BONTOC, Mountain Province – Provincial officials headed by Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. led the groundbreaking of the Bahay Pag-asa, a special facility for children in conflict with the law (CICL) and children at risk, in Upper Caluttit, Bontoc near the evacuation center on September 11, 2023.
Prior to the groundbreaking rite was the blessing of the ground area officiated by Rev. Fr. Antonio F. Fangkingan, Jr., assistant parish priest of the Sta. Rita de Cascia Parish.
Showing support and joining the governor were Vice Gov. Francis O. Tauli , Board Members Ezra Samson A. Gomez, Joshua B. Fronda, Angel Moises T. Tamang, Henry D. Bastian Jr., Tomas B. Tawagen and Kapon B. Gomgom-o. Also with them were other members of the Provincial Council for the Protection of Children.
According to Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Miguela P. Angwani, the Bahay Pag-asa will serve as a short-term sanctuary for CILCs and children at risk in support of a restorative justice and welfare system in a protective and enabling environment.
Angwani shared that Republic Act 9344 as amended by Republic Act 10630, mandates the establishment and operation of Bahay Pag-asa in every province and highly urbanized city and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) shall develop standards for the establishment and operation of the facility.
The provincial government has allotted an amount of five million pesos for the start of the construction of the facility. According to Provincial Engineer Edward B. Likigan, the Bahay Pag-asa is a five-story facility and the amount allotted by the provincial government will be used to start the building.
In line with this, Angwani said that a five million peso counterpart from the DSWD will soon be downloaded to the provincial government once some needed documents are presented.
In his message, Governor Lacwasan said that the establishment of the Bahay Pag-asa in Mountain Province will give CICLs a new hope to improve, change and work toward a better future.
“Even with the meager budget of the provincial government, we still took the first step to construct the facility to provide a venue of second chances to CICLs,” Lacwasan said.
He expressed optimism that with the continuous support of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, the provincial government will be able to source out more funds for the completion of the building.
Meanwhile, Vice Governor Tauli said the groundbreaking is historical because it shows the concern of the government and its officials in providing the necessary intervention to help the children who are at risk and in conflict with the law to become better member of the society.
The other officials who were present also expressed the same sentiments as the two top provincial leaders. By MP-PIO via ESB