Monday, October 3, 2022

BARMM’s First ‘Bahay Pag-asa’ Breaks Ground In Basilan


BARMM’s First ‘Bahay Pag-asa’ Breaks Ground In Basilan


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A lawmaker in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has moved for the establishment of the region’s first-ever “Bahay Pag-asa” support center for children in conflict with the law (CICL) in Basilan.

In a statement on Wednesday, Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA)–BARMM Member Laisa Masuhud Alamia said the project intends to strengthen the juvenile justice and welfare system in the region.

On Tuesday, Alamia, who is a lawyer, led the groundbreaking for the construction of the first-ever Bahay Pag-asa center in Lamitan City, Basilan.

The project is funded under Alamia’s Transitional Development Impact Fund (TDIF).

Under Republic Act 10630 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, Bahay Pag-asa is a 24-hour caring institution for CICL.

In 2015, the regional social welfare office dealt with 72 CICL cases — 36 from Maguindanao, 29 from Sulu, and seven from Tawi-Tawi — with data not disaggregated by demographics such as age, nor nature of the alleged offense, and the diversionary measure applied.

“Every time we talk about children in conflict with the law, it fills us with deep regret whenever we realize that a 12-year-old has already spent three years in the provincial jail or detention center with adults and was left there with little support or supervision,” Alamia said.

“Imagine, that child has already lost opportunities to learn and study in school, and he could have been under rehabilitation and recovery while his case was pending,” she added.

Emphasizing the state’s role in protecting the rights of children at risk and CICL, she said there is a need for adequate child-friendly rehabilitation facilities with a functioning system that upholds child’s rights across the country.

“This is what the Bahay Pag-asa is for,” Alamia said.

She said data from the Child Rights Network, the largest alliance of organizations and agencies pushing for children’s rights legislation in the country, show that of the 114 provinces and highly urbanized cities, 58 of such children centers are operational and only eight have fully complied with the requirements set by the law as of November 2018.

“None of these facilities are located in the BARMM,” she said.

In a separate statement, Lamitan City Administrator Ligaya Buenaventura, speaking on behalf of Lamitan Mayor Rose Furigay, has expressed gratitude to Alamia, the Ministry of Public Works – BARMM, and the Basilan provincial government for the Bahay Pag-asa initiative in their area.

“With the first-ever Bahay Pag-Asa in the region being constructed in Lamitan, we hope to advance the rights of children at risk and CICL with proper interventions to help them become better members of society,” she said.

Alamia said she is also looking forward to the establishment of more Bahay Pag-asa in other parts of the region.

The BARMM comprises the cities of Marawi, Lamitan, and Cotabato, the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Basilan, and Tawi-Tawi; and the 63 villages in six towns of North Cotabato province. (PNA)

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