Category Archives: Advocacy

Joint Statement on the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Recommendations to Advance Adolescent Health

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC), the committee tasked to monitor Philippine compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in its 2022 Concluding Observations during the 91st Session, considered the issues that we raised in our joint NGO submissions and other interventions and urged the Philippine Government to, among others, ensure adolescents’ access to modern contraception, confidential testing and HIV treatment without parental consent, ensure Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in schools, address sexual violence, and the review of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act. For the first time, the UN CRC urges the Philippine Government to legalise abortion and ensure access to abortion and post-abortion care services for adolescent girls. We commend the UN CRC for issuing strong and robust recommendations to advance adolescent health in the country and reiterating the Philippine Government’s human rights obligations to ensure the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of children particularly adolescents.

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In August 2022, twelve (12) child rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights organisations submitted an NGO alternative report on the status of adolescents’ reproductive rights. In the alternative report, we requested the Committee to issue similar recommendations on adolescent health to the Philippine Government. Following the review, the UN CRC adopted the present concluding observations and recommendations to the Philippine Government on the area of Adolescent Health as follows:

  • Adopt a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health policy for adolescents and ensure sexual and reproductive health education at school, with special attention to preventing early pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS and on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Ensure that adolescents have access to modern contraception, and confidential testing and HIV treatment without parental consent and review the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act No. 10354 of 2012 accordingly.
  • Legalise abortion and ensure access to safe abortion and post-abortion care services for adolescent girls, making sure that their views are always heard and given due consideration as a part of the decision-making process, and develop and implement a policy to protect the rights of pregnant teenagers.

As a signatory to international human rights treaties including the UN CRC, the Philippine Government committed to ensure the fulfilment of sexual and reproductive health and rights of all especially of adolescents. 

The UN CRC Concluding Observation is a major win for adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health and rights in the country. Our solidarity and commitment to SRHR and children’s rights made all these possible. As SRHR, women’s rights and child rights advocates, we will continue to hold the government accountable to its commitments and monitor its implementation of the UN CRC recommendations and other human rights obligations.

Organisations:

  • Center for Reproductive Rights
  • EnGendeRights, Inc.
  • Family Planning Organization of the Philippines 
  • Filipino Freethinkers
  • ILAW Shared Community, Inc.
  • Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network 
  • Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns
  • Society of Trans Women of the Philippines
  • The Graciella Collective
  • Transman Equality and Awareness Movement
  • WomanHealth Philippines
  • Women’s Clinic Pilipinas
  • Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights
  • Young Advocates for SRHR
  • Youth for YOUth Organization

Children Expose the Harms of Tobacco Using Art

Twelve Filipino child artists were awarded on Thursday by children’s rights groups in a poster-making competition aimed to demonstrate the dangers of tobacco companies and their products. 

The competition ‘Sigarilyo: Panganib sa Bayan Ko’ (‘Cigarettes: Danger to My Nation’) was launched by Child Rights Network (CRN) Philippines, Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD), Gitib, Inc., and ImagineLaw this August. The said competition received more than 200 entries from age groups 10-14 years old and 15-17 years old for both digital and traditional poster-making categories. 

‘Paralyzing Addiction’ by 12-year-old Kaye Sarmiento of Cavite wins first place in a digital poster-making competition by children’s rights groups to illustrate the death caused by the tobacco industry. 

Twelve-year-old Kaye Sarmiento won first place in her age group in the digital category for ‘Paralyzing Addiction’. Jun Ivanne Dalman’s digital poster ‘Tobacco Destroys, Destroy Tobacco’ placed first in his age group. 

In the traditional poster-making category that allowed the use of physical materials such as watercolor and acrylic, 12-year-old John Henry Luna Jr.’s poster ‘Mulat na Bulag’ won first place in the 10-14-year-old age group while Errol Caringal’s ‘The Outturns of Ash’ gained the top prize in the 15-17 age group.  

