BACOLOD CITY – The rights of a child has been a contentious issue especially in third world countries where a good number of them are either caught in conflict, used by criminal syndicates, or deprived of basic rights because of poverty.
The international community through the United Nations has thus recognized the need to come up with a formal commitment which would serve as guidelines of the child.
Thus the series of conventions were done by UN member-states to do exactly that.
1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child
One of the most notable historical highlights in the history of the respect of the rights of the child was done in 20 November 1959 when 78 member-states adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.
The 1959 Declaration works on 10 principles and these are the rights to:
equality regardless race, religion or national origin; special protection for physical, mental and social development; a name and a nationality,
adequate nutrition, housing and medical services; special education and treatment when a child is physically or mentally handicapped; understanding and love by parents and society,
recreational activities and free education; be among the first to receive relief in all circumstances, protection against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation, and be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, and universal brotherhood.
1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child
The 10 rights laid down in 1959 were further extended into 54 during the 1989 Convention on the Right of a Child.
The 1989 guidelines, which were enforced in 1990, recognizes the “inherent dignity” as well as the “inalienable rights” of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
Bearing in mind that the peoples of the United Nations have, in the Charter, reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and worth of the human person, and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
It also recalled the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, where the UN declared the child needs special protection of his/her rights.
The declaration further indicated that “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth”.
The 1989 Declaration is anchored on four General Principles and these are:
Non-discrimination, best interest of the child,
right to life survival and development, and
right to be heard.
CHILD WELFARE IN THE PHILIPPINES
In 1974, President Marcos signed the Child and Youth Welfare Code of the Philippines. It echoes salient provisions of the 1959 Declaration and also recognizes the families’ role in raising the children, which Marcos recognized as an integral part of the state.
“The molding of the character of the child start at the home. Consequently, every member of the family should strive to make the home a wholesome and harmonious place as its atmosphere and conditions will greatly influence the child’s development,” the law states.
THE CADIZ INITIATIVE
The city of Cadiz has apparently recognized this as its head, Mayor Salvador G. Escalante, Jr. stressed in his State of the Children Address that parents should take part in community-building by helping the government mold their children at home.
Escalante, during his SOCA delivered 28 November at the Cadiz City Arena, highlighted the local government’s programs for children including daily supplies for meals of children in the city’s day care centers, the creation of the Local Youth Development Council, Workshops, Trainings, and Skill Developments for the children and the youth.
Mayor Escalante ended his SOCA with words of motivation to encourage the Cadiznons in building the City of Cadiz, a safe, congenial, healthy, and active city to live in.
Escalante, in an interview with DNX, promised the youth that Cadiz will take part in their development and growth in becoming the hope of the city.
He also asked the parents to be good influencers to their children and to participate in the activities of the LGU of Cadiz.
The mayor also cited upcoming projects under the Child Welfare and Development such as producing localized and locally-made textbooks in order to establish local pride and identity to the youth of Cadiz.
He further persuaded other local government units to initiate, develop and sustain programs for the development and growth of the children in building a better city with a vision of hope and progress for the future of the country.
Other officials also affirmed the value of children especially in the respect of their rights as humans during the program.
Vice-Mayor Lilia Decolongon affirmed the need to respect the rights of child, as she believes that each child is the future of Cadiz.