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PIA Press Release

Barangays asked to play major role on child concerns

by Jean Duron-Abangan

Davao City (18 June) -- Barangays should take an active role in checking child labor and other concerns regarding children.

Rosa Belen S. Teofilo, regional focal person on children of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) XI pointed this out as she noted that some Barangay Councils for the Protection of Children (BCPCs) have not been at par with standards of functionality.

In an interview during a press conference at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) XI, she said the barangay officials should play hands-on regarding child protection and that "they should know what's happening with children" in their locality.

She deemed it important for barangay captains to know the referral system of child cases so they can properly bring abused child and other cases regarding children, to concerned agencies.

She also called on local chief executives (LCEs) to strengthen their respective Local Council for the Protection of Children (LCPCs) and provide funds for the operation of such councils.

DILG issued Memorandum Circular No. 2008-126 alerting all provincial governors, city/municipal mayors, punong barangays, DILG regional directors to take note of the revised guidelines on monitoring the functionality of the Local Council for the Protection of Children at all levels.

Based on the circular, LCPC functionality assessment is anchored on four major areas: organization; meetings; policies, plans and budget; and accomplishments.

Regarding budget, the circular says that LCPC Work and Financial Plan "shall be submitted to the LGU concerned"for funding and that it"shall be incorporated in the Local Development and Investment Plan/Annual Investment Program."

But Teofilo revealed that local chief executives of LGUs rarely provide funds for LCPCs. "Bihira lang fund ang LGUs para sa functionality ng LCPCs," she said.

Funds for child projects are even much less at the barangay level, and that barangay governments can hardly comply with the requirement of the Juvenile Justice Act which provides for one percent of barangay internal revenue allotment (IRA) to the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children "to make them functional."

Teofilo said DILG XI has yet to come up with assessment report of LGUs including barangays, regarding their compliance with salient provisions of JAA including funding for LCPC functionality.

But it has already come up with assessment on the functionality of Local Councils for the Protection of Children (LCPCs).

Statistical Regional Summary of LCPC Functionality categorizes the functional levels of urbanized cities, component cities, provinces, municipalities and barangays as ideal, mature, progressive and basic.

Those ranked as ideal attained a rating of 80 to 100 percent, meaning the LCPC was able to satisfy the requirements for all the indicators of a functional LCPC.

The matured level indicated that the LCPC had attained 51 to 79 percent rating and was able to satisfy the requirements for organization and meetings, and any of the sub-indicators for policies, plans and budget or accomplishment report.

Those tagged as progressive had attained 21 percent to 50 percent rating and had been able to conduct meetings and as well as satisfied the requirements under policies, plans and budget.

LCPCs which only got 20 percent ratings and were only able to conduct meetings and comply with requirements on organization were placed at the basic level of functionality.

Of the 43 municipalities monitored, only seven reached ideal level; 21 got on the mature level while 11 were seen as progressive and four were still at the basic stage.

Meanwhile, 40 percent of the 1,137 Davao Region barangays which submitted to child protection council assessment, were tagged as progressive, while a substantial 34 percent were still at basic level of functionality.

Other than organizing the child council and conducting meetings, Teofilo suggested chief executives to see to it that LCPC members should be trained "on how to go about (handling) policies on children." (PIA XI) [top]

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