“Tobacco companies are targeting children and young people as the next generation of consumers of their deadly products to sustain their business,” said Romeo Dongeto, executive director of PLCPD and co-convener of CRN Philippines. 

“These artworks remind us to take time and listen to children and young people in their clamor for a  tobacco-free future,” he added. 

“We have to remind grown-ups constantly: there are 117,000 deaths every year due to tobacco-related illnesses in the Philippines, 269 billion pesos in annual socio-economic losses, 12.5% student-smokers as of 2019, and 23.8% adult smokers,” said ImagineLaw Executive Director Atty. Sophia San Luis.

‘Mulat na Bulag’ by 12-year-old John Henry Luna, Jr. of Quezon City exposes the harms caused by the tobacco industry.

“Children can reduce complex problems into the simplest truths: tobacco companies are harmful and deadly. Tobacco companies are neither friends nor allies,” she also said. 

The other finalists in the traditional poster-making category are the following: Second Place, 10-14-year-old Age Group: ‘Pag-iwas sa Mapanganib na Sigarilyo, Isang Babala para sa Sambayanang Pilipino’ by Elyzza Jane V. Caringal (13 years old) of Batangas; Third Place, 10-14-year-old Age Group: ‘Nagkakaisang Kabataan upang Sigarilyo ay Wakasan’ by Kyle Brondial Espinosa (13 years old) of Bataan; Second Place, 15-17-year-old Age Group: ‘Don’t Let Tobacco Burn Your Future Into Ashes by John Estrael J. Ballera (17 years old) from San Pedro City, Laguna; and Third Place, 15-17-year-old Age Group: ‘Deadly stick’ by Zara Gen G. Velasco (16 years old) from Nueva Ecija.

The other finalists in the digital poster-making category are the following: Second Place, 10-14-year-old Age Group: ‘Sigarilyo ay huwag susubukan dahil ito ay magdadala ng kadiliman sa sarili at sa bayan’ by Bai Alija Zacaria (14 years old) of North Cotabato; Third Place, 10-14-year-old Age Group: ‘Ill Effects of Cigarettes’ by Gerald Timothy M. Cruz (11 years old) of Zamboanga City; Second Place, 15-17-year-old Age Group: ‘Ang Industriya ng Tobacco’ by Lander John Salango (17 years old) of Cavite; and Third Place, 15-17-year-old Age Group: ‘Cremation’ by Imma Christel Ehlan Carranza Quimbo (16 years old) of Cavite. 

Winners received cash prizes and certificates.

How To Give More of Yourself

At this time of year, the holiday spirit sparks a desire to do more for those in need. The truth is, giving to others is something that’s greatly needed throughout the entire year. If you feel inspired to give back, but don’t know how, here are four ways you can give more of yourself starting today.

Diverse Group of People Pick Up Trash in The Park Volunteer Community Service; Photo credit: kindnesscloud.org

Volunteer Your Time

Many people have felt the call to volunteer at one time or another. If this describes you, act on it! Giving of your time is one of the most selfless things you can do, whether it’s with an organization, or a person that’s lonely and could use some company. Pick a cause that speaks to you and find out how you can help.

Put Kindness Into Action

Kindness is something that can be practiced every day and it sets a good example to “pay it forward”. If you have some of your own ideas for promoting acts of kindness, join others that share your vision and start down a path of making the world a better place.

Run Errands for Someone

If you know someone that isn’t able to get out, offer to run errands. This could mean going to the supermarket, the bank or getting them to medical appointments. Offer to drive and take them to lunch. What seems like something routine to you would mean the world to them.

Smile and Compliment

Sometimes the kindest thing you can do for someone is offer a smile and a compliment. Everyone appreciates being told they look terrific or that they’ve done a great job. Offering encouragement with a smile can change someone’s entire day.

Inspire Others

People have many different reasons for wanting to spread kindness. When you give more of yourself, not only are you helping someone, but it makes you feel good, too. You’ll also inspire others in your circle to do the same.