REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7610
As amended by R.A. 7658 and 9231
AN ACT PROVIDING FOR STRONGER DETERRENCE AND SPECIAL PROTECTION AGAINST CHILD ABUSE, EXPLOITATION AND DISCRIMINATION, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:
Section 1. Title. – This Act shall be known as the “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.”
Sec. 2. Declaration of State Policy and Principles. – It is hereby declared to be the policy of the State to provide special protection to children from all forms of abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation and discrimination, and other conditions prejudicial to their development including child labor and its worst forms; provide sanctions for their commission and carry out a program for prevention and deterrence of and crisis intervention in situations of child abuse, exploitation and discrimination. The State shall intervene on behalf of the child when the parent, guardian, teacher or person having care or custody of the child fails or is unable to protect the child against abuse, exploitation and discrimination or when such acts against the child are committed by the said parent, guardian, teacher or person having care and custody of the same.
It shall be the policy of the State to protect and rehabilitate children gravely threatened or endangered by circumstances which affect or will affect their survival and normal development and over which they have no control.
The best interests of children shall be the paramount consideration in all actions concerning them, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities, and legislative bodies, consistent with the principle of First Call for Children as enunciated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Every effort shall be exerted to promote the welfare of children and enhance their opportunities for a useful and happy life. (As amended by R.A. 9231)
Section 3. Definition of Terms. –
(a) “Children” refers to person below eighteen (18) years of age or those over but are unable to fully take care of themselves or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition;
(b) “Child abuse” refers to the maltreatment, whether habitual or not, of the child which includes any of the following:
(1) Psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment;
(2) Any act by deeds or words which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being;
(3) Unreasonable deprivation of his basic needs for survival, such as food and shelter; or
(4) Failure to immediately give medical treatment to an injured child resulting in serious impairment of his growth and development or in his permanent incapacity or death.
(c) “Circumstances which gravely threaten or endanger the survival and normal development of children” include, but are not limited to, the following;
(1) Being in a community where there is armed conflict or being affected by armed conflict-related activities;
(2) Working under conditions hazardous to life, safety and normal which unduly interfere with their normal development;
(3) Living in or fending for themselves in the streets of urban or rural areas without the care of parents or a guardian or basic services needed for a good quality of life;
(4) Being a member of a indigenous cultural community and/or living under conditions of extreme poverty or in an area which is underdeveloped and/or lacks or has inadequate access to basic services needed for a good quality of life;
(5) Being a victim of a man-made or natural disaster or calamity; or
(6) Circumstances analogous to those abovestated which endanger the life, safety or normal development of children.
(d) “Comprehensive program against child abuse, exploitation and discrimination” refers to the coordinated program of services and facilities to protected children against:
(1) Child Prostitution and other sexual abuse;
(2) Child trafficking;
(3) Obscene publications and indecent shows;
(4) Other acts of abuses; and
(5) Circumstances which threaten or endanger the survival and normal development of children.
Section 4. Formulation of the Program. – There shall be a comprehensive program to be formulated, by the Department of Justice and the Department of Social Welfare and Development in coordination with other government agencies and private sector concerned, within one (1) year from the effectivity of this Act, to protect children against child prostitution and other sexual abuse; child trafficking, obscene publications and indecent shows; other acts of abuse; and circumstances which endanger child survival and normal development.
Section 5. Child Prostitution and Other Sexual Abuse. – Children, whether male or female, who for money, profit, or any other consideration or due to the coercion or influence of any adult, syndicate or group, indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct, are deemed to be children exploited in prostitution and other sexual abuse.
The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon the following:
(a) Those who engage in or promote, facilitate or induce child prostitution which include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) Acting as a procurer of a child prostitute;
(2) Inducing a person to be a client of a child prostitute by means of written or oral advertisements or other similar means;
(3) Taking advantage of influence or relationship to procure a child as prostitute;
(4) Threatening or using violence towards a child to engage him as a prostitute; or
(5) Giving monetary consideration goods or other pecuniary benefit to a child with intent to engage such child in prostitution.
