House Committee on the Welfare of Children chaired by Tingog party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez on Wednesday held a policy forum on alternative child care (ACC) to promote programs that would help children become responsible citizens and ensure their bright future.
“Investing in our children is one of the highest return investments our country can make for our shared future. Children’s welfare and community development must always go hand in hand. Children can only thrive in a thriving community and a community prospers only where and when children prosper,” said Romualdez, wife of House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez.
“This requires us to ensure that children live in a nurturing environment and grow into adulthood within a safe and supportive society. This demands that we give paramount importance to quality education and healthcare services. This means that we empower children to freely express themselves and to listen to them as we craft decisions that affect them. Together, let us raise strong children, instead of mending broken adults,” Romualdez stressed.
The event was part of the House celebration of the 27th National Children’s Month and the 30th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
SOS Children’s Villages Philippines is a private, non-political, non-denominational organization that provides family-like care to children in need. SOS Board of Directors President Angeles Guanzon-Lapeña said in her welcome speech that the organization has been giving quality care to Filipino children who have lost or are at risk of losing parental care for the past 32 years. Guanzon-Lapeña said that the forum is also a good opportunity to discuss with the lawmakers the need to recognize alternative care for children.
SOS National Director Gemma Goliat presented an overview of the family-like care model and the importance of legal recognition of alternative child care. She said that the SOS supports passage of the alternative care bills, House Bill Nos. (HB) 2282, authored by Reps. Ma. Lourdes Acosta-Alba (1st District, Bukidnon) and HB 2349 by Deputy Speaker Evelina Escudero (1st District, Sorsogon).
ACC refers to the provision of planned temporary substitute parental care to a child by an agency. Both bills seek to recognize and strengthen alternative care for children and provide incentives to agencies providing the same.
Acosta-Alba, Vice Chairperson of the Committee on the Welfare of Children, thanked SOS for convening the forum and for their love and support to children who have no parental care. “Rest assured that we will try our best to really push for the approval of the bill,” she said.
Reps. Rossana Vergara (3rd District, Nueva Ecija) and Edgar Mary Sarmiento (1st District, Samar) likewise expressed their support for the approval of the ACC bills.