A press statement sent to my inbox recently from the office of Rep. Angelica Natasha Co., BHW Partylist and chair of the committee on welfare of children, cites the benefits of ROI (return on investments) in childcare and care providers as “healthier children, productive adults.”
Who would argue with that. Naturally if government pours more investments on child care and care providers, then the country would be producing healthier children and productive adults.
If government continues to turn a blind eye, for reasons like lack of budget (in which case it should remove those allocations for intelligence purposes especially of offices that do not perform such functions), then it can only blame itself if we continue to have a weak adult population dependent on doles. And if our children remain without a proper healthcare then they would continue to be vulnerable to all kinds of diseases. An adult population without the much needed government investment for their well being is not expected to become productive economic workers.
As Rep. Co says:
“We must invest in childcare and the people who provide that care. The appropriations and amendments we seek in the two committee-approved childcare bills are affordable investments, which in the larger context of an annual national budget of over P5 trillion, would be tiny fractions of the total. The return on that investment would be healthier children who do better in school and neighborhoods and later as productive adults.”
Both approved consolidated bills would still incorporate amendments during the May 3 Wednesday hearing. There is still some work left to do, not just styling, she said.
On the amendments to the Early Years Act (RA 10410), we need only to calibrate the breakdown of the appropriations authorization of P500 million, with sources other than Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
The committee on the welfare of children noted the different suggestions and appeals. We need to specify how much will be sourced from Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and other sources, Co said.
“On the proposed Magna Carta for Day Care Workers, we must keep our focus on improving the plight of the over 86,000 child development workers, daycare workers, and early childhood teachers all over the country.”
There are around 900 childcare centers in need of funding all over the country so they can be converted into National Child Development Centers. In addition, we must ensure children residing in areas far from the premises of the NCDCs also receive the childcare they need so their parents get the helping hand of the government.
She said she agrees with the assessments of United National Children’s Fund and Save The Children Philippines NGO that alternative modes are needed and must be funded. These modes include supervised neighborhood playgroups and home-based support.
The slightly more challenging bill is the proposed Magna Carta of Day Cay Workers because of the qualification standards, financial capacity or incapacity of LGUs, and ways needed to protect CDWs and DCWs.
There are less than 9,000 child development workers holding permanent positions out of the total 86,000 CDWs. The rest are casuals, contractual, job orders, or covered by memoranda of agreement. Daycare duties are usually five (5) days a week. Whatever compensation they get now can be compared to slave labor.
One solution could be some form of assistance from the Local Government Support Fund, especially for the 3rd to 6th-class municipalities. Another way could be templates of employment agreements with provisions calibrated to the income class of the LGU.
She vowed to confer with Rep. Kristine Alexie Tutor, chair of the House committee on civil service and professional regulation, for inputs on how details of the Magna Carta for Day Care Workers can be improved.