© UNICEF Philippines/2008/Alquinto
Members of the Mindanao media ask UNICEF Representative Vanessa Tobin about the effects of armed conflict on the children of Southern Philippines.

More than ever, Filipinos are aware of children’s rights today, and children have more opportunities to communicate their thoughts, sentiments and insights. Journalists are becoming more aware of children’s issues and practicing more child-sensitive approaches to reporting.

UNICEF’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (2007) reveals that more than 80 per cent of Filipinos are familiar with at least one children’s right. A follow-up survey of journalists trained on the Justice Department’s guidelines on the coverage of children says the quality of children’s reports improved.  The local media was also instrumental in pushing for the passage of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006. Feature stories, documentaries and news reports about minors in jails have resulted in a better understanding of their plight, which moved lawmakers to urgently approve the bill.

But the challenge still remains in many key aspects of child rights promotion and awareness-raising. These include promoting positive behavioural changes in communities that lag behind others in child well-being indicators. Ensuring focused and fair media attention on issues affecting and confronting children is a continuing challenge.

Significant numbers of communities still lack access to basic services such as education, health and sanitation facilities especially in conflict-affected and indigenous areas. Local government often cannot reach these areas because these are located in extremely remote coastal, island and mountain villages. People in these areas need adequate information and extensive communication support.
Media’s extensive reach and influence has not yet been maximized for social development . The Children’s Television Act remains non-functional and unable to generate adequate support for quality programming for children.

The Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Councils) tasked to spearhead youth development and promote child participation remain weak. These councils usually organize sports and recreational activities for young people, but fall short on the more substantial projects concerning children’s social issues. A UNICEF-funded study on Youth Councils recommends restructuring its system of governance to enhance and organize meaningful youth activities. The Department of Interior and Local Government will work on the reformation of the Youth Councils.

Meantime, avenues for child participation are slowly increasing. UNICEF has helped organize photo clubs for children in conflict-affected areas, an ASEAN children’s conference, and video teleconferences where young Christians and Muslims interacted.





Real lives

As journalists from Mindanao gathered for a media training course, several of their colleagues were shot dead.
Read story...

At a media workshop in Manila, a group of young people present an animation about children caught in conflict.
Read story...


 Email this article

Donate Now

unite for children