With a lot of bills being signed into law, there are some that would greatly help the country benefit. Last August 8, 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act (R.A.) 11362 also more commonly known as the Community Service Act.
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What is the Community Service Act?
In other countries, minor offenses are straightened out and settled by the offender by doing community service. In R.A. 11362, it says there that in their own discretion, the court may require community service in place of imprisonment.
This includes imprisonment with a range from one (1) to thirty (30) days or a whole month (arresto menor); in addition to that, it also entails imprisonment from one (1) to six (6) months (arresto mayor).
Community service, as it is defined by law, is known to be “any actual physical activity which inculcates civic consciousness, and is intended towards the improvement of a public work or promotion of a public service.”
In addition to that, the law also states that should any defendant violate any terms of the community service, it is going to be under the court’s discretion and orders for his or her rearrest. Moreover, it was stated that the defendant shall serve the full penalty term; in jail; or in the defendant’s house.
If the defendant violates the terms of the community service, the court shall order his or her rearrest and the defendant shall serve the full term of the penalty, as the case may be, in jail, or in the house of the defendant.”
What if the defendant complies with the community service’s terms and rules and regulations?
In the law, it also states the possibility of a defendant complying to the terms and conditions of the community service. Should this be the case the defendant will be receiving a release order from the court unless detained for another particular offense.
The main goal of the new law is, of course, to help those who are in dire need of guidance; not to have a ton of community service workers.
What are the terms of the Community Service Act?
As of this moment, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), together with the Department of Justice (DOJ), is on the move to issue the rules and regulations to make effective the provisions of the Act.
More so, it is going to be effective within ninety days (90) from when it becomes effective.
What are minor offenses?
If you frequent public roads and streets, then you should be aware of what minor offenses are.
Menardo Guevarra, DOJ Secretary said that minor offenses can include: malicious mischief, intentional breakage of the goods of others, causing alarm and scandal, and causing riot in a religious activity.
Where would the community service take place?
As per the law, the community service will be done in the locations where the crime/s were committed. Furthermore, the court is also the one to determine how long the community service will be; as per them, the gravity and severity of the crime will be the distinction.
The Court should also take into consideration whether an offender is to repeat his or her offenses; offenders would be required to undergo rehabilitative counseling which will be led by a Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Officer.
One of the primary goals of the Community Service Act is to decongest jails as there are cases where offenders are kept there for a minor offense.
In addition to that, the Community Service Act also looks to promote restorative justice and to help rehabilitate offenders because they might just have made a mistake.
What do you think about this newly-signed law? Do you deem that the Community Service Act will give aid to all the problems that the Philippine government is trying to address? Or would this law just be another law that most Filipinos won’t recognize?