House passes Early Years Act of 2011

The House of Representatives has recently approved on third reading a bill recognizing the early years from zero to six as the first crucial stage of development.

House Bill 5246 authored by Rep. Salvador Escudero III (1st District, Sorsogon) and Chairman of the House 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 the government shall institutionalize a National System for Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) that is comprehensive, integrative and sustainable 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 shall promote the inclusion of children with special needs and advocate respect for cultural and linguistic diversity. It shall 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.”

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