Makati City, May 18, 2022 — The Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHCR) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) met with the country’s biggest tollway builder and operator, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) on Wednesday, May 18, in Makati City to discuss Child Rights and Business Principles (CRBP) project.
The kick-off meeting, which was held at the Discovery Primea, was attended by key officials and senior management staff of collaborating parties MPTC, UNICEF, and AHRC. It was a productive huddle that oriented stakeholders with specific details of the CRBP initiatives spearheaded by UNICEF and AHRC. During the meeting, specialists from UNICEF presented the concepts of “Eat, Play, Love,” the science of optimum child health and development that are the foundation of the CRBPs. It was then followed by the presentation of the ten principles of CRBP and the proposed project of AHRC.
With the highly innovative and technology-driven nature of businesses today, it is important for corporations or private organizations to integrate into their operational frameworks and institutional policies some mechanisms that forward child rights and safety. This is not only to comply with the Child Rights and Business Principles formed by United Nations Global Impact, but to also recognize the tremendous effects of the power of business on children’s lives, most importantly, on their human rights. Committed to supporting child rights and safety, MPTC partnered with AHRC and UNICEF to help align its operations to child rights principles through sustainable training and programs.
MPTC is just one of the private corporations that expressed strong support to strengthen child rights and protection by welcoming CRBP projects into its business operations. Previously, UNICEF and AHRC have also partnered with other big corporations. UNICEF and AHRC aim to partner more private institutions for the project, moving forward.
Industry giants such as MPTC have the huge potential to amplify the basic principles of CRBP, especially in the context of safeguarding children’s rights in business operations, according to AHRC’s child rights desk Adhikain Para sa Karapatang Pambata director, Ms. Claire Laison.
“We believe that businesses like MPTC are in a position to make a positive impact on children’s rights by providing programs for children, but also by ensuring that you have mechanisms in place to address any child rights violations that your practice, operation, or facilities may contribute. This can be in the workplace, the marketplace, the community, and the environment,” Laison emphasized.
Laison also provided everyone with an overview of the CRBP programs that are expected to be implemented to the MPTC community. Some of these programs include Child Rights Impact Assessment (CRIA) which was designed by UNICEF, a series of sustainable training on the Child Rights and Business Principles, and a writing workshop on Child Safeguarding Policy that MPTC can integrate into their institutional policies. The AHRC, with the technical support of UNICEF, is the major implementer of these activities.
The MPTC top management emphasized the company’s strong support to children’s rights initiatives. This was manifested in MPTC President and CEO, Mr. Rodrigo Franco’s closing remarks. Franco insinuated the importance of protecting children at all times, even in business processes and transactions, as they are, according to him, their future employees, future customers, and most importantly, future leaders of the country and the world.
Franco also committed to continuously providing sustainable programs for MPTC employees as this will have tremendous positive effects not only in the workplace but in their respective homes and families as well. “Provide employees with work-conducive spaces and work-life balance. Happy and cared for employees will be more responsible parents,” he said.
The AHRC and UNICEF look forward to a successful partnership as the implementation of CRBP programs with MPTC kick off very soon.