ComVal exec signs local Code for Children
by Jimmy P. Abayon
Nabunturan, Compostela Valley (23 October) -- Governor Arturo T. Uy announced Wednesday initiatives that would cement his administration's commitment to build a child-friendly environment in Compostela Valley "where children are nurtured and allowed to grow and develop in dignity".
Governor Uy announced the initiatives, anchored on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child - survival, development, participation, and protection - in his third Local State of Children's Report Wednesday morning at the Capitol lobby before women's groups, students, parents, leaders of municipal councils on women and children, representatives of the Philippine National Police women's and children's desks, and provincial officials.
"Compostela Valley province recognizes the significant existence of children in society for practical reasons…that they are the future of our province," the governor said in his opening statement to the overflowing crowd at the lobby.
Uy stressed every local government unit is responsible to deliver basic social services and ensure the sustainability of children's welfare programs.
"This is the reason why the provincial government of Compostela Valley has been actively working to promote child-friendly governance through the realization of the four gifts for children," he said.
The four gifts are the Local Development Plan for Children, Local Investment Plan, Local Code for Children, and the Local State of Children's Report.
In his second state of children report in October 2008, with only three of the four gifts realized, the governor earnestly requested the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to work for the last gift.
Early this month, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed and enacted the landmark Local Code for Children.
Immediately after his report, Governor Uy signed the Code and completed his administration's four gifts to the children of Compostela Valley.
"Some of the concerns that we have been facing include the low facility base delivery of our pregnant mothers and low prenatal care and post natal care that lead the primary causes of maternal and child mortality rate," Uy said.
Describing the concern as a "critical issue" for the past years, the governor urged all municipal mayors to endorse a local ordinance to finance the maternal and child package accreditation of rural health units.
In this way, he said, all pregnant women would deliver birth in the province's health facilities and traditional birth attendants or hilots would be discourage to deliver newborns. The governor noted that 32 percent of all recorded births in 2008 were attended by hilots.
Another initiative, the governor said, is to establish a policy on the LGU level for mandatory compliance of complete pre-natal and post-natal care to maternal and child health.
Noting that only 42 percent of mothers were breastfeeding their children in 2008, Uy said Executive Order No. 51 and Republic Act No. 7600 will be implemented in all health facilities and health units in the province.
"I would recommend to the mayors not to renew the license of non-compliant establishments to construct or establish breastfeeding rooms in their areas. I urge that public and work areas must all have breastfeeding rooms in compliance with the law," he stressed.
On health, Uy said, only two of the province's four hospitals now have new born screening services but with the additional P200,000 supplement approved by the SP by 2010 all the four hospitals will have the same services.
Last year, he said, 95 percent of the children in the province were immunized, higher than the national standard's 88 percent. "We hope to increase the rate this year and onward," Governor Uy said.
The drop-out rate and competency rate of schoolchildren in the province are high with only 63 percent of elementary pupils and 58 percent of high school students finishing the required number of years.
The provincial government, he said, has started to put in plans and interventions to correct the concern like strengthening the conduct of a family mapping; the intensified implementation of Project ARTURO, the administration's English proficiency and reading program; urging the Sangguniang Kabataan to allocate 5 percent from their fund for the reading program; strengthening the advocacy program for parents on responsible parenthood in schools and communities; and transferred more than P3.47 million to five municipalities to maximize their child care and development programs.
Rights to participation
Children in the province have been given venues to be able to participate in activities that affect them, he said.
These activities include the provincial children's month celebration, Linggo ng Kabataan of the SK, children's festival and congress, boy and girl scouting, funding support to leadership and skills trainings; exposure of student leaders and achievers to youth activities outside the province, and the Garbo Comvalenyo singing competition.
Child's right to protection
"The child has the right to be protected from economic exploitation and child labour, that's why the Provincial Council for the Protection of Children established a special body to deal with and rescue children-victims of child labor particularly in the mining industry and banana plantations," the governor said.
Moreover, he said, the provincial government plans to build children rehabilitation home centres in the province's two districts to accommodate the young victims of child abuse.
Governor Uy said his administration is set to implement a barangay family development program under the Provincial Spiritual and Moral Recovery Program.
"We hope to strengthen every family in the barangay by teaching parents on the proper nurturing of their children in the spiritual context," the governor said. (PGO-Tourism/Fe Maestre/PGO-IDS) [top]