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DSWD’s CDO vs GHI was meant to protect the orphaned children from imminent danger

The Cease-and-Desist Order (CDO) issued on Monday (May 22) by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) against Gentle Hands Inc. (GHI) was based on a complaint that the private orphanage has committed a violation of Republic Act No. 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination.

The DSWD also received a report that GHI has failed to comply with the minimum standards for residential facilities for children, according to DSWD Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary Romel Lopez.

Last Saturday (May 20), Secretary Rex Gatchalian and several DSWD officials went to the GFI orphanage located at No. 27 F. Castillo Street, Brgy. Bagumbuhay, Project 4, Quezon City. Only the kasambahays (domestic helpers) were present during the visit.

“Through the unannounced inspection, the Secretary was able to confirm that the children in GHI are in imminent danger and decided that it is in the best interest of the children to be transferred to a safe shelter,” Asst. Secretary Lopez pointed out.

GHI is a duly registered and licensed social welfare and development agency (SWDA) of the DSWD with License No. DSWD-SB-L-000052-2021 issued on 12 August 2021 and valid until 13 August 2024.

The CDO is part of DSWD’s authority, regulatory powers and responsibility to assist in the protection of the rights of children from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development, the DSWD spokesperson said.

“Since the DSWD is the one accrediting and giving out license to operate on SWDAs, the Department has the power to issue a CDO against an SWDA especially if there are serious concerns regarding their facilities,” Asst. Secretary Lopez said.

Given the gravity of the noted infractions on the premises of GHI, Secretary Rex Gatchalian ordered “Gentle Hands Inc. to CEASE AND DESIST from further operations pending an investigation by the DSWD for a maximum period of twenty (20) days from date hereof, unless lifted earlier.”

The DSWD’s CDO was addressed to Ms. Charity Graff, executive director of Gentle Hands Inc.

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