Child protection strengthened in evacuation centers-A A +A
By Bong Garcia
Sunday, October 13, 2013
THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) convened several child-focused non-government organizations (NGO) to discuss issues and set plans for the continued interventions for affected children housed in evacuation centers in Zamboanga City.
The move aims to ensure that children are protected from all forms of abuse, DSWD Regional Director Zenaida Arevalo said.
Arevalo, who presided over the meeting held at the DSWD office, said that about 36,000 children with ages three to 17 were affected by the standoff between government forces and Moro rebels in September.
“These children are most vulnerable and that we have to ensure their protection,” Arevalo said in a statement.
Arevalo emphasized that zonal assignments of evacuees at the Mayor Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex were established to accurately monitor the situation not only of the children but of other vulnerable groups like older persons, and pregnant women, among others.
NGOs that joined the meeting include the Save the Children Foundation (STCF), Community and Family Services International (CFST), World Vision, Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention Network (Capin), and Western Mindanao State University (WMSU).
Existing services offered by these NGOs to evacuation centers include psychosocial services, advocacies on child-related laws and policies, and child-protection mechanisms and referrals.
The cluster agreed for each member organization to adopt a number of evacuation centers to pour their services and programs for children, and to prevent duplication of services.
Four NGOs gave their commitment to continually provide their services.
The CFST will handle evacuation centers of Divisoria National High School and the elementary schools of Boalan, Zambowood, and Talon-Talon.
WMSU, with its allied offices of College of Social Work and Community Development and Extension Services Office, committed to handle the Baliwasan Central School.
CFST expressed to continue its services to the evacuees at the sports complex, while Capin, in partnership with CFST, shall ensure its services to Tetuan, Talon-Talon, Divisoria, and Zambowood elementary schools.