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[ KKPP DEPARTMENT ORDER NO. 44, S. 1994, March 18, 1996 ]


The following guidelines for services to Children in Situations of Armed Conflict (CSAC) are hereby approved for immediate implementation:



Political armed conflict has been raging the country-side for several years and it has continually intensified and became threathening in most of the country’s provinces. Since 1986, 42 or 58% of the provinces in the country have experienced recurring incidences of armed conflict which have caused the displacement of 1.3 Filipinos. Data from the Citizen’s Disaster Response Center (CDRC) indicates that in 1991, there were documented cases of 31,862 families with 173,362 individuals who were displaced due to armed conflict situations. Of this number, 96,892 or 55.89% were children of whom 6.9% were below one (1) year old; 21.4% were between 1-4 years old; 30.8% were between 5-9 years old; 26% were between 10-14 years old and 14.9% were between 15-18 years old. Mindanao has the highest share of displaced individuals with 56.9%, followed by the Visayas region with 27% and Luzon with 16.1%.

The effects of armed conflict and forced displacement to children, mostly belonging to the poorest sector of the Philippine society are particularly serious. Armed conflict serve to aggravate an already extreme situation of poverty, hunger, poor health and meager education. Children are most often physically threathened with death or injury, prone to diseases and could suffer from malnutrition, inadequate schooling, stunted growth, homelessness or abandonement. What is less visible is the damaging psychosocial effects of the violence on child development. There are studies which indicate that children who have actual experiences during armed conflict may suffer emotional disorders and develop social maladjustments. They may also exhibit the usual signs of nervousness, anxiety, extreme fear with flashbacks of images or recurrent nightmares and incessant crying among others. They could likewise manifest such behaviors as withdrawal, depression, irritability and aggressiveness. The display of psychosomatic symptoms like lack of appetite, frequent headaches, bedwetting and soiling as well as stomach ache are also observable. These symptoms often restrict normal social functioning of the child.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development has been providing relief assistance and other support services to victims of both natural and man-made calamities including political armed conflict. Review of these services indicate some lack on basic and child-focused interventions as well as special services for the different categories of CSAC, e.g. combatants and unaccompanied children. A need for long term rehabilitation services which are geared towards the child’s normal development is also imperative. Even when armed hostilities cannot be prevented the effects of such situations maybe reduced by maintaining key services in vulnerable areas before, during and after the outbreak of armed conflict.

As the Philippines is a State Party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and a signatory to the World Declaration in the Survival, Protection and Development of Children, we are committed to provide greater opportunities for the protection and total development of children in especially difficult circumstances including children in situations of armed conflict.

It is in this context that these guidelines are formulated so as to enable social workers of DSWD and the Local Government Units respond to the identified needs and problems of children in situations of armed conflict thereby ultimately responding to the Philippine Plan of Action for Children for the Year 2000 and Beyond.


Legal Bases

1. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - Article 38 and 39 provide for the protection of children victims of armed conflict and promotes physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of any form of neglect, exploitation, abuse, torture or any form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment; or armed conflict. Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

2. Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions provides for the protection of the civilian populations and individual civilians particularly children against dangers arising from military operations.

3. The rights of children and youth to welfare services is guaranteed and expressedly provided for in the Philippine Constitution of 1986. Article XV of the Declaration of Principles and the state policies articulates the guiding policies for social welfare and services for children. Specifically, it stipulates the right of children to assistance including proper care and nutrition and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development.

4. Presidential Decree 603 of 1974 highlights major policies for special categories of children and provides in Article 140 that in case of earthquake, flood, storm, conflagration, epidemic or other calamity, the state shall give assistance to children whenever necessary. In addition, the Code empowers the Department of Social Welfare and Development to take immediate custody of the dependent children and give temporary shelter to orphaned or displaced children.

