MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law allowing courts to impose community service as the penalty for minor offenses.
The Community Service Act (Republic Act No. 11362), which the President signed on Aug. 8, authorizes courts, upon their discretion, to require community service instead of imprisonment crimes with penalties of arresto menor (one day to 30 days imprisonment) and arresto mayor (one month and one day to six months).
The new law, which aims to promote restorative justice and decongest jails, defines community service as involving “actual physical activity which inculcates civic consciousness and is intended towards the improvement of a public work or promotion of public service.”
The offender will also be required to undergo rehabilitative counseling under the social welfare and development officer of the city or municipality concerned with the assistance of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The privilege of rendering community service can only be availed of once.
If the offender violates the terms of the community service, the court can order his rearrest and he or she will have to serve the full term of the penalty — either in jail or at home — provided under the Revised Penal Code.
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