Following the 2022 Philippine general election, Save the Children Philippines issues the following statement:
Save the Children remains steadfast in our commitment to ensure that all children in the Philippines and around the world are afforded with every opportunity possible to grow, develop, be protected from all forms of violence, and participate in government decision-making as citizens.
Children in the Philippines have long faced difficulties in realizing the rights accorded to them by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Despite the government’s commitment to fulfil them, ineffective delivery of programs and services needed, as well as limited spaces for children’s participation in decision-making, have made the stakes higher and more pressing especially for children most impacted by inequality and discrimination, including those severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts, disasters and emergencies, and climate change.
We call on our duly-elected officials to ensure each and every child will live in safe and inclusive environments where they can enjoy their rights, grow as productive members of society, and have the future they deserve.
Further, we call on the new administration to:
• Adopt a multi-sectoral and holistic approach to child health, nutrition, and early childhood development to ensure that infants and young children are safe, healthy, and ready to learn at all times;
• Address learning gaps by building the learning competencies of learners, including children with disabilities, strengthening teacher professional development, ensuring that adequate mental health and psychosocial support are made available to learners to ensure their mental wellness, and providing appropriate facilities and adequate resources to support their optimum development;
• Come up with policies and programs with sufficient budgetary support to ensure children’s safe return to school, including the readiness of learners, teachers, and school facilities, and protection of children from COVID-19 and other emergencies;
• Enact and fully implement policies with adequate resources that will protect all children from all forms of violence and abuses, including physical and psychological abuse, particularly in the home setting, and that would strengthen children’s protection from online abuse and exploitation;
• Help children and their families bounce back from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and other natural hazards by stepping up cash assistance, livelihood employment, and social protection programs;
• Improve the readiness of children and communities to protect themselves from the impacts of climate change, conflict, and natural disasters and calamities through capacity building, awareness raising, and provisions for appropriate equipment and facilities that will improve the quality and timeliness of humanitarian response;
• Ensure that there are safe spaces for children, community groups and civil society organizations to engage with government, share their inputs and recommendations to ensure that government policies and programs are responsive to the issues they are seeking to address;
• Ensure full implementation of existing laws that support children’s enjoyment of their rights such as the Kalusugan ng Mag Nanay Act (RA 11148), Early Years Act (RA 10410), Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection (RA 10821), Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict (RA 11188), Instituting a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education Act (RA 11650), Alternative Learning System (RA 11510), Enhanced Basic Education (RA 10533), Prohibiting the Practice of Child Marriage (RA 11596), Raising the Age of Sexual Consent (RA 11648), Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act (RA 9334 as amended), Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination (RA 7610 as amended), and other laws that will ensure the survival, education, protection, participation, and development of children.
In this critical time of transition, Save the Children is calling on all elected officials to focus on the urgent needs of children, and to set out their solutions that will ensure the fulfilment and protection of children’s rights at all times. We hope to see a strong commitment to transparency and accountability in serving the Filipino people with integrity and competence to create a lasting positive change in the lives of children.