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Acronym: MERGE

Type of Organization: NGO

Head of the Organization: Eleanor M. Nolasco
Designation: President/Executive Director
Address: 28 Hyacinth St., Roxas District, Quezon City
TeleFax No.: (63)(2) 411-2774
Email Address:



• A society where the citizen's basic rights are protected, upheld and promoted by the
social institutions mandated for such task;
• A society that thrives on democratic processes that are just, humane and respectful of the
rights of the poor majority.

Goal and Strategy

A technology that services the needs of the poor and marginalized is what the Foundation
to install. Toward this end, the Foundation shall forge partnership and join the efforts of
organizations and concerned individuals genuinely working for social transformation.


• Information/Communication Needs Analyses

• Computer Literacy Program
• Networking Strategies
• Database Management Training
• Assistance on Database Development

Save the Children Fund

Acronym: SCF-UK
Type of Organization: NGO
Address: 30 Scout Tuazon, 1151 Quezon City
Telephone No.: (63)(2) 372-3483
Fax Number: (63)(2) 372-3484
Email Address:


Vision and Mission for the Filipino Child

Having in mind the unique identity, history and culture of Filipinos, SCF(UK) envisions a
realisation of the rights of Filipino children, where they enjoy increased protection, better
access to
basic services and better opportunities to participate in their own development.
SCF(UK)-Philippines strives to bring lasting benefits for Filipino children so that they may
a meaningful childhood which will enable them to realise their potential, as they grow to
responsible and productive citizens and take part in the common struggle of the Filipino people
genuine social development.

Fatigued Beyond their Age:

Responses of Selected NGOs to Distressed Youth in the Philippines *
Aleli B. Bawagan
UP College of Social Work and Community Development

I. Who is the distressed youth in the Philippines?

A. The national climate:

The national economic and political situation does not augur well for the future of
majority of the poor Filipino children. Conservative estimates of government puts
poverty level at 40% of the total population - considering the 2002 population of 80M,
this is already a whopping 32M poor Filipinos, with approximately 20M children from
0 - 17 years of age. The stresses experienced by their parents are very evident: as of
end of October 2002, the unemployment rate is at 10.2% while underemployment is
at 15.3%. In the first six months of 2002, 12 firms closed daily, retrenching an
average of 284 employees everyday. 70% of these firms were employing less than
100 workers. (IBON Birdtalk, 2003) Even if one is employed, a minimum daily wage
of P280.00 is not enough to meet the daily requirements of the average family of six
for its basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, education and health maintenance,
which is pegged at P533.00 in the National Capital Region (NCR). The prices of
utilities, gasoline and basic commodities are always on the rise. The policies on
privatization have made health and education services more expensive and
inaccessible to the poor people. These daily stresses on the family have a direct
negative impact on the child.

The prevailing patriarchal set-up further impedes the child’s development, and
likewise that of their mother. Culturally considered as the man’s ‘property’, wife and
children are dependent on what the husband/father decides for them. Daughters
have been sexually abused and later pimped by their fathers. The children give up
their education to be an added farmhand since the father’s wages are not enough to
feed the family. And if working at a young age is still not enough, perhaps being petty
thieves will provide some food on the table. Children find it their responsibility to give
in to the demands of their parents to help augment the family income.

B. The distressed children and youth:

From various studies on the situation of children, one can already characterize who is a
distressed child in the Philippines (In this paper, the focus will be on children and youth in middle
childhood [7 - 12years old] and adolescence [13 - 18 years old].): homeless; or living in make-
shift houses or in the streets; underweight/malnourished; did not receive full immunization
services; barely survived the first five years of their lives; did not attend early education programs;
already working at an early age, sometimes as early as 8 years; sexually abused at an early age,
by someone known to her; and an elementary drop-out.

Such difficult circumstances lead many children to a very harsh life. They are forced to fend for
themselves and for their family. Bringing them face - to - face with real dangers and hazards of

* Paper Presented during the Fifth National Social Science Congress (NSSC V), May 15-17,
2003, PSSC Diliman, Quezon City.

living, both in their homes and outside on the streets - drugs, gangsters, petty criminals, sexual
perpetrators, abusive employers. Survival is their lone goal, thereby making them victims and
pawns to myriad forms of abuses. They become prey to sexual abuse and prostitution, exploited
labor, and crime.

These children do not experience the simple joys of childhood. They are bereft of the joys of
child’s play and friendship, basic education, family care and attention. They learn different rules
of life like being tough and how to get away with the law. At an early age, they are fatigued
beyond their years.

They have been aptly named as ‘children in especially difficult circumstance’ (CEDC). The
national government, in its ‘Child21 Framework for the Filipino Child in the 21st Century’, has
vowed to provide them special protection against all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation
and to ensure their safety in emergency situations and difficult circumstances. The primary
objective is “to provide the child with life skills to allow him/her to overcome the threats to well-
being and to develop as a happy, competent and responsible adult”. (CWC Child21, 1999)

C. The case studies:

Strategies towards the attainment of the above-mentioned objective have been undertaken by
non-government organizations even prior to the formulation of Child 21. In support of the projects
of Terre des Hommes Netherlands (TDH-NL) in the Philippines, this author was able to get in
close contact with NGOs who are working on the issues of working children, sexually abused and
prostituted children and children in conflict with the law for a period of almost six years. Aside
from the regular progress and monitoring reports which the NGOs submit to TDH-NL, the NGO
directors, staff and the children in the programs shared with the author various aspects of the
program that provide for substantial material for the cases to be presented in this paper. The case
studies to be cited are all based in the Visayas, they are: Free LAVA in Cebu with the ‘Balay
Pasilungan’ program for children in conflict with the law; Antonia de Oviedo Center and Cebu
Hope Center, both in Cebu City, with the program for prostituted and sexually abused children;
and ECLIPSE in Ormoc for their program on working children. The case studies will briefly
discuss the NGOs’ history, vision and mission, their strategies and programs for children, and
their successes. Some ‘points to ponder’ will be put forward by the author on areas that need
further focusing. The discussion on the programs will underscore the developmental and
empowering services being provided to the children and youth, reviewing the various actors in the
continuum and interrelationship of the ff:
• preventive and diversion programs in the community;

• therapy and care in the residential program; and

• after-care and re-integration in the community.

Basically, the child’s rights framework will be used in the discussion of the case studies. From UP-
CIDS ‘Integrating Child-Centered Approaches in Children’s Work’, this framework is described as
follows: ‘The UN CRC adopts a holistic approach on the human rights of children. In this model,
all rights are recognized as intrinsic to human dignity and the implementation of a single right
becomes effective only in the context and fulfillment and respect of all the other rights of the child.
This framework has four major domains: survival, development, protection and participation rights
of children. Survival rights refer to the children’s requirements to live, like food, shelter and
clothing. Protection rights refer to their need to be protected from and against abuse, exploitation
and neglect, in all forms. Development rights refer to children’s need to grow as a complete
person, which includes education, rest and recreation, spiritual activity and love and care.
Participation rights refer to their need to be able to be with a group where there is freedom of
opinion, access to important information, and rights to name and nationality.’ Further, this
framework and its interplay in a perspective of empowering casework (Goldsworthy, 2002, p330)
and community development will be used in the analysis of the cases.

Generally, this paper hopes to present some NGO practices worth replicating, some points that
need to be further thought of by the NGOs, and some challenges to local government units,
NGOs, socio-civic groups, community people’s organizations and children/youth organizations,
specifically towards creating and enhancing child-friendly communities.

II. Children in Conflict with the Law - The Case of Balay Pasilungan in Cebu:
A. Free LAVA.

Free LAVA or the Free Legal Assistance Volunteers Association was organized in Cebu City in
1983. The organization has representatives coming from government, non-government
organizations, the academe and heads of barangay- based people’s organizations. Its avowed
mission is ‘helping the oppressed and the underprivileged”. It is an active member of the Cebu
City Task Force on Street Children.

Its first major programs were providing free legal aid, rehabilitation of prisoners and crime
prevention programs. These were conducted in selected jail centers in the city, as well as some
urban poor communities. The core of their work was the free legal aid among indigent prisoners.
Through the program activities, the organization got deeply acquainted with the situation in the
jails, particularly those faced by minor delinquents who were housed with the adult criminals in
very congested cells. Even if they committed only petty crimes such as glue sniffing or vagrancy,
they get into close contact with big-time criminals who are still awaiting their sentences in the city
jails. The cases of the children were seldom being followed-up by the government lawyers. They
spend a long time in jails, at times even longer than what they are sentenced to. And when they
are released after serving their time, more often, they return to the jail after being caught again by
the police. Their families and communities are not ready to accept them. They have been marked
as ‘ex-convicts’ and could not be accepted into the regular life of the community. Making
recidivism a reality.

In Free LAVA’s documents to provide the rationale to the project, they say: ”Despite the degree of
civilization and Christianization that our society may have achieved thus far, it is still an
observable fact that a widespread significant segment of our society holds on to the view and
attitude that children and youth who have experienced jail confinement are unwanted and
undesirable elements of the society. The stigma of being an ex-offender is negatively perceived
in whatever he does and wherever he goes to his detriment for any possible self-development.
The chances of living a normal life are rendered a far-fetched possibility. It is no surprise at all
that statistics show a high rate of recidivism among children and youth that have been in conflict
with the law.”1 Hence, in 1997, Free LAVA decided to organize a program that will establish a
facility for ex-youthful offenders. They called the center ‘Balay Pasilungan’, to serve as a
temporary shelter and processing center for children who have been released from jails in Cebu
City. Balay Pasilungan also serves as an alternative to institutional confinement for juvenile
offenders but with certain conditions established by the court.

B. The Balay Pasilungan.

How does Free LAVA go about its work for the youthful offenders? There are three phases

Free LAVA’s Paper Presented during the TDH-NL Partners’ Dialogue in May 1999.
undertaken: first, is the identification of the children and youth who will be released to Balay
Pasilungan (Balay); second, is the ‘rehabilitation phase’ they spend in the center where they
undergo individual and group therapy, skills development, education; and third, is the ‘after-care’
where the children are re-integrated with their families or in cases where they do not have
families, to other centers/institutions which can provide long-term services for them.

Phase I: Pre-Admission to Balay Pasilungan

The program has a jail coordinator who regularly visits the detention centers to identify potential
children who could be released to the center. Free LAVA has established the following criteria:
male aged 15 years or below; first-time offender; and coming from jails in Cebu. The coordinator
then reviews the cases of those who will fall in this criteria, follow-up the cases in court, and
request for the release of the children to the center. The court provides the necessary documents
when they decide on ‘release on recognizance’ (ROR) to Balay. If the case is still pending, Free
LAVA is required to bring the child to court for the hearings.

The parents or guardians of the child are also informed about the center’s programs and services.
They eventually make the decision whether to allow the child to be released to Balay or not. At
certain times, the court social worker recommends for a continuing rehabilitation in Balay, living
the child and his parents no choice.

There are also cases when they get referrals from other individuals who want their children
placed in the center. This could be a barangay official who would rather place a youth offender in
the center rather than in the jail, or a parent who feels the same about their son who is into drugs.
At present, Balay can accommodate only a maximum of 30 children in the center.

Phase II - Rehabilitation Phase

Phase II of the program is primarily focused on the cognitive affective, social, moral and spiritual
growth and development of the children. All the services and activities such as medical and dental
care, counseling, psychological evaluation, value formation, formal education, skills training,
tutorials, sports and recreation form the package of rehabilitative services of Balay aiming for the
positive transformation of children in preparation for their community reintegration.

There are also very basic hygiene and domestic chores that the children learn in the first few
days in the center, such as: taking daily bath, brushing their teeth, combing hair, washing their
hands before eating, washing their clothes, cleaning their beds and their bedrooms, sweeping the
floors, and cleaning the toilets. They are also taught to cook meals for the residents. The house
parents handle this training.

While the boys are in the center, their families can visit them once a month and at the same time
attend informal education sessions, in preparation for the eventual reintegration of the children.
During this phase, the children interact with numerous groups who visit the center. These include
local government officials, local and international non-government organizations, and socio-civic
groups who come on exposure visits. The children are also able to play and socialize with
children from other centers on occasions such as Children’s Day and summer get-togethers.

