Tingog Party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt Romualdez on Monday appealed to her colleagues in Congress to prioritize the approval of the Magna Carta for Children, that aims to strengthen economic and social protection for Filipino minors who comprise almost half of the nation’s population.
Romualdez, chairperson of the House Committee on the Welfare of Children, made the statement during the commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“Unlike other sectors of society, children are inherently vulnerable. They cannot, on their own, participate in nation-building. They need their families, the government and the wider community, to provide the requisite care, guidance, health and education services especially in their early formative years,” Romualdez said.
This, she said, was the reason why the House Committee on the Welfare of Children has taken as its utmost priority the crafting and passage of the Magna Carta of Children.
“Guided by the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we are set to draft a more comprehensive legislative measure that will not only encourage the protection of children from threats and harm, but more importantly ensure positive support for the development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential,” she added.
Romualdez said the passage of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 30 years ago has inspired nations and communities, including the Philippines, to embrace the moral obligation to ensure the welfare and well-being of children, especially the neglected and the disadvantaged.
In 1992, Republic Act (RA) 7610 was enacted to provide stronger deterrence and special protection against child abuse, exploitation and discrimination. In 2003, RA No. 9231 was passed to eliminate the worst forms of child labor and institute stronger protection for working children.
In 2006, Congress passed the landmark legislation Republic Act 9344, later amended by Republic Act 10630, the Juvenile Justice Act, and in 2009, Republic Act 9775, the anti-child pornography law.
In recent years, three more child welfare laws were passed, RA 10821 or the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act, RA 10165 or the Foster Care Act and recently, in the Seventeenth Congress, RA 11188, which assures special protection for children in situations of armed conflict.
Meanwhile, Romualdez also led a series of activities that marked the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the UN Convention Rights of the Child in the House. The activities included a legislators’ discussion on the status of implementation of the Rights of the Child, with focus on legislative reforms for children.
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