92.34 million
Development Index
Fertility rate
Maternal Mortality
Under 5 mortality rate
Infant mortality rate
22 per 1,000 live births
Access to drinking
Access to improved
per 100,000 live births
30 per 1,000 live births
Under 5
Life expectancy
Birth registration
Literacy rate
Gross primary school
Primary completion
Net primary school
Out of school
Drop-out rate
The Philippines is a South-East Asian socio-politically stable, lower-middle-income and
culturally diverse archipelago of 7,107 islands with a population of 92.34 million 1, 20 per
cent of which are youth (15 to 24 years old) and 42.1 per cent, children (below 18).
Framed within a presidential form of government, law-making is vested in a bicameral
Congress2. In July 2010, a new democratically elected Administration led by current
president Benigno S. Aquino III initiated a series of reforms articulated in the Philippine
Development Plan (PDP) 2011-2016, which embodies the ‘Social Contract with the Filipino
People’ and prioritizes the achievement of inclusive growth and poverty reduction
emerging from (i) transparent and accountable governance; (iii) a booming economy
through public infrastructure, strategic public-private partnerships and policy
environment for greater investments; (iii) the upliftment and empowerment of the poor
and vulnerable through initiatives like the flagship Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT)
program for the X.X million poor households and its pilot version for Families in Need of
Special Protection; and (iv) the enabling of sustainable development initiatives through
peace, justice security, integrity of natural resources and gender equality3.
Building on the PDP objectives, strategies and targets, the Council for the Welfare
of Children (CWC) recently launched the Second National Plan of Action for
Children 2012-2016, which sets the agenda towards the progressive realization of
the rights of Filipino children based on a results-based and equity focused threepronged approach to serve efficiently the most disadvantaged: enabling a
better quality of life for them and for their mothers, ensuring they are safe and
free, thereupon, protected from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation, and
encouraging their participation in decision-making processes affecting their lives4.
2012 third quarter’s 7.1% economic growth and 6% per year since 2005 may draw
optimistic perspectives about the future, but more than 20% of the population live in
extreme poverty (with less than 1.25 US dollars a day), the national Human Development
Index position is still 112nd position out of 187 and structural problems continue
jeopardizing potential gains. Moreover, inequality remains high, as indicated by a Gini
coefficient of 0.44, and regional disparities have increased due to corruption, a pattern
of growth led by the private sector, low revenue base, corruption and low investment in
social sectors (less than 4 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product or GDP).
The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) estimated that 40.8
percent of children live in poverty in 20095, and specified that poverty is
highest among children of fisher-folk, farmers, migrants and informal sector
workers, worse in rural than in urban areas on a percentage basis but with
greater disparities in cities. Children actually constitute the largest social group
in poverty, at 14.8 million. In general, the trends in child development
indicators6 can be characterized by increasing inequality and deprivation
that is found most deeply rooted in easily identifiable geographic clusters and
social groupings. The bottlenecks to mitigating these are primarily political,
with elite capture and corruption the most visible constraints 7. Other
phenomena setting greatly impact on children are the frequent occurrence
of natural disasters as a result of climate change and geo-physical
characteristics of the archipelago; rapid urbanization; the continuing ethnic
conflict in Mindanao; the traditional culture that had deeply embedded
social and gender disparities; a political system at both national and local
levels that is heavily influenced by feudal, dynastic power dynamics; and a
‘crony capitalism’ approach to business that undermines broad-based
growth, leading to one of the world’s largest diaspora of educated workers
who are unable to find suitable careers at home (including many mothers
who’ve left an estimated total of 9 million boys and girls behind while abroad).
The country is on track in pursuing the Millennium Development Goals on poverty
reduction, gender equality, child health, control of diseases like malaria and sanitation.
However, it lags behind in attaining universal primary education, reducing maternal
mortality and combating HIV/AIDS, which reflects critical investment gaps, and high rates
of neonatal mortality and malnutrition are worrying (with a stunting rate of 28 per cent,
the Philippines accounts for 90 per cent of all children in this situation worldwide).
Rapid growth of the population (around 2% annual) outstrips the nation’s ability to
provide basic services to all. It’s originated by the difficulties to access family planning
information and contraceptives by the ones with least resources, among other factors,
has and it has exacerbated poverty, fuelled urban settings’ challenges, overseas labor
migration and unprecedented environmental degradation, seriously compromising
progress. The recently passed Reproductive Health Bill might change dynamics, though.
The Constitution and the Local Government Unit (LGU) Code of 1991 enabled a highly
decentralized system consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays, which
altogether configure an effective institutional mechanism to deliver social services and
address inequity. The policy environment is amenable to influence by civil society, which
is represented by a rich mix of non-governmental organizations including faith-based
institutions. The private sector is strong, and social responsibility and individual giving are
significant strengths that can be harnessed to realize child rights8.
Davao Region is composed of 4 provinces (Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Compostela
Valley and Davao del Sur), 1 highly-urbanized city, 5 component cities and 43 municipalities
divided into 1,162 barangays in 11 congressional districts with a 4,468,563 inhabitants in 2010.
Poverty incidence of families or the proportion of families with per capita income fell to 25.6%
in 2009, the lowest in Mindanao. Although the economy is agriculture-based, the services
sector including trade contributes the biggest to its growth, followed by the industry sector.
The overall erratic performance of the region at this level is attributed to its less competitive
industries, relatively poor human capital and low resilience to disasters, climate change, and
conflict, factors which are mainly caused by poor governance in many sectors9.
The Caraga Administrative Region is composed of five provinces:10 Agusan del Norte,
Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur, and the newly created Dinagat
Province; three cities: Butuan, Surigao and Bislig; 70 municipalities and 1,310 barangays. It’s
the second largest region in Mindanao and a home to more than 2 million people. Its
poverty incidence is beyond 39.8 percent, way above the national average?, and there are
many challenges related to social welfare and development like the cases of juvenile justice,
abused, neglected, orphaned and abandoned children; increased number of persons with
disabilities; abused women; and the need to uphold development efforts for senior citizens.
