By Vanne Terrazola
A bill seeking for the creation of a special trust fund for orphaned, abandoned, and neglected children has been filed in the Senate.
Senate Bill 1021, authored by Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., proposes the establishment of a trust fund to support and care for abandoned, neglected and voluntary-committed children under the care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or any DSWD-accredited child-caring institution.
Under the bill, the DSWD shall enter into a memorandum of agreement with a commercial bank or a number of commercial banks to open a trust fund account in the names of the children covered by the proposed law.
The DSWD, sourcing it from its annual budget, shall deposit P2,500 to each trust fund account quarterly to be given to the children.
The beneficiaries are eligible for the grant from the time they are taken in by the DSWD until they reach legal age of 18, unless terminated earlier by the DSWD due to the death or ineligibility of the recipient.
To maintain the real purchasing value of the said amount through the years, it shall be increased by the DSWD every three years in proportion to the average inflation rate for the said period as certified by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).
Aside from the trust fund, the DSWD shall also manage, in coordination with other government agencies, a comprehensive national monitoring system for abandoned, neglected or voluntarily committed children.
It will include updated data on the number, location and personal profile of abandoned, neglected or voluntarily committed children; as well as profiling of child-caring institutions nationwide, to serve as reference of the grants under the special trust fund.
Revilla said the Philippines is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which provides that “A child temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed to remain in that environment, shall be entitled to special protection and assistance provided by the State.”
“It cannot be denied that there are still a considerable number of orphaned, abandoned, neglected or voluntarily committed children in the country. These children need the same care and protection, maybe even more, from their environment especially because of their status,” the senator said in his SB 1021.
Revilla said the measure is expected to benefit 1.8 million orphan and abandoned children in the country.