Bontoc, Mountain Province – Officials of this municipality recently approved an ordinance updating the town’s Comprehensive Child Support System.
Known as the Children’s Welfare and Protection Code, it covers the rights of the child to survival, development, protection and participation.
The Sangguniang Bayan highlighted that the code seeks to address the needs of the children in the different barangays to recognize their rights to life and full development of their potential and to protect and promote the physical, mental, social, moral and spiritual well-being of the children.
Sangguniang Bayan member Viola P. Okko who chairs the Committee on Women, Children, Family and Civil Society said that the updating of the Municipal Children’s Welfare and Protection Code was made possible because of the collective efforts of the members of the municipal council and their harmonious alliance with the local chief executive.
The updated municipal children’s code is also considered as one of their best gift to the most vulnerable sector of the society- the children or the young.
Bontoc Mayor Franklin C. Odsey said that the accomplishment and/or achievement of the municipal government is the product of shared efforts and collective bright ideas which benefit the municipality and the people.
Odsey underscored that the children’s code aims to ensure the protection of children against all forms of abuse and exploitation; advocate for children’s rights and promote their welfare and development; to ensure that children’s rights are given priority attention both in government and civil society; and to improve the quality of life of children in the municipality enabling them to fully develop their potentials and participate in community life and nation building.
On the Survival Rights of Children, the municipal government shall ensure a 100% registration of births that occurred in Bontoc to guarantee the rights of a child to an identity and nationality; promote primary health care through Safe Motherhood Program, Breast Feeding Program, Compulsory Immunization against HEPA-B for Infants and Chilrden below three years of age and Health Program; promote the development of children (0-5) years of age; establish a program on nutritional feeding and supervision of nutritional intake of children in homes and in schools; promote and implement the Salt Iodization Nationwide Law; work for the institutionalization of foster home for children; guarantee the inclusion of child-friendly features in buildings and facilities to be constructed; spearhead a collaborative survey of the situational analyses on differently-abled children in the municipality for planning of programs and projects; document and advocate indigenous child-friendly practices in the different barangays; institutionalize the Annual Search for Child –Friendly Barangays; conduct survey and complete the situational analyses on child labor for bases of planning for programs and projects; sustainment of the family and community support system; formulate and fund Child and Youth Welfare Development Program; and support to Women Welfare Program.
Under the Development Rights of Children, the municipal government assures to sustain the Special Education Program; support the Pre-School Education Program for Early Childhood Care Development initiated by People’ Organizations and Non-Government Organizations; provide fund for the children’s welfare; institutionalize barangay level recreational and cultural facilities program; invest on the production of local literature for children and other relevant materials; require Civil Marriage applicants to participate in Parenting Orientation Courses; request the inclusion of Convention on the Rights of Children in the school curriculum; encourage teachers in the kindergarten, elementary and secondary schools to undergo continuous trainings on the rights of children.
The Protection Rights of Children covers the Protection against child abuse, exploitation and discrimination; Special Protection of Children below 15 years of age; Protection, rehabilitation, self-development, and self – reliance of Children with Disability and their integration into the mainstream of society; Sanctions on establishments that promote, facilitate or conduct activities constituting child prostitution, sexual abuse, child trafficking, obscene publications and indecent shows, and cyber-sex dens; establishments to post child protection notices or warnings; services for children in need of special protection or legal service; monitoring criminal charges against children and provision of appropriate assistance; support to prosecutors or counsels handling cases of children; Women and Children’s Crisis Section at the Bontoc Police Station; Special course for PNP members; Rehabilitation Center for Offenders; separate detention cell for children, youth and women offenders; Center for Children and Youth victims; Children and Family Psycho- social Program; curfew on minors; and regulation of junk food vending in school vicinities for health purposes.
The Participating Rights of Children includes the children’s involvement in decision making process; convention to promote children’s participation rights; installation of mechanism for participation in policy and program formulation in the local government; and organizing of children’s organizations as a venue to voice their concerns and influence public policies, representation of children in the legislative and policy-making bodies and as a venue for their social, mental and spiritual development.
The Municipal Children’s Code is believe to reduce the incidence of child abuse that upset the sovereignty to the promotion of social justice and human rights as stated in the United Nation Convention for the Rights of the Child.
By Alpine L. Killa