The implementation of the Pantyawid Pamilyang Program, KALAHI-CIDSS and PODER
Projects, the Self-Employment Assistance and the Tinadahan Natin Programs, which
espoused people empowerment help alleviate poverty in this side of the country, and the
Comprehensive Pilot Intervention Plan against Gender Violence or CoPIPAGV, Food for
School, Healthy Start Feeding Program and other initiatives and services are also being
contributing to improve people’s live conditions 11.
The humanitarian landscape of the Philippines is complex in the number and range of
emergencies and in the scope of related needs, especially in the Autonomous Region of
Muslim Mindanao (which will eventually become ‘The Bangsamoro’). Response interventions
by all actors there should hence continue to address both the chronic, prolonged crises
related to insecurity, limited access to basic services and poor infrastructures as well as a
number of events of more traditional quick onsets including damages resulting from seasonal
floods, droughts and typhoons or movements of people because of armed clashes.
Conflict: Two of the world’s longest-running armed conflicts affect the country, the Moro and
communist insurgencies12, which affects millions of people nationwide:
In Mindanao, the 4-decade-long tensions between the Government and non-State
groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and clan feuds have led to
cyclical civilian displacements, undermining livelihoods and welfare conditions of
affected populations in terms of health, nutrition and education, but last October the
peace talks derived in the signing of a ‘Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro’
which will pave the way for a non-violent scenario in the medium term. The islamist Abu
Sayyaf Group (ASG), which is linked to Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah, and rogue
factions such as Abdullah Macapaar ‘Bravo’ and Aleem Sulaiman Pangalian, as well as
Ameril Umbra Kato’s Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) still pose a terrorist
threat, though, and there are also paramilitary forces linked to the insurgency and
counter-insurgency operations (i.e. Citizen Armed Force Geographical Units (CAFGU)
and Civilian Volunteers Organizations (CVO). Election-related violence in the area is
common, and so is the lack of respect for the rule of law and kidnap-for-ransom gangs.
The New People’s Army (NPA) has carried out a country-wide guerrilla campaign since
1968. These days, it continues to operate in rural areas with an estimated 4,111 members
while their founder, former literature professor Jose Maria Sison, and other senior leaders
live in exile in the Netherlands. Formal peace talks resumed in Oslo in February 201113.
MILF, NPA and ASG have been named as parties to the conflict that have been involved
in recruiting and using children in armed conflict, and other grave violations against
children continue to be perpetrated by all parties (more details on page X).
Disaster: The Philippines ranked third in the list of countries with highest proneness to
calamities triggered by natural hazards in the 2012 World Disaster, with 74% of the population
vulnerable to those calamities. It lies along the so-called typhoon belt facing the Pacific
Ocean (15 to 20 a year, 5 of them usually destructive), makes part of the north-western
fringes of the ‘Ring of Fire’, with frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and the rising
weather turbulence and prolonged droughts and flooding likely from climate change
augment risks towards agricultural production, food security and vector-borne diseases.
Severely affected by climate change, the above vulnerabilities get multiplied by
uncontrolled settlement in areas at risk, high poverty rates, lack of adherence to building
codes and degradation of coastal resources and forests including illegal logging.
In 2009, tropical cyclones ‘Ondoy’ and ‘Pepeng’ affected 9.3 million people, resulting in
losses estimated at 2.7 per cent of GDP. In 2010, 202 natural and human-induced
disasters killed 239 people, affected 6.75 million and caused over Php 25 billion in
economic damages, while in 2011 431 disasters -especially tropical storm Sendong- killed
1,774 people, affected 15.3 million and caused over Php 26 billion losses14. As of 26
December 2012, the estimated losses caused by typhoon Bopha, which affected around
6.2 million people including 2.6 million children, had reached more than US$947 million.
Children contribute least to climate change but, because of their vulnerabilities, they
are the worst affected by its shocks, particularly in drought-, flood- and cycloneprone rural areas and urban slums. Children’s experiences of climate change and
disasters naturally differ from those of adults, yet these are rarely considered in
discussions of solutions, or if not, lack funding and institutional support as well as
strategic implementation in the Philippines. Although climate change may actually
be viewed as one of the major constraints to meeting the MDGs, children’s issues are
not yet well recognized or incorporated in the environmental agenda, which must
also be responsive to their needs towards better adaptation and resilience.
The 2005 and 2009 Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
on the Philippine Periodic Reports on CRC implementation confirmed that the Philippines has
a fairly strong legal basis for child protection but lack of consistent and effective
enforcement of laws. Plus, legal and judicial remedies alone aren’t enough to effectively
address the underlying and root causes of child abuse, exploitation, violence and neglect.
International instruments ratified by the Philippines15:
Geneva Conventions I-IV
UN CRC Protocol 1
UN CRC Protocol 2
Refugee Convention
Refugee Protocol
ILO Convention 138
ILO Convention 182
ILO Convention 189
Rome Statue of the ICC
At the national level, the basic premise for upholding the rights of children is enshrined in the
Constitution, which states that the Government must ensure “the right of children to
assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of
neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development.”
The Child and Youth Welfare Code or Presidential Decree 603 of 1974 defined the rights and
responsibilities of children and the corresponding authority and obligation towards them by
their parents, the community, and the government and other duty bearers. Later on,
together with the international instruments cited above, especially the Convention on the
Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against
Women and its localized version (‘Magna Carta of Women’ or Republic Act 9710, passed in
2009), the state policy recognizing children’s right to special protection was translated into
various laws including (but not limited to) the following: RA 7610 or the Child Protection Act of
1992, RA 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, RA 9231 or an Act Providing for
the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, RA 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against
Women and their Children Act of 2004, RA 9344 or the Comprehensive Juvenile Justice and
Welfare Act of 2006 and RA 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009.
The overarching long-term development framework on children is the Philippine National
Strategic Framework for Plan Development for Children 2000-2025 or ‘Child 21’, which serves
as blueprint for government agencies, LGUs and CSO/NGOs in planning measures,
interventions and budget appropriations. Its vision is translated into clear, actionable and
time-bound plans in multiple-year time frames towards disparity reduction concretized in the
National Plans of Action for Children. CWC just launched the second one, consistent with the
PDP and valid until 2016 too. As a companion document to it, the Committee for the Special
Protection of Children (CSPC) launched the 3rd Comprehensive Plan on Child Protection
(CPCP) 2012-2016 last March, with its major emphasis on building and strengthening a multilevel child protection system which is caring and protective of children who are at risk,
disadvantaged and vulnerable to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence.
