Barangay child protection councils should know more about RA 9344 - DSWD XI
by Jean Duron-Abangan
Davao City (31 October) -- Members of BCPCs or Barangay Councils for the Protection of Children should be knowledgeable about the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act for them to act on and resolve cases involving children.
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) XI Regional Director Ester Versoza pointed out the need to step up advocacy on Republic Act 9344 and empower barangay leaders to handle cases involving children particularly those petty crimes.
She had noticed that there had been not much advocacy on RA 9344 for stakeholders and duty-bearers to fully understand how the law works to save children from criminal cases.
She said local government executives can do a lot of help in addressing cases of children-in conflict-with-the -law (CICL) because they can be considered as the first- contact authorities at the community level.
"The BCPC should be knowledgeable about the law so that they would know what they are supposed to do," she said referring to R.A. 9344 which mandates barangay captains to act on CICL cases not considered as heinous crimes.
Aiming to immediately respond to CICL cases, DSWD XI recently launched its Project Helpline for Children in Conflict with the Law which was designed to provide over-the-phone assistance such as counseling and referrals to children at-risk, CICL, service providers, and stakeholders on problems and concerns regarding RA 9344.
Project Helpline is manned by a social worker trained on handling CICL Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and can be reached through telephone number 224-2643.
The Social Technology Bureau of DSWD Central Office handles the Project Helpline nationwide which was opened last July with telephone number  931-9141.
During the launching, Acebedo-Versoza expected LGUs, specially the highly urbanized ones, to operate their own helpline in coordination with the social action teams of DSWD.
As urban centers of the Davao Region, Tagum, Mati and Davao had been noted to have high CICL cases which, Acebedo-Versoza attributed to lingering poverty problem and to dysfunctional families. (PIA XI) [top]