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PIA Press Release

DSWD launches "Sing for me: A call for peace and unity"

Davao City (27 September) -- Listening to heavenly voices always soothes weary nerves and tired spirits. DSWD's "Sing for Me: A Call for Peace and Unity," does more than that. It seeks to promote unity and peace, as well as help disadvantaged children.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza I. Cabral said that the project serves as venue to converge the efforts of all sectors of society in generating resources for disadvantaged children particularly children in conflict with the law (CICL) and victims of disasters.

"We can have fun and at the same time help disadvantaged children. We hope that with this endeavor we can, in our modest way, alleviate the plight of these children," Secretary Cabral added.

Dr. Lenny Vasquez-de Jesus, former head of Presidential Management Staff (PMS), who co-organized this event, proudly said "I am privileged to be part of this project. This is intended to unite the country for the sake of our vulnerable children through our musicality which, I believe, is our people's greatest strength."

"Sing for Me: A Call for Peace and Unity" involves simultaneous nationwide serenades of Christmas carols which will engage all sectors, such as national government agencies, local government units, non-government organizations, church-based groups, and the community.

The "Sing for Me: A Call for Peace and Unity" was launched on September 22, 2007 at the Quezon City Hall Plaza from 5:00 p.m. onwards with the UP Singing Ambassadors as lead choir under conductor Ed Manguiat.

Following the national launch will be a series of five (5) mini-concerts per region which will feature choirs of government agencies, schools, churches, and non-government organizations.

The mini-concerts will culminate with the main event on December 15, 2007 where a nationwide simultaneous singing of Christmas carols by different choirs will take place all over the Philippines and in communities of Filipinos abroad. The main event also aims to set a world record for the largest simultaneous community singing of Christmas carols.

According to Secretary Cabral, resources will be generated from partner-donors to facilitate the construction of Bahay Pag-Asa (Home for CICL) in provinces and highly urbanized cities.

Republic Act 9344 (Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006) Section 49 provides for the establishment of youth detention homes for which the LGUs shall set aside funds for construction and operation as mandated also by Republic Act 8369 (the Family Courts Act of 1997).

The DSWD, being the chair of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC), is responsible for establishing in all regions the mechanisms and systems of receiving custody of children below age of criminal responsibility if their parents, guardians or relatives cannot be located. Particularly, the DSWD shall establish and strengthen alternative placements of the children in all regions of the country.

Earlier, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order 633 ordering for the release of more than 3,000 children in conflict with the law who are still detained in different jails nationwide.

"With this issuance of President Arroyo, children and youth aged 15 years old and below in prison cells across the Philippines may now look forward to a brighter future. CICL, their families and communities will be provided with social services essential to the physical, psychological and emotional well-being of the children so that they will soon be reintegrated to their families and communities," Secretary Cabral continued. (DSWD/sms-PIA XI) [top]

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