(b) Those who commit the act of sexual intercourse of lascivious conduct with a child exploited in prostitution or subject to other sexual abuse; Provided, That when the victims is under twelve (12) years of age, the perpetrators shall be prosecuted under Article 335, paragraph 3, for rape and Article 336 of Act No. 3815, as amended, the Revised Penal Code, for rape or lascivious conduct, as the case may be: Provided, That the penalty for lascivious conduct when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age shall be reclusion temporal in its medium period; and
(c) Those who derive profit or advantage therefrom, whether as manager or owner of the establishment where the prostitution takes place, or of the sauna, disco, bar, resort, place of entertainment or establishment serving as a cover or which engages in prostitution in addition to the activity for which the license has been issued to said establishment.
Section 6. Attempt To Commit Child Prostitution. – There is an attempt to commit child prostitution under Section 5, paragraph (a) hereof when any person who, not being a relative of a child, is found alone with the said child inside the room or cubicle of a house, an inn, hotel, motel, pension house, apartelle or other similar establishments, vessel, vehicle or any other hidden or secluded area under circumstances which would lead a reasonable person to believe that the child is about to be exploited in prostitution and other sexual abuse.
There is also an attempt to commit child prostitution, under paragraph (b) of Section 5 hereof when any person is receiving services from a child in a sauna parlor or bath, massage clinic, health club and other similar establishments. A penalty lower by two (2) degrees than that prescribed for the consummated felony under Section 5 hereof shall be imposed upon the principals of the attempt to commit the crime of child prostitution under this Act, or, in the proper case, under the Revised Penal Code.
Section 7. Child Trafficking. – Any person who shall engage in trading and dealing with children including, but not limited to, the act of buying and selling of a child for money, or for any other consideration, or barter, shall suffer the penalty of reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua. The penalty shall be imposed in its maximum period when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age.
Section 8. Attempt to Commit Child Trafficking. – There is an attempt to commit child trafficking under Section 7 of this Act:1awphi1@alf
(a) When a child travels alone to a foreign country without valid reason therefor and without clearance issued by the Department of Social Welfare and Development or written permit or justification from the child’s parents or legal guardian;
(c) When a person, agency, establishment or child-caring institution recruits women or couples to bear children for the purpose of child trafficking; or
(d) When a doctor, hospital or clinic official or employee, nurse, midwife, local civil registrar or any other person simulates birth for the purpose of child trafficking; or
(e) When a person engages in the act of finding children among low-income families, hospitals, clinics, nurseries, day-care centers, or other child-during institutions who can be offered for the purpose of child trafficking.
A penalty lower two (2) degrees than that prescribed for the consummated felony under Section 7 hereof shall be imposed upon the principals of the attempt to commit child trafficking under this Act.
Section 9. Obscene Publications and Indecent Shows. – Any person who shall hire, employ, use, persuade, induce or coerce a child to perform in obscene exhibitions and indecent shows, whether live or in video, or model in obscene publications or pornographic materials or to sell or distribute the said materials shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its medium period.
If the child used as a performer, subject or seller/distributor is below twelve (12) years of age, the penalty shall be imposed in its maximum period.
Any ascendant, guardian, or person entrusted in any capacity with the care of a child who shall cause and/or allow such child to be employed or to participate in an obscene play, scene, act, movie or show or in any other acts covered by this section shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its medium period.
Section 10. Other Acts of Neglect, Abuse, Cruelty or Exploitation and Other Conditions Prejudicial to the Child’s Development. –
(a) Any person who shall commit any other acts of child abuse, cruelty or exploitation or to be responsible for other conditions prejudicial to the child’s development including those covered by Article 59 of Presidential Decree No. 603, as amended, but not covered by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period.
(b) Any person who shall keep or have in his company a minor, twelve (12) years or under or who in ten (10) years or more his junior in any public or private place, hotel, motel, beer joint, discotheque, cabaret, pension house, sauna or massage parlor, beach and/or other tourist resort or similar places shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period and a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000): Provided, That this provision shall not apply to any person who is related within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity or any bond recognized by law, local custom and tradition or acts in the performance of a social, moral or legal duty.
(c) Any person who shall induce, deliver or offer a minor to any one prohibited by this Act to keep or have in his company a minor as provided in the preceding paragraph shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its medium period and a fine of not less than Forty thousand pesos (P40,000); Provided, however, That should the perpetrator be an ascendant, stepparent or guardian of the minor, the penalty to be imposed shall be prision mayor in its maximum period, a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000), and the loss of parental authority over the minor.
