To strengthen the efforts to address the needs of children and safeguard their well-being before, during, and after disaster situations, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in collaboration with various national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs), international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), children, and child rights advocates will conduct the 1st National Conference for Children in Emergencies on October 12.

The event aims to review and strategically improve the implementation of the Comprehensive Emergency Program for Children (CEPC) in accordance with Republic Act. No. 10821 or the “Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act,” which was signed on May 18, 2016.

The DSWD, as the primary agency involved in disaster response, is tasked to oversee the implementation of the CEPC by engaging all NGAs, LGUs, and stakeholders to prioritize the provision of assistance and services to children, and pregnant and lactating mothers during disaster and emergency situations.  DSWD led the signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the act on February 28, 2017.

Likewise, the Department also serves as the chair of the National Inter-Agency Committee (NIAC), a group of NGAs and CSOs responsible for the institutionalization of the CEPC. Some of NIAC’s accomplishments are the development of manual of operations, and the integration of Child Protection and Participation framework in existing systems such as in trainings and in establishing  Children and Women-Friendly Spaces in evacuation camps.

“Year after year, our country experiences disasters in various forms such as landslides, floods, typhoons, and man-made hazards. This is the reason why we need to continue to adopt risk reduction and management measures that promote inclusivity and actively engage citizen’s participation,” said DSWD Secretary Virginia N. Orogo.

Moreover, the Secretary believes that the conference will provide a venue for partners and stakeholder to discuss gender-appropriate, timely, and multi-sectoral approaches to address the needs of children, including those in marginalized and disadvantaged areas who were affected by recent disasters and calamities.

“We hope to start off constructively by rethinking our existing strategic priorities and redirecting our efforts towards safeguarding the welfare and interests of children especially in emergency situations,” said DSWD Secretary Virginia N. Orogo.

Aside from discussions, the activity will also award outstanding local government units (LGUs) pioneering CEPC. ###