The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child was established to oversee implementation of the UN CRC. The Committee is composed of 18 independent experts It reviews the State Party Report and all other reports. It receives communications by or on behalf of individuals whose rights were violated. It comments on the State Report as reflected in the Committee’s Concluding Observations Reporting to the Committee is a state obligation and not optional
Established in early 1990s to monitor the implementation of the UN CRC It provides another perspective on the status of children’s rights. It has been producing the alternative report since 1993. It provides concrete avenues for children to participate in the monitoring process.
Between 2003 and 2006, poverty incidence increased from 30.0 percent to 32.9 percent despite average GDP growth of 5.4 percent for that period. Foreign investments reached Php 212.5 billion in 2007. Foreign-owned companies have been allowed to operate large-scale mining facilities and pesticides-dependent mono-crop plantations in Mindanao. These have led to the displacement of hundreds of families from their communities. In the ensuing violence, a total of 2380 children were affected in early 2008.
Allocation for health has steadily declined from 2.53% of the national budget in 1993 to 1% in 2007. While the budget may have slightly increased to 2% in 2008 and 2009, the increase is so small that it is not adequate to respond to the impact of the worsening poverty situation on children’s health. Interest payments on debt account for 25% of the national budget in 2008 and 22% in 2009. There is a separate account for principal debt payments which is not included in the computation of the proportion of the budget allocated to debt service. Actual budget allocation for debt payment and interest amounting to 43% of the total budget in 2008 and 41% of the total budget in 2009. These payments get the largest portion of the national budget, more than the combined budget allocations for the DSWD, DOH and DepEd. Corruption cases in DepEd, e.g. vitamin-fortified noodles, overpricing of school construction, etc.
Arroyo Administration issued AO 247 in 4 December 2008 instructing the POEA to refocus its functions “from regulation to full-blast market development efforts” so it can tap into the international job market for expatriate Filipino workers. This is contrary to the provisions of the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 that says “the State does not promote overseas employment as a means to sustain the economic growth and achieve national development.”
The NGO Coalition recognizes that the Philippines has a relatively advanced legal framework regarding children’s rights. However, there are still gaps in relation to the protection of children. Also, compliance to the UNCRC should not be limited to improving the policy or legal framework, but should include the proper dissemination and implementation of the policies and laws that have been enacted.
The summary executions of children with suspected involvement in criminal activities continue to happen. Out of the 890 summary executions reported since 1999, 81 are children between the ages of 12 to 18 years old (77 males & 4 females). After the visit of Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Hights Council on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, a total of 364 individuals were killed. Of this number, 38 were children (35 males and 3 females). The continued practice of summary executions of children and suspected criminals in Davao City perpetuate a culture of impunity among those guilty and reinforce public apathy and helplessness among the victims’ families
According to CRC, 66 children were killed from 2001 to 2008. This includes 26 children who were victims of extrajudicial killings on suspicion that they were NPA supporters or sympathizers. Others were killed in counter-insurgency operations conducted by the AFP. A total of 29 children survived the military ops in which their family members were killed.
According to a situation report produced by Save the Children, as of October 19, based on NDCC data, 8.5 million persons (or 1.77 million families), including an estimated 5.3 million children, are affected by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng; 52,317 families (or an estimated 156,951 children) are in 586 evacuation centers in various parts of Metro Manila, Northern and Southern Luzon and Rizal Province. The impact of the disaster on urban poor communities has even worsened the already difficult situation of children and families in these communities. The assessment conducted by Save the Children reveals that the negative effects of the disaster have become even more evident weeks after the disaster struck. There are reports of children contracting upper respiratory diseases (colds, cough), diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and infections due to exposure to contaminated floodwaters. Especially in the evacuation centers, it was observed that children are often left on their own as parents seek livelihood or return to their homes to clean up. Parents say that they observe that their children (especially the adolescents) become fearful and anxious even with just a little rain, and are afraid to be trapped in floodwaters. Many children have lost their school things (uniform, school supplies and books), hindering their return to school. Some schools are also still flooded, and many are still occupied by evacuees, making the holding of classes quite a challenge. There is limited access to clean water and sanitation facilities. Toilets and bathing areas do not provide adequate privacy especially for adolescent girls and women. Older siblings especially older girls carry much of the burden of caring for the family and doing tasks (such as lining up for relief goods, fetching water) especially when both parents are at work. As families are moving out of evacuation centers into relatives’ houses or other areas, children also run the risk of being trafficked. There is also an absence of data on the number of affected children and their situation and the lack of information on the impact of the typhoon on children, the specific needs and concerns of children are not identified; thus, responses tend to address only the general needs of families and communities.
CHILDREN AT THE MARGINS of DEVELOPMENT Highlights of the NGO Alternative Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
UN CRC Reporting Process Government UN Committee on the Rights of the Child NGOs Children Programs Advocacy CWC NGO Coalition report report Concluding observations
Develop policies and programs to ensure children are protected from the negative effects of migration and that they benefit from overseas remittances through access to health, education and social security.
Improve the investment climate by addressing corruption and inefficiencies in the bureaucracy.
Set policies and provide the necessary inputs to increase agricultural productivity, develop local industries and support small to medium Filipino-owned enterprises.