5. Executive Order No. 123 which reorganized the Ministry of Social Welfare and Development in 1987 has put to task the Department to provide relief and rehabilitation to victims of natural calamities and social disorganization.

6. Article X of Republic Act 7610 - “An Act Providing for Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination” provides for the protection of CSAC. Specifically, Sec. 23 and 24 of the same law provides that children shall be given priority during evacuation as a result of armed conflict and provide them with facilities in temporary shelters which will enable them lead a normal family life.


Definition of Terms

1. Children in Situations of Armed Conflict (CSAC) — are children below 18 years of age who are:

a. displaced as a result of armed conflict

b. physically weakened, abandoned, orphaned or disabled

c. emotionally traumatized as a result of armed conflict

d. child combatants and those mobilized as guides, couriers and other conflict-related activities

e. out-of-school due to armed conflict

2. Emergency — a crisis such as war, conflict or natural disaster.

3. Armed Conflict — Refers to any conflict between government forces and organized groups which involves the actual use of armed force and which disrupts normal, social, economic, political and cultural activities in a specific geographical area.


General Policies

1. The concept of children as Zone of Peace shall be continuously advocated to ensure that children are protected from harm and provided access to essential services that assure their survival and well-being.

2. Preparedness is essential to ensure that child welfare services are available to children in situations of armed conflict.

3. Children shall be given priority attention during rescue and evacuation. They must be the first to be rescued, evacuated and to receive aid.

4. Evacuations shall be organized and at least one parent or an older member of the family shall accompany any child who is rescued from an emergency situation.

5. Evacuation centers shall be provided adequate facilities and other basic provisions to enable families lead a normal life.

6. In emergencies, efforts shall be made to prevent separation of children from their families. It shall be ensured that children receive appropriate care and protection.

7. Unaccompanied children shall be immediately identified, assessed and provided with necessary services/ interventions.

8. Parents and other members of unaccompanied children shall immediately be located through tracing and other services.

9. Reunification of unaccompanied children with their families shall be worked out immediately unless such is contrary to the child’s best interest. Special efforts shall be taken to facilitate and support family reunification.

10. Family care within the child’s own community shall be considered as the first placement option.

11. Residential/institutional care shall be considered when family and group placements are not possible. It shall be considered as last resort.


Implementing Guidelines

The guidelines will spell out series of procedures on the following:

a) monitoring and reporting of children in situations of armed conflict;

b) services and activities in each of the three (3) phases of the disaster continuum namely: the Pre-emergency phase, Emergency and Rehabilitation phase;

c) management of unaccompanied children; and

d) management of children arrested for reasons related to armed conflict.

A. Monitoring and reporting of children in situation of armed conflict

1. As a safeguard measure to ensure the safety and protection of children, the Chairman of the affected barangay shall submit a report including the names of children residing in said barangay to the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer (MSWDO) within 24 hours (1 day) from the occurence of armed conflict. The list shall be requested by the MSWDO from the Barangay Chairman through the chairman of the Municipal Development Coordinating Council.

2. Submission of such report/list will enable the MSWDO to check the care and aid of children as guaranteed under Protocol II.

3. The MSWDO shall in turn forward the report/list to the DSWD field office within one day from receipt of the report from the Barangay Chairman.

4. The DSWD Field office shall furnish the Commission on Human Rights Regional office a copy of the report within 2 days from receipt of the report from the MSWDO for documentation and monitoring purposes.

5. The report shall become the basis for whatever action the agencies concerned shall undertake for the best interest and welfare of the child victim and their families.

(See Appendices* A & B for the reporting form and flow of reports)

B. Services and activities in each of the three (3) phases of the disaster continuum namely: the Pre-emergency phase; Emergency and Rehabilitation phase. The pre-emergency phase and emergency phase shall be the main responsibility of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer (MSWDO) of the Local Government Unit while the rehabilitation phase is a shared responsibility of the MSWDO and the SWO II of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

1. Pre-emergency phase - focuses on prevention, mitigation and preparedness measures in anticipation of an impending danger or hazard. Before the outbreak of an armed conflict, the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer (MSWDO) shall:

1.1 Dessiminate policies and guidelines to the Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC) chairman as they will be responsible in deciding on the policy of no-food blockade if there are military operations in the area.