Phase III - Re-integration

The last phase of Balay’s rehabilitation is directed towards reintegration to the community and
reunification of children with their families. Two major tasks during this phase are also on skills
training and job placement for those children who desire to work and have the skills for
employment. Children who could not be reunited to their families because of unresolved family
problems are referred to other agencies for longer-term placement. Continuous monitoring of the
children is still conducted with the help of the community volunteers and organized people’s
organizations in the barangays.
III. An Alternative to Jail.

Looking at the Balay Pasilungan operations and practice, it is apparent that Balay
becomes a community alternative rehabilitation program for selected juvenile and first
time offenders with suspended sentence and youths whose cases are still being tried
or awaiting court trial but released to Balay under recognizance. As a rehabilitation
center, all youth admitted in Balay are expected to receive and undergo specialized
rehabilitation services that are offense specific.2 In the first three years of program
implementation, until mid-2000, the program was able to rehabilitate a total of 113
youth. For the next two years, another 90 children were reintegrated back to their
families or placed in centers.

While in Balay, the boys experience a semblance of family. They treat the other
residents as either older or younger brothers and as friends. They call the staff nanay,
tatay, ate, kuya, uncle, auntie. They learn to take care of themselves and be
responsible for their duties in Balay, in school and in other activities that are planned
collectively. There may still be cases of abscondment, but the boys who stay don’t
allow these instances to distract them from their personal plans in improving
themselves and living a new life.

IV. Points to ponder:

1. It would take at least 6 months before a child gets reintegrated with his family and community.
The social worker undertakes the necessary preparatory work prior to reintegration. However
not all cases of reintegration end up successful. There have been times when the child
becomes highly prone to or actually commits another offense. Either the parents bring him
back to Balay for caretaking or he is caught once more by the police and end up again in jail.
How can this be prevented, if not minimized? What prevention programs in the community
can be set up? For young people, imprisonment should be used as a last resort.

2. For children in conflict with the law, lucky are those who were identified by the program jail
coordinator and qualified for transfer to Balay. Lucky still are those who were assisted even if
they were not sent to Balay. But it is very sad for those who remain in jail, considering the
detrimental conditions in that place. What diversion programs in the community could be
activated such that children who get in conflict with the law do not have to end up in the jail?

3. For children who are reintegrated in communities that enjoy the presence of Free LAVA
community volunteers, they are fortunate. There are concerned individuals who can help in
the after-care services that are very important especially in the first few days and weeks after
reintegration, where the child’s vulnerability to ‘danger’ is high. But in communities where
Free LAVA is not present, how could this be done?

V. Sexually Abused and Prostituted Children - The Case of Two Centers in Cebu.
C. Antonia de Oviedo and Cebu Hope Centers.

In 1997, a program called “Stop Abuse of Minors Association” (SAMA) was conceptualized and
implemented by six non-government organizations, namely: Free LAVA and Share A Child
Movement Inc. (SACMI), who were involved in the tasks of school and community information
dissemination and advocacy; ECPAT-Cebu and Children’s Legal Bureau (CLB), who were doing
policy and legislative advocacy; and FORGE and Cebu Hope Center who both provided direct
services to sexually abused and prostituted girls. Later, with some program and organizational
revisions, Cebu Hope Center focused its rehabilitation program on the sexually and physically
abused girls while Antonia de Oviedo Center came in as a new member and managed a drop-in

Evaluation Report of Balay Pasilungan for the period 1997 - 2000, conducted by TDH-NL.
center and residential shelter for prostituted girls.

Both Cebu Hope Center (CHC) and Antonia de Oviedo Center (Antonia) are managed by
religious congregations - CHC by the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart and Antonia by
Oblate Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer. The program staff - the social workers, administrative
and finance personnel, and house parents - are lay people. CHC houses around 85 girls, the
majority of whom are sexually abused girls. A few are physically abused while others are
abandoned and neglected children. CHC has been operational in Cebu since 1981. It’s vision
statement is: “The Cebu Hope Center envisions a better and improved quality of life for children,
a society where every child is loved, respected, protected and nurtured for the child’s growth and
development. The Cebu Hope Center is a welcome home for morally-endangered female child;
envisions to provide a healthy environment and alternative quality care programs aimed at
developing the child’s full potential and prepare her for eventual reintegration into the family and

Antonia has around 30 residents, with approximately 8 pairs being young mothers and their
babies. They started their Cebu operations in 1998, but have implemented much earlier the same
type of program in Manila and Tagaytay City. Aside from the 30 residents, Antonia also has
around 10 - 15 prostituted girls who stay temporarily at the drop-in center.

Antonia is guided by its vision statement - ‘for integral human development and a just humane
society, Antonia de Oviedo Center envisions to cultivate, uphold, promote and sustain a sense of
self-worth and dignity among women and children’. And its mission, as follows: ‘to help the
children realize and actualize their potentials through the adaptation and utilization of multi-
dimensional approaches and programs; to uplift women and children from exploitative conditions
through the provision of integrated social services; and to raise the society’s level of
consciousness and social responsibility through the utilization of comprehensive and educational
strategies addressing women and children issues’. 4

VI. Drop-in Center and Residential Programs.

CHC and Antonia both manage a residential program for distressed girls in Cebu
City. They have common program components as follows:
1. Providing basic residential care such as food, clothing, shelter, medical assistance;
2. Providing formal and non-formal education sessions and skills training to the girls;
3. Therapy through individual and group counseling, spiritual guidance, regular sports and
recreation activities, creative work, interaction with other children’s centers;
4. Assistance in court litigation and/or other legal processes;
5. Strengthening family capabilities to care for their families and later to accommodate the
children to be re-integrated;
6. Referrals to other centers who could provide more long-term and appropriate assistance to
the children in case reintegration is not feasible.

Other non-government organizations assist the girls who decide to pursue their cases in court.
When there are court hearings, the girls are fully briefed on what they could expect in court - the
questions that will be asked of them, the people they will face, some bullying tactics of the
defense lawyers. The program staff provide full emotional support to the girls before and after the
experience, specially when they have to face their perpetrators who are also their relatives, either
their biological fathers, stepfathers, uncles, even brothers. Processing of their emotions is very
important in these occasions.

For the prostituted girls, Antonia performs outreach work where the staff purposively seeks out
the girls in the streets and in the bars. They befriend the girls, and even the bar owners, conduct

Cebu Hope Center Manual of Operations.
Antonia de Oviedo Program Proposal to Terre des Hommes.
sessions on STDs/HIV/AIDS among bar girls, and hold spiritual recollections. Later they invite the
girls to the drop-in center where other social and educational sessions are conducted. Those who
decide to leave the life of prostitution are referred to the residential shelter.

A unique component of the Antonia center is their program for mothers and babies. Pregnant
girls, as young as 14 years, stay in the center till they give birth and until they have been able to
make concrete plans for themselves and their child. Some of them go back to school, while
others learn skills that can provide them tools to gain employment or start a micro-business. The
toddlers, on the other hand, have a mini-day care center in Antonia, and once they’ve reached the
age of 3 or 4 are enrolled in a formal pre-school located near the center.

VII. Bringing Back Their Smiles.

To say that both centers have been able to help the girls in distress is an
understatement. The sisters and the staff put both their heart and soul in the helping
process, ensuring that they provide the love, warmth, affection that the girls have
been deprived of. These girls have undergone an experience of abuse, indignity,
shame and guilt, an experience that has etched a self-image of being worthless,
errant, immoral, and undesirable to family and society. And the whole process of
wiping out this image, realizing that they are victims and not the ‘temptresses’ as
what society wants them to think and feel, experiencing healing, acceptance and
love, and looking forward to a new future is not all that easy. The sisters and staff are
stressed out daily, but despite this, the whole experience becomes likewise cathartic
for them.

Not all the girls pursue their cases in court. Some have won their court cases, others
are still attending the hearings. Their young troubled minds make it difficult for them
to understand why they have to indict their fathers in court, but the staff helps them to
understand. They feel guilty at the start, especially when their families are
unsupportive and beg them to withdraw the charges. But they are resolute in seeking
justice, to set an example, to right a wrong.

Going back to school keeps them busy. And they are happy when they excel in their
academic life and in their extra-curricular activities. They get to practice their
leadership skills in school, hone their other talents, and discover the promise that a
good education will give them.

Bringing back the smiles to the girls’ faces is the daily challenge that the staff face.
And so far, they have been successful. The girls develop a strong bond of sisterhood
while they stay in the center, which is very valuable in their own healing process.
They regain confidence, learn to trust and respect once more, and acquire the
strength to pursue a new direction in life.

There are success cases, true. But there are also a few cases where the staff are saddened by
the children who abscond from the center and prefer to go back to their life in the streets and in
the bars. They get bored by the daily routines in the center, the ‘plainness’ of everything, by the
lack of material wealth which they get when they are working. But as for the sisters and the staff,
these are indicators that they should still improve on their programs, their individual therapy and
counseling work, and the planning for the activities of the children in the center. For them, these
are just temporary setbacks, there are still many girls out there who will really decide to change
and where the center can be of help.

VIII. Points to ponder.

7. In the centers, the girls are accepted, not discriminated, not blamed for their plight. They
experience love and care from the sisters, the staff and the other residents. There are times
when they are able to face the public and tell them their stories. But the reality in communities
is entirely divergent from this experience. They could face another round of trauma when they
get reintegrated to their family and community, a community that incessantly blames the
victim, is condescending towards prostituted girls, as if the girls wanted what happened to
them. How could these be prevented? What forms of continuity of life in the center could be
provided after reintegration?

8. While in the center, the girls get all the support they need from the staff, the other children
and even from the visitors. The support group composed of other victim-survivors is truly
helpful in her process of recovery and healing. And it is also still very important when she gets
back to her community. How could a support group be organized when she gets back to her

IX. Working Children - The Case of ECLIPSE in Ormoc.

D. From KDF-Ormoc to ECLIPSE.

In 1995, the Kamalayan Development Foundation - Ormoc was organized as an extension office
of the Manila unit, primarily to implement a program addressing victims of children trafficked to
Manila from Ormoc. Among the program activities undertaken were: community integration;
awareness-building; child workers’ organizing; community mobilization, collaborative work with
government organizations, detection and surveillance of recruiters and coordination with the
Manila office for actions against illegal recruitment in Metro Manila. 5 In implementing the
program, the office was able to recruit and train local staff, some of them were the child workers
who were rescued from slave-like conditions inside the factories. Hence, the awareness-raising in
the villages became more real for the people because former victims were the ones who fully
explained the process of illegal recruitment, and the ruthless life they had in the city. More
rescues resulted from the close surveillance that the staff were doing in the ports and bus
terminals in Ormoc. KDF - Ormoc staff and the children were even included in the documentary
“No Time for Play’, which depicted the difficult situation of trafficking and child labor in Ormoc.

In September 1998, the KDF - Ormoc office was transformed into a separate NGO named
ECLIPSE - ‘Exodus from Child Labor to Integration, Play, Socialization, and Education’. The close
ties with KDF remain but they have set up a separate organizational structure, systems and
policies. ECLIPSE is meant to carry forward the vision, mission and goals of its predecessor KDF
- Ormoc, focusing on the working children in the plantations in Ormoc City, municipalities of
Albuera and Kananga and other areas in the province of Leyte.

X. Organizing of Child Workers, Youth and Parents.

To respond to the situation of child labor in the sugar haciendas of Ormoc, ECLIPSE
conducts the following program strategies and activities:
1. Setting-up organizations among child workers, youth, and parents in Ormoc, Kananga and
2. Enhancing capabilities of the members of the organizations in the areas of organizing,
advocacy, mobilization and networking;
3. Advocacy and mobilizations for the representation and participation of the children sector in
bodies of local governance;
4. Passage, promulgation or enactment of pro-people and pro-child executive orders,
resolutions and/or ordinances;
5. Assisting the local government to organize, orient and strengthen the Barangay Council for
Protection of Children (BCPC);
6. Continuing advocacy among government offices for the reduction, in the short term, and
elimination, in the long-term, of child labor; one strategy is the provision of educational
support for child workers who are interested to go back to school.

