Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Early Child Care and Development Experiences in Marikina City

University of the Philippines
National College of Public Administration and Governance
Public Administration 323 (Seminar on the Administration of Social Development), 1st Semester 2008, Dr. J. Prospero E. de Vera III

By Prof. Sofronio “Toti” Dulay, DPA student

Conceptual Base

Child welfare is within the context of social development. Vague and confused as a concept, social development can be defined as “the enhancement of well being and the progressive enrichment of the quality of people’s lives”[1] Social development is a component of overall development concept. In the Philippine experience, social development has been a major concern – often times handled by the Office of the President or made into a full – blown department with names changing from administration to administration.
Social development or even child welfare has to contend with the other concerns of the state, like defense for instance. “Social policy making must be seen as a political process. It has already been stressed that social policy cannot be analyzed on its own, without referring to other activities of the state.”[2] Also, it must be realized that social development is always a work in progress because it “involves a process of change which is fostered through a deliberate human action.”[3] Social development is dynamic – which partially explain for instance why in the Philippines, the Council for the Welfare of Children has been passed on through times like ping pong balls from the Office of the President to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Vague as it is – couple with dynamism – social development must be defined using different perspectives. The United Nations Center for Regional Development defined social development as a “sectoral development and the provision of social services involving the improvement of the quality of life of the people through education, employment, health, housing, social welfare, agrarian reform, community development or disaster welfare.”[4] Take note that this 1983 definition from UN does not carry children’s welfare in it. In the same UN article however, a slightly different perspective of social development is defined as “supportive of and providing services for those in special needs and involving the development of, and provision of services to women, children and disadvantaged group”[5] This definition seems to put children’s welfare as an after thought concern – not in the mainstream.
There are also perspectives that say social development is nothing but providing welfare dole outs to the constituencies, which seems to be the prevailing thinking of most LGUs in the Philippines.

Benchmarking the Concept on International Conventions

It is in these multi perspective concepts that this paper seeks to approach the early child care and development (ECCD) experiences in Marikina. The best way to handle a concept is to have a benchmark. In this case, the best benchmark for ECCD is the globally prevailing document – the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC).In the unofficial summary of the main provisions of the CRC, its “preamble recalls the basic principles of the United Nations and specific provisions of certain relevant human rights treaties and proclamations. It reaffirms the fact that children, because of their vulnerability, need special care and protection, and it places special emphasis on the primary caring and protective responsibility of the family. It also reaffirms the need for legal and other protection of the child before and after birth, the importance of respect for the cultural values of the child’s community, and the vital role of international cooperation in securing children’s right”[6]
The CRC defined a child as a person under 18, unless the national laws recognize a country – specific age of majority. It encourages positive actions for non – discrimination on children and the government should always pursue the best interest of the child. It said that the state must implement the rights of the child. It must respect the rights and responsibilities of parents to provide guidance for the child. The child has the right to life, name and nationality; and identity. The child has the right to live with his or her parents. Parents and children have the right for reunification. The state shall safeguard the children’s right to have their own opinion, freedom of though, conscience, religion and association. The privacy of children must be provided and the state shall ensure the accessibility of children to information. It is the responsibility of parents to raise the child but the state shall provide assistance to the parents. The child must be protected from abuse and neglect and the states should protect children without families. The convention recognizes adoption. Special care should be given to refugee children, children of minorities and disabled children. The child has the right to the highest standard of health, medical care attendance and social security. They have the right to adequate standard of living and education. The child has the right to be protected from child labor, drug abuse, sexual exploitation, sale, trafficking, abduction and other forms of exploitation. The child has the right to be protected from torture and deprivation of liberty. The state shall take measures that children below 15 years of age has no direct part in hostilities. Rehabilitation and proper handling of victimized children as well as those in conflict with the law should be ensured. The state is obligated to inform the public of the CRC and they have to submit reports, which must also be available to the public.
With this backdrop and taking into account that the Philippines is a signatory to the CRC, it is now clear that children’s welfare is a big responsibility for the LGUs.
Another important document that articulated for the welfare of children is the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “The Millennium Development Goals are the world’s time –bound and quantitative targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions – income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion – while promoting gender equality, equality, education, and environmental sustainability.”[7] There are basically eight MDGs, namely, eradication of extreme hunger and poverty, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability; and, develop global partnership for development. The MDGs have 8 goals, 18 targets and 48 indicators. I had the opportunity to report this topic in a doctoral class and we counted how many of these goals, targets and indicators pertains to children. The conclusion of the class is that out of 8 MDGs, only 1, the goal number seven (ensure environmental sustainability) has no direct provision about children’s welfare. But then, it is commonsensical that a good environment is beneficial to children – making the MDGs as another pro child welfare international document.

