Law protecting kids needs to intensify

Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo lauded the City Council for passing on third and final reading the Ordinance Revising the Dumaguete City Children’s Code of 2000″ authored by Councilor Lilani Ramon recently. He promised to promptly sign the legislation to be enforceable.

Mayor Remollo said that the ordinance will certainly enhance the protections for children against all forms of abuse and the promotion of their welfare and development.

He also cited the agencies involved particularly the Local Council on the Protection of Children led by Councilor Lilani Ramon for the many and varied services provided to one of the most vulnerable sectors of the city.

In his recent State of the Children Address as part of the nationwide observance of Children’s Month, Mayor Remollo shared the challenges, gains and success stories of our various agencies under the city government consistent with the mandate of upholding and protecting the rights of the children.

He stressed that the programs and activities of the city government has always put the survival, development, protection and participation of our children at the center of governance as evidenced by our investments to child care.

In just the first 10 months of this year, 20, 000 children were given health service and free medicines; 74 sexually and physically abused children were examined; 1, 244 children provided free laboratory services; 10, 504 children ageing 6-59 months were given free dose of Vitamin A; Micronutrient powder provided to 924 children; 3, 293 children given iron supplement; 1, 989 additional children were fully immunized; 1, 214 children were also administered vaccines on tetanus diphtheria and human papiloma virus in school based immunization drive and113 deliveries and 59 newborn babies were screened at the city’s own birthing home.

Supplemental Feeding and Milk Feeding program including vitamins for children is granted a budget of P 2.02 million for 2019 which is bigger than the current year to cover as many children possible.

Fifty-six victims of child sexual abuse from 2017 to October 2018 were assisted by members of the Multi-Disciplinary Team; 48 cases have been filed and 5 more are in the case build up phase that boost the protection of the victims since the perpetrators are either arrested or ordered to stay away.

The victims are provided assistance through case filing, provision of temporary shelters, psycho-social intervention by psychologists, and dialogue with concerned families especially if the alleged perpetrators are related to the victims.

Meanwhile, 70 children who are abandoned, neglected, physically abused, victims of child labor, illegal recruitment and trafficking are provided special protection by the city government through LCPC and CSWDO including the La Casa Esperanza Crisis Center as temporary residential care facility for individuals in crises situation.

Eighty-one children with disabilities are being monitored and provided with medical, dental and nutritional care while 35 children, many of them at risk, have been profiled and monitored to prevent possible exploitation and abuse.

The Philippine National Police also reported a decrease in the number of reported cases on violence against children which dropped from 50 cases in 2017 and 25 cases in 2018 or a drop of about 50%.

The City government has also activated the Violence Against Women and Children Desk in the barangays.

Councilor Ramon also stressed that the city intends to establish the Bahay Pag-asa to provide short term residential care for Children-in-Conflict with the Law who are awaiting court disposition of their cases and the Children-at-risk Center as temporary shelter for children below 14-years old who have committed petty crimes or abused, neglected, throwaways, vagrants, etc.

Last year 52 juveniles were provided temporary care, treatment and rehabilitation for CICL at our Youth Home. 6 children who were sexually abused were given shelter. At present there are about 23 residents who are accused of committing crimes such as theft, carnapping, sexual harassment, illegal drugs, robbery and other crimes. Their movements are restricted by a trained staff that operates a structure of therapeutic environment with the end view of reintegrating these children back into their families and communities as socially functioning individuals.

On the other hand, 214 indigent college students are granted financial aid under the Education Assistance Program and 298 youths are organized and taught life skills through symposia, prevention of drugs abuse under the Pag-asa Youth Program.