As part of the 28th National Children’s Month celebration, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office Caraga, through the Regional Committee for the Welfare of Children (RCWC) – Caraga, successfully carried out a two (2)-Day Children’s Zoomgress (online congress) on November 17-18, 2020.
By virtue of Republic Act 10661 and the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the National Children’s Month (NCM) is commemorated in the Philippines every November. Now on its 28th year, the celebration, with the theme “Sama-samang Itaguyod Ang Karapatan ng Bawat Bata sa Panahon ng Pandemya!”, promotes the protection of all children and their rights as well as the importance of providing practical support to parents and caregivers on how to care for children and themselves during the pandemic.
Considering that the celebration tries to empower children to protect themselves and report experience of abuse as well as to guide LGUs to efficiently deliver their expected roles and functions, RCWC Caraga holds a yearly congress for children to hear the children’s significant inputs concerning the promotion and protection of their survival, development, participation and protection rights. In compliance with the new normal condition and strict compliance with the minimum health standards, this year’s congress utilized a virtual congress through zoom, hence the name, Zoomgress.
“We value you and your potential. Keep growing in full knowledge and wisdom and translate it into a meaningful engagement,” Ramel F. Jamen, OIC Regional Director and RCWC Chairperson, warmly welcomed all participants of the 2-Day Children’s Zoomgress.
This 3rd week of November emphasizes the Participation Rights of Children, also referred as the National Play Advocacy Week. With this, three (3) sessions were conducted on day one, with ZOOMgress Quizzes in between discissions. Topics discussed were the following: (1) Children’s Right to Participation, by Emmanuel Mapili, from the Council for the Welfare of Children; (2) Rights of Children in Digital Environment, shared by Atty. Euvic Ferrer from the Commission on Human Rights – Caraga; and (3) Children & Adolescents’ Mental Health during the Pandemic, further amplified by Dennis Karl Garcia, Nurse III of DOH Caraga.
The last day of the Zoomgress highlighted the engagement of children participants in Makabatang ZOOMustahan where kids shared their issues, concerns and experiences in this time of pandemic, and participated in the Makabata Quiz Bowl, where winners received special awards. Distinguished partners provided support for the special awards intended for the winners; namely Department of Health (DOH), TESDA, CHR, PopCom, DOLE, DILG, PIA, GESU, Balay Silongana, Butuan LGU and JPIC-IDC
To address the need for an organization that can effectively embody the ideals and principles of freedom, equality, justice, democracy and promotion of welfare of all youth in the region, the Caraga Children Advocates Network (CAN) was established last November 2019. Wilrick Maurice Mickael Sebastien Vladimir S. Goubelle, Caraga Children Advocates Network (CAN) Little Executive Director, as well as the official child representative of RCWC Caraga, presented the Draft Constitution and By-Laws of Caraga CAN, which was formulated by the little executive himself and the members of Caraga-CAN. He later presided an open discussion for the enhancement and amendments of some points of the Draft Constitution and By-Laws of Network, allowing constructive feedback from the participants of the Zoomgress and members of RCWC Caraga.
The 2-day activity was hosted by Kenneth Salinas, Little Assistant Executive Director of Caraga CAN, and was participated by a total of 43 children representatives of the Local Council for the Protection of Children (LCPC) coming from the different municipalities in Caraga, as well as the residents of Home for Girls, Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (RRCY) and Gesu Eucharistico Children’s Incorporated (GECI).
The ZOOMgress has been successfully held through the guidance of the region’s RCWC Secretariat, at the same time, the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), Regional Coordinator, Raffy Vigil.
“We need your voices for us to keep track on which responses and approaches will better work and for us to continue evaluating the way we do things as your co-partner in helping achieve Caraga as the most child-friendly region in the country” concludes Jessie Catherine B. Aranas, DSWD FO Caraga, Protective Services Division Chief.