MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives has approved
on third reading a bill recognizing the early years from zero to six as the first crucial stage of child development.
House Bill 5246 authored by Sorsogon Rep. Salvador Escudero III, chairman of the committee on basic education and culture, seeks to expand and improve the comprehensive early childhood care and education program especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
“The measure aims to promote the rights of children to survival, development and special protection as well as support parents in their roles as primary caregivers and as their children’s first teachers,” Escudero said.
Escudero said that under the bill, the government will be mandated to institutionalize a comprehensive, integrative and suitable National System for Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) that involves multi-sectoral and inter-agency collaboration at the national and local levels.
“Government should collaborate with service providers, families and communities, public and private sectors, non-government organizations, professional associations and academic institutions to implement social development programs that provide for the basic holistic needs of young children from zero to age six and promote their optimum growth and development,” Escudero stressed.
Escudero said the system aims to promote the inclusion of children with special needs and advocate respect for cultural and linguistic diversity.
He said that the system will be anchored on complementary strategies for ECCD that include service delivery for children below zero to age six, educating parents and caregivers, encouraging the active involvement of parents and communities in ECCD programs, raising awareness about the important efforts that improve the quality of life for young children and families.
Escudero said the bill also mandates the ECCD Council to provide the full range of health, nutrition, early education and social services programs for the child’s holistic development.
The measure seeks to amend Republic Act 8980 otherwise known as “An Act Promulgating a Comprehensive Policy and a National System for Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD), Providing Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes.”