Work starts on center for kids in trouble
It would be a dream come true for a 16-year-old rape victim to have a new home after the Mandaue city government broke ground for its Hope of Mandaue center.
The 1.2- hectare facility in sitio Dunggoan, barangay Basak will house abandoned children and those in conflict with the law.
The Home, once completed, will accept children 17 years old or younger.
For now, 16-year-old Grace lives in the City Social Welfare Services (CSWS) building at the reclamation area after she was raped by her father almost a year ago.
“I’m glad the city government is addressing our concerns because we have little space at the CSWS,” she said in Cebuano.
Grace is catching up with schoolwork through the government’s Alternative Learning System (ALS) just like 15-year-old Roy, who used to get high while sniffing Vulcaseal, a hardware sealant. Roy stopped his harmful habit after he was offered a free ALS review in the CSWS.
“I am doing my best so that I can be in high school,” he said in Cebuano.
P80 million project
Mandaue Mayor Jonas Cortes said the P80 million center will be completed before his term ends in 2016.
“As a highly-urbanized city, we need to have a center for children in conflict with the law,” he said.
Under the juvenile justice law, minors 15 years old and below cannot be jailed. They are turned over to their parents or the social welfare office for a “diversion program.”
The mayor’s wife, Sarah Walker-Cortes, chairperson of the Mandaue City Council for the Protection of Children (MCCPC), said phase one will be living quarters for male children, since most youth offenders in the CSWS are boys.
“This place shall rise as a monument and symbol of Mandaue’s love for its children, where children can live as children again, get that chance to reform their ways, and become productive members of society,” she said.
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