In the presence of her fellow public servants, some of whom also share in her vast experience as a human rights worker, Minority Floor Leader MP Atty. Laisa Masuhud Alamia led the groundbreaking ceremony of the first Bahay Pag-asa center in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). 

It is part of the Intergovernmental Partnership on Juvenile Justice and Welfare in the BARMM, which is a multi-phase project that will strengthen the juvenile justice and welfare system in the region. This includes the construction and establishment of a BPA in every province of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“Every time we talk about children in conflict with the law (CICL), it fills us with deep regret whenever we realize that a 12-year-old has already spent three years in the provincial jail or detention center with adults, and was left there with little support or supervision,” MP Alamia shared. “Imagine, that child has already lost opportunities to learn and study in school, and he could have been under rehabilitation and recovery while his case was pending.”

In her message, MP Alami highlighted the role of the state in protecting the rights of children at risk and children in conflict with the law. 

“If we want a child rights-compliant juvenile justice system,” she said, “we need to have proper care and rehabilitation services and this requires adequate child-friendly rehabilitation facilities with a functioning system that upholds child’s rights across the country.”

“This is what the Bahay Pag-asa is for,” MP Alamia stressed.

Lamitan City Mayor Rose Furigay, represented by City Administrator Ligaya Buenaventura, expressed their gratitude to the Office of the Minority Floor Leader, the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), the provincial government of Basilan, and all development partners present in the event. 

“We hope to advance the rights of children at risk and children in conflict with the law,” Buenaventura said, “and with the first ever Bahay Pag-asa in BARMM, we can protect them and provide necessary intervention to help them become better members of society.”

Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Anwari Akalun echoed the same sentiment in his message. He said that they can now “better respond to the needs of children at risk and children in conflict with the law with the Bahay Pag-asa,” and described the groundbreaking event as historical.

“The implementation of this project is now ready in the island province of Basilan,” said Engr. Kasim Hasanin, Asst. District Engineer of the MPW. “The Bahay Pag-asa aims to serve as a home filled with comfort as it provides guidance for CICL. We see this center as a ray of hope for those shackled by crimes, helping and giving them a clean slate to start anew.”

Also present in the event were Atty. Alman-Najar Namla of the Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission, Atty. Rosebell Sanson of the Provincial Legal Office, Captain Mary Anne Saykalabe of the Basilan Provincial Police, Pearly Tacorda of the City Social Welfare Office of Lamitan City, members of Tiyakap Kalilintad who also represented the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Jose Rebueno of  Plan International, Dr. Arlyn Jawad Jumao-as of Save the Children of War Basilan and Nixon Alonzo of PDRRMO Basilan.