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Regional Child Protection Working Group activated

THE REGIONAL  Sub-Committee for the Welfare of Children (RSCWC) has reactivated the Regional Child Protection Working Group (RCPWG)  in the light of geographical vulnerabilities to disaster and emergencies.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) XI Regional Director Grace Subong recently called for a meeting of member agencies in the RSCWC which will be involved in the working group as identified in Resolution No. 01 series of 2015.

Among the identified RCPWG member agencies are the World Vision Foundation, the Department of Justice, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Nutrition Council (NNC), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Health and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).

Provincial and City Social Welfare Services Development Offices and the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) also form part of the RCPWG.

They had a meeting a  week after  the provinces of Davao del Sur of Davao Region  and North Cotabato of Central Mindanao suffered a  blow due to series of jolts of earthquakes on October 16, October 29 and October 31.

The reactivation meeting was attended by representatives of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Filipino  representatives of United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA).

The RCPWG institutionalizes Republic Act 10821 or the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act which mandates the institutionalization of a Comprehensive Emergency Program for Children with the following components: Establishment of Evacuation Centers; Establishment of Transitional Shelters for Orphaned, Separated, and Unaccompanied Children; Assurance for Immediate Delivery of Basic Necessities and Services;  Stronger Measures to Ensure the Safety and Security of Affected Children; Delivery of Health, Medical, and Nutrition Services; a Plan of Action for Prompt Resumption of Educational Services for Children; and Establishment of Child-friendly Spaces.

RA 10821 ensures of the Promotion of Children’s Rights “before, during and after  disasters and other emergency situations” by providing child-centered training for all responders; ensuring that children are provided with adequate access to age-appropriate information on their roles and responsibilities and those of government agencies before, during, and after disasters and other emergency situations; providing an effective mechanism for training and meaningful participation of children in community disaster risk reduction program; and consulting with the affected children on their needs and priorities for post-disaster relief and recovery. (By Jeanevive Abangan)