Celebrating National Children’s Month

Celebrating National Children’s Month

YouTube photo courtesy

Column: Thoughts by Armenio Manuel

Tomorrow, the Philippines, by virtue of Republic Act 10661, will start celebrating again National Children’s Month which aims to help people realize children’s rights as individuals and allow children to have access to healthcare, education, and a healthy environment.

Beyond a doubt, child rights are human rights that also recognize the special needs for care and protection of minors – children and young people under the age of 18.

All children have these rights, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, or cultural background. No child should be treated unfairly on any basis

Children’s rights include the right to health, education, family life, play and recreation, an adequate standard of living, and to be protected from abuse and harm.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), and National Youth Commission (NYC) are spearheading the celebration of National Children’s Month.

This year’s celebration marks the 30th NCM celebration which focuses on the mental health and well-being of children with the theme: “Kalusugan, Kaisipan, at Kapakanan ng Bawat Bata Ating Tutukan!”

It is only fitting that we support the celebration which aims to raise public awareness of the initiatives that address the mental health needs of Filipino children and to disseminate accurate information to combat the negative stereotypes about mental health.

Because of the pandemic, the National Steering Committee on Children’s Rights Advocacy (NSC-CRA) led by the CWC, in partnership with the DSWD and the NYC, enjoins other government agencies and non-government organizations to participate in, and conduct their own hybrid activities in line with the celebration to promote their programs and services on mental health for children.

It was on November 20, 1959, when the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child to commemorate the Declaration of the Rights of the Child by the UN General Assembly.

This month-long event aims to promote and spread awareness of the rights of children here in the Philippines, considering the political and social climate they live in.

Raising awareness of child rights can be done through, for example, sustained capacity building, child rights education, and communication campaigns.

Collaboration with civil society, children and youth groups, the private sector, academia, and the media contributes to these efforts.

The Declaration articulates that all people owe children the right to: means for their development; special help in times of need; priority for relief; economic freedom and protection from exploitation; and an upbringing that instills social consciousness and duty.

We agree with authorities and child experts that rights and responsibilities help make our communities better.

Rights are freedoms we have that are protected by our laws, while responsibilities are duties or things that we should do. In order to be good citizens or members of a community, we must understand our rights and responsibilities.

As many of the children have gone back to in-face classes with the easing of lockdown restrictions, we may ask: How do we promote child’s rights in school?

Some have been listed down, but with proper guidance from school administrators and even parents, particularly.

Give the children time for play. They are not to be pressured about life’s demands and expectations, but rather they are to be equipped as they still develop their young minds. Give them the opportunity to socialize with other kids and have fun while they are still young.

Children must be given the opportunity to go to school and learn based on their respective ages.

They are to be given good shelter and healthy foods to suffice for their nourishment.

Children are to be empowered by letting them engage in various activities that will boost their learning such as music and art tutorials.

Every child must be provided with safety and security whether at home, in school or in the community. They should be protected at all times while they discover the world around them.

Verily, the healthy development of children is crucial to the future well-being of any society.

Because they are still developing, children are especially vulnerable – more so than adults – to poor living conditions such as poverty, inadequate health care, nutrition, safe water, housing, and environmental pollution. (ai/mtvn)

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