There is a need to increase the delivery of social services and children rights protection in five municipalities of Lanao del Sur.
This is an overarching findings following the series of community dialogues and focus group discussions (FGDs) conducted in the towns of Bubong, Ditsaan Ramain, Marantao, Piagapo, and Tamparan of Lanao del Sur with local officials and key persons.
The “Community Engagement for Child’s Rights through Dialogues” was a series of consultative meetings which discussed children’s rights, specially in conflict areas, and the gaps in realizing these.
They also tackled availability and access of children, adolescents, and youths to basic services such as education, health, nutrition, protection, as well as community participation in local planning for inclusive Child Protection Services.
Each community dialogue session was participated by representative of municipal local government unit (MLGU), ten representatives per barangay, two traditional leaders, a religious leader, two youths, a daycare member of parents association, two women, and one sitio representative.
The FGDs were conducted by 13 trained community facilitators of Maradeca Inc. in collaboration with UNICEF.
The entire project was conducted from January to April 2019 and have reached 186 barangays in five (5) municipalities.
Results of the rapid assessment on children and youths situations per municipality were presented to respective municipal local officials in April 2019.
In its consolidated identification of community concerns, the following common issues of partner municipalities were identified:
- Most barangays don’t have barangay health centers. There is a must to coordinate with Department of Health and the Rural Health Units for the construction of barangay health centers. There are records however that RHU conducted house-to-house immunization program and monitoring of child malnutrition in one municipality.
- In cases for social welfare protection, only few residents are members to 4Ps, PhilHealth, or have access to social protection services. In Piagapo, most residents live below the poverty line but are not registered in 4Ps program.
- The towns lack water supply in every household. Most residents use and rely on rain water for their household chores and sanitation. Improving their water system to cater the needs per household is a must. Installing manual or electric water pumps (as in the case of private residences in Marantao) must be an alternative. Most residents source water either from a river or from the lake. El Nino phenomenon always impact on the lives of residents.
- Most households in the barangay don’t have comfort rooms or public toilet to defecate; others used the lake as alternate defecating area. In Ramain, there are 2% of the populace who are defecating in the river. In Malabang, only few private houses have their own proper toilet. Construction of public latrines in every barangays with corresponding water supply is necessary.
- Some mosques don’t have comfort room for ablution.
- There is no daycare center or tahdderiya for children in most barangays in five towns. In the case of Marantao, there were constructed daycare centers but are not functional. The Barangay Nutrition Scholar has also no record or data of malnourished children.
- There is no Alternative Learning Center for out-of-school youths in most barangays. Coordination with the DepEd for establishment of ALS program is a must and listing out-of -school youth in every barangays are recommended.
- Majority of the barangays don’t have Supervised Neighborhood Plays(SNP) and open basketball court for outdoor activities. There is no major activity of the youths in most of the barangays. Some adolescents in some barangays conducted clean-up drive in one of the municipalities. The youths participation are hindered by political issues between the barangay officials and the residents.
- Majority of the barangays have no trained focal point person or para-social worker for referral or counselling. There is also no trained focal point person for child protection in most barangays in four municipalities except Piagapo which has two (2) trained focal point persons for children protection out of 37 barangays.
- There is no mobile birth registration conducted in most of the barangays instead they go to Municipal Civil Registry Office to get a birth certificate with a payment of 200 pesos. There was an instance when an international NGO assisted Ramain town for children’s birth registration. Some residents in Piagapo cannot afford to pay birth certificate fees.
- Majority of the residents are farmers and they lack sustainable income. The towns have high number of out-of-school youths.
- Most of the barangays do not have elementary school; children need to hike from home to the next barangay to attend schools. Poor families needed to avail scholarships to support their children’s education.
- Some of the barangay leaders are hard to reach out because of poor road access and poor communication reception.
- There are barangays in Ditsaan Ramain that are prone to disasters. Typhoon Vinta and Pablo inundated some villages and destroyed buildings including a daycare center and public toilets.
- In Piagapo, some barangays are located in remote areas and have no concrete farm-to-market roads. These are major reasons they aren’t visited by any government agency and departments.
- There is a need to facilitate and assist the registration of solo parents in the office of social welfare.
Results of these dialogues were shared to UNICEF and local officials who have participated in this endeavor.
It will serve as bases for future intervention and hoped to be acted and considered by regional and local stakeholders of children rights, specially in the crafting of municipal and development plans.
While the government passed into law RA 11188 that protects children in situation of armed conflict, however, localizing and enforcing all related protective policies to improve access to social services that will bolster children’s rights and their development remained a challenge for good governance. (Fairosa Casan, Jamima Pilingan, Shahanie Osngan, Santanina Isra, and Monib Mangompia)