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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
Chairperson of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women 26 February 2007-9 March 2007, New York
51 ST SESSION OF THE UN COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN “The Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination and Violence against the Girl-Child”
Ms. Myrna Yao
Madame Chair, Members of the Bureau, Distinguished Delegates, Representatives of NGOs,
Thank you for this opportunity to share with you the Philippine experience in the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child.
Since the Philippine ratification of the CRC and CEDAW and their Optional Protocols, several legislations have been enacted such as the Milk Code which promotes breastfeeding, laws on newborn screening, early childhood care and development , special protection for children, family courts, anti-rape, rape victim assistance, anti-trafficking and anti-violence against women and children , domestic and inter-country adoption and juvenile justice . The Supreme Court also issued rules on examination of a child witnesss which paved the use of child-friendly investigation studio and video conferencing in courts. Media guidelines for the coverage of cases of children have also been issued.
Ordinances have been enacted by local government units to better implement the national laws and to better respond to local issues.
The Philippine Government developed Child 21, the national framework plan for development of children for 2000 – 2025. The Plan is rights-based, gender- responsive, uses the life cycle approach and defines the vision for the Filipino children by 2025.
The enforcement of these laws and policies are implemented by the following institutions. The Council for the Welfare of Children serves as the policy formulation and coordinating institution for all children’s concerns. The Council reaches out to all levels of society through its regional, provincial and local councils which are composed of multi-sectoral stakeholders.
Women and children’s desks with specially trained officers are stationed in every police precinct nationwide. Aside from the family courts, the National Bureau of Investigation, prosecutors and public attorneys office have special units for children’s cases. There is also inter-agency councils on the issues of violence against women and trafficking at the national, regional and local levels. Recently, the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council was created to serve as the policy making body for children at risk and in conflict with the law. The national Commission on Human Rights has a child rights center to investigate violations of children’s rights.
The participation of children is vibrant in the national Council for the Welfare of Children and in the National Anti-Poverty Commission. In these bodies, children are given the opportunity to present their agenda. Furthermore, a youth council is created at every local government level.
Some of the most noteworthy programmes include recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration services for girl children who are victims of violence, capacity building of frontline public service providers in handling children’s cases particularly that of girls, the mainstreaming of gender and development in the educational system, including adolescent reproductive health issues and life skills. Protective behaviour for young children is introduced by trained direct service providers. The police and local government academies have integrated gender and development in their curricula.
The Philippine Government has long involved men and boys in efforts to protect women and girls. “ERPAT”, which is also the local jargon for fathers, is a program on empowerment and reaffirmation of paternal abilities that aims to engage fathers to become more effective and responsive in their parenting role. “MOVE “ or Men Opposed to Violence Against WomenEverywhere creates a core group of gender-sensitive men from both the public and private sectors who speak out against this problem.
To sustain these programs, incentives have been created through annual awards system for child-friendly local government units, child-friendly media and gender-responsive local governance. Child -friendly and gender- sensitive standards for other institutions have also been developed.
Despite these initiatives, the Philippine Government is aware of the challenges it must address. First is the challenge to scale up all these initiatives nationwide. Second is the need to monitor the enforcement of all these laws, policies and programs especially the law that mandates the allocation of at least 5% of the total budget of national and local governments to gender and development issues. Third is the importance of disaggregating by sex all indicators for children. Fourth is the urgency of halting its alarming mortality rate by investing in the health and nutrition of girls. Fifth is the pending bill providing greater protection for domestic workers particularly girls and the lack of a law on child pornography which we hope that this august body will concretely address in its Agreed Conclusions.
The Philippine delegation looks forward to this session’s agreed conclusions, which we feel should address not only long-standing forms of violence against girls, but also highlight the need to respond to current and emerging forms of violence against girls, particularly those that are associated with globalization, such as trafficking of girls for prostitution and forced labor, and child pornography, especially those facilitated by the internet and other technologies.
The Philippines stands ready to partner with other governments, international organizations, civil society, the private sector and all other stakeholders to enhance efforts to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child.
Thank you very much.
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