1.2 Strengthen the MPOC to enable them formulate plans and mitigation strategies and ensure the implementation of these plans in vulnerable areas.

1.3 Organize the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children. If not functional organize relief/ rehabilitation committees and outline together with the heads of the committees the tasks and functions of each committee.

1.4 Identify areas/barangays that are vulnerable to armed conflict and conduct a survey of the number of families and children who are likely to be affected.

1.5 Prepare a masterlist of families with a separate listing of children below 18 years of age with the aid of community volunteers.

1.6 Assess needs and problems of children and their families with the participation of the community people.

1.7 Coordinate with the Department of Health to ensure immunization of children against the six (6) immunizable diseases.

1.8 Identify evacuation areas/centers prior to the operation for possible evacuation of children and civilians from the combat areas.

1.9 Identify and discuss with the people evacuation plan including the route to evacuation centers.

1.10 Identify and train volunteers composing the different disaster preparedness committees/teams of the barangays who shall be assigned to look after the welfare of children per center. The training shall give emphasis on the roles of volunteers in providing care/assistance to children and detecting severely traumatized children needing therapeutic interventions.

1.11 Estimate and requisition relief goods in the form of food stuff, clothing and medicines particularly for children (infants and toddlers) at risk.

1.12 Coordinate and equip the evacuation centers with:

a) facilities e.g. toilets, enough water etc. which will enable children and their families to lead a normal family life;

b) a separate space to be utilized as a nursery where newborn babies should be placed to prevent them from contracting contagious diseases;

c) an isolation quarter for children who contracted contagious diseases to avoid infection and epidemic.

1.13 Undertake information education activities regarding the rights of children.

1.14 Assist task committees in conducting drills and exercises relative to the handling of children during emergency operations.

1.15 Assist in identifying prospective foster families and refer to the Sr. Social Worker for assessment and licensing.

2. Emergency Phase - refers to the actual emergency situation in which immediate assistance is extended to respond to the needs of children. Upon receipt of warning of an impending armed conflict or at the onset of such, the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer shall:

2.1 Coordinate with the Rescue and Evacuation Team for the immediate transfer of families with children to an evacuation center.

2.2 Organize the evacuation of the children, women, etc. and at least one parent shall accompany any child who is rescued from the area.

2.3 Exert efforts to prevent separation of children from their families. Ensure that members of the same family shall be housed in the same premises.

2.4 Make available all center workers and core of trained volunteers at all times to attend to the needs of children.

2.5 Make an initial assessment of the needs of the children as follows:

a. those needing immediate medical care/attention

b. those separated from their parents/immediate relatives or unaccompanied children

2.6 Ensure that:

a. Evacuation centers with a capacity of below 360 families shall have Disaster Welfare Inquiry Desk with 1 regular staff as Evacuation Center Head and 3-4 volunteers who shall be responsible in the effective management of evacuation center.

b. Evacuation centers with a capacity of above 300-500 families shall have 1 Social Welfare Officer as Center Head; 1 Social Welfare Assistant to handle the Disaster Welfare Inquiry Desk; 1 Welfare Assistant to take charge of reporting/ receiving and records keeping; 5-8 volunteers.

c. A separate survey and masterlisting of children inside the evacuation center shall be conducted. This responsibility shall be lodged to the Disaster Welfare Inquiry Desk. In addition to its main function, the Desk shall become the information point to receive reports of and systematically register and document children in evacuation centers. The staff incharged of this Desk shall respond to querries as to unaccompanied children as well as parents searching for their children. She/he should likewise coordinate activities and services for children.

