The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) delineates the rights of children which include the following: the right to express their opinions, and have their opinions and calls acted upon; the right to peaceful assembly and to be protected from abuse or exploitation; and the right to have their privacy protected.
The Philippines, a democratic country and a member of the United Nations, is a signatory of the UNCRC, and as such, promotes the welfare and rights of children in all aspects -- civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural. Such participation and active promotion of children’s welfare is in harmony with Section 13, Article II (Declaration of Principles and State Policies) of the Philippine Constitution, which states: “The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.”
In a resarch commissioned by the CWC through the National Committee for Child and Youth Participation (NCCYP), children who have been allowed to actively participate in family and civic matters are more likely to be more confident in decision-making and in leadership roles. These children with more meaningful involvement become more of “achievers”.
The NCCYP-commissioned study entitled “Case Studies on Child Participation in the Philippines” conducted by Dr. Henry R. Ruiz yielded some of the noteworthy findings/conclusions:
1. The children and youth participation (CYP) in various activities in their own community-based associations and in various undertakings initiated by their respective sponsor agencies has been able to create affirmative and encouraging impact among children. These were clearly illustrated in terms of changes in personality, attitude and behavior, relationship with family, friends, peers, adults and with the community as a whole.
2. More specifically, CYP has been able to create changes in children’s level of awareness of their rights, expressive skills, self-confidence and self-esteem, and desirable social behavior. The children’s responses demonstrated strong emphasis on development and enhancement of their social-orientation and social skills. CYP had a positive impact not only on children but also on their parents, teachers, community leaders and agency workers.
3. Because of these changes, the children said they were more in a position now to protect themselves from potential abuse or exploitation.
These results reflect the importance of giving children the opportunity to be active participants in family and community-based endeavors as this develops the person’s character and well-being.
The government, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development and its attached agency-- the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), is in the forefront in building a society that recognizes the worth of children and the youth in nation-building.
Programs such as the “Zero Streetchildren in Ten Priority areas in Metro Manila”, Local Council for the Protection of Children, “Bright Child”, and laws such as the Juvenile Law are all in consideration of the welfare of the youth who are aptly labeled “hope of the nation”.
The month of October is also National Children’s Month and the celebration is a reminder of the rights of children to positive filial and socio-civic participation. This year’s theme “Local Council for the Protection of Children para sa Bright Child: Pakilusin, Palakasin, Pagtulungan Natin!” also calls for the combined efforts of the local government units to protect and empower children.
Earlier, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has called on local government units to create a child-friendly society in celebration of National Children's Month. DILG Secretary Jesse M. Robredo lauded Proclamation No. 267, describing the observance of National Children's Month as "recognition of Filipino children as the most valuable assets of the nation and their vital role in nation-building.”
This year’s celebration is filled with various activities for children. Some of which are seminars, film-showings, productions, competitions, etc. that hope to enrich the child’s intellectual, emotional, and social experience.
The Museo Pambata (MP) will also hold an arts festival on Oct. 29 where kids can learn more about their rights and responsibilities. The MP Children's Arts Fest 2011, with theme “Dahil Siya ay Bata: Kakampi ang Komunidad sa Pagsulong ng Karapatang Pambata,” aims to advocate children's rights and encourage understanding through learning booths.
There will also be a “Forum Para Sa Mga Bata: “Palakasin, LCPC Ko” on October 24, as well as Cine Pambata Film Festival on 22-23 Oct. (w/ National Council for Children’s Television) which would include theater workshops, theater plays, and film showings.