Bam: Look into state of children in conflict-torn areas

A senator has filed a resolution seeking to look into the state of the children affected by the recent military operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group in Basilan, Sulu and other conflict-areas while the country is under state of emergency.

Sen. Bam Aquino’s Senate Resolution No. 134 is aimed at ensuring the protection, safety and well-being of children, in accordance with Republic Act No. 10821, or the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act.

​​“There is a need to ensure that all children in conflict-affected areas are protected from the crossfire, and that the comprehensive policies and programs envisioned in the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of children during this state of emergency,” Sen. Bam said in his resolution.

​​President Duterte signed Proclamation No. 55 last September 5, 2016, placing Mindanao under a state of emergency on account of lawless violence, following the bombing of a night market that killed 14 people in Davao City.

​​The proclamation directs the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to undertake measures to suppress all forms of lawless violence in Mindanao and prevent lawless violence from spreading elsewhere across the country.

​​Based on a report by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), that as of September 5, some 1,729 family heads with 6,218 dependents from the Basilan municipalities of Sumisip, Tuburan, Moh Ajul and Akbar, were evacuated to safer areas.

​​The agency is also assisting the affected LGUs in providing food and non-food to the families, distributing a total of 2,311 family food packs to the internally displaced persons, while the DSWD-Field Office-IX has delivered 6,000 family food packs to the province.

​​In Sulu, close to 4,000 families have been displaced from their homes because of the military’s recent intensified offensive against the bandit group.

 ​​The Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act provides for the establishment of a Comprehensive Emergency Program to protect children and support their immediate recovery in times of disaster and emergency.

​​According to Sen. Bam, the program includes the identification of safe locations as evacuation centers for children and families, and establishment of child-friendly spaces.

​​“It also provides for the immediate delivery of basic necessities, and health and educational services tailored to the needs of the affected children,” the senator added.

​​The law mandates the DSWD to engage all relevant government agencies and stakeholders for the implementation of the Comprehensive Emergency Program.

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