Prioritize children’s welfare during calamities — child welfare group

A child from Antipolo City walks through a muddy road due to torrential rain brought by Typhoon Egay, July 27. (Photo by Jane Paola Sison/ Save the Children)


MANILA – Save the Children Philippines urged the government to implement a comprehensive emergency program for children who are among those most affected by typhoons.

In July alone, there were three consecutive typhoons, as well as the southwest monsoon. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), almost 14,000 families were affected by typhoon Dodong and more than half a million people were affected by typhoon Egay.

Typhoon-hit communities seek gov’t help

Ferlyn Amparo, 24, a resident of Meycauayan, Bulacan, has been staying in an evacuation center with her husband and six-year old child as widespread flooding happened in their village. She said the flood on their street was already knee-deep, forcing them to seek temporary shelter in the barangay hall for almost a week now.

She stressed that relief and free meals only lasted until the afternoon of Monday (July 31). They have no other choice but to spend what little savings they have for food and other expenses.

“Right now, we’re really struggling because we need to scrimp on food since they don’t provide relief assistance anymore,” Amparo said.

She added that her husband is still forced to brave the rains and the floods just to go to work, being the only provider for the family. There was even a time that her husband walked from the evacuation center in Meycauayan to his workplace in Marilao, Bulacan (a distance of 3.12 kilometers) since public transportation was still unavailable.

Children bear the brunt of typhoons

Children are most affected by the disasters. Jek-jek, six, is now unable to go to school. “My child has summer classes now but the school only suspended classes for a day. They were supposed to have classes yesterday but I refused to let my child attend school because the floods were still high,” Amparo said.

Aside from that, Jek-jek and his young cousin also had a fever for a few days due to the cold weather and uncomfortable situation inside the evacuation center.

At least 10 families are seeking temporary shelter in the barangay hall and most of them have children.

According to Save the Children Philippines, typhoon Egay affected around 60,000 children. This may continue to increase as more families are likely to be affected with at least a dozen more typhoons expected to hit the country in the latter part of the year.

“Children are the most vulnerable during disasters. The multidimensional stress they experience from difficult situations during emergencies and calamities affect their physical, emotional, and psychological well-being,” Save the Children Philippines head Alberto Muyot said.

The group is pushing for the rollout and development of a years-long law that protects the younger generation against the damaging impacts of calamities.

Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act

In 2016, Republic Act No. 10821 (Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act) was passed by lawmakers. According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, this law requires emergency relief and protection for children before, during, and after disasters and other emergencies. It refers to situations when children are gravely threatened or endangered by circumstances that affect their survival and normal development.

The Comprehensive Emergency Program for Children (CEPC) stipulates that local government units should provide evacuation centers that are safe, inclusive, child-friendly, gender-sensitive and responsive. The delivery of immediate necessities and services for the children such as those for health and nutrition must also be ensured, as well as the plan of action for the resumption of educational services for children amid calamities, among others.

Save the Children Philippines stressed that seven years since the law’s enactment, Filipinos have yet to see its effects. “This law was passed in 2016 but after seven years, its benefits to vulnerable groups, specifically, children, and pregnant and lactating mothers during disasters are yet to be seen or felt. If the comprehensive emergency program for children (CEPC) is implemented at the local and national level, children can have strong resilience and adaptation to impacts of disasters,” the group said.

For Amparo, she never heard and felt the law even though they have been struggling with typhoons and floods for several years. “It’s the first time I heard of that law (Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act). My child has been suffering from these calamities ever since he was born. Actually, when I gave birth to him, a few days after, we needed to evacuate since another typhoon hit the country. Ever since, my child [has] received no help from the government regarding that law.”

Amparo called on the Marcos Jr. administration to heed their calls for immediate and sufficient assistance, as well as long-term solutions to address the severe calamities that continue to cripple the country. “I hope they will notice us and address our calls. We are in need of sufficient food and medicines. We are also sleeping on the cold floor, and maybe that’s why children here are getting sick. But our main problem is really insufficient food. I hope the government can provide what we need.” (RTS, DAA) (

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