STA. MARIA, BULACAN - In partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc. (HLAF) held the 5th Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) Congress.
In conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, the 5th BCPC Congress happened last Dec. 6-7, 2016 at Sitio Lucia Resort Hotel and Training Center with the theme “Tamang pagpapatupad ng JJWA, BCPCng gumagalaw ang gagawa”.
The Congress specifically showcases the sustainable and effective practices and innovations of the barangays in line with the implementation of the law protecting the children and youth.
The Congress was a two-day event, which gathered partners from Quezon City, Caloocan City, Malabon City and Navotas City as main participants. Participants are direct implementers of the JJWA at the barangay level. The JJWA implementers are the ones that attend to the needs and concerns of the children-at-risk and children in conflict with the law.
OIC-Director of the National Barangay Operations Office (NBOO), Hon. Leocadio T. Trovela, CESO IV, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region III Director, Hon. Gemma Gabuya, as the representative of DSWD Secretary, Hon. Judy Taguiwalo and DSWD-National Capital Region Assistant Regional Director, Hon. Manuela Loza, graced the BCPC Congress.
During the welcome remarks, HLAF Executive Director, Atty. Rommel Alim Abitria, explained that the objective of the Congress was to “see how [the participants can further] enhance their services for the youth; how we can promote their rights and their welfare. (… tingnan kung paano pa natin mapapaganda ang serbisyo para sa ating mga kabataan; kung paano natin itataguyod ang kanilang mga karapatan at kung paano pa natin mapaganda ang kanilang mga kapakanan.)”
In the said Congress, HLAF held the Tatak Barangay contest, where the nominees, Brgy. Concepcion, Brgy. Commonwealth, Brgy. Tinajeros and Brgy. Culiat, presented their entries to the BCPC Congress participants. The said contest determined the best practices of the barangays’ in implementing the JJWA. The nominees for the Tatak Barangay contest presented their BCPCs best practices proving that the JJWA is implementable. The nominees were also among the barangays that signed a petition initiated by several BCPCs against the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR).
In line with this, HLAF took the opportunity to award the winners for the Tatak Barangay Contest. All the winners were given a HLAF trophy and at the same time, the placers received other prizes. The Champion received a projector and digital camera, the First Runner-up received a projector, the Second Runner-up received a digital camera and the Third Runner-up received an external hard drive. The prizes were provided by UNICEF and HLAF.
- Tatak-Barangay Award Champion- Barangay Culiat, Quezon City
- Tatak-Barangay Award First Runner-up- Barangay Concepcion, Malabon City
- Tatak-Barangay Award Second Runner-up- Barangay Commonwealth,Quezon City
- Tatak-Barangay Award Third Runner-up- Barangay Tinajeros, Malabon City
“HLAF’s efforts with BCPCs are pioneering. In fact, one of our engagements with HLAF was adapted by EPJUST and our intention is to up-scale it next year. And then when it comes to community level engagement, we, at the National Barangay Operation Office, know that the barangay is the face of the government. What the community experiences with the barangay shall be the reflection of our community to our government. So the roles of the barangay officials are very important. (Pioneering ang effort ng HLAF with the BCPC’s. And then in fact yung isa pa naming engagement with HLAF na naadapt ng EPJUST, and then ang intention pa namin next year i-up scale na siya. And then pag sinabing community level engagement, kami sa National Barangay Operation Office, alam niyo naman ang barangay ang mukha ng gobyerno kasi. Kung ano ang experience ng ating mamamayan sa barangay yun ang reflection ng ating mamamayan sa ating pamahalaan. So napakamahalaga ang ginagampanan ng ating barangay officials.)” said Dir. Leocadio T. Trovela, CESO IV during his speech at the BCPC awarding ceremony.
According to the representative of DSWD Secretary, Hon. Judy Taguiwalo, DSWD Region III Director, Hon. Gemma Gabuya, “This day is a very important moment because we are about to recognize volunteers, advocates for the protection of our youth and other vulnerable groups. I would like to thank HLAF for being a long-time partner of DSWD. Due to the social issues we are encountering, the government cannot handle everything so we need partnership, of course, with other government agencies and specially, the non-government organizations. (Itong araw na ‘to ay napakahalaga na momentos kasi tayo ay magrerecognize ng ating mga volunteers, yung ating mga advocates pagdating sa protection ng ating mga kabataan, at ang ating iba’t ibang vulnerable group. Salamat sa HLAF sa pagiging long-time partner ng DSWD. Kasi sa dami po ng mga social issues na naencounter natin hindi ho kaya ng isang gobyerno, ng isang organization. So kailangan ang partnership, of course, with other government agencies and specially sa non-government organizations.)”
Also, to recognize the efforts of the BCPCs, HLAF provided a venue to award trophies and plaques after the program proper. The following were some of the awards:
Most Outstanding Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC)
- Barangay Concepcion, Malabon City
- Barangay Culiat, Quezon City
Most Outstanding BCPC Focal Person
- Mr. Eduardo Antoja Jr.
- Ms. Maricar Juanillo
- Ms. Erlinda B. Natavio
- Ms. Elvira C. Laurito
Excellence Award in Case Management
- Longos Barangay Council for the Protection of Children
- Sipac Almacen Barangay Council for the Protection of Children
- Commonwealth Barangay Council for the Protection of Children
Award of Excellence in Children and Youth Organizing
- Ugnayan ng Aktibong Kabataan ng Batasan (UTAK ng Batasan)
- Ang Nagkakaisang Kabataan ng Culiat (ANAK ng Culiat)
On the second day of the 5th BCPC Congress, HLAF opened the floor for the participants to relay their questions to the panel of the congress. The panel consisted of HLAF Executive Director, Atty. Rommel Alim Abitria, HLAF Program Officer, Atty. Kristoffer Claudio and resource speakers from the four winners of the Tatak Barangay Contest - Mr. Eduardo Antoja, Jr. (Brgy. Concepcion), Ms. Alelie Bernardo (Brgy. Culiat), Ms. Rubielyn Abagao (Brgy. Commonwealth) and Ms. Joan Pancho (Brgy. Tinajeros). The participation of the resource speakers from the Tatak Barangay Contest was essential for them to share their experiences at their BCPCs.
The open forum was facilitated by HLAF Community Organizer, Mr. Kio Jerome dela Peña, to open the floor for questions from the participants. After the open forum, the Certificates of Attendance and Completion were awarded to the Batch 3 of the Center for Restorative Action (CRA) BCPC Training on Basic and Advanced courses.
HLAF believes that the gathering of the participants will facilitate their learning in different practices on the implementation of the JJWA. The participants include the BCPC Chair, BCPC Co-chair, two BCPC case managers and youth representatives from BCYA.
Annually, HLAF holds the BCPC Congress as a venue to discuss challenges confronting the BCPCs where they can offer solutions to such problems through the exchange of various experiences and successful practices by the participating BCPC personnel. Also, the organized activity is a tangible and strategic advocacy drive for the proper implementation of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, which cuts across all levels of the government. This is also an opportunity for networking to JJWA implementers at the community level.