By Leandria Pagunsan
DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) — The Regional Sub-Committee Council for the Welfare of Children in Negros Island Region (RSCWC-NIR) is urging its partner-agencies to be pro-active in the fight against child abuse.
Shalaine Marie Lucero, chairperson of the Regional Sub-Committee Council for the Welfare of Children in Negros Island Region (RSCWC-NIR), said there is a need to strengthen ties with local officials, youth organizations, and stakeholders in solving cases of illegal drugs abuse, cyber sex and child labor in the Negros Island Region.
In the council’s third quarter meeting held in Dumaguete City, member-agencies and non-government organizations (NGOs) presented their advocacy programs and services to protect children from human trafficking, child labor, illegal drugs activities, and cyber pornography.
Romualdo Señeris, regional coordinator of Visayan Forum, disclosed that based on 2011 data from National Statistics Office (NSO), Central Visayas has the 5th highest incidence of hazardous child labor with 219,000 children, aged 5 to 17 years old working in farms, sugarcane and coconut plantations, and rice fields.
Department of Education (DepEd) through Emma Mate reported their feeding program in partnership with local alliance for nutrition, gulayan sa paaralan and seed bank, nutrition education and food safety, health facilities for hand washing, dental, safe drinking water and toilets are strictly implemented in all public schools.
Evita Mae Villagonzalo of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said they are working closely with partner agencies Philippine National Police (PNP), Visayan Forum, Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD0 in implementing and monitoring the Sagip Batang Manggagawa, Child Labor-Free establishments and Child Labor-Free Barangays (CLFB).
The Department of Agriculture’s advocacy on anti-rabies campaign, distribution of seedlings for backyard gardening, scholarship grants to children of farmers who are interested in Agriculture as announced by Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol during his visit in Dumaguete in August are among the programs that will benefit children.
With the provincial government’s proposed 2017 budget of P2,000,000 for Child Welfare and Development Program, Lucero suggested to include in the RSCWC Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) member who chairs the committee on children and women for a stronger collaboration in implementing advocacy programs.
Citing also the importance of children’s representation in the council, Lucero suggested and agreed by partner- agencies to invite presidents of Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) and the Department of Education’s “You Only Live Once” (YOLO) youth formation group to be invited as members of the council. (rmn/lpp/PIA-7/Negros Oriental/This article was originally published at PIA website on Sept. 29, 2016)