- Definition of child: 18
- Minimum age for work: 15
- Minimum age for criminal liability: 12
- Minimum age of sexual consent: 12
- Minimum age of marriage: 18 (Code of Muslim Personal Laws: 15)
Unregistered children
Children without parental care and at risk of losing parental care
Working children
Trafficked children
Prostituted children
Children in pornography
Child victims of violence, physical and sexual abuse
Children living or working on the streets
Children and young people in drugs and substance abuse
Children in conflict with the law
Children in situations of emergency
- Armed conflict
- Natural disasters
Children with disabilities
Unregistered children
Children belonging to minorities and indigenous peoples
Children living in poverty
2.6 million
4-6 million
4.1 million
60,000 to 100,000
3.4 million
50,000 displaced annually
190,000 annually
2.6 million
5-7 million
14.9 million
Development and humanitarian actors have often targeted prevention and responses at a
particular vulnerable group, such as children associated with armed forces or groups.
Nevertheless, there is increasing interest in reframing child protection work by looking more
broadly at the deficits in the protection available to all children and addressing the structural
causes of those gaps in both prevention and response at those violations of children’s right to
protection – in other words, building and strengthening child protection systems16.
The Philippines has yet to put in place an operational multi-level child protection system from
barangay to city, municipal, provincial, regional and national level coordinated by the
Council for the Welfare of Children to address in a more efficient manner the various cases of
abuse, violence and exploitation committed against children, but there are already existing
structures which when linked together can provide such services17.
establishing an improved database, monitoring and reporting system
initiating collective awareness-raising and advocacy campaigns
coordinating technical support networks to assist the work of implementing agencies
developing enhanced policies and standards on the care and protection of children
particularly those in situations of abuse, exploitation and violence
Barangay Councils for the Protection of Children (BCPCs) are the primary body at the
grassroots level that can address issues of child abuse, violence and exploitation, tasked to
come up with a master-list and database on children, situation assessment and analysis on
children, an action plan for children with corresponding budget, local ordinances on
children, a monitoring and reporting system on children and the annual state of the
barangay children report ensuring children’s organizations involvement at all stages.
Constituting the base of and the first layer in the protection system, active and functional
BCPCs in the more than 42,000 barangays nationwide spell a big difference in all child rights
promotion and child protection efforts. The following elements contribute to making BCPCs
work: presence of committed champions for children, sustained community organizing
process, proactive LGUs and organized and meaningful participation of children.
City, Municipal and Provincial Councils for the Protection of Children constitute the second
layer in the multi-level child protection system (LCPCs). They are the main sources of support
to the BCPCs in terms of financial, material, human and technical assistance. They can
spearhead activities such as advocacy and social mobilization, situation analysis, program
development, modeling of innovative strategies, partnering and alliance building, monitoring
and impact assessment of interventions and annual reporting on the situation and progress
of children at city, municipal and provincial levels. Under the leadership of local chief
executives, and with the technical management and coordination of LGU social welfare
officers, the city, municipal and provincial councils for the protection of children should push
for a faster process of organizing, strengthening and sustaining the BCPCs.
Regional Sub-Committees for the Welfare of Children (RCWC) are the third layer in the multilevel child protection system, being a sub-committee of the Regional Development Council.
They assist the city, municipal, and provincial councils for the protection of children in
advocacy and programming efforts on child rights promotion and child protection, and are
critical in regional advocacy, resource mobilization, capacity building and technical
support, partnership building and networking and coordination and monitoring of initiatives.
Council for the Welfare of Children is the government body mandated by law to coordinate
and monitor implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Child 21, the
National Plans of Action for Children and the Comprehensive Program on Child Protection,
providing policy guidance on all children’s concerns including child protection. There are
many sectoral Inter-Agency Councils within its umbrella, as well as Committees and SubCommittees within its umbrella including the one on Children in Need of Special Protection.
There is, though, a need to strengthen the vertical linkages between and among CWC
RCWCs and LCPCs at different levels, as the flow of communication, coordination,
collaboration and monitoring and reporting across levels needs improvement.
To augment efforts of the local councils for the protection of children and the BCPCs, other
viable community level mechanisms for child protection can be explored. Existing people’s,
community-based and faith-based organizations that have continuing grassroots presence
and are pro-children in orientation can become reliable partners in child protection.
Data collection
In the 2009 Concluding Observations to the 3rd and 4th periodic reports of the Philippines on
the Implementation of the CRC, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child acknowledged
the country’s efforts to improve its data collection system and welcomes, in particular, the
development by the CWC of the Subaybay Bata Monitoring System (SBMS), linked to the
major national government agencies, the development of 143 indicators for the seven major
clusters of child rights, as well as the publication of Annual State of the Filipino Children
Reports. However, the Committee reiterated its concern at the lack of disaggregated data
by region, gender and age and at the insufficient data on children in need of special
protection, especially on children living in extreme poverty, abused and neglected children,
children in conflict with the law and children belonging to minorities and indigenous groups.
The Committee encouraged the Philippines to improve the system, and recommended that
the Annual State of the Filipino Children Report is widely disseminated and accessible.
Justice system
Effective coordination among the pillars of the justice (I – THE COMMUNITY; II – THE LAW
ensure the provision of care and protection for all children, particularly those in need of
special protection. One concrete way for doing that is through the consistent
implementation of and compliance to the Protocols for Case Management of Child Victims
of Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation, which need to be popularized and widely disseminated
to all concerned agencies and pillars. An important feature of the protocols is that it is
applicable to all child protection interagency committees (CP-IACs) with some adjustments
to more specific cases of CNSP. Executive Order No. 53, Series of 2011 has enjoined the CSPC
to strengthen its focus on legal and judicial protection measures for and on behalf of Filipino
children in need of special protection, and improved capacity and better coordination
among the pillars of justice in responding to all cases of child abuse are preconditions to
effective legal and judicial protection efforts of the CSPC and all other CP-IACs.
