In line with the celebration of the 2016 International Humanitarian Law Month, the Department of Education (DepEd) iterates the need to uphold the rights of children in times of armed conflict and to help them return to their normal and secured state immediately.
These guidelines for the protection and management of children in times of armed conflict and other difficult situations are contained in the DepEd Order No. 18, s. 2015, or the DepEd Guidelines and Procedures on the Management of Children-at-Risk (CAR) and Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL).
Children living in situations of armed conflict often become victims of compulsory recruitment by armed groups, and are forced to participate directly as combatants or take support roles such as, but not limited to, scouting, spying, sabotaging, acting as decoys, assisting in checkpoints, being couriers, and being used for sexual purposes.
Aside from those living in situations of armed conflict, children considered at risk include those who are abused, exploited, abandoned or neglected, out of school, living in the streets, and are in other difficult situations that affect their security and well-being.
"Whether you are a child at risk or a child in conflict with the law, you are still entitled to have quality education," Atty. Clifford Chan of DepEd's Investigation Division said.
The DepEd recognizes the rights of children and has to take necessary steps, with other government agencies and stakeholders, to ensure that welfare and education diversions, and juvenile justice are properly administered and monitored.
Under Order No. 18, the DepEd provides children three levels of interventions or systematic social protection programs designed to promote their physical and social well-being, avert or prevent juvenile delinquency, and stop or prevent children from re-offending.
The primary level interventions include programs on advocacy, and socio-economic, health and nutrition, training, and education services which shall be provided in collaboration with the family and the community where the child lives.
The secondary level interventions are preventive and protective in nature, and are needs-specific and age-appropriate to lead the CAR back to his/her expected development course.
The tertiary level interventions are remedial in nature. These interventions aim to restore the child's well-being and ensure that education is provided and available to them through various learning schemes, such as, but are not limited to: 1) Alternative Learning System (ALS); 2) Alternative Delivery Mode (ADM); 3) Open High School Program (OHSP); 4) Program EASE (Effective Alternative Secondary Education); 5) Home Study Program; 6) Internet-based Distance Education Program (iDEP); 7) Accreditation and Equivalency Program (A&E); 8) Flexible Learning Option (FLO); and 9) Modified In-School Off-School Approach (MISOSA).
Source: Philippine Information Agency