DIWA Representative Aglipay-Villar Advocates the Improvement of Implementing Child Protection Laws

“It is the power of this House to look into this clamor and find the proper avenues and means to make the law a living reality that protects and succors our children rather than being merely paper with high ideals.”

These are just a few of the many compelling statements that Democratic Independent Workers’ Association (DIWA) Party-list Representative Emmeline Aglipay-Villar has uttered last February 2, 2016 at the House of Representatives in the interest of advocating for child protection laws and their implementation.

Rep. Aglipay-Villar reiterated that the House of Representatives has always supported, fought, and enacted bills that call for a more comprehensive protection of the Filipino children. However, she argues that although revolutionary laws have already been set to change our children’s future, there is still a need for the society to fully adapt in its enforcement.

According to her, the implementation of Republic Act Nos. 7610 (Special protection of Children against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act), 9208 (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003), 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004), 9344 (Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006), and 9775 (Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009) should thoroughly be scrutinized, particularly on whether or not they are able to meet the global standard in terms of child protection.

As a pro-active response, the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD), an organization that Rep. Aglipay-Villar is a member of, and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), are conducting a qualitative study that assesses and harmonizes of the five laws on child protection. Based on the study, there is a lack of public awareness on RA 7610 (Special protection of Children against Child Abuse) and RA 9262 (Anti-violence against women and children) mainly because government agencies are unable to cascade the information due to the lack of funds. Similarly, the same issue has been found on child pornography, as the lack of public awareness on the law lead to a significantly low number of cases being reported.

In addition, PLCPD and UNICEF have also found that there is also a need for better mass dissemination, particularly with RA 9208 (Anti-trafficking), since most women and children are unaware of the preemptive measures to avoid being victimized. Rep. Aglipay-Villar also stated that the roles and amendments recently with the laws are unclear to the public. In RA 9344 (Juvenlie Detention), for example, a common confusion occurs between the involved members and agencies because majority are not informed with the latest changes in the law.

Rep. Aglipay-Villar has noted that almost the same members of the House are involved in the enforcement of these laws and that the House Committee on the Welfare of Children should exercise their oversight powers and investigate on how these laws are being administered. “It has been observed that courts are often not “child friendly.” To find solutions, it is necessary that this House of the People look into the implementation of laws directly through legislative inquiry,” she argued.

In pursuit of the advocacy, Rep. Aglipay-Villar has called the attention of her fellow House members to take the lead in being vigilant defenders of the public, as according to her, it is their obligation to obstruct children from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, and exploitation.

“We must give greater life to the law, and truly, it is through ascertaining the experience of our local leaders with the laws that we can secure proper implementation,” Rep. Aglipay-Villar concluded.

DIWA Party-list is an organization that aims to protect workers’ rights and promote workers’ welfare, provide opportunities for workers’ growth and development, and pave the way for a just, humane, and free society.

pr4

DIWA Party-list Representative Emmeline Aglipay-Villar delivered a privilege speech on improving the law and policy framework when it comes to implementing Child Protection Laws