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PIA Press Release

DepEd vows to address children issues presented in Unicef book

by RG Alama

Davao City (18 July) -- The Department of Education (DepEd) has vowed to tackle the issues uncovered in the book Uncounted Lives: Children, Women and Conflict in the Philippines, a book that presents a Needs Assessment Study of Women and Children affected by conflict.

Commissioned by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) with the research conducted by the Center for Women's Resources (CWR), IBON Foundation and Children's Rehabilitation Center-Southern Mindanao Regional Office-the book presents the experiences of women and children taken from conflict areas in Abra, Mindoro Oriental, Capiz, Leyte, Surigao del Sur, Compostela Valley, North Cotabato and Maguindanao.

Acting as a panelist during the book launching held at Museo Dabawenyo last July 16. DepEd XI Regional Director Susana Estigoy, said that the book will be utilized as a resource material which will guide the DepEd on how to respond to the needs of these children.

The Regional Director noted the different hopes and aspirations of the children affected by conflict one of which is access to education and continued schooling. She notes that the common aspiration of the children affected by conflict is for them to go to school and continue their schooling.

Dir. Estigoy said the DepEd is trying to address the issues particularly on access education. Among the programs include the Distance Learning Program being piloted in Davao del Sur and the Basic Educational Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM). The Government is also building new school-buildings and hiring new teachers to expand the access to education.

She vowed to share the book's insights with her fellow education managers underscoring the importance of the study.

However Dir. Estigoy noted that the book has painted the military as kontrabida or villains, she suggested that a study be made also on the Armed Forces as to be able to present their side to the story especially since they are supposed to be the protectors of the people.

The study shows the children and also the community's fear of the military and their preference to the New Peoples Army, as according to Yam Grafil, Education and Training Program head of CWR were based on the observation and experience of the subjects using Focus Group Discussions.

Dir. Estigoy said that a study also on the military's feelings regarding their duties, actions and responsibilities is also needed. (PIA) [top]

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