Malabon City Social Welfare and Development Department (CSWDD) attested recently in the Senate that the local administration is responsive to the need of its child constituents, especially those most helpless, through its Bahay Pag-asa in Barangay Longos.
Mayor Antolin Oreta III directed CSWDD OIC Patria Agcaoili to disclose developments in the city concerning prioritization of child welfare care, while said chamber is deliberating on lowering the age of criminal liability to 12 years old.
“We inaugurated our 2-storey child-caring institution Bahay Pag-asa on November 20, 2018 to augment the Bahay Sandigan which is an adjacent child-shelter facility,” the mayor noted.
The city’s Bahay Pag-asa intends to shelter apprehended children in conflict with law (CICL) aged below 18 years old while waiting court disposition and Bahay Sandigan takes temporary custody of children at risk (CAR) rescued by the CSWDD from streets and public places or from negligent parents or guardians.
BahaySandiganused to accommodate both categories of children clients, but Oreta saw the need to improve the child care facility and more systematically address differing needs of CICL and CAR, thus pushed for the completion of the Bahay Pag-asa.
The Child and Youth Welfare Code of the Philippines (PD 603)and Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 (RA 9344) mandate local government units (LGUs) to establish and operate such facilities, and adhering, Malabon has proactively managed its Bahay Sandigan with competent staff and funding complemented with help and donations from various partners.
Since 2016, 369 CICLs and 172 CARs has been served in the child care institution, thus with expanded capacity, more Malabonian minors needing special attention will benefit, Agcoili recounts.
While in said shelter,vocational counselling, Alternative Learning System (ALS) sessions, and skills training in income generating projects, values formation and sports / recreation programs are all made available to meet up particular client needs, she said.
Above all, Mayor Oreta assures that children in custody are provided food, clothing, personal and medical/dental needs while also addressing spiritual/moral recovery and enhancement in preparation for reintegration to their families and/or communities as law-abiding, morally upright and productive Malabonians.
Bahay Pag-asa center head Jenny Guinto supervises the 14 House Parents and 14 other support staffs who are in 24-hour work detail in the facility.
Malabon city government was invited in the senate inquiry to contribute inputs on its practices in operating their Bahay Pag-asa.
The senate noted Malabon as one of the two LGUs in Metro Manila effectively running a BahayPag-asa and among the only 55 LGUs with functional child-care institutions throughout the country.
With the city’s active intervention programs, even some Malabonian formerly out-of-school youths became most promising athlete, best female boxer and acclaimed Muay Thai Competition medalists in its 2nd annual contest,attesting that hope and success overcome trials.
Amidst heated arguments on lowering age in criminal liability, Oreta is more inclined in intensifying preventive intervention programs so that minors may neither be delinquents nor neglected by parents or guardians.