Conference tackles children in emergencies

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Just kidding The difference between higher grade and lower grade for these two at Longos elementary school, Malabon. ROMAN ROSPERO

“When crisis strikes, children are most vulnerable. Save the Children does whatever it takes in keeping these children safe at all times, and this means supporting policies and programs that ensure children’s welfare before, during and after emergencies and disasters,” Albert Muyot, chief executive officer (CEO) of Save the Children Philippines (SCP) said in a media briefing recently.

The tragic experiences of Filipinos during typhoon “Yolanda” in 2013 moved government agencies and civil society organizations including SCP to support the enactment and implementation of RA 10821, known as the Children Emergency and Relief Act of 2016 that recognizes the rights and needs of children before, during and after a disaster and emergency.

The law mandates government agencies to look into the situation of children affected by disasters and emergency situations, including the Marawi conflict last year.

Muyot said the law mandates the creation of child-friendly spaces where communities create nurturing environments for children for learning and recreation.

In line with this, the SCP together with the Council for the Welfare of Children is co-organizing the First National Conference on Children in Emergencies today, 12 October, at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati.

This child-centered reportorial conference led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will look into the implementation the Comprehensive Emergency Program for Children (CEPC), the program component of RA 10821.

CEPC mandates local and national agencies to ensure children’s rights are protected in times of disasters and emergencies.

A pre-conference was held yesterday attended by civil society organizations that have been part of the CEPC.

A ribbon-cutting by the organizing agencies represented by Assistant Secretary Rhea Peñaflor of the DSWD and Executive Director Mary Mitzi Cajayon-Uy and SCP CEO Albert Muyot will mark the opening of the conference.

Rep. Pia Cayetano, DSWD Secretary Virginia Orogo, Undersecretary Mae Fe Ancheta-Templa and German Ambassador to the Philippines Dr. Gordon Kricke are expected to join the event.

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