Summit on child rights and welfare to be held in Mindanao

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MANILA, Feb. 13, 2013—A summit focusing on the rights and welfare of children will be held in Zamboanga City in Mindanao on February 15 at the Dear Manang’s Events Place.

Organized by the government’s youth arm, the National Youth Commission (NYC), around 200 young people from ages 11-14 who are in schools, out-of-school, with special needs/disabilities and those who belong to indigenous communities will convene for the summit.

Commissioner Earl Saavedra, NYC’s commissioner for Mindanao said that the summit will address the many problems, issues and challenges that comprise the welfare and the best interest of children, especially in the southernmost part of Mindanao where terrorism is still a societal problem and children are seen as victims of violence.

Saavedra explained that part of the summit will deal on the issue of child-trafficking. NYC has prevented a previous incident when 50 children and young people, mostly women were brought to Zamboanga City from Basilan and promised with jobs and scholarship by a certain illegal recruiter.

“The [condemnable] act was an eye-opener to agencies that works for the rights and welfare not only of the children and youth but including the other sectors of society. It was when we conceptualized the idea of organizing an activity to push for such important advocacy focusing on children,” Saavedra said.

For her part, Zamboanga Representative Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, said the activity will open many more opportunities for the children whose important roles are significant in nation building.

“It will make all of us realize that as early as now, they are part of our nation building efforts and we need to protect, care and love them,” Climaco-Salazar added.

The whole-day summit include sessions and workshops on topics of self discovery and identity, establishing oneself in the community through artwork exposures; a discussion on child’s rights and welfare (dual approach mechanism on peer and moderator counseling and hands-on activities); and a presentation of the children’s agenda and launching of the local children’s council or organization as a culminating activity.

DepEd USec. Alberto Muyot and NYC Commissioner Cendaña Commission are also expected to attend the summit.

Meanwhile, Fr. Conegundo Garganta, CBCP’s youth commission executive secretary commented that there is a need to have a strict law in helping promote the care, welfare and protection of children and the youth.

The priest also reminded agencies concerned to help each other in applying these laws that protects children from any kind of harm.

He also called on NYC to come out with concrete action in upholding child rights and welfare.

The summit is a joint initiative of NYC together with the Office of Deputy Speaker Ma. Isabelle Climaco, the Department of Education, the EDSA People Power Commission and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking. (Jandel Posion)


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