December 7, 2022

DECREE WORKS TOWARDS SAFE WORLD FOR CHILDREN

The Diocese of Novaliches is a child-friendly Diocese.

 

The most recent proof is the launch and signing of its Child Safeguarding Policy Decree on the occasion of its 20th Foundation Anniversary on December 7, 2022, at the Cathedral Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd along Regalado Avenue in Quezon City.

 

The drafting of the Decree was greatly supported by the Center for Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse [CPTCSA], a long-time partner of the Diocese that works towards a safe world for children free from sexual abuse and exploitation; and the Norwegian Mission Alliance Philippines, an institution that serves children and other vulnerable people in poor communities and makes them experience God’s love.

 “United with Pope Francis’ efforts, we envision a church of Novaliches that sides with children and vulnerable adults, having their best interest in mind at all times,” said Most Rev. Roberto O. Gaa, D.D, Bishop of Novaliches, in the Decree of Establishment.

 

The Decree puts into writing the Safeguarding Policies of the Diocese of Novaliches, which details the Child Safeguarding Policies, particularly the Reporting Mechanism, the Protocol for Case Management, and the Code of Conduct for the Clergy. It will soon be published through a Handbook and will be distributed to all collaborating institutions to initiate its immediate Diocesan-wide implementation.

 

“Among other things, this Handbook is a concrete expression of our communion with the Holy Father and our filial devotion and determined response to his call to protect every child in the Church, and in our local Church in particular,” The Bishop said.

 

Corollary to this is the creation of the Diocesan Safeguarding Office, whose primary task is the full implementation of the Child Safeguarding Policies.

 

An important component of the said office is the implementation of Tugon [response] or the Reporting Mechanism which is constituted ad hoc under the office of the Judicial Vicar and the Pastoral Care for Children and Vulnerable Adults [PCCVA].

 

“It is my hope that, in a Synodal Church, this office will further strengthen the institutional and normative framework of the Church to prevent and combat the abuses against minors and vulnerable persons in the Diocese of Novaliches,” declared Most Rev. Gaa.

 

On the same occasion, a Circular for implementing these policies was likewise signed by the Diocesan Clergy, the Religious, and the Laity.

 

Over the years, the Diocese has made its primary duty to create a safe environment for children that enables them to develop into mature Christian individuals. In 2005, it initiated the program, Pastoral Care for Women and Children, in partnership with the Salvatorian Pastoral Care for Children [SPCC], and culminated with the setting up four years later of the Talitha Koum Center, for the protection of children, located at the St. Peter Parish: Shrine of Leaders along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.

 

In 2011, the first Child-Friendly Parish Policy was drafted and adopted at St. Peter Parish, and eventually implemented in the Diocese. In February 2020, with the assistance of the CPTCSA, the PCCVA has expanded to 10 parishes, including Holy Trinity, Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje, Parokya ng Mabuting Pastol, Presentation of Our Lord, Shepherd, Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy, Sacred Heart, Epiphany of Our Lord, Our Lady of Lourdes, and Our Lady of Holy Rosary.

 

During this time, the PCCVA and the ten parishes initiated the drafting of the policies, which was finally realized with the support of CPTCSA and the Norwegian Mission Alliance Philippines.

BY: LULU NARIO