Localizing childprotection: does the LocalCouncil for the Protectionof Children matter?
Child protection pertains to “preventing and responding to violence,exploitation, and abuse against children.” More specifically, itencompasses all processes, policies, programs, interventions, andmeasures that aim to prevent and respond to violence, exploitation,and abuse against children, with the ultimate goal of ensuring theoverall development of children to their fullest potential.
Policy Brief No. 7
Based on UNICEF’s definition,
childprotection pertains to “preventing andresponding to violence, exploitation, andabuse against children.” More specifi-cally, it encompasses all processes,policies, programs, interventions, andmeasures that aim to prevent andrespond to violence, exploitation, andabuse against children, with the ultimategoal of ensuring the overall developmentof children to their fullest potential.The United Nations Convention on theRights of the Child (CRC) stipulates thatevery child has the right to protectionfrom all forms of violence, abuse,neglect, and exploitation. The first lawenacted in compliance with the mandateof the CRC is Republic Act (RA) 7610 of1992 (Special Protection of ChildrenAgainst Child Abuse, Exploitation, andDiscrimination Act), otherwise known asthe “Child Protection Law.” Such lawprovides for stronger deterrence andspecial protection against child abuse,exploitation and discrimination, and itscorresponding penalties.It should be noted, however, that thePhilippine government’s consciouseffort to protect the rights of childrendates back as early as 1935, asreflected in the Constitution at thattime. In 1974, then President FerdinandE. Marcos promulgated PresidentialDecree (PD) 603 or “The Child andYouth Welfare Code” which codifieslaws on the rights of children and thecorresponding sanctions in case theserights are violated.PD 603’s Article 205 created theCouncil for the Welfare of Children(CWC) to act as the lead agency incoordinating the formulation, imple-mentation, and enforcement of allpolicies, programs, and projects for thesurvival, development, protection, andparticipation of children. In addition,Article 87 of the same PD states that“every barangay council shall encour-age the organization of a Local Councilfor the Protection of Children (LCPC)and shall coordinate with the CWC indrawing and implementing plans for thepromotion of child and youth welfare.”The Department of the Interior and LocalGovernment (DILG) is mandated tooversee the organization and functional-ity of the LCPC. In this regard, the DILGissued memorandum circulars (MCs)that enjoin all “local government chiefexecutives (LCEs) to organize/reorganizeprovincial, city, municipal, and barangayCouncil for the Protection of Children(CPC) and take the lead in the imple-mentation of all children’s programs intheir respective localities.”The MCs point out the need to orga-nize/reorganize the LCPC in all levels oflocal government units (LGUs) toensure the synchronization and integra-tion of policies, programs, and projectsfor children. There is also a need tostrengthen the LCPCs for the efficientand effective implementation of allpolicies, programs, and projects for thewell-being of children. In sum, “theLCPC shall be responsible for planningand spearheading programs for childrenin the locality with the end in view ofmaking the locality child-friendly.”Notwithstanding the various MCs,however, not all LGUs heeded andresponded to the DILG’s call.
Based on data from the National BarangayOperations Office (NBOO) of the DILG, asof September 2009, seven MunicipalCouncils for the Protection of Children and97 Barangay Councils for the Protection ofChildren have yet to be organized (seefootnote of Table 1). Moreover, not allorganized and existing LCPCs are opera-tional and functional. Functional LCPCs arethose that meet regularly and haveminutes of meetings, have an action planand approved budget for children, andsubmit annual reports on children. Such____________
From UNICEF’s Child Protection InformationSheets.