DSWD steps up efforts to protect kids during disasters

MANILA Recognizing children's vulnerability during disasters, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has stepped up its efforts to protect them during such situations.

On Wednesday, the DSWD, together with its partners, launched the Children Emergency Relief and Protection (CEPC) manual of operation that will be distributed to different regional offices of the agency.

"This is a milestone because our children are the next generation," DSWD Undersecretary for Disaster Response Management Group Hope Hervilla said during the launch of the CEPC manual held at DSWD central office in Batasan Hills, Quezon City.

With the protection program in place, Hervilla said that children affected by man-made calamities or natural disasters such as flood and earthquake will be immediately given the needed protection and intervention.

"Kung hindi natin ma-protektahan ang mga anak natin sa panahon ng kalamidad, paano na lang ang susunod na henerasyon? Paano na lang yung mga anak ng naging biktima ng kalamidad?(If we will not be able to provide protection for them in times of calamities, what will happen to the next generation? What would be the fate of the children of those affected by the calamities?)," Hervilla said.

She said that such program is timely as the country prepares for the possible occurence of the "Big One" or a major earthquake.

Meanwhile, DSWD Assistant Secretary Michelle Ortega-Pimentel described the undertaking as an excellent work in boosting the protection of children as well as lactating mothers.

"Truly I must admit that you (referring to men and women behind the program) have done much in fortifying the programs and activities for the benefits of children and pregnant mothers as well as those in need of assistance during calamities and emergency situations," said Pimentel.

Some of the components in the CEPC manual include establishment of safe evacuation centers that are gender-sensitive, child-friendly and responsive; and establishment of child-women friendly transitional shelters or referral mechanisms for orphaned, unaccompanied and separated children; aside from delivery of health, medical and nutritional services.

It also includes the action plan to ensure the speedy resumption of classes in areas used as evacuation centers as well as promotion of children rights by ensuring that they can be protected from abuse, harassment, among others.

For its implementation, partner government agencies and non-government agencies which form the National Inter-Agency Committee (NIAC) were also mandated to perform various tasks.

The development of CEPC was inspired by the enactment of Republic Act No. 10821 or Children's Emergency Relief and Protection Act in May 18, 2016.

The strategies and policies under the manual were piloted in the provinces of Bulacan, Leyte, and Sarangani areas identified as prone to disasters. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency