An old saying that may seem overused, but it was never the less the ultimate realization of members of the 23 members of Puerto Galera’s Municipal Council for Protection of Children, after undertaking a 3-day planning workshop held on July 14 – 16, 2021 at Tamaraw Beach Resort, Aninuan, Puerto Galera facilitated by Stairway Foundation, Inc.
The activity falls under a 5-year program Stairway is running with the Municipal of Puerto Galera to make our town a safer place for children. The approach is to assess and work with the existing institutions mandated to see all children protected under the municipality. The main player is the Municipal Council for Protection of Children (MCPC), which has members from basically all the municipal offices, including Social Welfare, Health, Law Enforcement, Tourism, Education, and many more. Throughout the entire workshop, there was also child participation, which was the first of its kind since the council was established years ago.
The MCPC members embarked on a CRP planning process through workshops on child rights situational analysis, organizational analysis, and designing a comprehensive child rights program. The participants were reminded throughout the activity that their actions or/and inactions directly affect children, their safety, and their well-being. Thus, the need for evidence-based and multi-stakeholder planning with meaningful child participation.
With the concerted effort of all members, evidence-based key strategies were identified, which will serve as the Council’s guidelines in addressing child protection issues in the future. The following integral action points and key strategies were identified.
- Adoption and localization of existing national programs (Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning Program, and Adolescent Health and Development Program of the Commission on Population)
- Implementation of Community-based Family Strengthening Services (parenting sessions, cybersafety, child sexual abuse prevention, life skills, etc.)
- Integration of Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Adolescent Reproductive Health into School Curriculum
- Capacity Building of Implementers
- Creation of Comprehensive Communication for Behavior Change Strategy
- Community Participation and Mobilization
- Child Rights Policy and Program Development
- Strengthening Direct Service Delivery
- Intensify Child Participation in Local Governance
The Council managed to develop short-term and long-term objectives and strategies corresponding with the Philippine Plan of Action on Violence against Children (PPAEVAC), suggesting that the group is on the right track when it comes to child rights programming.
In closing, the participants shared their learnings and realizations from the process. They reminded everyone to stay committed, as collaboration and teamwork are needed at every step of the child rights programming. The group sealed the activity by capturing a team photo.