National Children's Day:

Children take small steps towards peace in Mindanao

Part II


Marikina City

October 17; 2008



The Philippine government signed the United Nation Convention for the Rights of the Child on July 1990. Thereafter, Proclamation 74 was issued, declaring October 17 of each year as a national day of children.

The current situation confronting Filipino children such as the melamine scare, high prices and volatile peace and order situation makes this day particularly important. Among these issues, an urgent issue that needs to be addressed is the ongoing war in Mindanao and its effects on children. Since August, hundreds of thousands of people evacuated from their communities, and the most vulnerable among them are women and children.

Over a hundred of Muslim and Christian children commemorated the National Day of Children at the FunPamilya Park, Riverbanks, Marikina City. They reiterated their call to end the unjust war in Mindanao. They were joined by Ms. Queenie Padilla as a guest speaker.


See Part I



Photos courtesy of SALINLAHI Alliance for Children's Concerns

17 October 2008

Reference: Alphonse Rivera, Spokesperson (0929-6076157)


Over a hundred Muslim and Christian preschool children led by SALINLAHI Alliance for Children’s Concerns and network of child rights advocacy organizations, today marked the national children’s day at the picnic grounds along the Marikina Riverbanks. The Philippine government signed the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child on July 1990, and thereafter, Proclamation 74 was signed declaring October 17 as National Children’s Day.

Mr. Alphonse Rivera, spokesperson of SALINLAHI said that, “contrary to the government’s obligation to uphold children’s rights, the government, including its military forces, remain the primary violator of children’s rights. We can see every single day the depressing situation of our children. Their basic rights has yet to be solved by this government such as the right to food, right to education and right to protection. The already miserable condition of our children especially those in the rural areas has been further compounded by the aggressive and indiscriminate attacks by the AFP on civilian in their pursuit against communist and Muslim rebels”. Mr. Rivera further cited that the current situation in Central Mindanao, brought terror to children and their families forcing an unprecedented large population to evacuate from their homes in so short a period.

As a symbolic call for government to hear their voices, to uphold children’s rights and to work towards lasting peace and justice for the children especially in Mindanao, the preschool children floated rafts made of banana trunks pierced with flaglets containing the children’s drawings of their dreams and aspirations for peace and respect for their rights. “President Arroyo, never celebrated this day in a way meaningful for the children. She instead continues to wage war in Mindanao that every day, traumatizes more and more children”, quipped Rivera. He also added that “Ironically, World Food Day is also celebrated this month, even while farmers remain landless and children, such as the peasant children affected by the ongoing militarization of Central Mindanao, continue to be deprived of their basic rights to survival and development. They are afraid to go back to their farms and harvest their agricultural produce for fear of being mistakenly branded as MILF rebels.”

The event was graced by Rep. Luz Ilagan of Gabriela Women’s Party-list and herself a Mindanaoan, who treated the children with a story about children displaced by militarization in Mindanao. Queenie and Kylie Padilla, daughters of action star Robin Padilla also showed their support for the plight of displaced children. They came with pre-school children and teachers of Liwanag ng Kapayapaan Foundation, Inc., an educational organization supported by Padilla.

Mr. Rivera said that while there is no single reason to celebrate the National Children’s Day, there are a multitude of reasons to grieve for our future generation today because Filipino children are left behind by this government that does not care for the weak, the vulnerable and the oppressed. “We thus mark this day as a National Day of Neglected Children,” ended Rivera. ###