‘Batang Hurnal” magazine, progress report of ECLIPSE for the period Sept 1998 - Feb 1999.
XI. Exodus from the Hacienda to ‘Eskwela’.

Empowerment of the children, the youth and the parents is the main guiding principle
of ECLIPSE as they go about their work among the distressed in Southern Leyte. For
working children, the battle cry has been: Education, not exploitation! All they have
known and experienced is a life in the farms, being ‘hurnal’ at an early age,
something which was an obligation to their family, something which was never
questioned, thinking that this was the natural thing to happen because of their
poverty. They could trace the same life pattern to their parents, their grandparents
and even generations before them.

The organizing process, the capability building sessions, the long marches for advocacy and
campaigns, have painted a novel and fresh picture in their young minds. That they, including their
families - are all victims of an oppressive Philippine social and economic structure; they have a
right to education; they have a right to represent the children and youth and participate in
government bodies who decide programs for children; they can alter this centuries-old situation
through their own education, strength and conviction. And for the children to be able to dream of a
future different from what they and their families have known all their lives, is a qualitative leap.

These changes have positively impressed others - the families have been appreciative of what
their children can do as they become active in the children’s and youth organizations; the families
have similarly marched out to the streets to demand wage increases for the sugar industry
workers; government units like the BCPCs have recognized children’s participation in decision-
making, program conceptualization and implementation; other government offices, socio-civic
organizations and individuals have become more aware of the situation of the working children,
have developed programs to help them, and together with the children become advocates
towards the reduction and eventual elimination of child labor.

While the political component of empowerment is deemed very important in the process of
conscientization, the economic aspect has similarly been given attention. There are efforts for
micro-financing and micro-enterprises in the areas, albeit the parents know that these do not
provide the long-term solution to their poverty situation. The efforts are able to bring in some
small cash on a daily basis.

In 2002, ECLIPSE and the children, youth and parents organizations summed-up their organizing
experience to arrive at effective steps, practices, strategies and unite on the future directions that
the organizing work should take. To cite some points in this summing-up:6

7. Reasons for organizing: to unite the people in the community or society; to come up with
community solution to the community problem; to contribute to the solution of the national
and societal problems; to collectively confront the issues of exploitation;

8. Effective organizing process: courtesy call to the government leaders; integration with the
children and the people; ocular survey and data gathering including master listing of
children specially those in need of special protection; identification and development of
contacts among the children; conduct consultations and seminars among the contacts and
identification of potential leaders; organization of core group of children to raise awareness,
develop commitment and improve capabilities; active involvement of the core group in
expansion; organizing the association including VMG formulation, Constitution and by-laws,
policies and procedures, plans, election of officers, organizing committees;

9. Principles of children organizing: begin where the children are; analyze the community and
children’s situation; learn from the people and the children; develop children’s awareness
and capacities; promote fraternal relationships among the children; the members come

“Mga Batang Hurnal” magazine, progress report of ECLIPSE for the period December 2001 - May 2002.
from the poor and oppressed children; a theory of development and transformation is the
guide and inspiration of the organization; the organization must relate with other children’s
association and other sectors; the organization strives for the immediate satisfaction of the
children’s immediate interests and aims, while they still participate in the broader process of
transformation and genuine development; it is a means to an end - it must be open to any
possibility including its transformation or even termination so as to give way to a more
advanced process or form of organization.

XII. Points to ponder.

10. The organizing process undertaken by ECLIPSE in setting up the children’s and youth
organizations is very systematic. It took quite a number of years before they were able to
come up with the effective approach. And it may take a while before the organization really
reaches the level such that it can be able to manage on its own, with minimal or perhaps no
assistance from ECLIPSE. Replicating the approach in other communities would be truly
worthwhile. But for other communities who have existing children’s and youth organizations,
what aspects from this experience can be adopted and how?

11. The ECLIPSE organizing experience has been limited to hacienda child workers. But are
there possibilities of accepting other ‘working’ children who are not from the hacienda, such
as those who have ‘worked’ as prostituted children after having been victims of trafficking? Or
children who tried their luck in the city but run in conflict with the law, and were later residents
of a halfway home like Balay? How could children’s organizations open themselves to other
members of their sector who are somehow considered ‘dregs of society’ but who are in need
of assistance and protection?

XIII. Insights from the Case Studies:

Certainly, the center-based and community-based programs in the case studies employ child-
empowering strategies in their processes of calming the young weary bodies, healing the
wounds, and working towards a brighter tomorrow. Children’s rights to survival, protection,
development and participation are practiced by the NGOs as they go about their work with this
sector. Providing basic food, clothing and shelter is done by the center-based programs. The
children are also sent for education, skills training, physical and spiritual enhancement to develop
their innate abilities and talents. Protecting them from further harm and training them to protect
themselves is inherent in the programs. Furthermore, the children’s participation in many aspects
of the program is encouraged, e.g. in formulating home policies and activities; in networking with
other children’s and youth organizations and NGOs, in advocating for a better society for children
through the BCPC and other advocacy channels. While participation venues are evident, the
NGOs can still evaluate these mechanisms vis-à-vis the models of participation as mentioned in
‘Standing up for Ourselves’, specifically the Hart’s Ladder of Participation, Franklin’s levels of
participation, or Halldorson’s Wheel of Participation (ECPAT Intl, 1999, pp 39-45).

A lot of lessons can be gleaned from these experiences. But the number of children they are able
to care for is just a drop in the bucket. There is so much more children and youth needing the
same assistance. If there are groups who plan to replicate the programs, these are truly
encouraging and commendable.

But in looking further at the case studies, another angle is being proposed, that of identifying
actors who could play important roles in the community towards the achievement of the following
objectives: minimizing and preventing cases of CEDC and recidivism; and promoting a sense of
continuity, stability, organization and well-being for children who have been led astray.

A. The Child from the Centers:

How could a child who has stayed for sometime in the center be described? Generally speaking,
for both girls and boys from the center, the child has experienced and lived a life that has basic
rules and systems, which their own families ignored or deemed unimportant. Simple hygiene
rules were learned, regular mealtimes were observed, spirituality was enhanced, and a strong
sense of sisterhood and brotherhood was fostered. They discarded their ‘street lingo’. New
knowledge and skills were learned through formal education and non-formal skills training in the
center such as leadership, other life planning skills, singing, dancing, guitar-playing, sports and
other socialization skills. They have gained an understanding about the situation that made them
victims of abuse. Furthermore, there is self-confidence, responsibility and a sense of control. S/he
has recovered from the trauma experienced as a child. These could be manifested in their
renewed happiness, improved grades and assumption of leadership positions in school. A sense
of community and organization was established. They experienced respect for their rights to
development, protection and participation. They have been accepted and they have learned to
accept. A life without abuse.

Observers have claimed that the children in the centers are truly blessed that they receive so
much attention, warmth and guidance from the sisters and staff. But to be able to gauge further
the success of the healing process even after the child has been discharged from the center, ‘the
main test of a change agent’s help is the stability and permanence of the client system’s changed
behavior when the change agent is no longer actively working with the client. This is the
requirement of transferability, i.e. gains achieved by clients within the helping process must be
transferable beyond this process’ (Lee-Mendoza, 2000, p 264). And in certain ways, when they
leave the center, the transferability can be manifested in their interactions with families, schools
and communities, such as how they could positively influence other children and youth. They
could promote the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values learned in the centers to other ‘high-
risk’ children to help them discriminate and avoid the dangers that creep in society.

B. The Centers.

The centers always have the ‘best interest of the child’ in mind in working with the children, from
the admission, to rehabilitation and finally to the reintegration phase. They know that the children
will only stay temporarily with them and eventually will have to go back to their families and
communities. Consequently, the search for the child’s family and assessing their present capacity
to take back the child is a major work of the staff. There are times when the search goes beyond
the nuclear family, the center staff also seeks out other relatives as the potential caregiver when
the circumstances in the family will not allow the child to be brought back to them. Family
therapy/counseling is a component of the preparatory work, where the staff discusses closely with
the family the situation of the child, how they understand his/her situation, and how far they can
accept the child back. The staff helps in clarifying questions, fears and doubts, fostering
forgiveness and open-mindedness.

Aside from the family, the staff also usually approaches the government social worker to inform
her of the child’s background and what she can do to assist the child who is newly reintegrated to
the community. But it is also very apparent that most government social workers are over-
burdened with work. In the same manner, one alternative could be for the center to identify
community organizations that could help in the reintegration process of the child. This could form
part of the overall assessment of the community and the resources available. ‘Community
resources can come from public, semi-public and private sources, whether at the local, national
or international levels. But social workers should also look beyond what is familiar or ‘common
knowledge’. Many resources are just waiting to be tapped or mobilized, e.g. many parent-
teachers’ associations, church groups, civic organizations, youth clubs, women’s groups, student
volunteer associations, barangay associations, etc.’ (Lee-Mendoza, 2000, pp 422-423) The
center staff will not just identify the community organization but also engage in advocacy work
with them such that they are able to understand the issues behind the situation of the boy who
got in conflict with the law or the sexually abused/ prostituted girl. The child’s entry into these
organizations could provide the link between the organizational life s/he experienced in the center
and the life of an organizational member in the community where s/he could contribute to working
towards societal change.

C. The NGO Networks.

All of the NGOs cited in this paper are members of NGO networks in their province and region,
such as: Cebu City Task Force on Street Children (CCTFSC); Children’s NGO Network (CNN);
and Stop Abuse of Minors Association (SAMA). Some of them are also members of national NGO
networks, which do not focus only on children but also advocate on other community issues. The
members of these networks are implementing programs which are either community-based
and/or center-based. For example, Antonia and ECLIPSE are both members of CNN; CHC and
Free LAVA are both members of the CCTFSC. Coordination among the members of one network
can happen along the area of child re-integration into the community. NGOs who are operating in
identified communities can facilitate the re-entry of the child. This can be first done in the level of
the network. In case, when no member is operating in the area where the child is to be re-
integrated, the center can expand their coordination further to other NGO networks.

Program complementation can likewise be achieved through the networks. NGOs who are
implementing livelihood programs can provide support to the reintegrated children and their
families. Those implementing advocacy can involve the children in their activities and thereby
expand their advocacies to include children’s issues and concerns.

D. The Community Organizations.

While dramatic changes are happening to the children who have been ‘rescued’ by the NGOs,
their families and communities are still experiencing the same stresses as before, perhaps even
worse than the time when the children left it. Community groups could have been established,
each working towards their own objectives. But NGOs like ECLIPSE have shown through their
organizing work how a dynamic relationship between children’s, youth, parents’ organizations and
the local government through the Barangay Council for Protection of Children can be established.
Normally, in other areas, there are existing community organizations that could be encouraged to
adopt a pro-child orientation, even if this means adding on to their existing mandate. The center
staff can encourage and motivate them to handle pressing children’s issues in the community.
And together with the NGO network, the center staff can conduct advocacy work with the
community organizations and the local government unit to work in addressing children’s issues
and for the establishment and/or re-orientation of the BCPC.

These could be organizations such as: church-based groups; neighborhood associations;

women’s organizations; urban poor/peasant groups; socio-civic groups; and youth clubs. They
may each have different objectives for their sector and for the community but in general they
mean well for community people. And they could play a big role in the prevention and diversion
work in the community as well as in the re-integration process of the children. These
organizations can be the venue for children’s participation in the development of programs for
and with them.

XIV. Challenges.

The challenges presented here are directed to the following: the NGOs cited in the case studies;
other groups who are involved in the same area of development work, whether non-government
or government organizations, implementing community-based and center-based programs; and
for other people’s organizations involved in other community issues. The propositions run along
the lines of enhancing the dynamics and synergy at the community level of all the actors cited in
Sec. V and of looking at the situation from a fresh perspective.