Budget allocation
Budgetary allocations for children’s social services, health services and education in terms of
percentage of the national budget don’t seem to have substantially augmented over the
last years, and in 2009 the UN CRC reiterated its deep concern at the fact that the Philippines
was increasingly allocating more than 30 per cent of its national budget to debt service-
interest payment as well as at the negative impact corruption may have on the allocation of
already limited resources to effectively improve the promotion and protection of child rights.
Moving forward in ensuring transparent and participatory budgeting through public dialogue
and participation, especially of children and for proper accountability by local authorities, in
2012 the Philippine Government reintroduced the Bottom-Up Budgeting process to amplify
the voice of the grassroots in the allocation and management of public funds, as well as to
promote a greater sense of understanding and ownership of the budgeting process among
the public. On that note, the Administration had also piloted a process of Participatory
Budget Preparation, which required the collaboration of the Department of Education
(DepEd), the Department of Health (DoH), the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the
Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), as well as
the National Food Authority (NFA), National Housing Authority (NHA) and the National Home
Mortgage and Finance Corporation to partner with civil society organizations in assessing the
impact of their programs on the ground to see what works and what does not18.
There’s, though, still a need to implement a tracking system for the allocation and use of
resources for children throughout the budget, thus providing visibility to the investment on
children, ensuring that the differential impact of such investment on girls and boys is
measured. And there’s also a need to define strategic budgetary lines for disadvantaged or
particularly vulnerable children and for those situations that may require affirmative social
measures (such as birth registration) and make sure that those budgetary lines are protected
even in situations of economic crisis, natural disasters or other emergencies19.
With regard to child protection, except for child-focused NGOs such as CPU-Net and ECPAT
(approximately 6 million pesos of yearly budget), agencies of the Committee for the Special
Protection of Children (CSPC) find it difficult to show how much budget and other resources
they’ve allocated for that. DOJ has separate budget for the CSPC annual plan of action
amounting to around 1 million pesos, though. The Department of Labour and Employment
(DOLE) reportedly allocates 5% of WINAP (sorry, but I didn’t find the meaning of this acronym
in the original document nor Google) funds for child labor initiatives, and the Commission on
Human Rights maintains a Child Rights Center with a budget of 700,000 pesos a year. The rest
have lumped their allocations with broader programs as in the case of DOH, DILG, PNP and
DSWD (although the department reported an allocation of 15 million pesos in 2010 for
center-based programs which include services for children in need of special protection).
Humanitarian action
In the Philippines the cluster approach was introduced to respond to the floods in 2006 20,
when the Government requested international assistance following the massive destruction
caused by typhoon Reming in South-Eastern Luzon, where mudslides buried several villages
along the periphery of Mayon volcano. The system and its principles of predictability,
accountability, inclusivity and partnership in all sectors or areas of activity were
institutionalized in the Philippine Disaster Management System in 2007 21, so as to improve
humanitarian response by clearly designating lead organizations to establish coordination
mechanisms, act as providers of last resort and ensure the complementarity of responses,
adequate resources to support the work of the Cluster, links with other sectors, ensure
attention to cross‐cutting issues. Child Protection is a sub-cluster of the Protection Cluster,
globally led by the Child Protection Working Group (CPWG). In the country, it’s established in
Manila, chaired by DSWD and co-chaired by UNICEF, and it aims at bringing together in one
forum child protection actors and partners operational in areas affected by both natural
and human induced disasters to address the impacts of emergencies.
Main responsibilities22:
Child protection programming
Analyze trends and the principal risks faced by children in the context of the
emergency, both in evacuation centers and in affected communities. Undertake
and maintain a mapping of child protection actors and their programmatic and
geographic reach, assess the adequacy of ongoing programmes, and identify and
develop strategies to meet gaps. Develop appropriate programme strategy, as
necessary, to address protection and psychosocial needs of affected children.
Coordination of child protection response
Provide relevant inputs to national and regional emergency plans and coordinate
linkage with regional and local CP and disaster risk and management mechanisms.
Develop an advocacy strategy for issues related to child protection that require
sensitization of local authorities and humanitarian actors. This will include, where
relevant, raising issues of concern to Child Protection with other relevant Clusters.
Coordination of humanitarian funding mechanisms
Coordinate relevant inputs to the Humanitarian Action Plan and the mobilization of
resources through humanitarian funding mechanisms such as Flash Appeals,
Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP), Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), etc.
The incidence of child labor is fairly high and increasing, affecting more
males than females. According to the 2011 Survey on Children
conducted by NSO and ILO23, out of the 29 million children from 5 to 17
years old:
Working children (5 to 17 year olds who worked even for only one
hour during the past 12 months): 18.9% (3,287,651 boys, 2,204,616 girls).
Child labor (working children who reported to have worked in
hazardous industries and occupations and worked for long
hours and/or at night (in industries and occupations not
designated as hazardous)24: 55%
Children in hazardous labor: 98.9% (2,993,000: 1,999,000
boys, 994,000 girls). Agriculture: 62.4% (67.9 boys, 51.2
girls); industry: 7.6% (8.7 boys, 5.2 girls); services: 30.1%
(23.3 boys, 43.6 girls).
Region XI: 114,000
Region XIII: 90,000
Children in hazardous labor in Mindanao are usually found in sugarcane,
tobacco, banana, corn flower, coconut and rice plantations,
pyrotechnics production, deep-sea fishing, mining and quarrying.
Children living on the streets in urban settings often engage in scavenging
and begging, some are victims of the commercial sex industry and others
also work in the drug trade as packers, cleaners of paraphernalia,
lookouts and as runners25.
The Philippines is a signatory to many
international laws and declarations related
to child labor, including ILO Convention 138,
which sets 16 as the minimum age for
employment and was localized in 1993
through Republic Act 7658 (‘An Act
Prohibiting The Employment Of Children
Below 15 Years Of Age In Public And Private
Undertakings’, which set the minimum age
at 15), ILO Convention 182, which prohibits
the worst forms of child labor and was
localized through Republic Act 9231 of 2003
(‘An Act Providing for the Elimination of the
Worst Forms of Child
Labor and Affording Stronger Protection for
the Working Child’) and ILO Convention 189
on domestic work. The Philippine Program
Against Child Labour remains to be the
strategic framework and backbone of
national interventions and efforts in
harnessing actions for eliminating the worst
forms of child labour and transforming the
lives of child labourers, their families and
communities. It’s led by DOLE – Bureau of
Women and Young Workers, with
institutional mechanisms at different levels:
the National Child Labor Committee,
Regional Child Labor Committees and local
Programme Implementation Committees.
Sagip Batang Manggagawa (SBM) is the
Region XI: the “continued presence of factors that lead to child
labor”26 (i.e. poverty and lack of alternative means of livelihood)
explain the high number of children engaged in domestic work,
scavenging, mining (Pandukan in Compostela Valley),
commercial sexual exploitation (Davao City) and sugar cane
(Hagonoy and Kiblawan), copra, rubber, mango, banana and
corn plantations, among other hazardous jobs.
Region XIII: a research done by the Center for Trade Union and
Human Rights (CTUHR) in 2011-2012 revealed that at least 24
percent of workers in palm-oil plantations in Caraga are minors,
even as young as five years old. They work an average of 12
hours a day, and jobs assigned to them could be very physically
demanding, such as hauling a 15-kg to 50-kg palm fruit bunch
and load it to the truck. Among the factors that contribute to the
presence of child labor in palm-oil plantation are low access of
their family members to employment, depressed wages and the
casual status of most adult workers even if they have worked in
the plantations for as long as 30 years.
The magnitude of the problem is unknown because of its clandestine
nature, the confusion between trafficking and smuggling, its correlation
with internal and cross‐border migration and the methodological
challenges associated with collecting accurate data27. DSWD records
show that only a few hundreds of cases are served annually (a total of
806 in 2006-2007, for instance28) but NGOs estimate that thousands of
Philippine children are trafficked every year29. Mindanao is a known
source of the phenomenon due to multiple vulnerabilities linked to
poverty and conflict, and a study by ECPAT confirmed that victims are
predominantly 14 to 17 years old girls, some of which get trafficked from
rural areas to major cities of the island and the rest of the archipelago,
while others are transported abroad to work in factories, prostitution, drug
trafficking, domestic service and informal sector activities in Japan,
Malaysia, Korea and Saudi Arabia as top destinations worldwide.
inter-agency quick action mechanism to
respond to child labour in most abject
conditions. The SBM Quick Action Teams are
composed of DOLE, the PNP, NBI, DSWD
and other social partners who provide
immediate assistance to rescued child
labour victims.
Having ratified the UN Convention Against
Crime and the UN Protocol to Prevent,
Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons,
Especially Women and
Children, among other international
instruments, in 2003 the Philippines enacted
into law the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act
(Republic Act 9208). Its section 20 created
the Inter-Agency
Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), which is
mandated to formulate programs to
prevent trafficking, promulgate rules and
regulations to implement the law, monitor its
strict implementation and coordinate interagency projects and task forces. Chaired
by DOJ and co-chaired by DSWD, its other
members are CWC, PCW, PNP, BI, POEA,
DOLE and DFA, which have specific duties
in this field including prevention using
advocacy, information and education on
women’s and children’s rights among policy
makers and communities. Other
Government agencies with particular roles
in this field are TESDA, PIA, CWC, OWWA,
PCTC, NBI, CHR, DOTC, DOH and DepEd33.
In 2011, the Philippines was removed from the Tier 2 Watchlist of the US
State Department’s Global Trafficking in Persons (GTIP) Report, although
significant challenges remain, especially in humanitarian settings. Only
100 persons have been convicted from 2005 to 201230.
The Second National Strategic Action Plan Against Trafficking In Persons
2011-201631 has just been released, and it seeks to further strengthen the
Quick Reaction Team and capacity building of prosecutors designated to
handle trafficking in persons cases, immigration officers, foreign services
officers, labour inspectors and other related personnel, with emphasized
attention to children’s issues. Some of the challenges highlighted are the
need for the establishment of a comprehensive and functional
mechanism for data collection and consolidation as well as a
comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework.
Region XI: Davao city is being used as a transit and exit point for
victims from the province that typically end up in the Middle East
subjected to labor and sexual exploitation; from January to
November 59 of these cases of 14 to 17 year old children were
reported32. Illegal operation of traffickers in the airport is being
monitored, but movement was designed to deflect attention. The
RIACAT alerts that traffickers no longer accompany their victims
and that these no longer go in groups. They ride the airplane
individually and maintain contact with their trafficker through
mobile phones, “so you would not see who is with whom.”
Cracking down would-be victims being sent abroad is now easier
because the victims have to pass through the stringent
procedures of the Bureau of Immigration. Domestic trafficking,
however, has become more difficult to spot because the victims
are told to check-in and board the plane late to evade strict
screening of identification documents and tickets, and to avoid
mingling with other passengers at the pre-departure area. Myrna
Dadang, Sidlakan Women Crisis Center head, affirms most victims
of human trafficking come from far-flung areas where
opportunities are lacking.
At the local level (region, province, city &
municipality), the IACAT works under
corresponding entities: RIACAT, PIACAT,
CIACAT, MIACAT-VAWCs, although they’re
not in place nationwide (currently
operating in Region XI and XIII). The LGUs
monitor and document cases of trafficking
in persons in their areas of jurisdiction, effect
the cancellation of licenses of
establishments which violate the provisions
of the Act, ensure effective prosecution of
such cases, undertake information
campaigns against trafficking in persons
and support community based initiatives
which address the problem.
The Congress recently passed the
Expanded Anti-Trafficking law, which covers
attempted trafficking and has accessory or
accomplice liability, thereby covering more
related acts and individuals. It is awaiting
signature by the President for its enactment.
On the other hand, the Inter-Country
Adoption Board is the central authority on
matters related to inter-country adoption in
order to protect children from being
trafficked and sold or any other practice in
connection with adoption which is harmful,
detrimental and prejudicial to them.
