Early Years Act awaits Aquino signature

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013


AUTHORS of the proposed Early Years Act are hopeful that President Benigno Aquino III will soon sign the measure into law.

House Bill 6694 had earlier been adopted in full by Senate.

The same proposed law was approved by Congress but vetoed by President Benigno Aquino III last year due to budgetary concerns.

HB 6694 is entitled, "An Act Recognizing the Age from Zero to Eight Years as the First Crucial Stage of Educational Development and Strengthening the Early Childhood Care and Development System, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes."

Manila Representative Rosenda Ann Ocampo, chairperson of the House committee on basic education and culture and one of the authors of the bill, said the policy of the State is to promote the rights of children to survival; development and special protection with full recognition of the nature of childhood as well as the need to provide developmentally appropriate experiences to address their needs.

Once approved, the proposed law shall institutionalize a National System for Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) that is comprehensive, integrative and sustainable, involving multisectoral and interagency collaboration at the national and local levels among government, service providers, families and communities, and public and private sectors, non-government organizations, professional associations and academic institutions.

"The State also recognizes the age from zero to eight years as the first crucial stage of educational development of which the age from zero to four years shall be the responsibility of the Early Childhood Care and Development Council," Ocampo added.

The System refers to the full range of health, nutrition, early education and social services development programs that provide for the basic holistic needs of young children from age zero to four years and promote the young children’s optimum growth and development.

Also, direct beneficiary under this Act are children ages zero to eight with special needs and disabilities, children who are blind, deaf or deafblind; and parents as primary caregivers and their children’s first teachers. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)

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