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13 DECEMBER 2007
RP COMMITTED TO UPHOLD CHILD RIGHTS
NEW YORK—The Philippines is firmly committed to protecting and promoting the rights of children and is fully aware of actions that need to be taken to alleviate their situation, particularly those in situations of armed conflict, the Philippine Mission to the United Nations said.
Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza Cabral made the statement in response to a recent study commissioned by the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) entitled "Unaccounted Lives: Children, Women and Conflict in the Philippines."
"The Philippines is sensitive to the needs of all children and we have responded to our own findings long before the release of this report with the creation of the Interagency Committee on Children Involved in Armed Conflict (IAC-CIAC)," said Secretary Cabral who is in New York as head of the Philippine Delegation to the Commemorative High Level Plenary Meeting Devoted to the Follow Up to the Outcome of the Special Session on Children.
According to Secretary Cabral, the IAC-CIAC, which is led by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and which has the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Foreign Affairs are members, has put in place its own monitoring and reporting system with a view to systematically addressing the concerns of children involved in armed conflict.
"The Philippines expresses its appreciation to UNICEF for its commitment to addressing the needs of all children and for the many laudable projects it has undertaken in the Philippines," Secretary Cabral said.
"While the Philippine Government may not agree with all the findings of the study, it recognizes the magnitude of the needs and aspirations of Filipino children and the value of the information this study provides, as it does the assistance that it receives from UNICEF," she added.
Ambassador Hilario G. Davide Jr., Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, also said that the Philippines is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strictly adheres to the provisions of this Convention. Only last month, the Philippines voted in favor of the resolution on the Rights of Child in the Third Committee of the 62nd General Assembly, he said.
"The Philippines has also taken several steps to prevent children from being affected by armed conflict and Philippine military authorities do not recruit or employ children," he said. "The Armed Forces of the Philippines never did nor does it field child soldiers."
"The Philippine government is making every effort to ensure that no child is affected by armed conflict and the few captured for their involvement with non-state actors are being reintegrated into society," the Ambassador added.
According to the former Supreme Court Chief Justice, the Philippine Government has also passed legislations that ensure the protection, growth and development of children. During his time as Chief Justice, the Supreme Court also promulgated various rules for the protection of children.
The Ambassador, who was a member of both the 1971 Constitutional Convention and the 1986 Constitutional Commission, also cited Article XV of the 1986 Philippine Constitution which directs the State to defend the rights of children to assistance, including proper care and protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development. ###
ELMER G. CATO Second Secretary & Press Officer Philippine Mission to the United Nations 556 Fifth Avenue, Fifth Floor New York, New York 10036 Tel. No. 212.764.1300 Extension 38
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