RCWC to strengthen promotion, protection of children’s rights PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 26 February 2014 14:37

The Regional Council for the Welfare of Children (RCWC) composed of different government and non-government agencies has completed the drafting of their work and financial plans covering a period of three years starting 2014-2016 in a strategic planning workshop held  on Feb. 18-20 in a local hotel here.

CWC consultant Maria Virginia Liquigan emphasized that “there are still several areas where the local council needs to improve on.”

“We have identified four areas that we need to strengthen,” Ms. Liquigan said, referring to 1) advocacy on policies and programs for children to LGUs, partners, media and stakeholders, 2) planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs, 3) provision of technical assistance, and 4) reporting.

The RCWC member-agencies were divided into four such groups according to their agency function to come up with a detailed plan to enhance and improve on the current mechanisms. In general, the plan seeks to have a public well informed on the rights of the children, as well as on the programs and services for them.

Ms. Liquigan pointed out that there has been no conduct of a “State of the Children Report” by LGUs in the region, which is preferable to be said every year by the local chief executive. She recommended the RCWC to market this idea to the LGUs, since this is seen to rouse more local accountability towards children’s programs.

In addition, the lack of a databank on children is seen as a major gap in the RCWC. Although various data are generated from the LGUs such as the number of children having access to basic facilities, education, health, and others, there is no general repository of these data, which, as Ms. Liquigan emphasized, “can be very useful for the CWC to come up with more effective programs, projects and activities”.

Moreover, there are still cases of child abuse and child labor in the region. The plans are seen to enable the LGUs to become more responsive pro-actively to address such issues in their localities.

Several municipalities and cities in the region have already been classified as Child-Friendly like Dipolog City. But, as noted in the discussions, several LGUs have still yet to receive the Presidential Award, and to strengthen the functionality of their Local Councils for the Protection of Children (LCPCs). Many have very modest budget for the implementation of local children’s programs. Ms. Liquigan stressed the principle that “provision of funds for children’s programs should not be seen as charity by the LGUs; it is a right due to the children.”

After the three-day planning sessions that were seen to address the aforementioned gaps, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Assistant Regional Director Consejo H. Usman, as secretariat to the RCWC, still committed the agency’s support to the plans.

“We will be supporting, both technically and financially the plans that the RCWC had drafted to ensure their successful implementation for the next three years,” said Director Usman. Like the DSWD, the member-agencies will be contributing their own technical and financial resources.

RCWC member-agencies that attended the planning workshop include the DSWD, the National Youth Commission (NYC), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Justice (DOJ), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), National Nutrition Council (NNC), Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA), and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). Non-government organizations include the Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention Network (CAPIN) and Human Development and Empowerment Services (HDES). Representatives from the local governments of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga City were also present.

The CWC was created by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 603, or the Child and Youth Welfare Code.