d. There shall be trained volunteers to look into the needs and welfare of children.

e. There shall be a designated team leader and assistant from the organized family evacuees who shall look into the following activities:

    * cleanliness

    * Community kitchen/mass feeding and food preparations

    * sports and recreation

    * Drills/exercises

2.7 Ensure that the basic needs of children and their families are met at the evacuation center.

a) Children and nursing mothers shall be given additional food in proportion to their physical needs.

b) Appropriate clothing shall be provided to infants and children.

c) Early childhood care and development shall be provided to children 0-6 years old. Older children who are 7-13 years old shall be enrolled in the nearest public school in the area.

However, during their free time, Supervised Neighborhood Play shall be initiated. Trained community volunteers and people’s organizations can aid in initiating these activities.

d) Whenever feasible, children shall be given opportunities for physical exercise, sports and out-door games.

e) Indoor games, art materials and other recreational materials like scrabble, chess, etc. shall be made available.

f) Older children/youth who are out-of-school can be organized into groups so that they can be mobilized to give assistance to smaller children.

e) Other concerned agencies both GOs and NGOs shall be tapped to provide other services that maybe needed.

2.8 Conduct the Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) as a preventive stress management strategy designed to assist affected people in handling normal severe stress. Especially for young children, intervention strategies include encouraging them to express fears, anxieties regarding the experience through stories, drawings and use of coloring books. The SWO II shall help in conducting these activities.

2.9 See to it that meetings with volunteers are conducted to ensure regular feedbacking on other requirements and interventions that might be needed by the children.

2.10 Consolidate reports submitted by volunteers with emphasis on unaccompanied and severely traumatized children.

2.11 See to it that children’s stay in an evacuation center should be kept to a minimum.

2.12 Keep track of the child’s progress and make the necessary referral to other professionals to meet other needs.

D. Management of Unaccompanied Children

1. Identification

1.1. Unaccompanied children shall be immediately reported or identified by the social worker. The first source of information shall be the people themselves, community leaders and the Local Council for the Protection of Children. Data from the Welfare Inquiry Desk shall likewise be utilized.

1.2. As soon as identified, unaccompanied children shall be registered and photographed to include his/her name, his present location and reference number. Use the form on CSAC. (Appendix A)

1.3. Remember that the time lost before interviewing the child would mean “information lost” particularly about the circumstances of a family separation which has taken place recently, hence immediately interview the child upon identification. However, a child may react differently when asked to give information on him/herself and his/her family depending on the degree of trauma, fear and shyness. Use different approaches which will involve other children like play, story telling, arts and crafts etc. Any accompanying adult or person who brought the child shall also be interviewed on circumstances on finding the child, names of people who know the child, if any.

1.4. Individual files/dossiers shall be maintained for each child where recordings of relevant information about the child shall be reflected to include:
1. profile of child




    educational background

    skills, etc.

2. family background

3. circumstances on how child was found including child’s physical appearance and behavior

4. information about immediate relatives

5. action plans to include tracing and possible reunification with parents/relatives
1.5 An unaccompanied child shall immediately be placed in an appropriate and caring foster family within the community. This is essential for children under three years old.

1.6 In cases where foster families are not available, the child shall be placed in a residential facility.

2. Tracing

2.1. Tracing in general can be facilitated through the use of a child’s photograph which contain the name, reference number and location. This shall be posted on special bulletin boards in community centers, and other strategic places like the church, Kapilya, clinic or market place.

2.2 The social worker in the area shall network with the rescue and evacuation committee members, other GOs and non-government agencies, local councils and other community leaders who may have ready and available data regarding the family and relatives of the child.

3. Family reunification

3.1 The social worker shall ensure that unaccompanied children are reunited with their parents once located and identified. However, before the child is returned to his/her parents there shall be some safeguard to insure that the child is being claimed by his/her real parents or relatives.

