A bill called “Child Soldiers’ Act of 2008” proposed in the House of Representatives in Manila, Philippines would provide scholarship and rehabilitation programs for former child soldiers involved in armed conflicts. The official press release from the Congress of the Philippines Congress.
House Bill 5544 seeks comprehensive rehabilitation and scholarship for child combatants and those working as spies, guards, guides, lookouts, porters, garden workers, or messengers.
Author Rep. Nerissa Corazon Soon-Ruiz (Cebu) “cited military estimates that there are about 2,000 children fighting for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, New People’s Army and the Abu Sayyaf Group.” Children shall be treated as “victims rather than offenders despite their membership in armed groups.”
Components of the bill include:
1. Provides that within 24 hours, rescued or surrendered child soldiers shall be turned over to the nearest Field Office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development for protective custody and case evaluation.
2. Within 48 hours upon receipt of the physical custody of the children, the DSWD shall notify their parents or nearest relatives of their situation and condition.
3. Immediate medical and physical treatment shall be provided to children wounded during engagement or suffering from illness at the time of rescue or surrender, including psychological or psychiatric treatment when necessary, and medical treatment in case of emergency.
4. The bill also provides that under the administration of the Department of Education, child soldiers undergoing psychological or psychiatric rehabilitation shall also be admitted to a scholarship program to resume their studies based on the last grade or year level they have completed.
- Sun.Star Davao – Child Soldiers’ Act proposed
- GMANews.TV – Bill seeks rehab, scholarship program for child soldiers ..
Bravo Rep. Nerissa Corazon Soon-Ruiz!