ASEAN remains committed in promoting welfare of children as future citizens

MANILA-- The ASEAN community assured continuing efforts in the elimination of violence against children and to further promote their optimum welfare by ensuring their safety and access to better health programs.

In a press briefing at the International Media Center in Conrad Hotel in Manila Saturday, ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) chairperson and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, said that children like other vulnerable sectors such as women, youth, persons with disabilities, indigenous people and migrant workers are part of the continuous talks in building a resilient and productive ASEAN community.

Taguiwalo said that there are different activities for ASEAN which will tackle children's concerns as well as present the best practices to ensure that they will achieve optimum growth and development. <>Some of the activities lined up to promote the welfare and health of children as future citizens of the region include the ASEAN Conference on Nutrition and Breastfeeding dubbed as "Hakab Na" which is scheduled to be held in Manila on August 5.

Hakab Na is an activity that promotes breastfeeding and breastfeeding support to other babies.

Another activity is the Cross Regional Meeting for Advancing the Protection of Children from Violence to be held on June 6-8.

It is an annual gathering organized by the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children (SRSG-VAC).

The meeting will provide a venue to discuss updates on the efforts of the government, Civil Society Organization and other stakeholders highlighting the role of children in eliminating VAC.

In addition, the Social Welfare chief and chair of ASCC said they will also host the ASEAN High Level Conference on Social Protection in Manila from August 18 to 20.

The conference will be a venue for interactive discussion, consultation and sharing of best practices among national and international organizations on social protection.

Meanwhile, as part of protecting children and other vulnerable sectors, she said the ASEAN Community has come-out several years ago with resiliency, preparedness and response program to ensure that care safeguarded at all times.

In the Philippines, she said that such is being done through collaboration with different disaster risk reduction management with the different response cluster as well as our collaboration with international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), health and welfare organizations such as World Vision International and Save the Children.

This year, the National Youth Commission headed by Aiza Seguerra together with the Office of the Civil Defense, the ASEAN Secretariat and Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau (DReAMB) of the Philippines will be hosting an ASEAN conference to share good practices in terms of youth participation on disaster response and mitigation. I think the children would be part of the discussion, she said.

ASCC is one of the three pillars of ASEAN that focuses on ensuring that ASEAN is people-centered and people-oriented wherein the interest of the vulnerable sectors are heard and not left behind.

It serves as the heart and core of ASEAN which is hosted by the country as it celebrates its 50th or Golden Founding Anniversary this year.

The two other pillars are ASEAN Political Social Community (APSC) and ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

The ten ASEAN-Member States are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Source: Philippines News Agency