A Catholic diocese and an environmental activist group launched this week a children’s rights for a safe and healthy environment campaign as part of its advocacy to promote child rights and sound chemicals and wastes management.
Environmental group BAN Toxics, in partnership with the Dr. Yanga Colleges Inc. (DYCI) and the Catholic Diocese of Malolos, launched the Children’s rights for a Safe and Healthy Environment campaign in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Students, parents, and teachers of DYCI and other neighboring schools, along with the Diocesan Environmental and Ecological Program (DEEP) of the diocese, gathered for the annual drive to promote a safe and healthy environment for children in time for the celebration of National Children’s Month and National Environmental Week.
The National Children’s Month is celebrated in the Philippines every year in November pursuant to Republic Act 10661 to commemorate the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on Nov. 20, 1989. UNCRC seeks to promote the protection of children’s rights. This year, the theme for the 30th International Children’s Month is “Kalusugan, Kaisipan, at Kapakanan ng Bawat Bata Ating Tutukan!”
November is also declared as “Environmental Awareness Month” pursuant to Republic Act 9512, which states that “the policy of the State to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature, and in recognition of the vital role of the youth in nation building and the role of education to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human liberation and development, the state shall promote national awareness on the role of natural resources in economic growth and the importance of environmental conservation and ecological balance towards sustained national development.”
“We strongly support the global movement to promote children’s rights and environmental awareness in every school, home, and community,” said Reynaldo San Juan Jr., executive director of BAN Toxics.
“We need to promote and nurture a safe and healthy environment for every child because it is a basic human right,” he added.
In an effort to promote the campaign, the group spearheaded a hybrid webinar among students, parents, and teachers on children’s rights and the importance of environmental awareness among the young generation.
Citing the Presidential Decree 603, s 1974 or the Child and Youth Welfare Code ordered by the late President Ferdinand Marcos, the 12 rights of the child are as follows:
- Every child has the right to be born well.
- Every child has the right to a wholesome family life.
- Every child has the right to be raised well and become contributing members of society.
- Every child has the right to basic needs.
- Every child has the right to access what they need to have a good life.
- Every child has the right to education.
- Every child has the right to play and enjoy their youth.
- Every child has the right to be protected from danger.
- Every child has the right to live in a productive environment.
- Every child has the right to be cared for in the absence of their parents or guardians.
- Every child has the right to good governance.
- Every child has the right to freedom and peace.
To raise environmental awareness during the event, the students showed their colorful slogans which emphasized their young voices and their role to protect the environment.
“Every child has the right to the best possible health. Governments must provide good quality health care, clean water, nutritious food, clean environment, and proper education on health and well-being so that our children can stay healthy,” read a BAN Toxics statement.
“Providing them with a safe and healthy environment for their future is their right and our shared responsibility,” said the group.