MANILA To teach Filipino children their rights and the kinds of protection they are entitled to, the European Union (EU) launched its Children's Summit on Rights at the Museo Pambata in Manila on Thursday.
Mattias Lentz, minister counselor of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, said the information drive was to inspire Filipino kids to become the advocates of their own rights.
"Continue to become leaders in your families, communities, and schools. Stand up for your rights while (you) continue to be respectful of your elders," Lentz said before an audience of parents and children ages 9 to 11.
According to the delegation, more than 100 children from private and public schools, as well as disadvantaged children cared for by non-government organizations, participated in the summit.
A first by the EU Delegation to the Philippines, the summit carries the theme Una sa Lahat: Bata (More than Anything: Children). The sessions were led also by children and young adults.
The lecture was done through songs, dances, games, and other interactive activities anchored on the four basic clusters of children's rights�survival, protection, participation, and development.
The interactive sessions were facilitated by the youth advocates from non-governmental organizations SOS Children's Village and Save the Children.
In an interview, Jerico Cabico, a 16-year-old youth advocate from SOS Children's Village, hailed the program as inclusive, as it gives value to the youth sector.
"It was a great program because at a young age, the children are being aware of their rights as a child," he said. "Yung mga dapat iwasan, nalalaman nila."
While not present at the event, EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen said the bloc is dedicated to upholding the rights of children everywhere.
What we hope to accomplish with the children's summit is that every child knows and understands what protections he or she is entitled to as a young member of society, said Jessen.
Guided by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the EU recognizes that children, including those less than 18 years old, are important members of society, who must be provided a healthy physical and emotional environment as they grow up.
The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights guarantees the protection of the rights of the child by the EU institutions and by EU countries under domestic law and EU legislation.
The summit was held in time for the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage.
Lentz said the EU also has a number of programs focused on children.
"We have a lot of fundings for children all over the world, we (also) have programs here. (We have one) on poverty alleviation, which the children would benefit from; also on health programs, child care," he told reporters.
In Mindanao, EU has a grant worth Euros 600,000 (PHP36.95 million) to one of its partners, Save the Children.
Funded under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the Save the Children grant aims to promote and strengthen zones of peace in Maguindanao for children affected by armed conflicts. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency