Children are one of the vulnerable human being. They need most attention and care for they are the future leader of the next generations. However, it’s sad to know that despite local governments and international organizations around the world advocate the welfare and protection of the children as affirmed in 1923 Declaration of the Rights of the Child, still there are children who deprived of their rights. In fact, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the world’s premier children’s organization of United Nations found out that one billion children are deprived of one or more services essential to survival and development.
Around the world today, children are increasingly susceptible in different calamities as the result of unfavorable climate change. Vulnerable communities particularly in developing countries of Asia and Africa are susceptible to typhoon, flooding, drought, HIV/AIDS and other deceases, and suffering from poverty.
Some children are war’s victims. However some also are recruited as combatants. There are children under the age of eighteen are currently participating in armed conflicts in different countries on nearly every continent. While most child soldiers are in their teens, some are as young as seven years old.
Other issues and problems encountered by children include child labour, child prostitution and sexual exploitation, drug addiction, and other related children health problems are very common. These children’s of problems are very widespread especially in metropolitan areas in developing countries.
Child labour or the employment of children at regular and sustained labour is prevalent in the Philippines especially to poor families. Children are taught to do hard labor in order to earn money to help their family.
Street children are a foremost problem in the most metropolitan cities of the Philippines. Street child is seen walking along the streets, looking for a place to stay. Some are begging in order to survive while some are caught involving in crime such as robbing and other forms of theft or been used by group of syndicate to do the criminal acts.
While some street children are begging for survival, they are described to be thin, messy, and undernourished, poorly equipped to survive the hazards of everyday living and working on the streets. They are exposed to sickness, physical injuries from vehicular accidents, street fights, harassment from both extortionists and police, sexual exploitation, exposure to drug abuse and sexually transmitted diseases.
Street children are exposing to drug addiction. The most common drugs are inhalants such as rugby and cough syrups, and next is marijuana and shabu which are usually used to share with friends.
Child prostitutions are also widespread. Many Street Children are tempted into prostitution as a means of surviving; others work to earn money for their families. Various factors contribute to the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the Philippines. Child prostitution is one of the most significant problem that contributes the widespread of sexually transmitted diseases in the country especially HIV/AIDS.
With the above rationale on child condition, the government, private institutions, the non-governmental organizations and the United Nations have common goal to continue work to deal with the problem on the present poor child condition. As a matter of fact, the United Nations include in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) two aspirations that promote and protect the welfare of the children. These goals are ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION and REDUCE CHILD MORTALITY.
There are other international organizations and international non-governmental organizations that provides program to support the welfare and protection of the children. Likewise the governments around the world significantly manifested the rights of the children. The idea that children need safeguards and protections separate from those of adults greatly impacted both domestic and international law. Different countries ensure the rights of the children as provided in constitution and related laws.
In the Philippines, the child protection is embodied in the constitution. The most significant law that provides the children’s rights is the Presidential Decree no. 603 or The Child and Youth Welfare Code of 1974. Government’s agency like DSWD leads the protection and welfare of the children.
There are local institutions like private and non-governmental organizations have programs on child welfare. Some of them are funded by foreign donors or international non-governmental organizations (INGO). One of the vocal INGO who promotes the welafare of the children is the World Vision Development Foundation.
At present, the Philippine government supports the UN’s MDG particularly on child welfare through its present program called 4Ps or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program which is a poverty reduction and social development strategy of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to extremely poor households to improve their health, nutrition and education particularly of children aged 0-14. Such program helps the fulfillment of the country’s commitment to meet the MDG especially to Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger, Achieve Universal Primary Education, Promote Gender Equality, Reduce Child Mortality and Improve Maternal Health. Millions of pesos are allocated for this program.
The government together with all sectors both in the local and international spectrum has significant role in the promotion and protection of children’s welfare. There is only the need of genuine GOOD GOVERNANCE in implementing whatever plans and programs to become successful. Participation of all stakeholders, responsiveness of the program, accountability of the program implementer, transparency in the implementation, effectiveness and efficiency in the program implementation, consensus orientation of all concern, strategic vision of government leaders and civil societies, and following the rule of law are so significant in realizing the genuine child welfare and development.
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