In celebration of the 30th National Children’s Month, House Speaker Martin G. Romualdez on Monday bared that a total of 15 bills have been filed so far that seek to protect children’s health and welfare.
Romualdez said the House Committee on the Welfare of Children chaired by BHW Party-list Rep. Angelica Natasha Co will always champion the welfare of children.
“… Let me state that the House of Representatives considers the State’s role as parens patriae very seriously. We recognize that a child’s health – indeed every person’s health – has many dimensions,” Romualdez said.
“Suffice it to say that your House of Representatives stands united with those who seek to ensure that our children’s physical, emotional and mental health are sufficiently protected and secured,” the Speaker added.
During the previous 18th Congress, Tingog Party-list Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez chaired the House Committee on the Welfare of Children.
Aside from bills filed for the welfare of children revolve around immunization and feeding programs in schools, the House of Representatives is also tackling legislative responses to present issues and concerns that affect the children.
Measures worth noting are those that protect children from violence physically or electronically inflicted upon a child, providing penalties for those who would dare do such acts, and mandate mental health support services for the affected children, Romualdez said.
“The world has changed. Between social media and the COVID-19 pandemic, the world we once knew is no longer the world we live in now… These societal changes come with their own challenges. While many adults can say that they have the wherewithal to overcome these challenges, the same cannot be said of our children,” Romualdez said.
“There was a time when all a child who slipped had to endure was the momentary laughter of those around him; today, one unintended faux pas, through the power of social media, can be transformed into a meme, and become viral, such that the derision for that one simple mistake can become global, lasting into one child’s adulthood and beyond,” he added. “It is a burden no child is prepared to handle. Nor should they have to,” the Speaker said.
To indicate the House’s parens patriae duty firmly, Romualdez referred to the creation of the Committee on the Welfare of Children, which exercises jurisdiction over all matters directly and principally relating to the needs, education and overall welfare of Filipino children.
“Protecting children’s mental health does not and should not mean that we shelter them from anything that will cause harm or damage. To pursue our endeavor this way is to enfeeble our children and invite societal ruin in the long run,” the Speaker said.
“Our job is not to shield our children from these challenges, no. Our job is to educate and empower them so that they too as adults may have the wherewithal to withstand these challenges, along the way teaching and empowering their children also so that they too can handle the challenges they will face in due time,” he added.
“After all, a mentally, emotionally and physically well child will grow up to be a mentally, emotionally and physically well adult member of society, which is what is ideal for civilized society’s continuance,” Romualdez said.