The Philippines Approach to Child Welfare

After passing through some basic social development concepts and international statures, it is now time to look into Philippine national documents and see what they have to offer for children’s welfare.
The CRC and MDGs, the international statures that articulate for children’s welfare, have a great influence on Philippine national programs and legislatures that concerns children. “The Philippines now stands in a critical point in time, faced with the challenged of realizing its commitments to the CRC, the MDGs, and the WFFC goals and the vision of Child 21.The current development and context in the country present complex and difficult issues.”[8]
The report submitted by the Philippine government, third and fourth periodic reports of States parties due in 2007, to be exact, talked about the country’s continuing review and enactment of legislations in compliance with CRC. The report identified the following legislative gaps: minimum age of criminal responsibility, minimum age of sexual consent, prohibition of torture, lack of comprehensive juvenile system, discrimination against children born out of wedlock, use of children in pornography, and corporal punishment. To work on these gaps, the country enacted the following laws: RA 9344: Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act – raised the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 9 to 15; RA 9208:Anti – Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 – instituted policies to eliminate trafficking, specially women and children; RA 9231: Elimination of the Worst Form of Child Labour Act of 2003; RA 9255 : An Act Allowing Illegitimate Children to Use the Surnames of their Father; RA 9262 : Anti – Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004; and, RA 9288 : New Born Screening Act of 2004.
The report said that despite all these laws, the current efforts are still inadequate. It plans to work on the remaining gaps such as: minimum age of sexual consent, child pornography, corporal punishment and other form of violence, discrimination against children born out of wedlock.
The report also said that in 2000, we formulated the Philippine National Strategic Framework for Plan Development for Children for the period 2000-2025, or Child 21, to build sensitive and child friendly society in the 21st century.
It also mentioned the role of the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), the main institutional mechanism in coordinating the implementation and monitoring of NPAC/Child 21 as well as in coordinating formulation of all policies for children and monitoring CRC implementation. Take note CWC, later on this paper will figure prominently on the ECCD concerns in Marikina City.
The committee report also noted that the mandate and resources of Philippine Commission on Human Rights (PCHR) in the promotion and monitoring of children’s right is limited, and it recommends strengthening them.
As regards to the budgetary allocation for children, the report mentioned that 30% of national budget goes to debt service – interest payment with insufficient allocation for social development and children’s program. To address this, the Philippines proposed in 2005: “Debt – to –MDG Financing”, a debt reduction scheme in exchange of MDG Financing.
The country also pursued international cooperation in its quest to provide wider service to children by working with GOP-UNICEF, ILO, JICA, USAID, BEAM, QTVET, ADB, WB, Save the Children-US, Save the Children-Sweden, WVF, Consuelo Foundation, CCF, ATD Fourth World, and IJM.
The report also said that the government also pursues Cooperation with civil society in pursuing children’s welfare thru the CWC sectoral committees, inter-agency bodies on child protection other than CWC, NGO Coalition for CRC Monitoring and Philippine Inter – Faith Network for Children.
The government initiated the CRC principles/provisions of advocacy thru the CWC and UNICEF IEC campaigns, Child Info – based Knowledge Network Centers in 24 LGUs, Bright Child Campaign of CWC, CWC and Task Force on the Popularization of the CRC in 24 municipalities in central Philippines.
We also disseminated the contents of the 2nd periodic report and concluding observations when the CWC printed the report itself for dissemination, convened committee and networks to brief them of the report, and thru TV and radio interviews as well as meetings and conferences.
Finally, as part of our compliance with CRC, the country initiated the preparations for the 3rd and 4th periodic report by CWC sending letters to agencies and NGO’s to submit their inputs; convened 3 consultations; and the Technical Management Committee of CWC Board reviewing the consultation’s write up, writing comments and integrating them with the second report. The report was submitted to CWC Board for Review, preparation of the final draft and submission.