Likewise, the Task Force on Illegal
Recruitment headed by POEA and the
Presidential Task Force on Anti-Organized
Crime respond to cases of illegal
recruitment which may include the
trafficking and sale of children.
Region XIII: according to the Regional Inter-Agency Coalition
Against Trafficking (RIACAT), most of the victims of human
trafficking in the area from 2004 to 2009 were children (83 out of
the 179 victims – 125 females and 54 males). Agusan del Sur
topped the list with 41 trafficking cases; Agusan del Norte
registered 17; Butuan City, 15; Surigao del Sur, 13; Bislig City, nine
cases; Surigao City, seven; Surigao del Norte, five cases; and
Dinagat islands; one. Exit points by sea were the Surigao City port
in Barangay Lipata and the Nasipit Port in Nasipit, Agusan del
Norte; by land, Langihan Terminal in Butuan City; the Surigao City
Bus and Jeepney Terminal; San Francisco Terminal in Agusan del
Sur; Tandag City Bus and Jeepney Terminal and Bislig City
Terminal, both in Surigao de Sur and the Cabadbaran City Bus
and Jeepney Terminal in Agusan del Norte province; by air,
Bancasi Airport in Butuan City, the Surigao City Airport and the
Sayak Airport in Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte. Poverty was
identified as the reason for human trafficking incidence.
Challenges on anti-trafficking interventions include delayed
submissions of family assessment by the LGUs, lack of cooperation
among victims against perpetrators, victims’ families’ lack of
support and the lack of after-care services for victims. The RIACAT
intends to develop better data collection and system of
monitoring victims of trafficking, continue ensuring capacity
upgrades to boost the staff’s competencies in managing
trafficking victims and keep coordinating with LGUs and other
agencies in the implementation of Republic Act 9208, or AntiTrafficking in Persons Act.
According to the NSO-ILO 2011 Survey on Children, 42.2% of the children
engaged in hazardous labour do that to help in own household-operated
farm or business and 30%, to supplement family income. NDRRMC SitRep
38 indicated that estimated losses in agriculture are 1,503.85 million pesos
in Region XI and 165.82 million pesos in Region XIII (including rice and corn
DSWD is disseminating advisories on the risk
of trafficking in persons among the
humanitarian actors and local government
crops, livestocks, High Valued Commercial Crops such as coconuts and
fisheries)34, which means that some of children working there won’t be
engaged in those activities at the short term but might look for others to
support their more in need than ever families, which could eventually
place them at other hazardous jobs. For the same reasons, children who
had never been involved in these situations may be forced to.
Many households are dependent on cash crops like banana, coconut
and palm trees for their livelihoods, but it’s estimated to take months and
years for these crops to be productive and generate income again35, so
the need for alternative sources of income will be higher than before.
Consequent migration of adults who’re leaving their children behind with
one parent or none also increases the chances of them getting engaged
in hazardous works or trafficked. In Baganga (Davao Oriental), especially
from the village of Lambajon, the municipal administrator reported that
people have started moving out and going to Davao and Manila (some
to relatives, others to take chances as getting jobs there as they don’t see
any immediate hope for livelihood in Baganga). Although there had not
been any ‘recruiter’ spotted in the area yet (except for one security
agency which formally approached the LGU to offer jobs for security
guards), the danger is heightened. There is no reporting and tracking
mechanism established yet36. Orphaned, separated and accompanied
children face similar risks if their cases are not properly addressed.
Despite wide condemnation of this practice, children continue to be
associated with armed forces and armed groups and other grave
violations against their rights continue to be perpetrated
by all parties to the conflict.
Recruitment and use of children by armed forces and armed groups 37:
the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the New People’s Army (NPA),
the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Black Fighters and the Armed Forces of the
Philippines have been using boys and girls as combatants, which exposes
The Child Protection and Gender-Based
Violence sub-clusters have merged forces
to joint act as a Technical Support Group to
strengthen the functionality of RIACATVAWC and LCPCs in Region XI, build their
capacity on identification of children and
women at risk and further operationalize the
reporting and referral mechanisms. A similar
procedure might be established in Region
On 13 December, Plan International, Save
the Children and UNICEF issued a Joint
Statement on the Situation of Children After
Typhoon Bopha/Pablo stating that “in an
environment of chaos and confusion
children are more vulnerable”, and
“heightened awareness amongst local
governments and other community
leaders” is needed.
The Philippines is a State party to the
Optional Protocol to the CRC on the
Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict.
At the national level, Republic Act 7610
declares children as zones of peace and
entitles them to protection,
prohibits the voluntary or forcible
recruitment of children under 18 to the
armed forces and other non-State armed
opposition groups and their use as guides,
them to violence, abuse and exploitation. There was in fact an increase in
the recorded number of cases of child recruitment by armed groups in
2010 (24) compared to 2009 (6)38, and members of the Armed Forces of
the Philippines have continued to use children for military purposes too. A
common pattern observed is their forced involvement in counterinsurgency operations, and often in pursuit of NPA rebels in remote areas
of the country. The counter-insurgency strategy, ‘Oplan Bantay Laya’
(Operation Freedom Watch), permits and encourages soldiers to engage
with civilians, including children, for military purposes, using them as
informants, guides and porters. Similarly, numerous allegations of
recruitment and use of children by paramilitary groups have been
recorded, particularly the Citizens’ Armed Forces Geographical Unit, who
reportedly pressure and coerce children to join their ranks. The Units are
locally recruited from their community and their military operations are
confined to the municipality where they are formed. They are under the
command structure of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, but loosely
supervised. Furthermore, the Armed Forces of the Philippines continued to
detain children, who affirmed having been physically abused,
interrogated under extreme duress, subject to ill treatment and subjected
to acts tantamount to torture to extract information on insurgents.
Killing and maiming of children39: there was an upsurge in the number of
confirmed incidents of killing and wounding of children from 2010 to 2009:
38 children were killed (including 8 girls) and another 40 maimed
(including 16 girls) vs. 12 children killed and 40 wounded. Almost 80
percent of the casualties were due to increased armed clashes between
the Government military forces and the MILF recalcitrant commands after
the aborted signing of the memorandum of agreement on ancestral
domain in August 2008. There was a noted increase in the use of
improvised explosive devices by armed groups in highly populated areas,
causing greater casualties among the civilian population.