A. Explicit ‘prevention’ and ‘protection’ objectives in community organizations.

Community organizations have different reasons for being. There are groups who are involved in
livelihood programs, community development, health and nutrition concerns of the community,
sports and youth programs, and spiritual enhancement. Their objectives spell out the priorities
that they want to give ample focus. These are usually responses to their analysis of the situation,
e.g. providing sports activities for the youth, which provide alternative activities to avoid use of
illegal drugs.

However, the objectives ‘to prevent juvenile delinquency’, or ‘to prevent child sexual abuse and
prostitution in the community’ are more often than not implicit. Other programs would articulate
their prevention objectives this way: ‘to develop comprehensive family centered and community
based programs and services for children’; or ‘to create heightened awareness and knowledge
among community members’. While admittedly these all help towards prevention, the indicators
to measure achievement of objectives highly differ. Instead of measuring how many children were
prevented from getting in conflict with the law or from going into prostitution, the indicator that will
have to be measured will be: ‘are the comprehensive family centered and community based
programs and services for children in place?’, or ‘what constitutes heightened awareness?’.

But making the prevention and protection objectives more explicit would necessitate having a
different indicator to measure the achievement level. It could also lead towards more effective
identification of the target groups, e.g. children who exhibit the characteristics as described in
Sec. I. The organization would be more keen on identifying who are the children of higher risk in
this community. Hence, the activities would be geared towards these children and youth rather
than to those who least need or would least benefit from the program.

An example of a prevention and protection activity could be increasing vigilance of people and the
community organizations regarding abuses. Prevention could be accomplished, or quick
response could be offered when there is the onslaught of abuse. Other programs have called
such mechanisms as: Bantay Banay; Child’s Rights Advocates; Community Watch; Barangay
Council for the Prevention of Family Violence; Bantay Panimalay (Guererro, 2002). Funding
support for such mechanisms can come from the mandated 5% GAD (Gender and Development)
allocation in the local budget of each barangay. These groups are composed of volunteers
coming from various sectors in the community who desire to see their community to be more
peaceful, child- and woman-friendly and violence-free.

B. Diversion programs in the community to be implemented by the BCPC and the

community organizations.

Managing a center for children, whether this is for abandoned/neglected children or children from
jail or prostituted children, can be very costly. Moreover, the existing centers can not fully respond
to the growing number of children who go astray and need shelter. But these children don’t have
to necessarily end up in jail nor end up in the NGO or government centers that are almost always
filled to over-capacity. Implementing diversion programs at the community level could be an
answer to these problematic situations.

While the Juvenile Justice Bill is yet to be approved, diversion at the community level is a very
appropriate response in lieu of detention and going to children’s centers. This will entail barangay
mediation and conciliation. The young people who are usually detained together with adult
criminals in the jails will also avoid further ‘criminal contamination’. Counseling, community
services and livelihood programs can be set up at the community level, addressing both the
children and also their families. The community organizations or support groups or other
community-based structures, together with the BCPCs, can take up the role of the centers. They
can employ various programs, the more creative ideas the better, specially for first-time offenders,
such that the child can spend time to reflect on what happened, make the necessary corrective
behavior for those who got in conflict with the law, and develop a more positive outlook about
him/herself and others.
Other indicators could still be developed for these interventions. An example would be the set of
indicators developed by Guererro in ‘Handbook for Monitoring Intervention Programs to Stop
Gender Violence’ for community-based interventions for victims of violence and abuse. Some of
these indicators are as follows: increased community awareness, participation and cooperation;
reduction in number of cases filed at barangay and courts; more collaborative community
activities with volunteers and social workers, police and other concerned agencies; gender-
sensitive attitude of concerned groups; use of non-violent approaches in disciplining children. At
the individual level, some indicators are: survivors empowerment indicated by non-self blaming
attitude, free from fear of abuse, and feeling safe and comfortable; children are happy with their
healthy and peaceful families; more victims of violence turn into advocates to contribute to the
prevention and eradication of gender-based violence (Guererro, 2002, p. 36-38) These could
serve as guidelines and inspiration for groups intending to set up these structures in their

C. Expanding the center’s work to include advocacy in the communities.

The centers’ main mandate is to provide basic and rehabilitative programs to the children in
distress. Part of this work entails bringing the child back to the family and community, both of
whom had a role in how s/he ended up in the streets and later in the center. Corollary to the task
of reintegrating the child is the center staff’s work to advocate in the communities about children’s
issues and at the same time to mobilize community resources. ‘This intervention involves the
worker in activities aimed at informing and interpreting to certain sectors of the community,
welfare programs and services, as well as needs and problems, with the objective of enlisting
their support and/or involvement in them.’ (Lee-Mendoza, 2000, p 244)

This activity by the center staff will surely help in the preventive work. When more people are
aware of the situation and the consequences of distraught community dynamics, this could
hopefully lead to added responsibility of the organizations and the families to take care of their
children. The advocacy sessions would also be instrumental in re-educating the community about
the issues and the corrupt cultural structure and practices underlying child abuse. This cultural
remolding is basic in changing the patterns and ways in the family and community that contribute
to child abuse and undermining children’s capacities. The whole patriarchal set-up in society
could not be eradicated easily, but these are small concrete steps to its realization. Such
advocacy can lead to the establishment of community watch structures as mentioned in part A of
this section.

Stronger coordination between community-based and center-based programs has always been
included in the recommendations from previous workshops and consultations on children’s
programs. And in the area of re-integration and children advocacy, such level of coordination can
be indeed tested and put into motion.

D. Foster care through community organizations.

The usual step for re-integration of the child is with the family, whether biological or the relatives.
The center ensures that there is a home that the children can go back to, where the basic needs
for food, clothing, shelter and security can be provided. Furthermore, the center also helps to
provide continued education for the child. Normally, there is a period of at least 3 months that
after-care services are provided, where the center staff still visits to follow-up on the re-entry plan
made by the child. The staff helps to trouble-shoot when there are some difficult situations for the
child. One of the eventual aims is for the child’s changed behavior to be stable and permanent,
even when the center is no longer working closely with him/her. The gains achieved should also
be transferable even beyond the confines of the center.

However, in the process of re-integration of the child into the community, the sense of community
and organization practiced in the center somehow cease to be a part of the child’s life back home.
It would depend very much on the child’s initiative that s/he gets connected to school or
community organizations where the knowledge and skills s/he learned related to child’s rights
advocacy, and collective planning and implementation can once again come to the fore.

To provide continuity, it is recommended that the center staff include as an important step in the
process of re-integration the search for a community organization that could somehow provide
‘foster care’ to the child. This is a vital component of the task of identifying resources within the
child’s environment. Such resources could be useful in coping with various new, challenging and
at times confusing situations in the family and community. Children’s issues may not be a priority
of the organization, but it should not be a major hindrance. Foster care in this sense means that
the organization takes partial responsibility for a child from their community, understanding the
background of the child, why s/he was in that situation, what can be done for the child to avoid
falling into the same dilemma, and how could their family be similarly assisted. The choice as to
which organization would be decided both by the center staff and the child.

The work of ‘fostering’ would require a re-assessment by the community organization of its own
values and attitudes. Will they be willing to accept into their fold someone who has been in jail or
who has worked in the bars? Others would say they are too pre-occupied with their present
activities or their resources are too tight. But ‘foster care’ is an appeal to community organizations
to take up the challenge, comprehend the reasons/factors why these things are happening in their
community, open its doors, bring the child into the regular life of the organization, and later assist
him/her to organize self-help/support groups. Per chance for the child to be a spokesperson on
children’s issues in their community, or to be a peer counselor, or to be a volunteer in any child-to-
child program approach. As has been cited in the Ormoc experience, the ‘victims/survivors’ are
the most effective advocates.


Antonia de Oviedo Program Description, 2001.

Cebu Hope Center Manual of Operations.

Children’s Legal Bureau. Narrative Report of the Justice for Juveniles National Conference. Cebu
City, 1999.

Council for the Welfare of Children. Child 21, A Legacy to the Filipino Children of the 21 st Century
- Philippine National Strategic Framework for Plan Development for children, 2000 - 2025.

Council for the Welfare of Children. Framework of Action Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation
of Children, A Vision and Framework for Action 2000 - 2004.

ECLIPSE. “Batang Hurnal” magazine, Sept 1998 - Feb 1999 and Dec 2001 - May 2002.

Goldsworthy, J. Resurrecting a Model of Integrating Individual Work with Community

Development, Community Development Journal, 37 (4), 327-336, October 2002.

Guererro, S. Handbook for Monitoring Intervention Programs to Stop Gender Violence. UCWS,
UP, 2002.

Healing Wounded Families and Creating Peaceful Communities. UCWS, CSWCD, UP and
UNICEF, March 2002.

Ibon Databank. Ibon Birdtalk Yearend Briefing. Quezon City, January 2003

Integrating Child-Centered Approaches in Children’s Work. Program on Psychosocial Trauma and

Human Rights, Center for Integrative and Development Studies, UP, QC: SC (UK) Phils and UP
CIDS PST, 2002.

Lee-Mendoza, Thelma. Social Welfare and Social Work (rev. ed.).Quezon City, Megabooks
Company, 2002.

Lee-Mendoza, Thelma. Social Work with Groups. Quezon City, Megabooks Company, 1999

Miley, O’Melia and Dubois. Generalist Social Work Practice: An Empowering Approach.
Massachusetts: Allyn & Bacon, 1995.

ECPAT Intl, IYP ASEC. Standing Up for Ourselves: A Study on the Concepts and Practices of
Young People’s Rights to Participation. UNICEF, Manila, Sept. 1999.

TDH - NL. Documentation of the TDH-NL Partners’ Dialogue, May 1999.

TDH - NL. Evaluation Report of Balay Pasilungan for the period 1997 - 2000, April 2000.

Reply to List of Issues : Philippines. 10/10/94.

. (Reply to List of Issues)

Convention Abbreviation: CRC

/Received on 10 October 1994/
List of issues to be taken up in connection with the
consideration of the initial report of the Philippines

General measures of implementation

(Arts. 4, 42 and 44 para. 6 of the Convention)

1. Please provide further clarification on the ways in which the national Council for the Welfare of
Children intends to coordinate with all agencies, both governmental and non-governmental, for
monitoring the implementation of the Convention. (Paras. 17-19 of the report)

a. To monitor implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the national Council
for the Welfare of Children (CWC) will be using the system which is currently in place to monitor
the Philippine Plan of Action for Children. Monitoring the Philippine Plan of Action for Children will
mean monitoring most of the Convention on the Rights of the Child provisions in as much as the
Philippine Plan of Action for Children was formulated with the Convention on the Rights of the
Child as its framework.

b. The member agencies of the national Council for the Welfare of Children ---government as well
as non--government --- have submitted their work plans for working towards the Philippine Plan of
Action for Children goals and targets given their respective mandate, in compliance with
Memorandum Order No. 40 which was issued by His Excellency President Fidel V. Ramos on
September 22, 1992. These agencies are required to submit to the national Council for the
Welfare of Children progress resorts on the implementation of their Philippine Plan of action for
Children work plans.

c. In addition, at the national level, the Council for the Welfare of Children has 6 task forces and 6
sub task forces which will be monitoring Philippine Plan of Action for Children implementation by
area of child rights. These include: the Task force on Legal Protection whose main task is to
review and propose policies related to the protection of children in terms of adequacy,
consistency and responsiveness to children's needs and formulate strategies and guidelines for
the effective coordination between and among the five pillars of the criminal justice system. Each
of these sectors will conduct a regular review of progress in Philippine Plan of Action for Children
implementation of all concerned government agencies and selected Non-Government
Organizations working to promote the welfare of children at both the national and sub-national

d. At the regional level, continuing monitoring of PPAC implementation will be done through the
Regional Sub-Committee on the Welfare of Children, which will consolidate reports submitted to it
by the different provinces within each region. Monitoring reports will, as in the case of the national
level, be based on previously submitted Philippine Plan of Action for Children work plans. A
Regional Coordinator of the Council for the Welfare of Children will meet regularly with the
Regional Sub-Committee to gather monitoring updates and discuss concerns/issues relevant to
the welfare of children.

e. A similar approach will be utilized at the provincial and municipal levels. Monitoring reports will
be submitted to the local Council for the Welfare of Children based on the work and financial
plans for implementing Philippine Plan of Action for Children formulated at the city and municipal
levels in compliance with Memorandum Order No. 39, issued by the President on September 21,

f. To enhance and update data gathered through the abovementioned processes, Council staff
will also conduct independent monitoring visits to selected areas. To strengthen its monitoring
activities, the Council for Welfare of Children will coordinate with the National Statistical
Coordination Board on the further development of child-related indicators and the improvement of
existing monitoring systems so that weaknesses and data gaps may be adequately addressed.

g. The Council for the Welfare of Children will be assisted in its monitoring tasks by the Child
Rights Center of the Commission on Human Rights. The Center will focus on monitoring progress
of Convention on the Rights of the Child implementation with regard to violation of children's civic
rights and freedoms and their right to special protection measures.

h. At the end of each year, in addition to its Report on Philippine Plan of Action for Children
implementation, the Council for the Welfare of Children will prepare an update on Convention on
the Rights of the Child implementation.