The Child Welfare Program of Marikina City

Having shown some basic concepts in social development, the international conventions related to child welfare and the Philippine national programs on children, it is now time to go to an specific LGUs like Marikina, hoping that what we will see in this city as regards to program on children’s welfare could give us insight on what is happening in other LGUs in the country.
For the interest of brevity, we will dispense with the discussion o the basic demographic data about Marikina because they are readily available by googling them in the internet.
How do you run a city like Marikina – clean, organized, international acclaimed, prosperous, peaceful and world class, with its former Mayor one of the leading presidential contenders of the country in the 2010 elections and its present Mayor one of the Top 7 finalists in the World Mayor Award? “Our City Hall is run like a private corporation. We treat our clients as our customers whom we want not only to satisfy but to delight.”[9] – Marikina Mayor Marides Fernando.
The Marikina local government is divided into seven clusters, namely, administrative support, public order and safety, finance management and project development, infrastructure development and transportation, citizens’ affairs, economic development; and, health and environmental management.
The children’s welfare is found under the cluster of citizen’s affair, specifically, in the Social Welfare and Development Office. Aside from this office, the following are also found in the citizens’ affair cluster: Department of Education – Marikina, Public Information Office, Community Relations Office, Marikina Settlements Office, City Women Council, MCF Manpower House, Teens Health Quarter, Local Civil Registry, MCF Privilege Card and the Office of Senior Citizens Affair.
The city Social Welfare and Development Office is one - story structure called Social Action Center, detached from the main building where the Office of the Mayor is housed. In that Social Action Center, several officers are also found like: Volunteers Office, SOCO, PNP and Traffic Management.
The city Social Welfare Development Office has been devolved from DSWD to the city government of Marikina. The office was run by an OIC who is a licensed social worker. Together with the OIC, there was a Consultant directly reporting to the Mayor. The consultant is a TV producer of a child show and was a neighbor of the Mayor in her ancestral house in Pasig. The OIC eventually left the post for personal reasons and joined an entry level job at the Marikina Fiscal’s Office, the Consultant took over as the OIC then hired a 24 – year – old licensed social worker as his assistant.
The city Social Welfare Development Office is picture of a workplace that is changing often, desks are changing depending on the circumstances of the office politics, full of clients daily and perhaps, in an attempt to manage the flow of clients, a sign is posted in the door reminding the customers to whom to report regarding their needs. The post says “services offered”: referral; social case study report; medical, financial and funeral assistance; certificate of indigency, PWD, PYAP/TN; and solo parent. Then, names of concerned staff handling these services are listed .Take note that in the list, there is no specific concern for children’s welfare. The OIC and her assistant have their separate rooms, the rest of the 13 staff are together. On the adjacent room is the Children in Conflict with the Law Shelter with around 25 inmates. Based however on Marikina Citizens’ Factbook, the office has the following services: assistance in crisis situations, referrals, seminars and counseling and child – friendly intervention which handling of juvenile cases. Take note again the lack of mention of child welfare concerns and day care centers despite the fact that the city also manages around six day care centers all over the city of 16 barangays. Barangay councils for the protection of children are not active.

One Fateful Meeting at the CWC Office

The class of Prof. Popoy de Vera had a session in the Office of CWC. During the lecture of Ma. Elena S. Caraballo, Deputy Executive Director, CWC Concerns, she discussed about different LGUs who are ECCD accredited, which are only very few. She mentioned, among others that Marikina is not accredited, and being the Consultant of the Mayor of Marikina City. I was assigned by our Professor to look into it and make it as my paper; hence, this paper was written specifically due to that fateful meeting.
I arranged a meeting between Mrs. Caraballo, Mayor Fernando, City Social Welfare Development Office OIC, Tess Valentino of DSWD NCR and other members of ECCD Network in Metro Manila.
The Mayor and CWC Executive Director agreed that Marikina City government will work for the ECCD Accreditation and CWC will provide around 5 Million pesos counterpart funding for a city ECCD program. The Marikina City SWDO OIC was appointed ECCD Officer. Deadline was set, series of activities were planned.
Separate technical meetings were done to plan for data gathering, planning sessions and submission of needed requirements.
After the meeting, I intentionally did not join them anymore in their succeeding meetings because I don’t want to appear that I am interfering with the job of the Marikina City SWDO OIC, as a matter of professional courtesy, both of us being Consultants of the Mayor. Besides, since the data needed are already set, deadlines are set, forms to fill up are available; I feel that it is just a matter of doing it and I am not needed anymore.
One evening, I received a text message from Mrs. Caraballo informing me that one of the members of the multi sectoral ECCD Committee of NCR told her that the scheduled planning session for ECCD Accreditation in Marikina will not push thru and she is afraid that Marikina will never be able to catch the deadline anymore. She informed me that she is preparing a letter to the City Mayor informing her of the development.

