October 2, 2023

Members of the Regional Child Protection Working Group (RCPWG), the technical working group of the Regional Sub-Committee for the Welfare of Children (RSCWC) met for a two-day capability building and planning Session at the Department of Social Welfare and Development Training Center to strengthen the protection of children, especially during disasters or emergencies.

RSCWC secretariat Maricel Aquision said the activity aims to let the members understand RCPWG and its roles and functions to enhance the understanding on Republic Act 10821 or the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act, improve knowledge about the Child Friendly Space (CFS) during emergency situations, and formulate a work plan to be implemented by the committee.

DSWD-Cordillera Director Leo Quintilla thanked the RCPWG for convening to further strengthen the programs for children, especially during a disaster.

He said children also play an important role in disaster res-ponse, rehabilitation, and recovery while putting first their needs during disaster or emergency.

“We want also to hear children in disaster response. We also need to value children in rehabilitation and recovery. If we do planning, always be reminded of the cycle – preparedness, impact, recovery, and rehabilitation,” he said.

Quintilla also emphasized the establishment of CFS and the possible creation of a Family-Based Disaster Plan for better management within households during disasters.

Aiza Cabrera of the Council for the Welfare of Children said the RCPWG serves as the central coordina-ting body of all child protection activities in the regions.

It is also responsible in providing strategic direction and leadership to ensure that child protection is regarded as a prio-rity concern in times of emergencies.

DSWD-Cordillera Social Welfare Officer II Johnny Bumakil said there is a need to formulate a Comprehensive Emergency Program for Children in compliance with RA 10821.

Marcela Donaal of the Child Fund Phi-lippines oriented the RCPWG on the CFS in emergency situations. Members of the RCPWG are representatives of various government agencies and service providers or civil society organizations. – Debbie E. Gasingan