Saturday, February 17, 2007

Pending bills in the Senate and Congress: Foster Care and Youth Suicide Prevention

House Bill 05525 (principal author, Congresswoman Darlene Magnolia Antonino-Custodio) seeks to strengthen and propagate foster care for abandoned and neglected and other children with special needs. This bill seeks to give assistance to foster parents including support care services. It also provides for the creation of the Foster Care Committee which will review and deliberate on issues affecting the placement of children. The bill was approved by the House on August 7, 2006 and transmitted to the Senate on August 14, 2006.

Counterparts of HB 055525 are Senate Bill No. 58 (introduced by Senator Loi Ejercito) and Senate Bill No. 1125 (introduced by Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr). The Senate bills state that the nurture, support and development of the child is the utmost responsibility of the family, but that there are instances where this is not possible. Children deserve to be given utmost protection against all forms of abuse, neglect and exploitation. Their rights must be respected and defended.

Senate Bill No. 1911 (introduced by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago) is the Youth Suicide Prevention Act of 2006. The bill’s explanatory note states that Filipinos committing or attempting suicide are getting younger over the years. The 2001 World Health Report revealed that in 53 countries, suicide turned out to a leading cause of death for young adults.