2. To what extent and in what ways are non-governmental organizations involved in implementing
the Philippine plan of action for children and in monitoring the implementation of the Convention
on the Rights of the Child?

a. Memorandum Order No. 39 calls upon (requires) local government executives to encourage
and mobilize Non-Government Organizations participation in PPAC implementation. Participation
of Non-Government Organizations is considered an inherent feature of the inter-agency approach
to promoting child survival, protecting and development.

b. In 1992, more than 40 NGOs participated in an orientation and planning workshops on PPAC
which was convened by the National Council of Social Development. This resulted in the
integration of children's concerns in their agency's plans. In 1993, the Bureau of Child and Youth
Welfare of the Department of Social Welfare and Development brought together duly-licensed
and accredited Non-Government Organizations involved in promoting child welfare to refine, and
plan for the attainment of, the Philippine Plan of Action for Children goals on special protection

c. Included as members of the Board of the Council for the Welfare of Children are three heads of
Non-Government Organizations, two serving children and the third, a head of a youth
organization. The Non-Government Organizations which these individuals represent are fully
committed to work towards successful Philippine Plan of Action for Children implementation.

d. Non-Government Organization contributions to Philippine Plan of Action for Children

implementation are reflected in their respective work plans, those of local governments, as well
as in a number of projects under the Government of the Philippine-UNICEF Country Programme
of Cooperation.

3. In view of the information contained in paragraph 26 of the report, please provide details of any
measures taken to make the report widely available to the public at large and to initiate briefings
and discussions on the major findings and conclusions of the report.

a. The Council for Welfare of Children has conducted two press briefings, led by the Secretary of
the Department of Social Welfare and Development, to bring the Report to the attention of the
mass media. Findings and priorities outlined in the Report were presented and discussed.

b. The Council for the Welfare of Children in cooperations with the Commission on Human Rights
also conducted a multi-sectoral consultation to discuss further monitoring of Convention on the
Rights of the Child implementation.

c. Agencies in all three branches of Government were furnished copies of the Report for their
information and dissemination to their constituencies and affiliate agencies. Copies were also
provided to the Regional Sub-Committee for the Welfare of Children, as well as to local and
international Non-Government Organizations.

d. Plans are currently being formulated for further briefings and discussions on the Convention on
the Rights of the Child, the Philippines' report on its initial implementation, and on further
progress achieved as part of the activities in October which has been declared as National
Children's Month.

4. Has a nationwide mass medica campaign been launched to enhance public awareness of
rights of the child and the Convention? (See para. 26 of the report)

There has been no nationwide mass media campaign launched to enhance public awareness of
the rights of the child and the convention. However, the Council for the Welfare of Children has
launched the search for children's pool of advocates. This search is to select children who can be
advocates for their own rights.

The pool of advocates has two categories. The first group is the theater type of presentation of
the rights of children as per the Convention on the Rights of the Child and implemented as stated
in the Philippine Plan of Action for Children. The second group is the speakers' bureau. This
group shall select children who can effectively put forward the message on their rights. This
search will be done yearly so as to multiply the number of child advocates. Through these, the
Council envisions these children to be strong advocates for their own rights.

5. What measures have been taken to train professions groups about the Convention?

a. The Department of Education, Culture and Sports together, with the Commission of Human
Rights, has conducted trainings on human rights among educators. These have incorporated
training on child rights as one of the main topics. To date, 80 educators have been trained.

b. The Commission on Human Rights has trained officers of the three branches of the military, the
Philippine National Police, and of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology on human rights
and international humanitarian law, incorporating the right of the child to special protection
measures. So far, a total of 30, 270 military and police officers have been trained, broken down
as follows: training 656, advocacy course 10,022 and orientation course 19,592.

c. The National Council of Social Development has conducted trainings of 40 social workers on
the Convention on the Right of the Child. Further, the National Council of Social Development
members conduct regular briefings among their staff and service providers on the Convention.

6. What is the status of the Convention in relation to national law? Can the provisions of the
Convention be invoked in court?

Under the present Constitution, Section 2, Article II, thereof, "the Philippines renounces war as an
instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part
of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation,
and amity with all nations. For the validity of the treaty or international agreement, the votes of at
least two-thirds of all members of the Senate are necessary to concur in said treaty or
international agreement without such concurrence, a treaty or international agreement is not valid
nor effective. (Section 21, Art. VII, Constitution.)

The Philippines Supreme Court in Abbas vs. COMELEC (179 SCRA 287) hold that a binding
treaty or international agreement would then constitute part of the law of the land, but as an
internal law, it cannot be superior to an enactment of Congress of the Philippines, rather it would
be on the same class as the latter.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child pursuant to the above said constitutional provision,
was concurred in by the Senate on July 26, 1990. Hence it become part of the law of the land.

The Constitutional provisions can be invoked in Court.

7. To what extent is international cooperation designed to enhance implementation of the

Convention on the Rights of the Child?

a. Official Development Assistance provided by multi-lateral and bi-lateral sources is being tapped
for special projects for children. The present Country Program of Cooperation between the
government of the Philippines and the UNICEF uses the Philippine Plan of Action for Children as
its framework. The Philippine Plan of Action for Children is the country's national plan of action to
implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the World Summit Declaration on the
Survival, Protection and Development of Children.

b. In December 1993, The Third Meeting of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Ministers Responsible for Social Welfare, which was held in Manila, adopted a Resolution on an
Association of South East Asian Nations Plan of Action for Children, which provides the
framework for promoting regional cooperation for the survival, protection and development of the
ASEAN child.

c. Earlier in January 1992, the Fourth Association of South East Asian Nations Summit, which
was held in Singapore, decided to extend Association of South East Asian Nations functional
cooperation to include efforts to work towards the development of children so that they may
realize their full potential.

Definition of the Child

(Art. 1 of the Convention)

8. Please explain the reasons for the difference between the cut-off age for statutory rape which
is less than 12 years of age wherein elements of force or intimidation and consent need not be
present (para. 30 of the report) and the minimum age for marriage which is 18.

In statutory rape, what is presumed is that a twelve-year old, being of tender age, is utterly
innocent of the ways of the world, that she cannot give voluntary consent and does not have a will
of her own with regard to the sexual act. On the other hand, the reason why the law does not
allow those below 18 years of age to enter into marriage is that they are considered as being too
young to understand what marriage is.
9. In paragraph 29 of the report it is stated that any marriage where either party is less than 18
years old is considered null and void from the beginning even with the consent of parents and
guardians. Please provide further information on any difficulties encountered in the
implementation of this provision of the Family Code.

Persons authorized to solemnize marriages who are located in remote ares may not have been
reached by this information, and hence, may still be continuing to solemnize marriages where
one, or more, of the parties is less than 18 years old.

10. Please provide information on the minimum age of sexual consent as well as the minimum
age for legal and medical counselling without parental consent.

a. There has been no specification of a minimum age at which an individual is deemed as being
qualified to give sexual consent. Implicitly, the minimum age for sexual consent is deemed to be
18 years, i.e., the age at which an individual may contract marriage.

b. Neither is there any specification of a minimum age, other than the age of majority, at which an
individual may avail of legal or medical counselling without parental consent.

11. Please indicate whether any steps are foreseen to st an age for completion of compulsory
education which would be in line with the minimum age for employment. (See paras. 33-34 of the

The minimum age for employment is specified as 15 years old, although children less than 15
years old may be allowed to work under the direct responsibility of their parents or guardians in
any non-hazardous undertaking where the work will not in any way interfere with their schooling.
The usual age for completing compulsory (elementary) education is 12 years. However, there are
no steps yet to set an age for completion of compulsory education in line with the minimum age
for employment.
General principles
(Arts. 2, 3, 6 and 12)

12. Information in paragraph 43 of the report, indicates the difficulties involved in realizing the
implementation of article 2 of the Convention. In this regard please provide details of any
measures, other than those of a legislative nature, undertaken to eliminate and prevent
discriminatory attitudes and prejudices against the girl child, children born out of wedlock,
disabled children, and indigenous and minority children.

a. The social welfare sector has undertaken the following measures: information and educational
programs on gender legislation; policies, programs and services for the girls child, children with
disabilities, and children in cultural communities (CICC); gender sensitivity training programs; and
advocacy and training activities to change language/terms (labeling) which are discriminatory
against children born out of wedlock.

b. In the school setting, special efforts are made to encourage female children, children born out
of wedlock, and CICC to participate in student activities. Some modifications are made in school
activities to take into account the capabilities of disabled children. Innovating teaching strategies
are geared towards closer camaraderie not only to special categories of children but also to all
school children. Pleasant but instructive experiences are also provided to nurture the feeling of
importance to the individual child. The vision is to transform each one of them to be somebody
capable of contributing to the well being of their own selves, family, community and of the larger
group where they belong.

Civil rights and freedoms

(Arts. 7, 8, 13-17 and 37 (a) of the Convention)

13. Information in paragraph 62 of the report indicates that only about 70 per cent of total births
are registered officially. Please explain the effect, if any, on the enjoyment of the rights of the child
for the children that remain officially unregistered.

a. The rights of the child, such as his/her right to have a name, are not diminished by his/her not
being recorded in the civil registrar.
b. However, a child who is not officially registered (or his/her parents) may experience difficulties
in proving his/her civil status (i.e., filiation, legitimacy, citizenship, and others) in the future is
he/she has not certificate of live birth. Further, other major aspects in which a child would need a
birth certificate is when he/she starts schooling and later as an adult, a prerequisite for marriage.

14. Are any measures envisaged to remove the requirement of entering information on the civil
status of parents from a child's birth certificate? (See para. 56 of the report)

There is no intention at this time to exclude from the certificate of live birth information as to
whether or not the child's parents are married. This information is a legal necessity as it is used
as a basis in determining the civil status of the child (i.e., whether legitimate or illegitimate. Under
the Family Code of the Philippines, legitimate children do not have the same rights as the
illegitimate children do not have the same rights as the illegitimate children, especially in terms of
support, inheritance, name, and parental authority.

15. Please provide information on the progress achieved with regard to the measures being taken
to improve birth registration particularly by members of cultural communities. (See para. 61 of the
The following measures have been undertaken to improve birth registration among cultural

a. Establishment of civil registration system for Muslim Filipinos. Administrative Order No. 2,
Series of 1993 was issued by the President in February 1993 establishing a civil registration
system for Muslim Filipinos. Administrative Order No. 2 supplements Administrative Order No. 1
focusing on the Filipino Muslims. Trainings of the Civil Registrars on these orders had been
conducted already. Forms for the use of the Muslims in relation to Administrative Order No. 2 has
been printed and distributed to concerned Civil Registrars has started. Furthermore, manuscripts
on Administrative Order No. 2 is being prepared.

b. Advocacy on free registration of vital events. Presidential Proclamation No. 326 was issued on
February 14, 1994 declaring free registration of births, deaths, marriages and foundlings as a
State policy and encouraging local government units to eliminate existing registration fees. The
Office of the Civil Registrar- General believes that having free registration is one way of
encouraging the people, especially those in the rural and depressed areas, to register vital

c. Conduct of information dissemination. This is being undertaken by the field offices of the Office
of the Civic Registrar-General and by local civil registry offices, particularly among members of
ethnic cultural communities.