3.2 Ask from supposedly parent/relative of the child some documentation as birth certificate, picture of the child, etc. In the absence of such documents, establish relationship thru observation of the child’s behavior toward the person who claims her/him. The social worker shall be keen in noting attitudes and behavior of child to establish that a relationship exists between them.

3.3 In cases where parents/relatives of the child could not be located, immediate transfer of the child to a licensed foster homes or a residential facility shall be facilitated.

D. Rehabilitation Phase — Rehabilitation phase of the disaster continuum refers to the physical and psychological recovery and reintegration of children victims of armed conflict their families and communities. Both reactive and proactivate services shall be provided by the direct service workers during this phase. The Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer shall provide alternative education for children, livelihood and housing for families of these children and other services as maybe needed.

The SWO II shall provide therapeutic interventions such as play therapy, psycho drama, music and movement therapy, and other appropriate interventions for severely traumatized children.

Specifically, the following are the responsibilities of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer:

1. Conduct a thorough study of children as well as their families’ needs for continuous rehabilitation e.g. alternative education, livelihood, housing, job placement, etc.

2. Plan for a long term assistance which should not only be in the context of the identified need seen by the worker and the client but more importantly also in the context of the individuals existing system of beliefs and rituals.

3. Reassess severely traumatized children identified by the trained community volunteers and come up with an initial case study report indicating the need for a more indepth therapeutic management by the interdisciplinary team.

4. Refer case to the Senior Social Worker (SWO II) or the interdisciplinary team covering the area. Transfer of the case shall be done in a case conference with the MSWDO and the interdisciplinary team to discuss initial assessment and recommendations.

5. Continue to provide support services responsive to the expressed need of the family.

Psychological recovery is a long-term process which requires the expert handling of a well-trained and specialized professional workers. An interdisciplinary team which shall be composed by a trained Senior Social Worker, a Psychologist and Psychiatrist (as necessary) shall handle this aspect. DSWD psychologists assigned in centers can be utilized as member of the interdisciplinary team. In field offices where there are no psychologists in the centers, psychologists from NGOs can be tapped to helped out.

Specifically, the SWO II shall have the following responsibilities:

1. Work with the clinical psychologist/psychiatrist in assessing the extent of psychological damage to the child brought about by her/his exposure to armed conflict. Specifically, the Sr. Social Worker shall assess the social functioning of the child.

2. Initiate the conduct of a regular case conference to discuss findings of the psychologist, the psychiatrist and her own findings on the child and come up with a comprehensive treatment plans.

3. Formulate social case study report indicating the analysis of the case and treatment plans to be implemented by the Interdisciplinary team.

4. Play an active role in the conduct of appropriate treatment modalities as play therapy, psycho-drama, music and movement therapy in addition to casework and counselling sessions being conducted.

5. Continuously evaluate and document the progress of the child/family vis-a-vis the treatment plan in coordination with the interdisciplinary team.

6. Work closely with the SWO III in the community for the provision of support services to the family if need be.

7. Keeps a case folder for each child and observe confidentiality.

E. Management of Children Suspected as Combatants, Couriers, Guide or Spy

Similar socio-legal services which are provided to youth offenders shall be provided to these children. Specifically, the SWO II shall:

1. Upon knowledge of a child/youth arrested for reasons due to armed conflict, i.e. he is suspected as a combatant, guide, spy or a courier, inquire from reliable sources where the child is detained such as in municipal/provincial jail or military camp or detachment/ detention center.

2. Visit the child and ensure that the child is being treated humanely or in quarters separate from adult offenders.

3. Inform the child’s parents and other members of the family of the fact of his arrest and ensure that he is given all the facilities to communicate with his/her family. See to it also that he undergoes medical examination.

4. Conduct a case study and prepare the needed case study report. Take note that the child cannot be detained inside any prison cell for more than twenty-four (24) hours. The case study shall focus on the following:


- personality pattern and characteristics of the youth, i.e. basic attitudes towards authority and society.