(d) Any person, owner, manager or one entrusted with the operation of any public or private place of accommodation, whether for occupancy, food, drink or otherwise, including residential places, who allows any person to take along with him to such place or places any minor herein described shall be imposed a penalty of prision mayor in its medium period and a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000), and the loss of the license to operate such a place or establishment.
(e) Any person who shall use, coerce, force or intimidate a street child or any other child to;
(1) Beg or use begging as a means of living;
(2) Act as conduit or middlemen in drug trafficking or pushing; or
(3) Conduct any illegal activities, shall suffer the penalty of prision correccional in its medium period to reclusion perpetua.
For purposes of this Act, the penalty for the commission of acts punishable under Articles 248, 249, 262, paragraph 2, and 263, paragraph 1 of Act No. 3815, as amended, the Revised Penal Code, for the crimes of murder, homicide, other intentional mutilation, and serious physical injuries, respectively, shall be reclusion perpetua when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age. The penalty for the commission of acts punishable under Article 337, 339, 340 and 341 of Act No. 3815, as amended, the Revised Penal Code, for the crimes of qualified seduction, acts of lasciviousness with the consent of the offended party, corruption of minors, and white slave trade, respectively, shall be one (1) degree higher than that imposed by law when the victim is under twelve (12) years age.
The victim of the acts committed under this section shall be entrusted to the care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Section 11. Sanctions of Establishments or Enterprises which Promote, Facilitate, or Conduct Activities Constituting Child Prostitution and Other Sexual Abuse, Child Trafficking, Obscene Publications and Indecent Shows, and Other Acts of Abuse. – All establishments and enterprises which promote or facilitate child prostitution and other sexual abuse, child trafficking, obscene publications and indecent shows, and other acts of abuse shall be immediately closed and their authority or license to operate cancelled, without prejudice to the owner or manager thereof being prosecuted under this Act and/or the Revised Penal Code, as amended, or special laws. A sign with the words “off limits” shall be conspicuously displayed outside the establishments or enterprises by the Department of Social Welfare and Development for such period which shall not be less than one (1) year, as the Department may determine. The unauthorized removal of such sign shall be punishable by prision correccional.
An establishment shall be deemed to promote or facilitate child prostitution and other sexual abuse, child trafficking, obscene publications and indecent shows, and other acts of abuse if the acts constituting the same occur in the premises of said establishment under this Act or in violation of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. An enterprise such as a sauna, travel agency, or recruitment agency which: promotes the aforementioned acts as part of a tour for foreign tourists; exhibits children in a lewd or indecent show; provides child masseurs for adults of the same or opposite sex and said services include any lascivious conduct with the customers; or solicits children or activities constituting the aforementioned acts shall be deemed to have committed the acts penalized herein.
Sec. 12. Employment of Children – Children below fifteen (15) years of age shall not be employed except:
1) When a child works directly under the sole responsibility of his/her parents or legal guardian and where only members of his/her family are employed: Provided, however, That his/her employment neither endangers his/her life, safety, health, and morals, nor impairs his/her normal development: Provided, further, That the parent or legal guardian shall provide the said child with the prescribed primary and/or secondary education; or
2) Where a child’s employment or participation in public entertainment or information through cinema, theater, radio, television or other forms of media is essential: Provided, That the employment contract is concluded by the child’s parents or legal guardian, with the express agreement of the child concerned, if possible, and the approval of the Department of Labor and Employment: Provided, further, That the following requirements in all instances are strictly complied with:
(a) The employer shall ensure the protection, health, safety, morals and normal development of the child;
(b) The employer shall institute measures to prevent the child’s exploitation or discrimination taking into account the system and level of remuneration, and the duration and arrangement of working time; and
(c) The employer shall formulate and implement, subject to the approval and supervision of competent authorities, a continuing program for training and skills acquisition of the child.
In the above-exceptional cases where any such child may be employed, the employer shall first secure, before engaging such child, a work permit from the Department of Labor and Employment which shall ensure observance of the above requirements.
For purposes of this Article, the term “child” shall apply to all persons under eighteen (18) years of age. (As amended by R.A. 9231)
Sec. 12-A. Hours of Work of a Working Child. – Under the exceptions provided in Section 12 of this Act, as amended:
(1) A child below fifteen (15) years of age may be allowed to work for not more than twenty (20) hours a week: Provided, That the work shall not be more than four (4) hours at any given day;
(2) A child fifteen (15) years of age but below eighteen (18) shall not be allowed to work for more than eight (8) hours a day, and in no case beyond forty (40) hours a week;
(3) No child below fifteen (15) years of age shall be allowed to work between eight o’clock in the evening and six o’clock in the morning of the following day and no child fifteen (15) years of age but below eighteen (18) shall be allowed to work between ten o’clock in the evening and six o’clock in the morning of the following day. (As amended by R.A. 9231)
Sec. 12-B. Ownership, Usage and Administration of the Working Child’s Income. – The wages, salaries, earnings and other income of the working child shall belong to him/her in ownership and shall be set aside primarily for his/her support, education or skills acquisition and secondarily to the collective needs of the family: Provided, That not more than twenty percent (20%) of the child’s income may be used for the collective needs of the family.
The income of the working child and/or the property acquired through the work of the child shall be administered by both parents. In the absence or incapacity of either of the parents, the other parent shall administer the same. In case both parents are absent or incapacitated, the order of preference on parental authority as provided for under the Family Code shall apply. (As amended by R.A. 9231)
Sec. 12-C. Trust Fund to Preserve Part of the Working Child’s Income. – The parent or legal guardian of a working child below eighteen (18) years of age shall set up a trust fund for at least thirty percent (30%) of the earnings of the child whose wages and salaries from work and other income amount to at least two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) annually, for which he/she shall render a semi-annual accounting of the fund to the Department of Labor and Employment, in compliance with the provisions of this Act. The child shall have full control over the trust fund upon reaching the age of majority. (As amended by R.A. 9231)
Sec. 12-D. Prohibition Against Worst Forms of Child Labor. – No child shall be engaged in the worst forms of child labor. The phrase “worst forms of child labor” shall refer to any of the following:
(1) All forms of slavery, as defined under the “Anti-trafficking in Persons Act of 2003”, or practices similar to slavery such as sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labor, including recruitment of children for use in armed conflict; or
(2) The use, procuring, offering or exposing of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances; or
(3) The use, procuring or offering of a child for illegal or illicit activities, including the production and trafficking of dangerous drugs and volatile substances prohibited under existing laws; or
(4) Work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is hazardous or likely to be harmful to the health, safety or morals of children, such that it:
a) Debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being; or
b) Exposes the child to physical, emotional or sexual abuse, or is found to be highly stressful psychologically or may prejudice morals; or
c) Is performed underground, underwater or at dangerous heights; or
d) Involves the use of dangerous machinery, equipment and tools such as power-driven or explosive power-actuated tools; or
e) Exposes the child to physical danger such as, but not limited to the dangerous feats of balancing, physical strength or contortion, or which requires the manual transport of heavy loads; or
“f) Is performed in an unhealthy environment exposing the child to hazardous working conditions, elements, substances, co-agents or processes involving ionizing, radiation, fire, flammable substances, noxious components and the like, or to extreme temperatures, noise levels, or vibrations; or
g) Is performed under particularly difficult conditions; or
h) Exposes the child to biological agents such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoans, nematodes and other parasites; or
i) Involves the manufacture or handling of explosives and other pyrotechnic products. (As amended by R.A. 9231)
Sec. 13. Access to Education and Training for Working Children – a) No child shall be deprived of formal or non-formal education. In all cases of employment allowed in this Act, the employer shall provide a working child with access to at least primary and secondary education.
b) To ensure and guarantee the access of the working child to education and training, the Department of Education (DEPED) shall: (1) formulate, promulgate, and implement relevant and effective course designs and educational programs; (2) conduct the necessary training for the implementation of the appropriate curriculum for the purpose; (3) ensure the availability of the needed educational facilities and materials; and (4) conduct continuing research and development program for the necessary and relevant alternative education of the working child.
c) The DEPED shall promulgate a course design under its non-formal education program aimed at promoting the intellectual, moral and vocational efficiency of working children who have not undergone or finished elementary or secondary education. Such course design shall integrate the learning process deemed most effective under given circumstances. (As amended by R.A. 9231)
Sec. 14. Prohibition on the Employment of Children in Certain Advertisements. – No child shall be employed as a model in any advertisement directly or indirectly promoting alcoholic beverages, intoxicating drinks, tobacco and its byproducts, gambling or any form of violence or pornography. (As amended by R.A. 9231)
Section 15. Duty of Employer. – Every employer shall comply with the duties provided for in Articles 108 and 109 of Presidential Decree No. 603.
