NOVEMBER is Children’s Month.

The Provincial Council for the Protection of Children (PCPC) is celebrating the 26th National Children’s Month by leading the consultative workshop of the formulation of the Provincial Development Plan for Children for Negros Occidental held in Nature’s Village in Talisay facilitated by Julie Gawal, PCDC Secretariat.

Government and non-government organizations are represented, as well as the youth of Negros. This writer represented Kalipay Negrense Foundation, Inc.

Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation president Pocholo Yuvienco gave the welcome address during the first day of the consultation workshop. He is glad that the SK has been revived.

Raji Alvarado, Regional Sub-Committee for the Welfare of Children (RSCWC) Secretariat, shared the state of the children in Western Visayas.

Representatives from the Provincial Health Office (PHO), Provincial Social Welfare and Development (PSWD), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) gave the data on the state of the Negrense children.

The workshop started on the second part of the afternoon.

The participants were reminded that the province is focused on the four children rights categories: survival, development, protection, and participation.

The province also gave four gifts for the Negrense children - these are the Local State of the Children, Local Investment for Children, Local Welfare Code for Children and Local Development Plan which needs to be updated.

Board Member Helen Zafra, PCPC vice chairperson/committee chair of women and family, gave the welcome remarks on the second day. She mentioned that all of us have a role in protecting the children. It is our responsibility to raise them in the way. They can be fragile and like the nursery rhyme “Humpty Dumpty” may not be mended or hard to mend.

Annie Calderon of the DILG presented the guidelines on the utilization of the Local Council for the Protection of Children (LCPC) fund.

Day two’s goal is to identify strategies and plans for the children.

On the last day, Provincial Board secretary Maki Angel Ascalon will give a session on the Provincial Policies Agenda for children.

The participants will talk about how to implement, monitor and evaluate the programs.

Provincial Planning and Development coordinator and council action officer Marlin Sanogal will give the closing message on the last day.

Everyone sees the need to continue advocating for the children - their rights, the laws protecting them and other policies.

The group agreed to support each other for we all believe that the children are our future.