On National Children’s Day

On National Children’s Day
Sponsorship Speech

By Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Senate Plenary Session
09 December 2014

Mr. President, esteemed colleagues,

I rise today to sponsor Committee Report No. 88, which seeks to declare November 20 of every year as National Children’s Day and a special working holiday to coincide with Universal Children’s Day.

Currently, the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) celebrates National Children’s Month every October, by virtue of Proclamation No. 267, dated 30 September 1993. This proclamation, however, does not correspond to the international declaration of Universal Children’s Day.

On the other hand, the United Nations, of which the Philippines is a founding member, has established November 20 of each year as Universal Children’s Day. The Philippines has also ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which lays down the civil, political, economic, social, health, and cultural rights of children. Thus, during the course of our hearings and consultations, concerned agencies and civil organizations agreed to declare November 20 as Children’s Day in harmony with the international community.

The Philippines recognize the fundamental human rights and freedoms to which all children are entitled. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of specific goals and targets agreed to by all the world’s countries and leading development institutions, [1] are primarily about children. UNICEF notes that six of the eight goals relate directly to children, and meeting the last two will also make critical improvements in their lives.[2] Further, as the Philippines currently works towards establishing lasting peace in the nation, we also recognize that the struggle for peace and prosperity is suffered most by children. Thus, it is imperative that we create a “children’s rights culture” that protects and promotes their rights.

To this end, the bill provides that all learning levels of educational institutions, both public and private, shall conduct simple ceremonies and appropriate activities throughout the month with emphasis on inculcating in the minds of the students a “children’s rights culture” that aims for a sustainable youth development in the country. All private enterprises are likewise encouraged to do the same.

Thus, in celebration of Children’s Day last November 20, we had a photo exhibit here in the Senate featuring the winners of a contest organized by the Council of the Welfare of Children called “Sipat Bata”, with the theme “Through The Eyes of the Child: A Photo Exhibit in Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).” True to its theme, the participants of the contest were children below the age of 17, even as young as 11 years old.

Let us remember that building a strong nation starts from raising our children well and giving them the best start in life by laying down a solid foundation for their future.[3] We must nurture them in a safe and peaceful environment, and give them opportunities to grow and thrive. This is our vision for our children, who will inherit the world we shape today. In this light, I humbly ask for the swift passage of this bill. Thank you.

[1] http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/bkgd.shtml
[2] http://www.un.org/en/events/childrenday/
[3] http://www.unicef.org/about/who/index_introduction.html

Senator Pia: Building a strong nation starts with raising our children well and giving them the best start in life.

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