In the Philippines, providing basic social services, except public education, is the responsibility of local governments. However, children are not the top priority of many local governments. Most local officials invest more on constructing physical structures than funding basic social services. Despite US$ 600 million (P27 billion) budget surplus in 2006, only 29 per cent of total expenditures in UNICEF focus areas were spent for social services. Therefore, it is essential that governments, SOs, legislators and other partners at national and local levels develop and implement social and economic policies, legislative measures and budgetary allocations that advance the realization of children’s rights and women’s rights and gender equality.
Significant legislations and human rights instruments have been ratified and accepted in the Philippines , among them the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The government has adopted a 25-year strategic plan (2000-2025) for children’s welfare called “Child 21”. The challenge is making sure these national policies are localized and implemented in all localities through their policies, plans, laws , budgets and reporting systems. The number of child rights-oriented local governments is increasing, as shown by the increasing number of those that have adopted the Four Gifts for Children. The number of local governments participating in the government’s Search for Child-Friendly Local Governments has gone up as well.