16. Is corporal punishment allowed in schools or other institutions for children? What specific
legal provisions exist to protect children from being ill-treated? Are there complaint procedures
which can be used by children themselves against such violations?

a. Corporal punishment is not allowed in schools or other institutions for children.

b. Legal provisions exist to protect children from being ill-treated. These include the following;

(1). The Child and Youth Welfare Code specifies that criminal liability shall attach to any parent
who inflicts cruel and unusual punishment upon a child or deliberately subjects him/her to
indignities and other excessive chastisement that embarrass or humiliate him/her.

(2). The Special Protection of Children Act also states that criminal liability shall attach to any
person who shall commit any other acts of neglect, abuse, cruelty or exploitation or be
responsible for other conditions prejudicial to the child's development including those covered by
Article 59 of the Presidential Decree No. 603, as amended.

(3). The Revised Penal Code described the crimes of serious physical injuries, less serious
physical injuries, and slight physical injuries and prescribes the penalties therefore.

c. Procedures exist which can be used by the children themselves in cases of violations. The
Special Protection Act states that complaints on cases of unlawful acts committed against
children as enumerated therein may be filed by the children themselves, among others. Children
are encouraged to report any abuses done against them through the "Bantay Bata Hotline", the
Crisis Intervention Centers of the Department of Social Welfare and Development field offices, the
Philippine National Police, and/or the Baranguay Councils for the Protection of Children.

d. The Bureau of Public Schools Service Manual, under the topic of School Discipline, specifies
that the use of corporal punishment by a teacher (slapping, jerking or pushing a pupil about),
imposing tasks as penalty, and meeting out cruel and unusual punishment of any nature, are
forbidden, and constitute a cause for dismissal.

e. Corporal punishment is not allowed in institutions for children. The Department of Social
Welfare and Development child/youth caring institutions strictly enforce this policy. This policy is
also complied with by Non-Government Organizations which operate institutions for
children/youth, as this is a part of the criteria for their accreditation by Department of Social
Welfare and Development.

Family environment and alternative care

(Art. 5, 18 paras. 1 and 2, 9, 10, 27 para. 4,
20, 21, 11, 19, 39 and 25 of the Convention)

17. Please provide information on the number, if any, of reported cases of statutory rape of
children under 12 years of age and of sexual abuses committed against children over the age of
12. In the light of article 39 of the Convention, please provide details of the progress achieved in
the implementation of measures and priorities for the recovery and rehabilitation of children who
have suffered from such violations. (Para. 245 of the report)

Data available does not specifically state as statutory rape, but in 1993, there were 149 cases of
sexual abuse to children with age bracket from 0-12 years. The Department of Social Welfare and
Development has institutions wherein children are being rehabilitated according to their needs.

18. Table 6 on page 26 of the report shows the number of families served by different kinds of
programmes. What percentage do these figures represent of the total number of families in need
of such programmes?

Hereunder is the most recent data on the number of families served by the different kinds of
programmes. However, the assessed number of families needing the programmes is constrained
by the social worker and outreach team's limitations as to geographical coverage and available


Family Life 659,428 461,797 70%


Responsible 1,568,411 1,477,926 94%


Rehabilitation 163,102 88,282 54%


Solo Parents 147,450 63,924 43%

19. What percentage do the number of children served by the type of interventions shown in table
7 represent in terms of the total need for such services?

There is no available figure on the number of abandoned children and of children in the other
categories cited, hence no percentage can be established.

20. Please provide further information on the ways and means by which the priorities, set out in
paragraph 101 of the report, as regards parental guidance and responsibilities are to be

a. Implementation priorities for the next five years will include the following:

Support to the expansion of the outreach of existing programs of implementing agencies:

- Non-Government Organization Interlinking/Technical Assistance regarding the implementation of

Parenting programs

- Advocacy, Training, Technical Assistance and Monitoring of Local Government Units

implementation of programs

22. Is research undertaken into the problem of ill-treatment and sexual abuse of children,
including into any social factors which may influence such violations?

a. A number of Non-Government Organizations have conducted some small studies on sexual

abuse of children, as well as on children with psycho-social problems;

b. An attempt is being made by Department of Social Welfare and Development to build up a data
profile on child victims of sexual abuse and ill-treatment;

c. The research agenda of the Department of Social Welfare and Development for 1994 - 1995
includes an in-depth study on incest. The research study shall be done in two phases. This first
phase is a sort of an exploratory research, wherein activities shall include, demographic profiling,
review of related literatures and finding out the factors that lead to the committing of incest. These
activities shall serve as guide for the department to have a view on the situation of these victims.
The second phase is the conduct of the in-depth research on the impact of incest to the child-

23. Please provide more details of the Bantay-Bata (Child Watch) Hotline project, referred to in
paragraph 122 of the report.

a. The Bantay-Bata Hotline Project (Child Watch) was conceived by the Department of Social
Welfare and Development in 1990 with the following general objectives:

** To generate public awareness and understanding on the plight of abused, abandoned,

neglected and exploited children as well as measures being undertaken to address this problem.

** To enable the public to advocate, promote and protect the rights of children.

** To enable the public to get involved in project/activities designed to prevent child abuse and

Under the Project, the Department of Social Welfare and Development has established
partnerships with ABS-CBN TV station and UNICEF.

b. In 1992, 2,419 cases were reported to and through the Hotline and acted upon by the Police,
the Department of
- Coordination, collaboration and training assistance to field implementors

- Linkages with community organizations through the Local Government Units

- Training of Community Volunteers on parental guidance and responsibilities

Development of Effective Parenting Programs

- Holding of Parent Education Congresses at the Barangay, Municipal, Provincial, Regional and
National Levels

- Federation of Parent Effectiveness Associations

- Development and Advocacy for the Utilization of Radio as a Means of Reaching out to more

b. Design of and conduct of training on Family Life Programmes to cater to specific target groups,
such as those with children in institutional care or with disabilities.

c. Researches on current funds for Family Life.

d. Development of modular sessions on Parent Effectiveness Service addressing to special

needs of special group e.g. disabled and streetchildren.

21. Have programmes been adopted to prevent and reduce the abandonment of children and, if
so, are such programmes adequate?

a. Services on family counselling, livelihood, and skills training are provided to parents to
encourage and help enable them to meet the needs of their children in their homes and prevent
separation. In the case of children who are already in institutions or in foster care, the child should
not be alienated from his/her parents. Contact between them and their parents through letters
and visits is encouraged. Corresponding family counselling and related services are also provided
to prepare the child and the family for the child's return to the home.

b. Present programs to prevent and reduce abandonment are still inadequate due to resource
constraints. Social Welfare and Development and other partner agencies of the Project.

c. Problems encountered include information dissemination to the public on the Bantay Bata
Hotline Project in the remote areas and the irregular submission of reports from the regions.

24. In view of the information contained in paragraphs 123 and 124 of the report concerning
implementation priorities to address the problem of child abuse and neglect, please indicate any
progress made in this area and whether there is a need for technical assistance or international
cooperation in this regard.

a. On January 10, 1994, the Department of Justice created a Task Force on Protection of
Children Against Abuse to be responsible for the evaluation of filed or referred complaints. The
Task Force determines whether the evidence submitted in support of the complaints is sufficient
to warrant the prosecution of the case. The same task force likewise handles the prosecution of
the case. The evaluation and handling of a case, however, is handled by two different

b. On its part, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, with its limited resources, has
conducted training/workshops for police officers and social workers along provisions of the law
against child abuse, proper handling of cases of Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances,
understanding the dynamics of child victims and rehabilitation/psychosocial interventions.

c. There is a need for technical assistance and international cooperation. The Department of
Social Welfare and Development is negotiating with the Swedish Save the Children through BITS
technical training on rehabilitation of sexually abused children, their families and the perpetrators.
Basic health and welfare
(Art. 6 para. 2, Arts. 23, 24, 26 and 18 para. 3,
Art. 27 paras. 1-3 of the Convention)

25. Please provide information on the family planning measures taken and the beneficiaries of
such measures and the occurrence and treatment of HIV infection among children and parents as
well as measures to prevent AIDS.

a. The family planning program in the Philippines has been revitalized as a health intervention
program aimed to improve the welfare of families particularly mothers and children. It focuses its
efforts in providing Family Planning information and services necessary for clients of reproductive
age to plan their families according to their own beliefs and circumstances and to their health
needs and aspirations. It is viewed in the context of Women's Health, Safe Motherhood and Child
Survival and is founded on informed free choice.

b. The goal of the program is universal access to family planning information and services. While
majority of Filipinos are aware of family planning, many do not have access of quality family
planning service. The following measures among others, therefore, are being undertaken as

** Institutional Development/Service Deliver - to make service outlets reliable providers of quality

Family Planning services i.e. they provide wider range of medically safe, legally acceptable family
planning methods.

** Information, Education and Communication - to make households not only aware of the Family
Planning but have information on where to access services, how to make one's own choice and
the role of men in responsible parenthood. Likewise messages for adolescents concerning
responsible sexuality are made available.

c. The beneficiaries of the program are the married women of reproductive age (15 -49 years old)
who constitute 15% of the total population, for Family Planning services and Family Planning
information. Women of reproductive age (25% of the total population) on the other hand, are
beneficiaries of Family Planning information.

d. On the HIV/AIDS, latest report from the Department of Health HIV/AIDS Registry show that the
cumulative totals from 1984 to June 1994 is 531 for HIV positive and 150 for AIDS cases, 86 of
which have already died. Of the 531 HIV positives, 11 belong to age group 30-44, 39 to the age
group 45 and above and 67 are of unknown ages. With regard to sex disaggregation of the 531
HIV positive, 252 are female and 272 are males.

e. The Sun Lazaro Hospital and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine have been
designated as clinical centers which provide an array of services for diagnosis and treatment of
the opportunistic infections affecting AIDS cases, including counselling of cases and of their
families and friends, spiritual and alternative livelihood.

Children born of HIV infected mothers are serially followed-up to establish the possibility of
perinatal transmission. Frank AIDS cases are also admitted for treatment.

In as much as in the next few days it is expected that AIDS cases will increase, thus overloading
these centers, activities are now undergoing to improve the capabilities of all regional services to
HIV- and AIDS cases.

f. The Department of Health realizes that education remains the only strategy to slow down the
current HIV/AIDS epidemic. As such, prevention and control remains the top priority of the
national program. There are four (4) main strategies to address the epidemic:

1. Prevention of Sexual Transmission

a. Promotion of Responsibilities Sexual Behavior

b. Improved Diagnosis and Treatment of Treatable Sexually Transmitted Diseases

c. Promotion of safer sexual behavior

2. Prevention of Transmission Through Blood/Blood Products and Donated Organ Tissues

a. Promote Rational Use of Blood/Blood Products for Transfusion

b. Promote Safe Blood Supply

c. Prevention of Transmission Through The Use of Unsterilized Injection Equipment and other
Skin-Piercing Instruments
3. Prevention of Vertical Transmission of HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Disease Infections

a. Prevention of Sexual Transmission of HIV/STDs in Women

b. Provide Information to HIV Infected Women and Discordant Couples

c. Provide access to Health and Social Care to Women with HIV Infection and/or other Sexually-
Transmitted Diseases

4. Reduction of Personal and Social Impact on AIDS-Related Status

26. Please provide further details on the steps being taken to expand the reach of existing health
programmes to the most disadvantaged groups and to develop mechanisms for the regular
monitoring of the health and nutrition status of children in the country. (See para. 144 of the

a. To expand the reach of existing health programs to the most disadvantaged groups, a number
of measures are being implemented:

** Collaboration with Non-Government Organizations and other private sector

(Example: the Department of Health provides free vaccines, oresol, contraceptives to Non-
Government Organizations and private clinics)

** Use of community-based worker in the provision of services

(Example: Volunteers can dispense oresol to cases of diarrhea; they can do community-based
weighing of children, etc.)

