House approves bills on creation of trust fund for orphaned, abandoned, neglected kids

The House Committee on the Welfare of Children chaired by Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez (Party-list, TINGOG SINIRANGAN) approved on Monday bills authored by House Speaker Alan Peter “Compañero” Cayetano, in consolidation with HBs 4218 and 5175 authored by Reps. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado (1st District, Bulacan) and Florencio Noel (Party-list, AN WARAY), respectively.

The measure seeks to provide for a trust fund account for each orphaned, abandoned, neglected, and voluntary committed minor under Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-accredited child caring institutions and care centers.

The trust fund will be the source of assistance and support to children who have no one to care for them so that they will have a bright and secure future.

In his explanatory note of HB 3, the Speaker said that while a number of laws have already been enacted to pursue the State policy recognizing the vital role of the youth in nation-building and the State’s duty to promote and protect their well-being, there remains a need for a stronger mechanism to provide for the needs of the abandoned, neglected, or the voluntarily committed children.

These kids, like the other children of their age, also need parental support and guidance so they can reach their fullest potential and grow up to be morally upright individuals and civic-minded citizens of the country, he said.

He further said that it is the obligation of the State to step in as parens patriae to ensure that children who have no one to care for them are given assistance and support,”.

Under the bill, a trust fund account in a trust entity shall be opened in the name of every covered abandoned, neglected, or voluntary committed child under a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to be entered into by the DSWD and the trust entity.

The bill further states that the DSWD, by sourcing from a regular annual appropriation item in its budget, shall deposit the sum of P12,500 quarterly in every trust fund account until the account matures, unless terminated earlier by the DSWD due to the death of ineligibility of the recipient.

The Speaker explained that the trust fund account matures when the orphaned, abandoned, neglected or voluntary committed minor reaches the age of majority, and thus providing him/her seed money to face the challenges of life and pursue his or her dreams.

Shareholders like the Child Rights Network (CRN), Save the Children, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and government agencies like the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) and the DSWD expressed their support for the bill.