State child care group asks DSWD to be transparent on Gentle Hands’ case
MANILA, Philippines— The Association of Child Caring Agencies of the Philippines (ACCAP) asked for transparency from the Department of Social Welfare and Development concerning its relations with Gentle Hands Incorporated after issuing a halt order for the Quezon City orphanage.
In a letter to DSWD Secretary Rex Gatachalian, ACCAP stressed the department must be clear as the case continues, “especially as the best interest of the children must be the paramount consideration in any implementation of policies and protocols whatsoever they may be.”
“As a concerned organization, we are hoping that the rules and policies in dealing with complaints against child-caring agencies (CCAs) and the implementation of such extraordinary remedies in uprooting children from CCAs can be discussed and clarified in a meeting at the soonest possible time,” wrote ACCAP president Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana.
DSWD, in a statement on Thursday, said the children are “being well taken care of” in the three facilities they were transferred to.
These places are Elsie Gaches Village in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Nayon ng Kabataan in Mandaluyong City, and the Reception and Study Center for Children in Quezon City.
DSWD Spokesperson Romel Lopez said the department’s social workers are doing everything possible to provide “extra loving care” to the children, according to Gentle Hands staff.
“Our social workers are well-trained in handling children who underwent trauma. Our child psychologists are also monitoring the children and ready to talk to them to ensure they are comfortable, physically and mentally healthy,” Lopez said.
The Commission on Human Rights advises the DSWD to minimize trauma for children in orphanages after reports of armed officials present during a recent retrieval operation.
Orphanage staff later confirmed these accounts with Inquirer.
“The Commission reminds duty bearers, as well as child rights advocates, that it is crucial that we minimize the risk of further trauma, hurt, or harm to children when conducting investigative and intervention processes,” said the human rights body on Wednesday.