** Outreach - The Rural Health Midwives goes to far-flung baranguays to provide services, mass
immunization, etc.

b. Use of Information, Education and Communication and Interpersonal Communication to

generate demand for the services and to inform corresponding population segments on the
means of preventing disease and promoting health. (Example: Home Care for diarrhea, etc.)

The Mechanisms for the Regular Monitoring of the Health and Nutrition Status of Children are:
1. The health and nutrition status of children regularly monitored using the Growth Monitoring

** For the 0-12 months, monitoring done monthly at the health center

** For the 1-5 years old children, monitoring done quarterly at the community

2. Immediate intervention is provided to children when screening shows health or nutrition


3. Information, Education and Communication and Health Education is done to emphasize the
importance of growth monitoring and early intervention. Mothers are taught to do the growth
monitoring and health screening.

4. Mothers who do not bring their children for growth monitoring or those who do not monitor their
children's growth themselves are identified using the master list. The midwives or volunteers do
the outreach.

27. With reference to information contained in paragraph 149 of the report, please indicate the
measures being taken to establish day care centers in a further 23,752 baranguays.

a. The Department of Social Welfare and Development has undertaken a number of advocacy
efforts towards this end:

(1). for local government units to allocate funds for the creation of day-care centers and for the
creation of positions/granting of honoraria for day care workers;

(2). for Congressmen and Senators to allocate funds for the same purposes from their
Countryside Development Fund;

(3). for the establishment of day care centers in government offices, private industrial
organizations, and church social action centers.

b. It has also mobilized Non-Government Organizations, parents, and other concerned individuals
in this regard.

c. These efforts continue.

28. How is the Government planning to overcome the problems of lack of data on the disabled
(para. 160 of the develop programmes at the report)? What measures are being undertaken to
develop programmes at the community level for the prevention of disabilities?

a. Concerned Departments and other line agencies are being encouraged to develop projects
which would evolve the needed data through the inclusion of these projects in their respective
monitoring systems.

b. The Philippine Agenda for Action on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, once
finalized, will be disseminated nationwide to serve as guide and provide directions for all
organizations/agencies for/of persons with disabilities.

This will include actions at the community level for the prevention of disabilities.

c. Further, with regard to the prevention of disabilities, education and information campaigns are
currently being undertaken by the National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons in
collaboration with tri-media agencies/offices nationwide.
Education, leisure and cultural activities
(Arts. 28, 29 and 31 of the Convention)

29. Table 5 (see page 15 of the report) indicates a reduction in participation rate for elementary
education from 87.9 in 1980 to 84.81 in 1990. What are the reasons for this reduction?

A possible cause of the reduction in the participation rate in elementary school from 87.9% in
1980 to 84.81% in 1990 is the temporary dislocation of school children due to the series of natural
and man-made calamities which hit various parts of the country in 1990. These include the killer
earthquake in Luzon, flash floods and typhoons in the Visayas, and armed conflict in Mindanao.

30. What is being done to facilitate school attendance in remote areas? What has been the result
of measures taken to prevent children from dropping out of school or engaging in employment?
Has the double/triple shift school system shown success in providing working children with the
possibility of continuing their education? Is education given to working children of a formal or a
non-formal nature? What is the proportion of working children who do not benefit form any form of

a. A specific thrust of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports for the period 1994 - 1996
is to have an elementary school in every barangay, including the most remote areas, and a high
school in every municipality. This is expected to facilitate school attendance for those in remote
areas. From SY 1990-1991 to SY 1993-1994, there was a 1.69% increase in the government and
23.65% increase in the number of elementary schools. Many of the additional schools were in
remote areas.

b. The Drop-Out Intervention Program was implemented on a pilot basis in selected low-income
municipalities in SY 1990-1991 and 1991-1992. Four treatments were used in the program: multi-
level materials (MLMs) -assisted instruction; school feeding; MLM-assisted instruction with
parent-teacher partnership (PTP); and school feeding-with-PTP. The use of these interventions
led to a decrease in dropout rate of as much as 9.6% in one school. The school feeding-with-PTP
intervention was seen as the one which had the greatest effect on decreasing the drop-out rate.

c. The double-triple shift school system has demonstrated success in enabling working children to
continue with their education. Having a third shift in the high school system enables working
children to attend regular classes.

d. Working children avail of both formal and non-formal education. One objective of non-formal
education is to bring back children into the formal stream and enable them to finish secondary
education. In some ares, the DECS has launched a School on the Air which is being used as an
alternative learning intervention.

e. No data is available on the proportion of working children who do not benefit from any form of

31. Please indicate whether children may be taught in local/indigenous languages.

a. Local/indigenous languages are used in teaching Social Studies and Values Education
subjects. Other subjects are taught in English. This is true in both elementary and high school

b. In preschool and in Grade I, the vernacular is used as an auxiliary language in all subjects to
facilitate learning.

32. In view of the information contained in paragraph 25 of the report that the Department of
Education, Culture and Sports has developed instructional materials for teaching children's rights,
please indicate to what extent school curricula have been adjusted to give room for education
about the Convention. In addition, what steps have been taken to integrate the subject of human
rights into non-formal education programmes?

a. The teaching of child rights has been integrated into the secondary curriculum from first to
fourth year. These are included in the teaching of Social Studies and Home Economics subjects.

b. At the elementary level, the rights and responsibilities of the child are included in the Sibika and
Kultura textbooks. Supplementary materials have also been developed to support teaching of
human rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

c. The concepts of human rights and Convention on the Rights of the Child have also been
integrated into a number of non-formal education programs which are being implemented by the
Department of Education, Culture and Sports, specifically the Bureau of Non-Formal Education.
Special protection measures
(Arts. 22, 30, 32-40 of the Convention)

33. In paragraph 6 it is mentioned that the Special Protection Act provides for the protection of
children in difficult situations including those under armed conflict. Please explain why there is no
reference to this Act in the information contained in table 3 of the report. (See pages 10 to 12 of
the report).

Mention of Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances under the Special Protection Act in Table
3 was inadvertently missed in the final print-out of the Report. Please see corrected matrix. Note
that aside from the added reference to Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances under the
Special Protection Act, the matrix hereunder includes five additional references, shown encircled.


CARER.A. 7658
Law prohibiting the
Employment of
a. Parental + + +
Guigance +
Responsibilities +
b. Children + + +
Deprived of a +
Adoption and
c. Illicit Transfer + ++
and Non-Return
d. Abuse and (+) + (+)+++
a. Survival and + + ++++1.3
Health and Health
b. Social Security + (+)+
and Child
Care Services
c. Disabled (+) + 3
d. Standard of + + +


CARER.A. 7658
Law prohibiting the
Employme nt of

. Education + + +
Vocational +
Training & +
Guidance/Aims 4,5
of Education
. Leisure and + +
Cultural +
. Children in +
Situation of
* Emergency
* Refugee Children
. Children in +
Conflict with the
. Children in
Situation of
Physical &
Recovery & Social
* Economic +
Exploitation +
including Child +
Labor ++
* Drug Abuse ++
* Sexual +
Exploitation & +
Abuse ++
* Sale Trafficking & 6
. Children (+) +
belonging to
Indigenous Groups
CARER.A. 7658
Law prohibiting the
Employme nt of

a. Right to Name & + + ++++
b. Preservation of + + +
Identity +
Nationality & +
Family +
c. Freedom of + + ++++
d. Freedom of + + ++
e. Freedom of + + +++
Asso. & Peaceful
f. Right to + +++
Protection of
g. Access to + ++
h. Right not to be + (+) +
subjected to +
torture & other +
cruel, unhuman or
34. Please indicate the progress achieved, if any, in implementing the Philippine Plan of Action for
Children, as it relates to children in situations of armed conflict.

The major organized effort for assisting children in situations of armed conflict is the Children in
Situations of Armed Conflict program under the GOP-UNICEF Third Country Program for

a. Under this program, over the period 1991 - 1993, basic health, nutrition and education services
were provided directly to 61,295 children in situations of armed conflict. A total of 300,000 children
benefitted indirectly from the improved delivery systems in at least 451 barangays. Varied types
of services were provided to children, their families and communities.

b. Advocacy efforts on children in situations of armed conflict resulted in the enactment of the
following legal instruments and administrative directives:

** R.A. 7610 - Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation, and
Discrimination Act - Article X specifically deals with children in situations of armed conflict.

** Presidential Memorandum No. 398 and Memorandum Circular No. 139 providing for the policy
and guidelines on the delivery of goods and services in the countryside.

** Armed Forces of the Philippines Memorandum on the Protection of Children in Armed Conflicts
which reiterates the policy of protecting children and other civilians in the area of operation and
accepted as policy measures like "corridors of peace" and "days of tranquility" to allow services to
reach children.

** Presidential Memorandum Order No. 393 and its implementing rules directing the Armed
Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to reaffirm their adherence to the
Principles of Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in the conduct of security/police operations.

c. Efforts were also done to address the root causes of the problem of children in situations of
armed conflict such as follows:

** Incorporated the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the trainings in the Human Rights
and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) among 3,004 officers of the officers' corps of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police.

** Dialogues were held with ranking officials of the Department of National Defense and the
Armed Forces of the Philippines which yielded guidelines for field personnel to ensure protection
of children during operations.

** Introduced Children in Situations of Armed Conflict specific measures in the Child and Youth
Welfare Code through the enactment of the Child Protection Act by Congress. These
amendments are geared to the protection of children in armed conflict situations.

** Held conferences, roundtable discussions and dialogues with local officials, media, teachers,
the church, and other strategic sectors. Produced brochures, advocacy materials and a video
documentary in the effort to disseminate knowledge and raise awareness on children's rights and

d. The project monitoring of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict was done on a fairly regular
basis by local program partners to determine the progress implementation and identify and solve
problems encountered. The regional Children in Situations of Armed Conflict committees assume
the lead role in monitoring with Local Government Units implementors providing support. On a
regular basis, inter-agency committee members join the local implementors in visits to project
areas. Monitoring visits served as a good opportunity for project implementors to look into the
situation of children in situations of armed conflict. Project evaluation is usually undertaken at the
middle and terminal phases of the programme. However, weaknesses in documentation and
reporting presented difficulties in the evaluation process.

e. The concept of "Children as Zones of Peace" is defined as the protection of services and
institutions to safeguard children, and safety for service providers to reach children during times
of conflict. This concept is further defined by various laws and regulations on Children in
Situations of Armed Conflict rights.

35. Please provide further information on the system of the administration of juvenile justice and,
in particular, on the following matters:

a. The Juvenile Justice in the Philippines applies to criminal justice to persons below 18 years of
age, through the cooperation of and linkages between the five pillars of the Criminal Justice
System (Law Enforcement, Prosecution, Courts, Corrections and Community).

Juvenile Justice includes the prevention of the commission of offenses; the protection of the
minor offended party; the application of intervention measures to prevent entry or intercept further
entry of the youth offender into the formal penal system; the compassionate treatment and
rehabilitation of the youth offender within the penal system; the adjustment of the released youth
offender within the community to prevent reentry into the penal system; and the application of due
process for youth offenders who are incorrigible.

b. What are the measure taken to ensure that the deprivation of liberty is used as a measure of
last resort and for the shortest period of time?

(1). The five pillars of the Philippine Criminal Justice System have important roles to play in the
administration of justice in meeting the varying needs of the youth and the protection of his/her

(2). As the community, when a youth commits a misdeamor or an offense, the youth is referred to
the Barangay Chairperson (Village Head) who initiate conciliation/mediation between the youth
and his parents, and the offended parties. If the problem is not settled during the conciliation, the
youth is referred to the Lupong Tagapamayapa or adjudication body for further action on or
resolution of the problem. The age of the youth is determined, his/her parents notified and
measures are exhausted to settle the case at the village level to prevent the youth from entering
the criminal justice system. Only those not resolved at the village level are forwarded to the law
enforcement agency/police.

