Press Release
June 1, 2017

Sen. Bam: Implement law, prioritize children in Lanao del Sur

Sen. Bam Aquino called on concerned government agencies to implement a law that prioritizes the welfare and safety of children during conflicts and disasters amid the ongoing clash between government troops and the Maute group in Marawi City.

The senator was referring to the Republic Act 10821 or the Children's Emergency Relief and Protection Act. He was the co-author of the measure during his time as chairman of Committee on Youth in the 16th Congress.

"Ang pinaka-kawawa talaga sa mga sakuna at labanan ay ang mga bata. We passed this law to ensure they are protected," said Sen. Bam.

"May mga batang nawawalan ng tahanan at may mga nakakasaksi sa karahasan. Alagaan natin sila, tiyakin na sila'y ligtas at ibigay ang lahat ng kanilang pangangailangan," he added.

Sen. Bam said the Department of Social Welfare and Development is mandated by law to enforce an emergency program for children during disasters and conflicts.

"We must ensure that this law is fully implemented as it prioritizes the children during these times of armed conflict," Sen. Bam stressed.

Sen. Bam made the pronouncement after the United Nations Children's Fund reported that a child was killed while 50,000 have been displaced in the Marawi conflict.

Republic Act 10821 provides utmost priority to children during and after every disaster as they are the most vulnerable and are worst affected during disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and flash floods and areas of armed conflicts like Marawi City.

It also establishes child-centered training to disaster first responders, teachers, psychologists and other volunteers in disaster recovery, relief and rehabilitation, with special modules for different stages of children and youth development.

It mandates the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to formulate a Comprehensive Emergency Program for Children and local government units to integrate the said program in their development and Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (LDRRM) plans and budget.

"The law also provides for immediately heightened comprehensive measures by DSWD and the AFP to protect women and children from sexual violence and abuse in the affected areas," said Sen. Bam.

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