Sec. 16. Penal Provisions –
a) Any employer who violates Sections 12, 12-A, and Section 14 of this act, as amended, shall be penalized by imprisonment of six (6) months and one (1) day to six (6) years or a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) but not more than Three hundred thousand pesos (P300,000.00) or both at the discretion of the court.
b) Any person who violates the provision of Section 12-D of this act or the employer of the subcontractor who employs, or the one who facilitates the employment of a child in hazardous work, shall suffer the penalty of a fine of not less than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (P1,000,000.00), or imprisonment of not less than twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years, or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court.
c) Any person who violates Sections 12-D(1) and 12-D(2) shall be prosecuted and penalized in accordance with the penalty provided for by R. A. 9208 otherwise known as the “Anti-trafficking in Persons Act of 2003”: Provided, That Such penalty shall be imposed in its maximum period.
d) Any person who violates Section 12-D (3) shall be prosecuted and penalized in accordance with R.A. 9165, otherwise known as the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002”; Provided, That such penalty shall be imposed in its maximum period.
e) If a corporation commits any of the violations aforecited, the board of directors/trustees and officers, which include the president, treasurer and secretary of the said corporation who participated in or knowingly allowed the violation, shall be penalized accordingly as provided for under this Section.
f) Parents, biological or by legal fiction, and legal guardians found to be violating Sections 12, 12-A, 12-B and 12-C of this Act shall pay a fine of not less than Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) but not more than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00), or be required to render community service for not less than thirty (30) days but not more than one (1) year, or both such fine and community service at the discretion of the court: Provided, That the maximum length of community service shall be imposed on parents or legal guardians who have violated the provisions of this Act three (3) times; Provided, further, That in addition to the community service, the penalty of imprisonment of thirty (30) days but not more than one (1) year or both at the discretion of the court, shall be imposed on the parents or legal guardians who have violated the provisions of this Act more than three (3) times.
g) The Secretary, of Labor and Employment or his/her duly authorized representative may, after due notice and hearing, order the closure of any business firm or establishment found to have violated any of the provisions of this Act more than three (3) times. He/she shall likewise order the immediate closure of such firm or establishment if:
(1) The violation of any provision of this Act has resulted in the death, insanity or serious physical injury of a child employed in such establishment; or
(2) Such firm or establishment is engaged or employed in prostitution or in obscene or lewd shows.
h) In case of such closure, the employer shall be required to pay the employee(s) the separation pay and other monetary benefits provided for by law. (As amended by R.A. 9231)
Sec. 16-A. Trust Fund from Fines and Penalties – The fine imposed by the court shall be treated as a Trust Fund, administered by the Department of Labor and Employment and disbursed exclusively for the needs, including the costs of rehabilitation and reintegration into the mainstream of society of the working children who are victims of the violations of this Act, and for the programs and projects that will prevent acts of child labor. (As amended by R.A. 9231)
Sec. 16-A. Jurisdiction – The family courts shall have original jurisdiction over all cases involving offenses punishable under this Act: Provided, That in cities or provinces where there are no family courts yet, the regional trial courts and the municipal trial courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction depending on the penalties prescribed for the offense charged.
The preliminary investigation of cases filed under this Act shall be terminated within a period of thirty (30) days from the date of filing.
If the preliminary investigation establishes a prima facie case, then the corresponding information shall be filed in court within forty eight (48) hours from the termination of the investigation.
Trial of cases under this Act shall be terminated by the court not later than ninety (90) days from the date of filing of information. Decision on said cases shall be rendered within a period of fifteen (15) days from the date of submission of the case. (As amended by R.A. 9231)
Sec. 15. Exemptions from Filing Fees. – When the victim of child labor institutes a separate civil action for the recovery of civil damages, he/she shall be exempt from payment of filing fees. (As amended by R.A. 9231)
Sec. 16-C. Access to Immediate Legal, Medical and Psycho-Social Services – The working child shall have the right to free legal, medical and psycho-social services to be provided by the State. (As amended by R.A. 9231)
Section 17. Survival, Protection and Development. – In addition to the rights guaranteed to children under this Act and other existing laws, children of indigenous cultural communities shall be entitled to protection, survival and development consistent with the customs and traditions of their respective communities.
