The City Council formalized Monday the institutionalization of the Bahay Pag-Asa, a 24-hour care center for at-risk minors aged 15 to 18 in Barangay Mangingisda.
The institutionalization through the passing of an ordinancegrants that the center has a secured budget appropriation every year in the city government’s general fund.
The facility was built and established during the administration of former city mayor Edward Hagedorn. According to vice mayor Maria Nancy Socrates, even though the Bahay Pag-Asa has had regular budget allocations every year, the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) pointed out that facility has been operating without an institutionalization ordinance.
“Matagal na rin naman ang Bahay Pag-Asa, at lagi naman itong mayroong budget. Pero napansin ng CSWDO na wala palang ordinance ito,” Socrates said in an interview on the same day.
Socrates added that the ordinance will now secure all the needed budget required by the facility to provide the best care for its charges.
“Maganda na na-institutionalize na ito dahil it means now we can also ask for assistance sa mga national agencies. Kasi maraming expenses ito, nandiyan ang pagkain para sa mga bata, para makatu”
In a copy of the draft ordinance obtained by Palawan News, no budgetary amount was specified. It also stated that the city government may enter into a public-private partnership (PPP) for maintaining and improving the Bahay Pag-Asa, or accept donations for the facility.
The center primarily serves as a temporary shelter children in conflict with the law while they await proper disposition or trial. The Bahay Pag-Asa also provides intervention services for children who have committed serious offenses, and also cares for children who have been abused, exploited, neglected or abandoned, or are living in an unsafe environment.