PDEA: Cases of minors used in drug-related activities rose from 2006 to 2016

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(File photo) A lawmaker warns parents to be mindful of their children after a report from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said almost a thousand minors were used in drug related cases from 2006 to 2016.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Almost a thousand minors were used in drug-related cases from 2006 to 2016, according to a report  of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) during the Congressional briefing by the House Committee on Illegal Drugs on Wednesday.

PDEA Chief Isidro Lapeña told the House Committee that  a total of 982 minors were arrested for involvement in illegal drugs from January 2006 to August 2016. He also said from 2006 to 2009 only one incident involving a minor connected to illegal drugs was recorded each year.

Eighteen incidences were recorded in 2011, 51 in 2013, 157 in 2014, and 278 in 2015, and 464 so far this year. In 2010, however, seven incidences were posted.

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Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, Chairman of the House Committee on Illegal Drugs, warned parents to watch out and prevent their children from being used as couriers and sellers by drug pushers.

The solon from Surigao del Norte learned that during sale or procurement of shabu street pushers and users tag along minors and give them some loose change in exchange for carrying the drugs.

He said, "We could only surmise that drug traffickers and users use these minors to sell, procure or distribute drugs because the police have no powers to arrest, detain and prosecute them because of Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006."

Under Section 6 of RA 9344, (Minimum age of Criminal Responsibility) "a child 15 years of age or under at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal liability. However, the child shall be subjected to an intervention program pursuant to Section 20 of this Act.

The same law states that "A child above fifteen (15) years but below eighteen (18) years of age shall likewise be exempt from criminal liability and be subjected to an intervention program, unless he/she has acted with discernment, in which case, such child shall be subjected to the appropriate proceedings in accordance with this Act."

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