Section 18. System of and Access to Education. – The Department of Education, Culture and Sports shall develop and institute an alternative system of education for children of indigenous cultural communities which culture-specific and relevant to the needs of and the existing situation in their communities. The Department of Education, Culture and Sports shall also accredit and support non-formal but functional indigenous educational programs conducted by non-government organizations in said communities.
Section 19. Health and Nutrition. – The delivery of basic social services in health and nutrition to children of indigenous cultural communities shall be given priority by all government agencies concerned. Hospitals and other health institution shall ensure that children of indigenous cultural communities are given equal attention. In the provision of health and nutrition services to children of indigenous cultural communities, indigenous health practices shall be respected and recognized.
Section 20. Discrimination. – Children of indigenous cultural communities shall not be subjected to any and all forms of discrimination.
Any person who discriminate against children of indigenous cultural communities shall suffer a penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period and a fine of not less than Five thousand pesos (P5,000) more than Ten thousand pesos (P10,000).
Section 21. Participation. – Indigenous cultural communities, through their duly-designated or appointed representatives shall be involved in planning, decision-making implementation, and evaluation of all government programs affecting children of indigenous cultural communities. Indigenous institution shall also be recognized and respected.
Section 22. Children as Zones of Peace. – Children are hereby declared as Zones of Peace. It shall be the responsibility of the State and all other sectors concerned to resolve armed conflicts in order to promote the goal of children as zones of peace. To attain this objective, the following policies shall be observed.
(a) Children shall not be the object of attack and shall be entitled to special respect. They shall be protected from any form of threat, assault, torture or other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment;
(b) Children shall not be recruited to become members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines of its civilian units or other armed groups, nor be allowed to take part in the fighting, or used as guides, couriers, or spies;
(c) Delivery of basic social services such as education, primary health and emergency relief services shall be kept unhampered;
(d) The safety and protection of those who provide services including those involved in fact-finding missions from both government and non-government institutions shall be ensured. They shall not be subjected to undue harassment in the performance of their work;
(e) Public infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and rural health units shall not be utilized for military purposes such as command posts, barracks, detachments, and supply depots; and
(f) All appropriate steps shall be taken to facilitate the reunion of families temporarily separated due to armed conflict.
Section 23. Evacuation of Children During Armed Conflict. – Children shall be given priority during evacuation as a result of armed conflict. Existing community organizations shall be tapped to look after the safety and well-being of children during evacuation operations. Measures shall be taken to ensure that children evacuated are accompanied by persons responsible for their safety and well-being.
Section 24. Family Life and Temporary Shelter. – Whenever possible, members of the same family shall be housed in the same premises and given separate accommodation from other evacuees and provided with facilities to lead a normal family life. In places of temporary shelter, expectant and nursing mothers and children shall be given additional food in proportion to their physiological needs. Whenever feasible, children shall be given opportunities for physical exercise, sports and outdoor games.
Section 25. Rights of Children Arrested for Reasons Related to Armed Conflict. – Any child who has been arrested for reasons related to armed conflict, either as combatant, courier, guide or spy is entitled to the following rights;
(a) Separate detention from adults except where families are accommodated as family units;
(b) Immediate free legal assistance;
(c) Immediate notice of such arrest to the parents or guardians of the child; and
(d) Release of the child on recognizance within twenty-four (24) hours to the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development or any responsible member of the community as determined by the court.
If after hearing the evidence in the proper proceedings the court should find that the aforesaid child committed the acts charged against him, the court shall determine the imposable penalty, including any civil liability chargeable against him. However, instead of pronouncing judgment of conviction, the court shall suspend all further proceedings and shall commit such child to the custody or care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development or to any training institution operated by the Government, or duly-licensed agencies or any other responsible person, until he has had reached eighteen (18) years of age or, for a shorter period as the court may deem proper, after considering the reports and recommendations of the Department of Social Welfare and Development or the agency or responsible individual under whose care he has been committed.
