children during disasters

Bam: Look after children during state of lawlessness, armed conflict

A senator called on concerned government agencies to ensure the welfare and safety of civilians, especially the children, affected by the administration’s drive against the Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao and the perpetrators of the Davao bombing.

 “The welfare of our Filipino children should be the utmost priority since they are one of the most vulnerable sectors during these times of lawlessness and armed conflict,” said Sen. Bam Aquino.

 According to Sen. Bam, Republic Act 10821, or the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act provides utmost protection to Filipino children during disasters, calamities and armed conflicts.

 “Kasabay ng ating kampanya laban sa Abu Sayyaf, huwag nating kaligtaan ang kapakanan, pangangailangan at kaligtasan ng mga taong naaapektuhan ng bakbakan, lalo na ang mga bata,” said Sen. Bam, a co-author of the measure, which he filed during his tenure as chairman of the Committee on Youth in the 16th Congress.

 “Mahalagang matiyak natin na mayroon silang pansamantalang matutuluyan, pagkain, gamot, damit at iba pang pangangailangan habang naghihintay na maging normal ang sitwasyon sa kanilang lugar,” he added.

 The law gives priority to children during and after every disaster, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and man-made disasters such as war and armed conflict.

 It will also establish child-centered training to disaster first responders, teachers, psychologists and other volunteers in disaster recovery, relief and rehabilitation, with special modules for different stages of children and youth development.

 It mandates the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to formulate a Comprehensive Emergency Program for Children and local government units to integrate the said program in their development and Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (LDRRM) plans and budget.

According to Sen. Bam, existing policies will also be reviewed to give better support to Filipino children, especially during disasters, calamities or in armed conflict to help lessen trauma, restore normalcy quickly and build their resilience better.

 “We will continue to work in protecting our Filipino children during disasters, calamities, or armed conflict, but also to reduce trauma and build their resistance to these threats,” he added.

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