Senate Bill No. 2466

Save the Children First During Disasters – Sen. Bam

With the country lying along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a senator underscored the need for the creation of a national program that will provide protection and assistance to Filipino children displaced during disasters.

“Filipino children are most vulnerable and are worst affected during disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flash floods, which regularly happens in the Philippines every year,” Senator Bam Aquino said in Senate Bill No. 2466.

During the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda last year, Aquino said an estimated six million children were affected, according to data from Save the Children.

“The children who survived the onslaught lost their loved ones and some became orphans while most of them experienced psycho-social trauma, difficulties in evacuation centers, loss of classroom time and access to social protection,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth.

Aquino said existing policies must 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.

“A national program is crucial in the most vulnerable areas of the country, where the experience of prolonged displacement would have a profound impact on the children’s sense of security, physical and emotional well being,” the senator said.

In addition, the bill pushes for 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

“Providing the targeted needs of the Filipino children, specifically during times of distress, ensures the long-term security and health of our nation,” Aquino stressed.

Meanwhile, Save the Children, through country director Ned Olney, welcomed Aquino’s bill, saying it is critical to invest in policies that will help provide adequate support and protection for Filipino children during emergencies.

“Once this bill is passed into law, the Philippines will be the first country in South East Asia with a ‘Children in Emergencies’ law to protect the particular needs of children before, during and after disasters,” Jebb said.

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