By Mario Casayuran
Senator Richard J. Gordon Wednesday called on the government to invest in the country’s youth to ensure a quality population and to address the growing number of children getting in conflict with the law.
Gordon, a former Olongapo city mayor and current chairman of the Senate justice and human rights committee, said the government should set aside funds for measures that would ensure that children would be educated and well-guided so that the country will have a quality population.
‘’Such measures include: having truancy officers in every barangay; hiring more guidance counselors so that there would be at least one for every grade level; getting more social welfare officers; and implementing a feeding program in all public schools,’’ he said.
“Magastos ito pero ito ay investment para magkaroon tayo ng quality population. Yung mga truancy officers, sisiguruhin nila na ang mga bata sa barangay nila ay pumapasok sa eskwela. Pagdating naman sa eskwela, dapat siguraduhin na may mga guidance counselors para magabayan ang mga bata. At dapat siguraduhin na may pagkain ang mga bata dahil isa yun sa mga dahilan kaya maraming mga batang hindi nakakapasok. Yung social welfare officers, aalamin nila kung may problema ang mga bata sa bahay, kung meron, maaari silang kupkupin ng DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development),” he said. (It may be expensive but this is for a quality population. Truancy officers should see to it that pupils or students attend their classes. At the schools, guidance counselors should ensure that their students are guided. Pupils should be fed, lest they skip classes because of hunger. Social welfare officers should see to it that the students do not have domestic problems. If there is or are, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) should take care of them.)
Gordon cited the recent gruesome killing of a 16-year-old girl in Cebu.
He said that his Senate Bill 2198 mandates a holistic approach to the strengthening of the country’s social welfare program.
Gordon issued the statement in the wake of the gruesome murder of 16-year old Christine Lee Silawan in Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu.
Her body was found skinned and mutilated in a vacant lot last March 11. She was stabbed several times on her neck and body, her skull was exposed and she was naked from the waist down.
Last Saturday, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested the victim’s 17-year old former boyfriend for suspected involvement in the killing after he was seen in CCTV footage with the victim. The investigation is looking at jealousy as among the motives in the killing.