(by Dang Samson Garcia)

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian sought the creation and filling of more plantilla positions under the Early Childhood Care and Development Council to ensure the effective implementation of ECCD programs.

Gatchalian said that there are only 15 plantilla positions under the ECCD Council which prevents the body from effectively engaging local government units.

Under Republic Act 10410 or the Early Years Act of 2013, the ECCD Council is mandated to implement the National ECCD System, which covers the full range of health, nutrition, early education, and social services development programs for the basic holistic needs of children until the age of four.

“We need to increase plantilla positions so we can engage local government units faster. Without the manpower, we cannot mobilize our local government units to strengthen ECCD in the country, to achieve universal coverage, and to produce high-quality child development teachers and workers,” Gatchalian said.

He proposed the reallocation of some of the ECCD Council’s funds for the creation of plantilla positions.He said that while the construction of National Child Development Centers is not a mandate of the ECCD Council, the National Expenditure Program 2024 allocates P170 million under the ECCD Council’s Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses.

The senator suggested using some of these funds to create plantilla positions for the ECCD Council, whose functions also include the development of a national system for early identification, screening, and surveillance of young children aged zero to four.

Gatchalian earlier filed the Basic Education and Early Childhood Education Alignment Act or the Senate Bill 2029 to strengthen ECCD in the country.