DSWD welcomes orphanage closure probe
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Wednesday said it welcomes the Senate resolution seeking an inquiry into the closure and eventual removal of children from the orphanage Gentle Hands Inc. (GHI).
DSWD spokesperson Romel Lopez said the agency sees the planned Senate investigation as an opportunity to explain and respond to concerns raised on the policies and processes of the child welfare agency.
Lopez was referring to Senate Resolution No. 643, filed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Children and Family Relations, seeking the review of the DSWD’s policies on the country’s orphanages and child residential care facilities.
Lopez, in a statement on Wednesday, noted the earlier alleged violations it cited against GHI, which were used to file a cease-and-desist order against the home and later on to rescue the children from the Quezon City facility.
These issues include alleged building fire code violations, as well as “disruption cases” among children from the facility.
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Quezon City last week revoked the fire safety inspection certificate of GHI due to the alleged violations.
Following its revocation, GHI said its fire safety certificate had always been renewed by the BFP for the last 20 years, leaving its officials wondering why the DSWD would use alleged fire code violations to shut down the facility.
“We welcome the planned inquiry of Senator Hontiveros as this will provide the DSWD a forum to answer all the issues regarding Gentle Hands,” Lopez said.
“The investigation would, indeed, be helpful in coming up with appropriate legislation to further ensure the protection of children,” he added.