Legarda calls for basic services, better opportunities and improved protection for all Filipino childrenNovember 30, 2021
MANILA, Philippines — In line with the month-long celebration of National Children’s Month, three-term Senator and Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda said that providing Filipino families with basic services and better opportunities will also give every Filipino child a brighter and safer future.
Legarda likewise called for the improved protection of children’s rights and welfare, especially amid the ongoing pandemic, to support the theme of this year’s National Children’s month, “New Normal na Walang Iwanan: Karapatan ng Bawat Bata Ating Tutukan.”
“Let no child be deprived of the opportunity to learn, develop and grow in a safe and protective environment. Let us allow them to be part of the country’s commitment to inclusive growth and recovery,” Legarda said.
According to UNICEF, restrictions of movement and the lack of income source for most of the families have increased the likelihood of children becoming more at risk for physical, psychological and sexual abuse at home. The need to use digital platforms for children’s learning has also given them more exposure to cyberviolence and sexual exploitation, sometimes even perpetrated by their own parents and family members.
Legarda, co-author of Republic Act No. 9262, or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act, affirmed this, saying, “Movement restrictions and economic insecurity due to loss of livelihood and income, among many others, have exposed some children to an abusive and exploitative environment amid the pandemic. As parents and guardians, it is our responsibility to keep them safe and give them a life free from abuse and violence.”
“As public servants, our duty is to provide long-term solutions to address the needs of our people and enable them to cope with the challenges brought about by the pandemic. We have to give every Filipino, especially the marginalized and vulnerable sectors, adequate resources and means to support them and the needs of their families,” she added.
Legarda mentioned that aside from the cash allowance given to the poorest families under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Filipino children now have the opportunity to finish their studies since tertiary education in state universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs) and state-run technical-vocational institutions (TVIs) is already free under Republic Act No. 10931, or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, which she co-authored and co-sponsored.
Under the law, Tertiary Education Subsidy is also provided for qualified students in private higher education institutions.
Health services are also ensured under the law co-sponsored by Legarda, Republic Act No. 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act, which automatically enrolls all Filipinos in the National Health Insurance Program and guarantees equitable access to quality and affordable healthcare services and protection against financial risk.
At the same time, livelihood opportunities are available through various government programs such as the DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP); the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) TUPAD, Pangkabuhayan and Government Internship Program (GIP); the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) and Small Business Corporation’s ‘Pondo para sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso’ under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); and TESDA trainings and scholarships that the three-term Senator supported and funded as the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance.
“Our children are the builders of the nation and the future of the country. We have to strengthen our commitment to safeguarding their rights and welfare by empowering their families to recover from the health and economic crisis. By doing so, we are not just uplifting a family from poverty, but we are also saving our children from the nightmare of abuse, violence, and deprivation, allowing them to live a brighter future,” Legarda concluded.