Findings and Recommendations

1. With the frequent changes in the Marikina City SWDO, the organizational capacity to respond to a new task like ECCD Accreditation is still weak. The OIC is new and her assistant is also new. Recommendation: team building sessions and thorough job orientation.
2. It was noted that out of 13 staff, some of them are not college graduates and joined the service as a political accommodations rather than based on qualifications. Only one of them is a license social worker, the assistant of the OIC. Recommendation: professionalize the staff, assign the less qualified somewhere else and hire more social workers into the unit.
3. Staff is overloaded; there are staff members who have to work after 5 pm and during weekends. Recommendation: realignment of duties and work loads.
4. It was noted that CRC, MDGs and children’s welfare is not well advocated in the city hall and even among the Marikina City SWDO staff. Being a devolved function, SWDO is being viewed as an office that dispenses funeral and medical assistance basically. Recommendation: advocacy and information campaign about CRC, CWC, MDG and other children’s concern that the office are suppose to handle.
5. The Marikina City SWDO lacks a staff that is well - versed in planning, data gathering, and doing reports. It was learned that there are several attempts as early as 2004 to work on the ECCD Accreditation but the office simply can not do it up to now. One challenge also is the volume and nature of data being asked (See Exhibit A). Recommendation: hire another assistant, probably another social worker, whose job is to handle planning, reporting, rules compliance, accreditations, project proposal writing, data gathering and safekeeping.
6. There is a perception that a job in the Marikina City SWDO is dirty and unfashionable and the staff members of the office are not that presentable. This perception can easily lead to being unable to get data and simple favors from other offices that look at themselves as more superior. Recommendation: professionalism; a high profile children’s welfare champion from the Marikina City Hall must be groomed. The present OIC, being a Consultant and a personal friend of the Mayor is a good material for this task. She just has to get familiar with theoretical base, other issues and concerns on children’s welfare and must be passionate enough in advocating them.
7. Barangay Councils for the Protection of Children (BCPC) are not well organized. Recommendation: assign two councilors, one per district, to help the Marikina Marikina City SWDO to organize and sustain the BCPC.
8. The Marikina City SWDO had been very busy. Some staff does overtime without pay. Some work on weekends…and yet; they seem to be not so focused on children’s welfare activities. At present, only the OIC is handling the ECCD concerns, and to think that she has other activities, being a close confidante of the Mayor and therefore could be doing other activities on the side, she might end up neglecting her duties on ECCD. Recommendation: assign the ECCD work to the new assistant that will be hired.



I wish to acknowledge social worker and assistant to the OIC Carolyn Sta. Maria for granting two interviews about the operations of the Marikina City SWD Office; OIC and fellow Consultant Nadeia Sarte for giving me access to her office and providing crucial data on ECCD; the members of the ECCD Network Tess Valentino, Elsie Romualdez and Lucia Bronio for their assistance in the several meetings we conducted; CWC Deputy Executive Director Ma. Elena S. Caraballo for graciously granting our invitation to meet with the Marikina City Mayor; the Marikina City Mayor Marides Fernando for her decisiveness and accommodation to meet the ECCD Network Members; for Sec. Bayani Fernando for his "Marikina Way" doctrine that things can still be improved - ala continuous improvement stuff, and finally, to my professor and fraternity brother at the UP Vanguard Fraternity Professor Popoy de Vera for giving me the opportunity to have this concern of my hometown as my paper on his subject.


1. “Trends and Patterns in Social Development Efforts of the Philippine Government”, A Reader in Philippine Social Development by Bautista (ed), Q.C.: UPCPA,

2. Understanding Social Policy. NY: Basil Blackwell Inc., Chapter 1- “What is Social Policy”

3. Social Development: the Development Perspectives in Social Welfare. London: Sage Publishing.

4. “Different Perspective on Social Development. ”Local Social Development Planning, vol.1.Japan: UNCRD,

5. The Convention on the Rights of the Child. As adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 November 1989

6. The UN Millennium Development Goals. http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/index.html

7. Committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child Consideration of Reports Submitted by the State Parties under Article 44 of the Convention. September 19, 2007.

8. Marikina Citizens’ Factbook, A Guide to Key Government Services, Second Edition, 2007

[1] “Trends and Patterns in Social Development Efforts of the Philippine Government”, A Reader in Philippine Social Development by Bautista (ed), Q.C.:UPCPA, p.3
[2] Understanding Social Policy .NY: Basil Blackwell Inc., Chapter 1- “What is Social Policy”, p.9
[3] Social Development: the Development Perspectives in Social Welfare. London: Sage Publishing.p.38
[4] “Different Perspectives on Social Development” Local Social Development Planning, vol.1.Japan:UNCRD,p.9
[5] Ibid
[6] The Convention on the Rights of the Child. As adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 November 1989
[7] The UN Millennium Development Goals. http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/index.html
[8] Committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child Consideration of Reports Submitted by the State Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention. September 19, 2007.
[9] Marikina Citizens’ Factbook, A Guide to Key Government Services, Second Edition,2007

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