Platforms of presidential hopefuls must carry response to needs of children, say child rights advocates
Davao City (29 October) -- In a multi-sectoral forum on the rights of the child held today at Club Filipino, advocates call on electorates to seek for presidential candidates who are sensitive to the needs of children.
The forum was organized by the Child Rights Network (CRN) to present both the government's official report and the NGO alternative report on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC), which was ratified by the Philippine government in 1990.
The UN CRC is an international convention that outlines the civil, economic, social, and cultural rights of children. Integral to its full compliance is for the counties including the Philippines to regularly submit periodic report on the progress of implementation on the numerous articles contained in the CRC.
Speaking before representatives of various government agencies and non-government and community based organizations, Atty. Alberto Muyot of the United Nation Children's Fund (UNICEF) said that the next president should promote programs that will address children issues.
Highlighted in his concluding observations on the implementation of UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) is the call for the enactment of the Anti-Corporal Punishment, Anti-Torture, Anti-Child Pornography, and Foster Care bills.
According to Muyot, the recommendation to enact said bills has already been stated in the second country report but Congress was not able to act on these urgent measures. Muyot said, "in 2017, the Philippines will have to submit the next report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child and that would mean a good eight years for the next president to act on the recommendations that emanates from the reports of the government, the alternative report by non-government organizations and the recommendations of the United Nations." He added, "it is the responsibility of the next president to start acting on these recommendations from the time he assume his position."
Meanwhile, Rowena Cordero of Save the Children lamented the lack of governments programs that will address the problems affecting children. Ms. Cordero said, "for a long time, the government lacks the ability to address specific children issues like disaster preparedness, relief and rehabilitation of children." She added, "there is even no disaggregated data on children affected by recent disasters."
On another note, Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH) is another issue highlighted in the alternative report presented by Ms. Cordero. The study revealed continues increase in the number of young people engaging in risky sexual behaviors. The Philippine NGO Coalition, which prepared the alternative report, endorses the passage of the Reproductive Health and Population Development Act. Ms Cordero said, "we are calling for the immediate passage of said bill so that budget can be allocated by the government for adolescent reproductive health education and other services."(PLCPD) [top]