MANILA, Philippines – In light with its thrust to protect and promote children’s rights in the Philippines, child rights desk Adhikain para sa Karapatang Pambata (AKAP) of the Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC) recently conducted an online training program on Children’s Rights and Business Principles (CRBP) for the business sector last May 17 to June 14, 2021
Done in partnership with Save the Children Philippines, the training program aimed to enable businesses and their management to enhance their capacity on CRBP and expand their knowledge on how these principles are critical to their operations. Participants are from various industries, including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), private schools and universities, and media. Specifically, participants came from the following organizations: Lavarias Dried Fish Family Enterprise, Zanea Inc., Grandest Catering Services, FSG Technology Ventures, Asian Boss Inc., Parañaque Ngayon, Cruz, Dating, Gonzales, and Associates Law, Jeffy B Real Estate and Urban Planning Services, ENFM Water Synergy Solutions, Global Road Safety Project, Ayala Corporation, SM Group of Companies, Taguig City University and De La Salle University – Manila, Gokongwei Brothers Foundation, APEC Schools Inc., Ateneo de Naga University, Ateneo de Manila University, Ateneo de Manila Law School, St. Peter’s College of Toril, Inc., Magsaysay Center for Hospitality & Culinary Arts Inc., University of the Cordilleras, Alternative Learning Resource School Phils., and IDEALS Inc.
The training program presented an overview of children’s rights in the context of businesses, where it was emphasized that children are key stakeholders in any business – children are consumers, members of employees’ families, members of the community where any business operates, or employees in certain cases. In addition, it highlighted three impact areas in operations where children and their rights are directly and indirectly affected, namely: the workplace, the marketplace, and the community.
Resource speakers shared their knowledge and experience during the first live webinar of the training. Atty. Maia Unico of the Consuelo Foundation shared how children’s rights are applicable to business operations and activities. Ms. Siti Octrina Malikah of The Centre for Child Rights & Business discussed the ten principles under CRBP, emphasizing the first principle and exploring the roles of business, government sector, and civil society in general concerning children’s rights and business.
On the second live webinar, panelists from the Adarna Group Foundation, Globe Telecom, PWC Philippines, Cebu Pacific, and Save the Children Philippines also shared their insights on how they integrate children’s rights in their operations.
The Adarna Group Foundation shared their framework of their work for early literacy promotion among children and its affiliate programs in pursuit of this advocacy. Globe Telecom shared their various programs and initiatives to make information technology safe for children, parents and caregivers as part of their #MakeITSafePH campaign.
Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific highlighted how their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs include children as members of their internal organization (as children of employees, through educational programs and employee engagement activities), and as members of their community (through environmental sustainability programs).
PWC Philippines presented their work in the promotion of CRBP in partnership with UNICEF. They also emphasized how they incorporate children’s rights in their company culture through employee engagement activities.
Finally, Save the Children Philippines shared its programs and partnerships with the business sector and how this helps address the needs of children.
On the last webinar, participants were able to hear from Ms. Siti Octrina Malikah on how the due diligence cycle and child rights impact assessment are conducted and helpful in detecting and mitigating child rights issues and related risks in a company.
This training program builds on the initiative of the AHRC and AKAP following the development of its Situational Analysis of CRBP in the Workplace: Philippine Context. In this study, one of the key recommendations was to adopt child safeguarding policies and codes of conduct on child protection to address abuse, exploitation, harassment, and safety hazards in the workforce.
The training is one of the several initiatives of AHRC and Save the Children Philippines to raise awareness and advocate for the adoption of the CRBP by the business sector as part of its “Building a Child-Friendly ASEAN” program since 2017. A similar training with the government sector was also conducted last March 2021.