Davao City –With the completion of the newest Bahay Pagasa in Poblacion New Corella in Davao Del Norte, Davao Region has now a total of five rehabilitation centers for children in conflict with the law (CICL).  This was announced by Director Priscilla N. Razon of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

DSWD records show that a Bahay Pagasa center was established in Davao City in 2008; in Nabunturan in 2010; in Banaybanay town in 2012; and in New Corella and Mati City this year.

Four of these Bahay Pagasa or youth care facilities were funded with a Php 2.5 million budget from Sen. Francis Pangilinan which was coursed through DSWD while Davao City received Php 2 million. The Banaybanay allocation of Php 2.5 million was directly released to the local government.

“The one in New Corella will be inaugurated and handed over to the provincial government on September 1,” Director Razon said.

Apart from this, DSWD manages its own Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (RRCY) which served some 131 CICL cases during the first half of 2014.

Originally named Pagasa Home, the DSWD facility was established in 1976 in Maa. The center is now located in a three-hectare rehabilitation complex in Bago Oshiro, Tugbok  District.

Mandated to promote and protect the rights of CICL, DSWD will support the Bahay Pagasa operation by providing continuing technical assistance to the local government units to ensure implementation of quality case management and holistic rehabilitation of the CICL.

The passage of Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 has prompted various government agencies to carry out strategic actions to address the needs of CICL.

Under the law, CICL aged 15 years and below are exempt from criminal liability. CICL above 15 (plus one day) and below 18 years of age are also exempted unless they act with discernment.

The law provides that these children should be returned to their respective families. However, there are circumstances wherein this is not possible or run counter to the best interest of the child. There are cases when parents could not be located, where parents are incapable of providing protection, and where the safety of the CICL is threatened or could not be secured.

Located in all regions throughout the country, Bahay Pag-asa is a 24-hour residential facility that provides temporary care and serves as a rehabilitation center to a maximum of 25 male CICL at any given time.

The center provides protection, care, capability building and rehabilitation for   CICL in a home-like environment for a maximum period of six months.

Managed by the local government unit, Bahay Pagasa facilitates the immediate assessment of the physical, psycho-social, medical and economic condition of the CICL to arrive at a holistic understanding of the child in relation with his violation of the law.

The assessment will guide the social worker in formulating and executing an individualized rehabilitation plan or program that will address the needs of the child.

Moreover, the Bahay Pagasa will indirectly serve as another setting for a dynamic interaction and purposive learning opportunities among the provincial and municipal local government units, the community, other line agencies and DSWD.

Meanwhile, DSWD XI manages other three residential facilities such as Reception and Study Center for Children, Home for Girls and Women, and Home for the Aged. (DSWD)