(3). Further, the Child and Youth Welfare Code contains at least three provisions in this regard.
These states that:
(a). A youth offender held for physical and mental examination or trial pending appeal, if unable to
furnish bail, shall from the time of his/her arrest be committed to the care of the Department of
Social Welfare and Development, the local rehabilitation center, or a detention home in the
province or city, which shall be responsible for his/her appearance in court whenever required.
The court, may, in its discretion upon recommendation of the Department of Social Welfare and
Development or other agencies authorized by the Court, release a youthful offender on
recognizance to the custody of his/her parents or other suitable person who shall be responsible
for his/her appearance whenever required.

(b). If after hearing the evidence in the proper proceedings, the court should find that the youth
offender has committed the acts charged against him/her, the court, shall determine the
imposable penalty, including any civil liability chargeable against him/her. However, instead of
pronouncing judgment of conviction, the court shall suspend all further proceedings and shall
commit such minor to the custody or care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development,
any training institution operated by the Government, a duly licensed agency, or any other person,
until he/she shall have reached twenty-one years of age or, for a shorter period, as the court may
deem proper, after considering the reports and recommendations of the Department of Social
Welfare and Development or the agency or responsible individual under whose care he/she has
been committed.

(c). If it is shown to the satisfaction of the court that they youth offender whose sentence has
been suspended, has behaved properly and has shown his/her capability to be a useful member
of the community, even before reaching the age of majority, upon recommendation of the
Department of Social Welfare, it shall dismiss the case and order his/her final discharge.

c. What opportunities are there for young law offenders in custody to contact their relatives?

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (under the Department of Interior and Local
Government) takes the initiative of informing the parents or relatives of young offenders under
custody. If the youth offenders desire to get in touch with their parents or relatives, the latter are
informed. Visiting by their parents or relatives at any time of the day, subject to jail regulations,
are likewise allowed.

d. How are the conditions in institutions for young law offenders monitored and what complaint
procedures exist in case of the ill-treatment of children in such institutions?

(1). The conditions in institutions for youth offenders in jails are monitored by the different jail
wardens. These reports include medical/psychological data and the evaluation and
recommendation of the Bureau's social workers. Monitoring the conditions of youth offenders who
are in institutions under the supervision of the Department of Social Welfare and Development is
done by the Senior Social Workers.

(2). There are existing complaint procedures in case of ill-treatment of children in such
institutions. For those in jail, these will then be investigated by a duly designated officer in each
jail, who then recommends to the Jail Warden whatever action need to be taken against the
disposes of minor cases. The procedures call for the elevation of serious cases to the Chief of the

To date, however, there has yet been no case of a minor offender which has been brought to the
attention of the Bureau Chief.

In case of ill-treatment of youthful offenders in institutions, the procedure would be for the
concerned Department of Social Welfare and Development field office to determine what sanction
to give to the personnel under their supervision.

e. What further measures are being undertaken to develop programs and services for the
physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of juvenile offenders and for training
personnel providing such services? Is there a need for international cooperation in this regard?

(1). A pilot project on the use of community volunteers is being implemented in selected areas to
strengthen the community-based treatment and rehabilitation of delinquent youth and youth
(2). Skills of senior social workers in the management of youth offender cases are being
enhanced. Training and orientation of police officers in this regard continues.

(3). There is a need for international cooperation in this regard, particularly in the intensification of
the implementation of the Beijing Rules and the Riyadh Rules. Further, participation in
international trainings in dealing with the youth offenders is an identified need.

36. Please provide further information on the effectiveness of measures taken to prevent and
protect children who work or live in the streets from being abused or exploited.

a. "Street educators" have been fielded under the Street Education Program which is being
implemented by the National Project on Streetchildren. This project is a collaborative effort of
government with the different non-government organizations. Their main task is to protect the
children who live and/or work on the streets and train them to be responsible adults. Non-formal
education, including value formation, is provided to these children. Approximately, 84,000 street
children have been through this program, which also aims at organizing the street children into
cells or groups so they can assist and help protect each other in their daily struggles.

b. The National Council of Social Development is implementing continuing advocacy efforts in this
regard among policemen and other law enforcers, volunteers, church groups, and the community
at large.

37. With reference to information contained in paragraphs 249 to 251 of the report, please
provide details on the number, if any, of repatriated children who had been the victims of
trafficking to another country in 1992/1993 and the progress achieved in preventing the sale,
trafficking and abduction of children.

As mentioned in the Report, the key strategy which was adopted by the Government to guard
against trafficking is the enforcement of a requirement that any child travelling without his or her
parents must first secure clearance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development. In
1992, 421 such minors, 4 (about 1%) were denied clearance. In 1993, of 723 such minors, 101
(about 14%) were denied clearance. Reasons for not granting clearance include: forced travel
documents, lack of consent of parents, presentation of fake papers, and inconsistent information
provided. Data presented were from two (2) out of the three (3) international airports in the

38. What measures are being taken to ensure the promotion and protection of the rights of
children of Philippine migrant workers?

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration has the following measures to ensure promotion
and protection of the rights of children of Philippine migrant workers:

a. Community Organizing

This program provides mechanism for OCWs and their families to be actively involved in the
development and the implementation of programs in response to their needs and problems. To
date, there are one hundred (100) OCW organizations formed/maintained nationwide with a total
membership (clients reached) of four thousand eight hundred fifty-five (4,855).

Through Community Organization Work of OWWA in the regions, OCW

Groups/Associations/Cooperatives are also engaged in activities that promote and protect
children of migrant workers such as:

a. Cooperative Feeding Program

b. Barangay Day Care Center
c. Sports Competition of Youth
d. Value Formation Seminar for Youth
e. Medical Dental Assistance

b. Skills for Employment Scholarship Program

This program provides seabased or landbased workers or their dependents the chance to acquire
(a) specialized technical or vocational skills and (b) baccalaureate courses in response to the
current and future needs of the local and foreign labor markets.

The scholarship covers actual cost of tuition fees and monthly stipends. In the Baccalaureate
Courses, additional allowance include clothing, books and school supplies.

To date, six thousand four hundred two (6,402) have availed of the Technical/Vocational Courses
since the conception of the program in 1983. Only one has been qualified to take the
baccalaureate degree since its implementation in 1993.

39. With reference to paragraph 240 of the report, please provide further details of the advocacy
efforts undertaken to increase awareness of the rights of the child to be protected against sexual
exploitation or abuse.

Advocacy efforts undertaken in this area include:

a. Post approval of the Child Protection Act, fora and consultations were conducted to discuss the
situation of children and relate the newly passed law's relevance towards responding to the
protection problems of the children in the area. Sexual abuse and exploitation was one of the
more common concerns in these fora. Participants in these consultations were law enforcement
representatives (police), fiscals, social workers, non-government agency heads, community
leaders and other concerned groups. To date, the Department of Social Welfare and
Development has held fora in five regions. The rest of the regions will have theirs within the year.

b. Demonstrations and mass prayer rallies to denounce sexual exploitation of children have been
held in public plazas. These involved government and non-government agencies that either
directly work for or advocate for these children. Salinlahi, a non-government organization alliance
of child serving Non-Government Organizations, the Defence for Children International-Philippine
Section, the End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT), Gabriela, and the Stop Trafficking
of Pilipinos (STOP) are some of the more vigilant non-governmental organizations most active in
these rallies. Advocacy of these groups are directed to local government officials towards more
concrete action on problems in the area.

c. The Defence for Children International - Philippine Section conducts investigations and
documentation of cases of sexual exploitation reported to them. They coordinate with relevant
government bodies for specific action on these children's plight.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva, Switzerland

The Government of the Philippines is making significant progress in the implementation of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child. The legislative framework of the Convention is largely in
place, and its implementation is strengthened by a civil society that is highly protective of human
rights; the Local Government Code, which devolved the delivery of basic services except public
education to local government units (LGUs); and increasing human priority expenditures.
The monitoring of 33 indicators of basic family needs, particularly of children and women, is in
process in all of the country's 41,936 villages (barangays). The favourable environment for
children and women is due mainly to policy reforms, political stability, improved peace and order,
economic growth and a free media. The Government is cognizant of the economic slowdown
affecting the region and is taking steps to minimize its economic and social costs.

The Government of the Philippines-UNICEF cooperation has focused on an integrated hierarchy

of activities focusing on what can be done at home, community, basic health service and referral
levels to fulfil the health and nutrition rights of children and women in an effective, efficient and
sustainable manner. This requires greater integration of health, nutrition and intersectoral
interventions, strengthened local capacity, and enhanced health system/community interaction.

Significant progress has been made over the past decade to develop mechanisms to rescue,
rehabilitate and reintegrate children in especially difficult circumstances. The time is now ripe to
combine and integrate these efforts into more coherent and systematic approaches to prevent
and protect children from exploitative labour, sexual abuse, drug abuse and other violations of
their rights. The country has established Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiatives, micronutrient
supplementation, access to safe water, literacy and school participation. Polio eradication and the
elimination of neonatal tetanus have nearly been achieved. The Government's globalization policy
has made the economy more internationally competitive, but it has also exposed children to such
negative influences as family separation, dangerous drugs and urban poverty.

UNICEF priorities

UNICEF’s specific objectives are to:

 Strengthen the capacity of national and local governments to provide an environment to

ensure child rights and manage basic services.
 Enhance the full participation of civil society to support family efforts to raise, nurture and
protect their children.
 Reduce infant, under-five and maternal mortality rates and malnutrition.
 Improve the quality of education and increase cohort survival rates.
 Reduce the number of children who are sexually exploited, exposed to hazardous labour
and substance abuse, or are in conflict with the law.

UNICEF works in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations
Population Fund (UNFP) in women's, youth and child health; WHO and the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in nutrition; the International Labour Organization (ILO)
in child labour; and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in governance, water
and environmental sanitation, and gender and development. UNICEF will also work closely with
the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and several other bilateral donors to test and bring
to scale an elementary education package and an early child development package which
integrates health, nutrition and education services.

Basic Indicators
Net primary school
attendance (%)
(1996-2004*) 88
Total adult literacy
rate (2000-2004*) 93
Life expectancy at
birth (years)
(2004) 71
GNI per capita
(US$) (2004) 1170
Annual no. of
under-5 deaths
(thousands) (2004) 69
Annual no. of births
(thousands) (2004) 2026
Total population
(thousands) (2004) 81617
Infant mortality
rate (under 1)
(2004) 26
Under-5 mortality
rate (2004) 34
Under-5 mortality
rank 88

Though unofficial, this is the first website that features organizations in the
Philippines, both state-run and non-governmental, that work on the issue of child
protection. This is a project supported by the Arci Cultura E Sviluppo, Save the
Children (UK) Philippines, and UNICEF Manila with the participation of 8 more
organizations. This undertaking aims to present to the world the situation of abused
children and the roles of these organizations in addressing the issues through the
World Wide Web.

If you are an organization or individual involved in the same field in the Philippines or
even outside the Philippines but providing services to Filipino children, you definitely
belong to this site! Be a contributor -- articles, data, studies, photos or literary
pieces. We believe an official website is timely, or should we say long overdue. Please
let this effort be the link in uniting individuals and organizations to help the Filipino

THE PROJECT. In mid 1997, several child-focused organizations in the Philippines

began to independently consider the internet as a useful tool in research work,
advocacy and networking. Several organizations felt that so much work had been
done in the Philippines in the area of child protection, and that a collection of these
initiatives may benefit a large group -- from direct service workers and child care
workers to policy makers, funding institutions, government agencies, researchers
and other interested individuals and groups.

Consultations were conducted among government and non-government

organizations. A steering committee was eventually formed which was responsible
for the conceptualization and the development of the web page and data base
project. Members of the committee include The Advisory Board Foundation, Arci
Cultura e Sviluppo, Ateneo Human Rights Center-Adhikain Para Sa Karapatang
Pambata, Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse, Council for
the Welfare of Children, Department of Social Welfare and Development, ECPAT-
Philippines, Child Protection Unit, Save the Children (UK) Philippines, UNICEF-Manila,
and the UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies-Psychosocial Trauma &
Human Rights Program.
The project provides a comprehensive view of the situation in the Philippines and the
status of the program development work in addressing these issues. It features
various programs and practices administered by both the government and non-
government organizations. Secondly, it will collect volumes of research work that can
be shared remotely by downloading via Internet and incidentally minimize duplication
of research initiatives.