DOLE urges reactivation of children's councils in Siquijor
by RA Calibo w/MBC Newman
Larena, Siquijor (31 October) -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) urged Siquijor officials to reactivate the local councils for children that would immediately respond to the needs concerning children's welfare and protection.
During the advocacy on child labor laws and other related laws on children recently, DOLE VII officer Yalyn Gachalian underscored the need to form and make functional local councils for children saying that it is the task of the government to localize any inter-agency council or committees created at the national level and build the capacities of its local partners.
Gatchalian said Siquijor has been identified as a "sending" province for victims of trafficking, hence the need for a strong council to monitor this and other activities concerning children.
Citing the province's 'negligible' incidence of child labor, Gatchalian stressed 'prevention and surveillance' as one of the 'best practices' the province could give to help eliminate, if not reduce the worst form of child labor in the country. This, she said is in line with the government's goal of a 'zero-worst- form-of-child labor, zero-poverty' by year 2015.
Earlier, the Administration commits to exert more efforts to meet all the country's commitments to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as it welcomed the citation of the United Nations (UN) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) regarding the country as an "early achiever" in terms of meeting the MDGs.
The National Statistics Survey (NSO) on Children in 2001 revealed that there are four million working out of 25M Filipino children aged 5 to 17 (1 out of 6), most were male (1.5M or 63%), and seven in every ten were in rural areas. The highest percentage of working children came from Southern Tagalog (461,000) followed by Central Visayas (388,000) and Eastern Visayas (349,000).
However, the Feed the Children-Bohol earlier revealed that out of 132 local government units in Central Visayas, only 54 of them have prepared and submitted their local development plans for children (LDPC) to the Regional Sub-Committee for the Welfare of Children in region 7 (RSCWC-7).
Feed the Children-Bohol is a non-government organization commissioned by the RSCWC to help local government units in Central Visayas prepare their respective LDPCs. The report was presented during the 2nd quarter meeting of the RSCWC recently.
Feed the Children-Bohol Program Director, Primitivo Fostanes said, only 72 LGUs in Central Visayas were identified as the focused of the LDPC project. Expectedly, these 72 LGUs have organized their respective City/Municipal Council for the Welfare of Children (C/MCWC) however, only 54 are functional, Fostanes added.
According to Fostanes, of the 54 LGUs that submitted their LDPCs for review and finalization, only 33 LGUs have complete documents and 21 others do not have any single LDPC document. These include 14 towns in Bohol, 3 in Cebu , 2 in Oriental Negros and 2 in Siquijor.
The RSCWC-7 focal person at the DSWD-7, Josephine Belotindos explained that Central Visayas is composed of 4 provinces, 12 cities and 116 municipalities. Of this number, 72 LGUs were identified as focused areas for the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) project, which the RSCWC adopted as key areas to showcase the four gifts for children that include (a) LDPC, (b) Children's Code, (c) Annual Investment Plan for Children, and (d) State of the Children's Address.
The Feed the Children also reported that most LGUs do not have knowledge on the existence of the municipal council for the welfare of children in their municipalities. After the training, Fostanes added that those LGUs that didn't have MCWCs urged their respective Sanggunian Panglungsod for resolutions and executive orders to create and make them functional. However, the local regional DILG reported that all 132 LGUs in Central Visayas have functional councils for the welfare of children, which the RSCWC will have to validate later.
Fostanes also reported that most LGUs do not have baseline data especially on survival and participation rights of the child and other data that are needed for local policy and for project interventions. (PIA) [top]