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Transformative program pushed to help kids at risk

The City Council is deliberating on an ordinance establishing a transformative program to help curb the number of children in conflict with the law (CICL).

The ordinance is proposed by Councilor Maria Belen Acosta, chair of the committee on peace and public safety, and Councilor Avegayle Ortiz-Omalza, chair of the committee on women, children and family relations. It’s set for second reading next session.

“Mayor Sara (Duterte) talked to me about this whether it is possible to have an ordinance for children at risk of becoming CICL. The purpose for this is to help them at an earlier stage so they will be prevented from becoming a CICL,” Acosta told TIMES.

According to Acosta, most of the programs implemented by the national and local social welfare agencies are focused on CICLs.

“Most of the transformative programs are designed only when they have already committed crimes. What the mayor told me is before they can commit malfeasance and be categorized as CICL, transformative programs are already in place,” she said.

The ordinance will be the legislative basis for the necessary budget of the programs that will focus on prevention rather than rehabilitation.

In the committee report, the City Social Services and Development Office also attested that most of its programs in place are leaning more toward CICL.

The Women’s Desk of the Davao City Police Office also expressed its support to the proposal and as stated in the report, “there were cases involving children as the principal perpetrators or as an accessory to the commission of the crime.”

The City Children and Women Center also voiced its support for the initiative, confirming that there are various forms of violence where specific protection policies and mechanisms are necessary because it may affect a child’s physical, emotional and social well-being.

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