Baguio launches Children's Welfare and Protection Code
by Lito Dar
Baguio City (31 October) -- The City of Baguio joins the nation in celebrating Children's Month, with a theme: "Bright Child: Proteksyon ng Bata Pananagutan ng bansa."
In line with the city government's commitment in ensuring and promoting the rights and welfare of every child in Baguio and in consonant with United Nation Convention on the Rights of Children, the city's Children's Welfare and Protection Code was launched during a kapihan forum Wednesday as a culminating activity.
City Social Welfare and Development Officer Betty Fangasan stressed that anchored to this commitment is to uphold the rights of children towards survival, development, protection and participation. Taking care of a child goes beyond making sure that the child is free from all forms of abuse, neglect, discrimination and the like.
The code provides a comprehensive compilation of local laws and ordinances on the protection and promotion of the rights of children in the city.
Fangasan confirmed that the Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) of the code has already been drafted and maybe out by November.
According to Fangasan, most of their activities for the Children's Month were postponed due to the onslaught of typhoon "Pepeng". But she assured that the city government has year round programs promoting the protection and welfare of children, like Day Care and community based services, aside from providing assistance to Children In Conflict with the Law or CICL.
Fangasan cited that in Baguio, there is an increased in CICL cases. In the first semester of this year, the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) Women and Child Protection Desk (WCPD) reported a total of 364 CICL with 81 cases filed in court, compared to the 486 cases recorded in 2008.
According to WCPD head PCI Ma. Theresa Pucay, majority of the cases of male children or youth are theft and physical injury cases, while for female, it is shoplifting.
Fangasan stressed that most of the CICL they interviewed claimed that their ordeal was due to neglect of parents and poverty. Thus, the CSWDO, with the help of other government agencies, civic society group and NGOs, focus more on educational activities regarding the rights, protection and welfare of children.
Hoover Agyao, Executive Director of Save Our Street Children Foundation confirmed that working with parents for the welfare of the children is important. He shared that their foundation started only with feeding program for the children but as they have seen that there is a lot to be done, they are now embarking on a holistic approach in order to help reduce the number of children that are roaming the street, which may pose problem to society.
Other panelists in the kapihan sponsored by the City Government of Baguio, through the Office of Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda and the CSWDO were Gabot, DepEd supervisor and Ms Serna of the City's Health Services Office. (PIA) [top]