Rape and other grave violence40: The country task force on monitoring
and reporting grave child rights violations didn’t receive any cases of
rape or other grave sexual violence committed against children in the
context of armed conflict from December 2007 to November 2009. It
couriers, and spies (although it does not
specify penalties); guarantees the rights of
children arrested for reasons related to
armed conflict or rescued/ surrendered
child soldiers, among other provisions.
Republic Act 9208 prohibits any person,
natural or juridical – among others –
to “recruit, transport or adopt a child to
engage in armed activities in the
Philippines or abroad.” The law stipulates a
penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment
and a fine of not less than lone million pesos
or more than two million pesos
for the recruitment, transportation, and
adoption of children to engage in armed
activities. No such case has yet been filed,
??House Bill No. 4480 entitled ‘An Act
Providing for the Special Protection of
Children in Situations of Armed Conflict and
Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof’
prohibits and penalizes the commission of
grave child rights violation in armed conflict
DSWD is the leading government agency in
the rehabilitation and reintegration of child
CWC Sub-Committee on CAC
should be noted, however, that these incidents might also go highly
underreported given the associated stigma. In the first country report of
the Philippines (2007-2009), a case of sexual assault perpetrated by a
member of the 40th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army stationed in
Maguindanao was mentioned. A 15-year-old girl from North Cotabato
province was sexually assaulted on 19 September 2006, but to ‘date’
(2010) the perpetrator has not been prosecuted. The case of sexual
assault by a member of the 30th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army
in Butuan City against a 14-year-old girl, as reported by the SecretaryGeneral in his 8th report on children and armed conflict, is being closely
monitored. Since the incident had been forwarded to the UN Special
Representative on Children and Armed Conflict in 2008, the military has
issued a directive to all its ranks to reiterate the military’s policies
prohibiting child abuse. The victim filed a formal complaint against the
suspect, and the trial for qualified rape is still in progress.
Abduction41: in 2010 eleven accounts of abduction committed against
children in conflict settings were recorded, versus six in 2009.
Attacks on schools and hospitals42: there was an upward trend in the
number of attacks on schools and hospitals and their personnel in 2010,
which may be partially attributed to the use of schools as polling stations
during the May and October elections. Forty-one incidents were
recorded, compared to 10 in 2009. Of those, 14 were attributed to the
Armed Forces of the Philippines, 4 to NPA, 1 to MILF, 2 to ASG, 6 to private
militias of local politicians, and 14 to unidentified perpetrators. Schools
were targets of improvised explosive device attacks and burning, and
teachers were increasingly targeted (11 of them were actually killed). The
occupation of schools by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the
Citizens’ Armed Forces Geographical Unit is registering an increasing
trend, in contravention of national legislation prohibiting such practice. In
remote communities across the country, the Armed Forces of the
Philippines and the Unit have been using functioning public school
buildings as barracks and command centres, including for storing
weapons and ammunition. In some situations, the soldiers were observed
approaching children, questioning them and allowing them to handle
In 2007 the Philippines was prioritized by the
UN Security Council for the implementation
of the Monitoring and Reporting
Mechanism (MRM) on grave child rights
violations under resolution 1612 (2005). A
country task force on monitoring and
reporting was created, which submits
periodic reports to …
Denial of humanitarian access to children43: an incident which was
reported involved an unidentified armed group which confiscated relief
goods from an unmarked delivery truck hired by the World Food
Programme for displaced communities in Mamasapano town of
Maguidanao province.
Children with disabilities (CWD) are amongst the most stigmatized and
excluded of all. Based on the National Statistics Office 2000 Population
census, there were 948,098 persons with disabilities in the Philippines
(1.23% of the population). Around 70% of them were found in rural areas,
and the reported number of children was 191,680 or about 20% of the
total, 54 percent of which are males and 46 percent, females. The
disabilities that affect the most number of children are mental
retardation/illness, loss of arms/hands/leg/feet, oral defects and
blindness, and they are mainly due to poor nutrition, measles, inability of
expectant mothers to go for prenatal check-ups, premature births and
unsanitary living conditions. According to the Special Committee on Child
Protection, more than 50% of disabilities among children are acquired,
thus, highly preventable.
The prevalence of disability among children 0–14 years old is highest in
urban slum and rural areas where health services are limited or worse.
Other causes of disability include vehicular accidents and the continuing
armed conflict, although there’s no reliable data on these. Many families
are often unable to deal with CWD due to negative attitudes and the
lack of resources and support systems. Overall, there’s a lack of
educational opportunities and rights for children with disabilities because
of the limitations of enabling policies that can provide adequate funds to
support structures, facilities, staffing, curriculum, special teaching aids and
materials, assistive devices and equipment designed to address their
special requirements.
The Philippines is a signatory to the Biwako
Millennium framework for action towards an
inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based
society for persons with disabilities in Asia
and the Pacific (2002), ratified the
Convention on the Rights on persons with
Disabilities (CRPD) in 2008, and it was further
reinforced by the enactment of the
Republic Act 7277 in 2007 (Magna Carta for
Disabled Persons), Batas Pambansa Blg. 344
(Accessibility Law), Republic Act 6759
(White Cane Act) and ILO Convention 159
(Vocational Rehabilitation of Persons With
Disability). The National Council on Disability
Affairs (NCDA) is the national government
agency mandated to formulate policies
and coordinate the activities of all
agencies, whether public or private,
concerning disability issues and concerns,
tasked to steer the course of program
development for persons with disabilities,
the delivery of services to the sector and
monitor the implementation of laws to
ensure the protection of PWDs’ rights52. DOH
is spearheading the development of a
framework of action for children with
Region XII: Davao City had the highest number of CWD at 2,241 or
29 percent of the total. Next was Davao Norte with 1,686, Davao
del Sur with 1,668, Compostela Valley with 1,268 and Davao
Oriental with 934. Of the 7,797 CWD, 2,027, hearing impairment,
1,854, visual impairment, 1,848, intellectual disability, 1,680 were
orthopedically handicapped and 388 had multiple impairment44.
