Quezon City, April 30, 2022 — More than 300 children and child rights advocates gathered in the University of the Philippines Diliman grounds on Saturday, April 30, to call for a clean and fair election. The “Lakad para sa Malinis na Halalan, Agenda ng mga Batang Pilipino Ipaglaban” event was organized by non-government organizations Salinlahi and Boto Mo, Kinabukasan Ko. It was also joined by several organizations such as the Ateneo Human Rights Center’s (AHRC) Adhikain Para sa Karapatang Pambata (AKAP) desk through Bata Muna Network.
The advocacy walk started from PHILCOA and ended at the Quezon Hall of the University of the Philippines Diliman where a program was held. Children attendees from various sectors showcased their talents through their artworks and performances. They were also given a platform to speak of issues that concern their rights, demands and situations.
Yanyan, an 11-year old participant of the event shared that children should be free of all forms of violence and abuses. “Ang mga bata ay meron karapatan na mabuhay at wag sila i-abuso, dapat ipaglaban natin ang kahirapan ng bata dahil sila ang ating kinabukasan. Hindi lahat ng bata maliligtas, pero at least nabawasan ang kahirapan.”
“Children have the right to life, and they should be free from all forms of violence and abuse. We should all fight to end the hardships of children because they are the future of our nation. We understand that not every child may be given complete protection, but at least their struggles must be minimized.”
Another child participant, 13-year-old Yz, expressed his thoughts of the event. “Nakita ko na maraming bata ay (sic) nakakaranas ng maraming issues at a very young age. Yung program na ginawa nyo is to raise awareness and let people know that not only adults ang nakakaranas ng mga issues pero ang mga bata rin,” he stressed.
“I am aware of the issues and struggles that many children like me experience at a very young age. This kind of event or program is very helpful in raising awareness that children also have issues and struggles like that of adults,” he stressed.
Some of the issues that children highlighted in the program include health, protection from abuse and violence, basic needs, and protection of political prisoners. All these issues will be addressed if leaders who have high regard to children’s rights and needs will be elected—that’s according to Ms. Claire Laison, Director of the AHRC’s Adhikain Para sa Karapatang Pambata desk.
“Kanina, napakinggan ninyo ang mensahe at mga isyung kinakaharap ng mga bata mula sa iba’t ibang sector at ang kanilang panawagan para sa sa isang malinis na halalan at mabigyang pansin ang bawat pambatang karapatan. Sa lahat ng mga boboto ngayong Mayo, piliin ninyo ang kandidatong bibitbitin ang panagawan naming ito at tutugunan ang suliranin na kinakaharap ng mga bata,” Laison emphasized.
“We all have heard the issues that children from different sectors face, including their call for a clean and fair election. For us to be able to address all those things, we should all vote for leaders who will push forward children’s needs and rights,” Laison emphasized.
With less than a week before the highly anticipated Philippine presidential elections, the organizers and participants of the event look forward not only for a fair and clean election but for leaders with strong advocacy for the rights of the children to get elected in polls.
For more stories on children’s electoral agenda, you may like and visit the Facebook pages of Boto Mo, Kinabukasan Ko and Bata Muna.