With the recent signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 11188 or “The Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict (CSAC) and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof,” the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) vows to fast track its commitments stated in the IRR including the development of a Manual on the Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict.

DSWD emphasized that the timely completion of its tasks under the IRR would ensure that CSAC will be able to reap the benefits due them under the law.

The law encapsulates the government’s policy in providing special protection to CSAC and ensures that they have effective access to justice as well as services and programs for their rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration.

The recently signed IRR serves as the minimum guidelines and standards for government officials and personnel of national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs), and other service providers.

DSWD tasks

Aside from the crafting of a manual, the IRR also clearly states that DSWD is mandated to review, revise, and enhance existing guidelines for handling of CSAC cases from rescue, to rehabilitation and reintegration.

DSWD is also responsible in developing or updating a system of referrals in case there is a need for legal, medical, or psychological services.

The IRR also gave the Department the clear task of ensuring that all Local Social Welfare and Development Offices (LSWDOs) nationwide are trained and are capable to manage cases of CSAC. This provision is also consistent with the Local Government Code (LGC) wherein DSWD is specifically tasked to capacitate its local counterparts in all aspects of social welfare and development.

With the IRR in place, all NGAs, LGUs, child advocates, civil society organizations (CSOs), and other stakeholders are expected to collectively work to safeguard the rights of children.

As the lead agency in social protection, the Department also enjoins all stakeholders to fast track the implementation of the IRR, in their respective capacities, as CSAC are robbed of a better future in the absence of concrete programs and services. -30-