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PIA Press Release

Siquijor delivers 1st state of the children's report

by Rizalie A. Calibo

Siquijor (31 October) -- The Province of Siquijor has finally presented, its first State of the Children's Report during the Provincial Children's Contest held Wednesday (October 24) at the Lazi Social Center, Lazi, Siquijor.

Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Tomas Villarubia said the report was made after a series of consultation with local officials and the Provincial Council for the Welfare and Protection of Children (PCWP C).

He said that the State of the Children's Report is one of the "four gifts" for children a province has to provide to promote children's welfare and development in the different local government units.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has outlined these "gifts" as an indicator inpromoting and upholding the UN-Convention on the Rights of Children.

The three others are the Local Children's Code (LCC)), Local Development Plan for Children (LDPC) and the Local Investment Plan for Children (LIPC) which according to Villarubia were already in place in Siquijor.

The state of the children was presented in relation to the broad categories of child's rights - survival, protection, development and participation.

According to the report, with the health services accorded by the provincial and municipal health offices, survival rights of children in the province is well taken cared of.

"Our service providers gave pre-natal care to 73% mother-to be. Tetanus toxoid shots were provided to pregnant women in 2006," says the report.

59% of the total infant population, ages ranging from 8-11 months were recorded to be fully immunized and a hundred percent of infants were exclusively breastfed up to the fourth month which has been attributed to the health sector's efforts in advocating breastfeeding, also says the report.

As a consequence to these enormous efforts, infant mortality rate have lowered from 10.24% in 2004 down to 8% in 2006.

On the area of nutrition, the report said Operation Timbang result shows that there were 8,251 school children with normal weight requirement. 910 school children are below normal, and 346 are above normal. While, among the pre-schoolers, 89.12% are normal, 9.31% are below normal, 1.05 are above normal and only.58% are categorized to have below normal very low recorded birth weight.

In 2006, as per record of the NSO there were 1,712 registered births in the whole province.

To protect our children from abuse and neglect, programs such as Parent Effectiveness Service and Responsible Parenthood Service and Pre-Marriage Counseling are implemented.

The Provincial Government and all six municipal governments have also conducted series of orientations on Anti-Child Trafficking, RA 9208 or Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act of 2003, RA 7610, and RA 9262 or Anti-VAWC Act to ensure that the children are protected from commercial, sexual and other forms of exploitation, the report also said.

The Provincial Council for the Welfare and Protection of Children has been in active operation and has developed the Provincial Children's Code to maximize parental care and support for children.

Despite efforts of the government, there are still recorded cases on the different abuses involving children, the report also noted. In 2006 there were 5 reported rape cases involving female child victims year although lower compared to 12 cases in 2004, Of the cases, none was incestuous and there was no reported case on acts of lasciviousness. On cases of child abuse, there were 10 filed last year as against the 18 cases reported in 2004.

There were no cases of child engaged in sexual or commercial exploitation and no street children can be found in the Province.

Moreover, number of children who were in conflict with the law has lowered from 17 in 2004 down to 6 in 2006. Under the present Juvenile Justice System, all these children were given legal assistance.

Inventory efforts of the IPHO and PSWDO identified 206 children in the province who are classified as children with disability. Special care has been extended to these children through the Integrated Maternal and Child Health Program, Tetanus Toxoid Vaccination, Expanded Program on Immunization, Supplemental Feeding Program and the Special Education Program of the government, the report said.

Along with the development rights of children are the inherent rights to education, recreation, adequate standard of living, parental care and access to information.

Believing that better academic education access for the children lead to the total development of the province, the Provincial Government reported that there are 14 public and 7 private secondary high schools, 49 complete public elementary schools, 5 private elementary schools and 13 primary schools in Siquijor.

Cohort survival rate for elementary school was 88.28 and 68.79 for high school. Participation rate for elementary level was 73.34 and 42.33 for high school level. Completion rate for elementary level was 86.29, while for high school level it was 67.21. Drop out rate for elementary students was 0.56 while for high school students it was 4.07.

In terms of child participation the provincial government is trying its best to to uplift the children's social and spiritual development and involve then in the development process through the organization of Local Council for the Protection of Children in all levels, the Sangguniang Kabataan and other organizations involving the youths.

Meanwhile, human rights issues dominated the dialogue Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita held with members of the Filipino Community in the New Yorl-New Jersey area at the Philippine Center in New York City on the evening of Oct. 24 (New York time).

Ermita said the government has reawakened its focus on the protection and promotion of human rights, not only protecting those who may be targeted for their political beliefs but also those whose economic rights may be under threat, as well as the rights of women, children and other sectors. (PIA) [top]

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