Salinlahi to govt: Ensure children’s safety while easing age restrictions in GCQ and MGCQ areas

“While we welcome the recent easing of age restrictions by allowing children five and above to go outdoors in GCQ and MGCQ areas, we demand the Duterte government to come up with a more comprehensive program to address problems being faced by Filipino children and their families as a result of the worsening health and economic crisis. Rather than adopting piecemeal approach, the government must provide concrete solutions to pressing issues concerning children such as poverty, malnutrition, mental illnesses and increasing cases of child abuse and violence,” said Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns Secretary General Eule Rico Bonganay.

“The impact of the pandemic to children is so immense and it necessitates concrete state intervention by implementing pro-children programs and policies. However, the Filipino children are miserably neglected and abandoned by the government by virtually locking them up inside their houses without clear mechanisms to assist their needs. Worse, the government has implemented a bungled education program which caused further stress among school-aged children,” added Bonganay saying that the government must create programs to address the problems on children’s mental health as a primary result of the prolonged home confinement.

The child rights group urged the Duterte government to seriously address hunger and malnutrition among children by providing food and cash assistance for poor families while ensuring employment with decent wages for workers. “The worsening situation of poverty and hunger in the country has alarmingly led to the increase in number of children engaging in labor and sex trade for survival. Evidently, the government has done very little to address the harrowing plight of struggling children,” Bonganay emphasized.

In relation to the recent quarantine guidelines, the Salinlahi has called on the local and national government to ensure that relevant information about COVID-19 as well as health safety kits are being provided for the children. The government must also ensure that children are safe not only from COVID-19 but also from any form of abuse, violence and exploitation by designating safe spaces for children’s play and recreational activities, appropriating enough funds and identifying clear guidelines. ###

Reference: Eule Rico Bonganay, Salinlahi Secretary General