The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) together with partner-national government agencies (NGAs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) prioritizing the welfare of children launched the Comprehensive Emergency Program for Children (CEPC) today at the DSWD Auditorium, Batasan Hills, Quezon City.
The CEPC was crafted in accordance with Republic Act (RA) No. 10821 or the ‘Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act’ which mandates national and local government agencies to execute and maintain a comprehensive emergency program. This program will serve as a guiding document that will prioritize the protection of children, and pregnant and lactating mothers during disaster and emergency situations.
“We welcome the establishment of the comprehensive program to protect and ensure the safety of our children. Children are among the vulnerable groups gravely affected during disasters and emergencies,” said DSWD Acting Secretary Virginia N. Orogo.
“We have to exert continuous efforts to ensure that no child will fall victim to any form of abuse, harassment, exploitation, trafficking, negligence, and violence. We must also ensure that they will be given priority during the rehabilitation and recovery phases through the provision of effective and immediate programs and services that will cater to their holistic needs,” added the social welfare chief.
The program features the following components which will be implemented at the national and local levels:
- Establishment of safe, inclusive, child-friendly, gender-sensitive, and responsive evacuation centers;
- Establishment of child and women-friendly transitional shelters, and a referral mechanism for orphaned, unaccompanied, and separated children;
- Assured delivery of immediate basic necessities and services;
- Stronger measures to ensure safety and security of affected children;
- Delivery of health, medical, and nutritional services;
- Plan of action for prompt resumption of educational services for children;
- Establishment of child-friendly spaces in evacuation centers and transitional sites; and
- Promotion of children’s rights during disaster and emergency situations are upheld, respected, and protected.
The nationwide implementation of the CEPC increases the accountability of local and national agencies to prioritize the enactment of RA 10821 and to improve the delivery of assistance to children and other vulnerable groups during disasters and calamities, which includes child-centered trainings for disaster responders and local service providers.
Aside from the delivery of assistance, the CEPC aims to ensure that child-friendly and appropriate informational materials will be disseminated to introduce children to concepts on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
“As we continue to improve our laws, policies, and programs for disaster risk reduction and management, we must always keep in mind the best interest of our children. Let us teach them compassion to help other people and to have the resilience to withstand challenges, not only concerning disasters, but also other difficult aspects of life,” Sec. Orogo ended. ###