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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
Ms. Marie Yvette Banzon
Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines
to the United Nations

Agenda item 63 – Promotion and protection of the rights of children

New York, 16 October 2006

Mr. Chairman,

My government is elated to note that in the Secretary-General’s report on the follow up to the Special Session of the General Assembly on Children, there is a growing number of countries that are working to achieve the goals and commitments contained in the outcome document “A world fit for children”. We are also delighted by the fact that there is increased attention to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and to the concluding comments of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and other human rights instruments by States, recognizing them as frameworks for national plans of action on the issue.

Mr. Chairman,

The Philippines is happy to report that it has passed in April 2006 the Comprehensive Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act. This is my country’s response to the call of the Committee on the CRC to have a law on the concern stated in its concluding observations to the Philippines’ Second Report on the implementation of the CRC. This law raises the age of criminal liability; introduces a diversion program which would deal with youth offense cases without resorting to formal trial procedures; and establishes a juvenile justice and welfare council which shall monitor compliance and implementation of the law, including the creation of a monitoring office directly under the Department of Justice.

The Philippines has also initiated wide consultations on banning corporal punishment, which will eventually be another priority legislation. We have also held strategic planning on children and HIV-AIDS, and late last month, we have begun an ongoing series of regional training on the protection of children affected by armed conflict. We have also recently embarked on investigative studies and discussions with parents and children on how to improve efforts to combat child pornography.

In the Philippines, October is National Children’s Month. The special proclamation is aimed to emphasize the importance of the role of the child within the family and in society. We have lined up special awareness-raising activities and programs to highlight the various dimensions of children’s lives, putting the spotlight on the promotion of values, the rights of children, the social and developmental aspects of children’s lives, and addressing new challenges facing children.

This is my government’s demonstration of its commitment to protecting and promoting the rights and development of children.

Mr. Chairman,

The Philippines is also further intensifying its implementation of the Child 21 Plan, a national strategic framework plan for the development of children. A program under this plan called the “Bright Child Strategy” is a comprehensive undertaking to protect and promote the welfare of all Filipino children. It unifies the holistic program being implemented by the national and local government units and NGOs. The “Bright Child Strategy” also includes a component on effective parenting which equips parents and caregivers to enable them to respond to parental duties and responsibilities during early childhood development, the management of younger and older children, husband-wife relationship, the prevention of child abuse, health care and other challenges of parenting.

Mr. Chairman,

The Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the UN Special Session also highlighted the need to have more comprehensive solutions to resource mobilization in support of policies on children. In this vein, we continue to call on international partners, the UN system and international organizations to continue to assist States in their efforts to implement goals for children. We look forward to the review of the follow up to the Special Session on Children in a commemorative plenary in 2007 and share the aims of the session.

We would also like to express our appreciation of the report of the independent expert on the study on violence against children, which described and analyzed the violence that occurs at the different levels—from the home and family setting, the school and work environment, the community, including in foster care and justice settings, as well as in the international setting, as when violence against children crosses country borders. We acknowledge that there should be a conscious strategy to change mindsets and traditional practices that encourage or condone violence towards children. As the Philippines places paramount importance to the context of the home and family in ensuring the promotion of children’s welfare, we believe that the family- the natural environment for growth and well-being of children- must be supported in order that it can truly nurture children and protect them from all physical, emotional and psychological harm.

Mr. Chairman,

Our children are the ones that will inherit the earth and they deserve to be in a world that is fit for them to live in and grow up to be the best persons they can be. We have the responsibility to ensure that this vision becomes a reality. Let us work together with a stronger conviction to make this happen now.

Thank you.

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