Calls for Catriona Gray to speak up against lowering age of criminal responsibility

January 23, 2019 - 1:50 PM
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Prior to her successful Miss Universe bout, Filipino-Australian model Catriona Gray was a volunteer for a non-profit organization advocating for children's welfare. She is seen here in an undated shoot for a music video. (Niko Gonzales via Catriona Gray on Instagram)

At the prestigious pageant she won, she talked about the welfare of children.

Now Catriona Gray is being asked on social media to make a stand against a House bill that aims to lower the age of criminal responsibility from 15 years old to 9 years old.

Concerned Filipinos on Twitter urged Gray, the reigning Miss Universe, to use her voice and influence in opposing the proposed measure on her home country, recalling her advocacy that pushes for child support.

The bill notes that children who commit serious crimes with “discernment” shall be subjected to confinement in youth care facilities.

Discernment was defined as the ability of the child during the committed offense “to understand the differences between right and wrong and the consequences of the wrongful act.”

Various groups and lawmakers have opposed the initiative, saying that it endangers children’s well-being and their rights.

Scientific studies argue that a person does not develop full discernment on his actions and decisions until teenage years, particularly when he is 16 years old.

It added that discernment includes being intellectually, emotionally and psychologically mature enough. However, newer studies indicate that a person does not reach full cognitive maturity until 25 years old.

The Senate, meanwhile, is divided over the issue. Some of them are seeking to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility to just 12 years while others are opposed to any amendments.

Catriona and her pro-children advocacy 

Gray on her opening statement and winning answer at the Miss Universe 2018 advocated for children.

Citing her previous experiences as a volunteer who worked with children in Tondo, Manila, she said that “lack of child support” discourages the youth from fulfilling their dreams.

Catriona Gray in Tondo, Manila
Miss Universe Catriona Gray released her first single with the children of Tondo, Manila. (Instagram/ Catriona Gray)

Gray additionally noted that she would use the platform of Miss Universe to bring awareness to the welfare of children whom she has been working with since 2016.

Prior to joining the prestigious beauty pageant, the 25-year-old was a teacher’s assistant at Young Focus Foundation, a youth-oriented non-profit organization.

She also took the initiative to renovate a three-story building in Smokey Mountain and turn it into a school for children through the “Paraiso: The Bright Beginnings Project.”

The beauty queen believes that children—especially those living in poverty—can be uplifted through education. She previously wrote in her blog:

“The children and younger generations have the potential to be the bearers of light when given means to create opportunities for themselves – mainly through education through which they can eventually complete their studies, find a job and in turn, help support their families.”

Latest reports mention that Gray is in Indonesia to shoot a commercial for a beverage company.