The government, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), on Thursday gave assurances for the protection of children during times of natural disasters and emergency situations.
“The DSWD recognizes the importance of children during emergencies. Hence, the government in partnership with local and international organizations in order to assure child protection system that can prevent and respond to child protection,” DSWD Assistant Secretary Rea Penaflor said during the pre-conference of the first national conference on children in emergencies in Makati City.
“Through this conference, we hope to strengthen cooperation in partnership with local and international organizations to prevent and respond to children abuse and exploitation during times of emergencies,” Penaflor added, underscoring the event’s theme of championing children’s rights in emergencies.
She also thanked private people’s organizations for their support to the government’s child protection campaign.
“We thank our partner CSOs (civil society organizations), non-government organizations (NGOS) in their fervent support in responding to crisis emergency in our children,” Penaflor said.
She cited some of the problems, including the upsurge of child labor cases and human trafficking, that may arise without the collaboration and cooperation on child protection.
“Integration of children in emergencies if not addressed, may result to predicaments,” Penaflor said.
Meanwhile, Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) Deputy Executive Director Marie Joy Segui expressed her gratitude to the partnership with international organizations for the passage of RA 10821, or the “Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act”.
She said Republic Act 10821 is one of its kind in the world.
“We are now here for the implementation of the RA 10821, not only for international, but especially in the local implementation of RA 10821,” Segui added.
The salient features of RA 10821 are the following:
• Comprehensive Emergency Program for Children to be formulated by the DSWD with other agencies and CSOs;
• Heightened measures to prevent, detect and address reports and incidents of child labor, child trafficking and other forms of abuse and exploitation;
• Increased child involvement and participation in DRR (disaster risk reduction) planning and post-disaster needs assessment;
• Limited use of schools as evacuation centers and monitoring of Temporary Learning Spaces (TLS);
• Disaggregated data collection thus identifies children;
• Restoration of civil registry documents;
• Enhanced services for orphaned, unaccompanied and separated children with measures on rapid family tracing and reunification, and;
• Nationwide training of responders on child protection and psychological intervention.
The pre-conference started with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting activity for the opening of booths for the exhibits of CSOs, Red Cross, Plan International Philippines, Child Fund, Save the Children, CWC, Philippine Children’s Ministries Networks, United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the DSWD.
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