The aforesaid child shall subject to visitation and supervision by a representative of the Department of Social Welfare and Development or any duly-licensed agency or such other officer as the court may designate subject to such conditions as it may prescribe.
The aforesaid child whose sentence is suspended can appeal from the order of the court in the same manner as appeals in criminal cases.
Section 26. Monitoring and Reporting of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict. – The chairman of the barangay affected by the armed conflict shall submit the names of children residing in said barangay to the municipal social welfare and development officer within twenty-four (24) hours from the occurrence of the armed conflict.
Sec. 27. Who May File a Complaint – Complaints on cases of unlawful acts committed against children as enumerated herein may be filed by the following:
(a) Offended party;
(b) Parents or guardians;
(c) Ascendant or collateral relative within the third degree of consanguinity;
(d) Officer, social worker or representative of a licensed child-caring institution;
(e) Officer or social worker of the Department of Social Welfare and Development;
(f) Barangay chairman of the place where the violation occurred, where the child is residing or employed; or
(g) At least three (3) concerned, responsible citizens where the violation occurred. (As amended by R.A. 9231)
Section 28. Protective Custody of the Child. – The offended party shall be immediately placed under the protective custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development pursuant to Executive Order No. 56, series of 1986. In the regular performance of this function, the officer of the Department of Social Welfare and Development shall be free from any administrative, civil or criminal liability. Custody proceedings shall be in accordance with the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 603.
Section 29. Confidentiality. – At the instance of the offended party, his name may be withheld from the public until the court acquires jurisdiction over the case.
It shall be unlawful for any editor, publisher, and reporter or columnist in case of printed materials, announcer or producer in case of television and radio broadcasting, producer and director of the film in case of the movie industry, to cause undue and sensationalized publicity of any case of violation of this Act which results in the moral degradation and suffering of the offended party.Lawphi1@alf
Section 30. Special Court Proceedings. – Cases involving violations of this Act shall be heard in the chambers of the judge of the Regional Trial Court duly designated as Juvenile and Domestic Court.
Any provision of existing law to the contrary notwithstanding and with the exception of habeas corpus, election cases, and cases involving detention prisoners and persons covered by Republic Act No. 4908, all courts shall give preference to the hearing or disposition of cases involving violations of this Act.
Section 31. Common Penal Provisions. –
(a) The penalty provided under this Act shall be imposed in its maximum period if the offender has been previously convicted under this Act;
(b) When the offender is a corporation, partnership or association, the officer or employee thereof who is responsible for the violation of this Act shall suffer the penalty imposed in its maximum period;
(c) The penalty provided herein shall be imposed in its maximum period when the perpetrator is an ascendant, parent guardian, stepparent or collateral relative within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity, or a manager or owner of an establishment which has no license to operate or its license has expired or has been revoked;
(d) When the offender is a foreigner, he shall be deported immediately after service of sentence and forever barred from entry to the country;
(e) The penalty provided for in this Act shall be imposed in its maximum period if the offender is a public officer or employee: Provided, however, That if the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or reclusion temporal, then the penalty of perpetual or temporary absolute disqualification shall also be imposed: Provided, finally, That if the penalty imposed is prision correccional or arresto mayor, the penalty of suspension shall also be imposed; and
(f) A fine to be determined by the court shall be imposed and administered as a cash fund by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and disbursed for the rehabilitation of each child victim, or any immediate member of his family if the latter is the perpetrator of the offense.
Section 32. Rules and Regulations. – Unless otherwise provided in this Act, the Department of Justice, in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, shall promulgate rules and regulations of the effective implementation of this Act.
Such rules and regulations shall take effect upon their publication in two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.
Section 33. Appropriations. – The amount necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act is hereby authorized to be appropriated in the General Appropriations Act of the year following its enactment into law and thereafter.
Section 34. Separability Clause. – If any provision of this Act is declared invalid or unconstitutional, the remaining provisions not affected thereby shall continue in full force and effect.
Section 35. Repealing Clause. – All laws, decrees, or rules inconsistent with the provisions of this Acts are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
Section 36. Effectivity Clause. – This Act shall take effect upon completion of its publication in at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.
Approved: June 17, 1992