- role performance

- Relationship with parents, siblings, peers and other members of the family

- School performance

- Affiliation to a youth group in the community

- Beliefs and practices


- Number of siblings and youth’s ordinal position, marital status and relationship of parents, patterns of child rearing, discipline

- Occupation of parents, income, sources of income and management of income

- Communication pattern in the family


- Type of community

Circumstances leading to his involvement with the rebels or any armed group

5. Work for the child’s release on recognizance by facilitating provision of his legal counsel. Coordinate with the Public Attorney’s Office, Commission on Human Rights and other NGOs e.g. Task Force Detainees, FLAG and others.

6. See to it that detention pending trial is used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest period of time. The social worker shall ensure the following during the child’s detention:

1. He is provided with comfortable sleeping paraphernalia and quarters like any other youth offender.

2. He is provided with a well-balanced diet suitable to the child’s nutritional needs.

3. He is allowed to wear his own clothing at his own option if it is clean.

4. He is visited by a doctor and afforded immediate medical check-up especially when he sustains physical injuries or suffering from trauma. If his condition requires confinement in a hospital he should be brought to the nearest hospital having the facilities to administer the proper treatment.

5. He is provided with assistance re: social, educational, vocational and psychological inside the detention cell.

7. Prepare licensed foster homes and other responsible persons in the community who can take custody of minors release within twenty-four (24) hours to the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Conduct an immediate and thorough study of relatives and other responsible persons to be recommended as custodian of the child pending trial.

8. Request for the speedy trial of the case so that the court could order the suspension of all proceedings and commitment of the child to DSWD on suspended sentence, depending on the result of the study conducted by the social worker.

9. The child could be released to the community or the Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (RRCY) while on suspended sentence.

10. Provide the child and his family the needed social services which will help in the rehabilitation of the child together with his family.

11. For children who are released from the Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (RRCY), after care services shall be provided to ensure the smooth adjustment of the child in the community after undergoing rehabilitation at the center.


Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and provision of technical assistance shall be done at least once a month by the Regional Social Welfare Specialist of the Field Office and once every quarter by the Bureau to areas with incidence of armed conflict. Training on Disaster Management and Crisis Intervention for CSAC was already provided to the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officers and Senior Social Workers (or SWO IIs) in Regions V, VII, VIII, X, XI & ARMM.

A year-end evaluation shall be conducted to assess whether the objectives of the service are met and assess its impact to the children served. The evaluation results could be the basis for re-planning to improve service implementation.

For implementation.



Instructions on How to Fill-up CSAC Form I

1. Location of evacuation center - state the complete name of the school/center being used as evacuation center and the complete address where the center is situated.

2. Name — write the complete name of the child including his/her middle name.

3. Age }Indicate the child’s age

4. Date of } Indicate the month, day and year
    Birth     } the child was born

5. Sex} Indicate the child’s gender Ex. M if male and F if female

6. Address — state the complete address and indicate the sitio, barangay and municipality where the child and his/her family was residing before the outbreak of the armed conflict.

7. Educational Attainment — Indicate the grade, year of the child in school the child has attended Grade II or 4th year high school.

8. Educational Status — Indicate if child was inschool, has been out-of-school or has not gone to school prior to the outbreak of armed conflict by checking the column OSY/ISY/not gone to school

9. Name of Parents — Indicate complete name of father and mother; if he/she is with relatives or guardian. State the complete name of the relative or guardian.

10. Status in evacuation center — state the complete name of the parents if child is with parents; state the complete name of relatives if child is with a relative; state the complete name of the sibling if child is with a sibling. If child is unaccompanied, state the reason or circumstances why he/she is not with parents, relatives or guardian. Put a check on whether the child is sick, injured, dead upon registration.

11. Remarks — Indicate any comments found to be relevant or with significance in assessing the case.

12. Date covered — reflect the date covered by the report

* Not included here.
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