have become scarce?

How about enhancing the dynamics of witness protection to embolden citizens who report child-using crooks to the authorities?

How about disseminating through the state’s media organs the testimonies of persons who transitioned from a childhood of crime to upright adulthood?

Are intervention programs under executive agencies for troubled children such dismal failures that lawmakers have no choice but hale into court boys and girls?

How about designing better strategies to prevent truancy and dropping out of school?

How about devoting resources to organizations like the one behind Efren Peñaflorida’s mobile schools that educate otherwise unschooled children?

How about enacting laws that sincerely enable husband and wife to become healthy and responsible parents?

The pilgrim relics of the parents of Saint Therese of Lisieux, doctor of the Catholic Church, arrived in Cebu City two days ago. Saints Zelie and Louis have good sense of timing.

Their visit coincides with the feast of the Santo Niño, hence the colorful prayer dance to the Christ-child that greeted their relics at the city’s Carmelite Monastery yesterday.

Their presence is a reminder of the heights of being that man formed within a loving home can reach. Saint Therese, their daughter, is a giant in the way of spiritual childhood or “little way,” while her sister Leonia is a candidate for canonization.

May this Fiesta Señor cause a change of heart in our legislative leaders. Through the intercession of Louis and Zelie, who took exemplary care of their children including Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, may lawmakers be touched by this point of light: what links earth to heaven are not children bound in chains but boys and girls who learn from those who deeply care for them how to exercise their freedom in love.

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TAGS: Catholics, childhood, Fiesta Señor, illegal drug, Pantaleon Alvarez, Philippines, Savior, Senyor, Sinulog

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