Rights, obligations asserted in 1st Cordillera children, youth confab
by Alf SJ. Tulagan
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (29 October) -- Knowing your rights and doing your obligation summed up Baguio City Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda's speech in the 1st Cordillera Children and Youth Conference held at Agricultural Training Institute, Benguet State University campus last October 25-26.
Tabanda, a children, women and family advocate, said that while government provides opportunities for children and youth welfare, it should likewise take action for their welfare and empowerment.
Speaking before children, cadets from Philippine Military Academy, out-of-school-youth, youth from Sanggunian Kabataan region-wide, and representatives from various local councils for the protection of children, Tabanda said children and youth should not only know their rights, but perform their obligation as well.
"Bata, bata, may karapatan ka, pero alalahanin, bata, bata, may obligasyon ka rin," Tabanda said adding that children and youth should do their obligation by taking active roles in decision-making process.
She asked the Regional Committee for the Welfare of Children (RCWC) as organizer of the children-youth congress, with Department of Social Welfare and Develoment-Cordillera as lead agency, to record their output in the two-day leadership and skills workshops for inclusion in the city/regional council meetings to strengthen the local code for children (LCC).
With the conference theme "Healthy and Bright Child: Karapatan Nasa 'Yo, Isigaw sa Buong Mundo," Tabanda called for active participation of the youth in community building, and reminded parents for responsible upbringing of their children.
Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Regional Coordinator Jill Tabuo presented the consolidated Cordillera children's situationer where out of Cordillera population of 1,365,412 (NSO, 2004), 641,550 or 47% are children.
The report dealt with matters on health, malnutrition, immunization, birth registration, survival rate of children on education, child abuse and labor, and other child-youth concerns. Alarming data were recorded about suicide, alcoholism and drug use.
According to regional DSWD 2004 report, 24 out of 100 youth considered suicide, making CAR as ranked 1 nationwide. CAR is also 3rd nationwide in terms of alcoholic beverages consumption at 76%. In terms of drug abuse, 14 out 100 Cordillera youth used drugs, commonly marijuana, making Cordillera fourth nationwide.
The conduct of the children and youth conference is in accordance to the national commitment to the UN's Millennium Development Goals to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, universal primary education, gender equality, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, and ensure environmental sustainability. (PIA CAR) [top]