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PIA Press Release

Comval's child code features unique provisions

by JD Abangan

By Jean Duron-Abangan

Nabunturan, Compostela Valley (16 October) -- In Compostela Valley, smoking in front or near a pregnant woman is penalized by heavy fines.

This is just one of the many salient provisions of the newly approved Children's Code authored by board members Ruwell Peter S. Gonzaga and Ma. Carmen Zamora-Apsay.

A week before Provincial Governor Arturo T. Uy is set to deliver the State of the Children Report, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Wednesday passed the 58-pages Children' Code of Compostela Valley.

Apsay, chair of the SP Committee on Women and Children said passing the code is in fulfillment to appeals of the United Nations for local governments to come up with the four gifts for children.

Other than the Children's Code, other gifts for children are the Local Investment Plan for Children, Local Development Plan for Children, Local State of the Children Report.

"It is very important because our code is localizing some national laws and we have provided for guidelines for implementation (of national laws)," she said referring to the code.

As chair of the SP Committee on Women and Children, Apsay is tasked by Provincial Governor Arturo T. Uy to spearhead a group which crafts the Children's Code in coordination with the Provincial Council for the Protection of Children (PCPC).

Crafting the code has taken off from the proposed code passed by Board Member Gonzaga who said, in an interview, that the code's approval brings fulfillment as a public servant.

A lawyer by profession, Gonzaga said Compostela Valley 's Children's Code, in essence, ensures that children's rights to development, survival, protection, and participation are fulfilled for the best interest of the child.

It is comprehensive as it addresses distinct situations of children in Compostela Valley and also incorporates due penalties for those violating any provision under specific child rights.

Under Protection Rights, one of the unique provisions is the prohibition from "smoking and taking of alcoholic beverages and prohibited drugs by pregnant woman" aside from the provision prohibiting anyone from "smoking in public and enclosed places, especially in the presence of pregnant women and children."

Under Development Rights, among the distinct provisions is under Section 6, a), which declares as a prohibited act the "refusal of parents or guardians to send their children to school."

The Protection Rights of the Code, particularly under Section 3, makes anyone responsible of reporting cases involving child abuse to any social welfare office in the province, to police authorities and to the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children.

Anyone who has knowledge or facts of any child abuse case "shall suffer the penalty of not more than P5, 000 and imprisonment of one month to three months, both at the discretion of the court".

Atty. Gonzaga has looked at the newly approved Children's Code as a way of making everyone even the provincial government responsible for the total well-being of the child.

"With the Code, walang malaking tao, when it comes to children," he said. (PIA XI) [top]

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