Beyond the past mistakes and wrong decisions as a child, trust and opportunity served as Edward Mallari, 31 years old and a former child in conflict with the law (CICL), fortress to break free and bravely face tomorrow.

“We should learn to trust people despite all the disappointments and traumatic experiences we have encountered as trusting allows people to grow and take new chances in life,” said Edward.

In 2007, Edward and his brother attended a birthday party. What was supposed to be a celebration turned awry when Edward was involved in a fight trying to protect his brother. This incident led him to be charged with frustrated murder.

With this, he stayed in Manila Youth Reception Center (MYRC) for more than a year and was under the care of ACAY Mission Philippines, a non-government organization partner of MYRC, for four years.

During his stay in the center, Edward learned to forgive, mustered the courage to open up his thoughts and feelings to others, and learned about the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act (JJWA) or Republic Act 9344, as amended.

“The law (JJWA) gave me a chance to redo my life and be a useful citizen, and through the help and the confidence that Atty. Mario Dionisio, Jr., my Public Attorney’s Office Lawyer, put in me, I was able to start my life with a clean slate,” said Edward.

At present, Edward is an aircraft mechanic in an air transportation company and continuously strives to reach his goals.

“Para sa mga CAR at kapwa kong CICL, magtiwala kayo sa sarili ninyo na kaya ninyong abutin ang inyong mga pangarap. Matutong magpatawad, patawarin mo ang iyong sarili kung anuman ang nagawa mong kasalanan,” Edward stressed.Edward’s story is another proof that with our help, aCICL can change and have a bright future. They need support and acceptance from the community and the society and the love and guidance of their families.