Prioritizing Child Protection

In Barangay 60-A, one of the coastline communities completely washed out by Typhoon Haiyan, CRS support has enabled the creation of a Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC), mandated by Philippine Law. According to Louie Cabaguing Detimas, an elected barangay official and enthusiastic BCPC member, child protection issues increased after the typhoon in Barangay 60-A. After the typhoon, though cases of battered children and child labor surfaced in the community and drug usage and trafficking became a significant problem among youth, child protection was not even on the Barangay Council’s radar. As an advocate for the rights of children, he wanted to change this. Louie’s election campaign platform centered on the protection and rights of children in his barangay and, at the young age of twenty-four, Louie took office after the typhoon hit.  Though he was very passionate about his work, he was also aware of his limitations—he had never received any formal training on child protection and was not familiar with pertinent Philippine legislation.

CRS, funded by USAID, has initiated trainings across 17 typhoon affected communities in Tacloban city on child protection to address the knowledge gap that limited the effectiveness of Louie and many other barangay officials with similar responsibilities. As a pilot initiative, CRS’ protection team successfully mobilized barangay officials in 60-A to establish a BCPC (comprised of 10 representatives from other councils such as Sports and Youth Development Council and Peace and Order Council) and develop and budget for an annual BCPC plan. The BCPC consulted with youth and children in the community to ensure their voices would not only be heard, but their priorities would be reflected in BCPC plans.

Louie is enthusiastic about the BCPC plan as it outlines strategic programs and activities addressing community identified issues that correspond to the following four rights of children: survival rights, protection rights, participation rights, and development rights. Activities in the plan include, for example, a film screening on “Causes and Effects of Drugs on Personal Life, Family and Community” for children and youth, livelihood and skills training for youth, and a “Parental Effectiveness and Responsible Parenthood” seminar for adults.

He firmly believes these activities, along with BCPC monitoring activities and referral mechanisms will counteract the protection threats to children and youth in his barangay.

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