Region XIII: persons with disabilities make up 1.45 percent of
Caraga’s population. The most common types of disability are low
vision, partial blindness, and quadriplegic. More often than not,
the reasons for their disability are lack of maternal and child
health care, genetics, and lack of education and information on
proper nutrition and other health information. Over the years, this
group has been facing the same issues and concerns such as lack
of mechanisms on prevention, early detection and intervention of
disabling condition of children as well as lack of schools/special
education centers for PWD. The role of the LGUs in planning and
budgeting is still very critical in addressing the PWD’s concerns,
especially through the enforcement of the structures and
mechanisms stipulated by laws on the subject at the regional and
local levels. It has been observed that during the budgeting
period, budget for PWDs was well earmarked in the agencies’
and LGUs’ budget proposals and yet, in the utilization of those
budgets, only a minimal amount goes to the programs and
projects of PWDs. The institutionalization of the 0.5 percent budget
for PWD is still a clamor.
Indigenous children rank among the poorest and most disadvantaged45.
Assuming a total indigenous population of 12 to 15 million, the population
of IP children can be estimated at 5 to 7 million. Most of them live in farflung communities usually accessible only by foot, with inadequate basic
social services. Unregistered births (most of the 2.6 million estimated in the
country46), high malnutrition and mortality rates, low school participation
and cohort survival rates and poor environmental sanitation prevail
among them, and since many IP communities are armed conflict areas,
disabilities from prevention to screening,
treatment, and rehabilitation, and a
strategy for the early prevention,
detection/screening of and early
intervention for all types of disabilities
among children with emphasis on
improving awareness level of families on
signs and symptoms of disability will be
DepEd has been promoting inclusive
education by mainstreaming CWD in
regular classes, and LGUs are responsible for
the rights and well-being of children with
disabilities, but their interventions are few
and suffer from technical, human and
financial constraints54.
The Philippines ratified the UN Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007,
but the ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous
and Tribal Peoples Convention is yet to be
signed. At the national level, the
Constitution has provisions with specific
reference to indigenous peoples, which
were operationalized with the passage of
the Republic Act 8371 or Indigenous
Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997. This
affirms that “the State shall recognize the
vital role of the children and youth of
ICCs/IPs in nation-building and shall
promote and protect their physical, moral,
spiritual, moral, spiritual, intellectual and
social well-being,” and addresses the
emerging problem of child-recruitment. The
national machinery is led by the National
Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP),
they’re often caught in armed encounters between the government
forces and insurgent groups. Likewise, the entry of development projects
and investments of big multinational corporations in IP communities has
caused physical and economic dislocation of IP children and families47.
'The 2010 NSO Census on Population and Housing integrated ethnicity
variables, in order to obtain accurate population count, composition and
distribution data of IPs which will enable more targeted and suitable
interventions on the sector, but the Government hasn't released the
results yet.
Infant, child and maternal mortality rates within the IP communities
are high. Indigenous children too often start life as low birth weight
babies, born to a mother deprived of good prenatal care; early
marriage, multiple pregnancies throughout women’s reproductive
life and hard work even during pregnancies place them in the
category of those who bear children “too early, too late, too
often, too many.”48
IP children experience prejudice and discrimination at school
because they look, dress, act and talk differently from the
majority. Many indigenous children drop out early in the first
grade, unable to cope with that situation, and some others never
have the chance to even go to school for a variety of reasons:
lack of resources, distance, parents’ demotivation...
Indigenous children usually live in conflict areas, and that factor
together with poverty sometimes derives in child labor and
trafficking. Violence against indigenous girls is also a serious
problem, and there are a number of cultural beliefs and taboos
on this that need to be further studied by all stakeholders, i.e.
“victims of sexual abuse will eventually outgrow such traumatic
experiences” or “cases can be settled amicably”, which leads to
children being left without counseling and psychosocial support.
The culture of silence represents a hindrance in addressing the
problem, and so is the accepted notion of child labor in many of
these communities49.
created in 1997 as “the primary
government agency responsible for the
formulation and implementation of policies,
plans and programs to recognize, protect
and promote the rights of ICCs/IPs” with
due regard to their beliefs, customs,
traditions and institutions. It’s an
independent agency under the Office of
the President, and crafted the Indigenous
Peoples Master Plan 2011-2016 to facilitate
converge of all stakeholders’ programs for
the development of IPs/Indigenous Cultural
Communities in accordance with their rights
(still to be validated)55.
Indigenous children and youth actively participate in farm or
household activities as well as artistic performances, but this
doesn’t give them a say in family or community matters because
the elders enjoy a monopoly of power in those domains.
Davao Region is inhabited by non-Moro indigenous peoples
called Lumads, which make up an estimated 10% of the region’s
population and may be clustered into Manobo, Bagobo-B'laanT'boli-Tiruray, Mandaya-Mansaka, Subanen and the Mamanwa.
They basically subsist through swidden and wet rice cultivation,
hunting, fishing, gathering and the trade in locally manufactured
items. They inhabit the environmentally fragile highlands of the
region and live in extreme poverty, forced to exploit dwindling
resources for food and fuel, and many do not have an area of
land to call their own. One of the root causes of their poverty and
marginalization of indigenous peoples is loss of control over their
traditional lands, territories and natural resources. A growing
number of indigenous people live in urban areas as a result of the
degradation of land, dispossession, forced evictions and lack of
employment opportunities50.
Region XIII: indigenous peoples constitute a significant segment of
the population of Caraga, in communities composed of five
major tribal groups: Banwaon, Higaonon, Mandaya/Kamayo,
Mamanwa and Manobo. They are disadvantaged when it comes
to their educational status, health and access to employment
opportunities. Plus, they are vulnerable as targets of insurgency
recruitments, and they tend to be manipulated and exploited.
Land tenure insecurity, delayed infrastructure development,
leadership conflicts, the presence of non-state actors in ancestral
domain areas and the appropriate implementation of the IPRA
are the main challenges indigenous peoples are facing.
Out-of-School Children51 (OOSC): despite the country’s commitment to
meet the Education For All and MDGs, trends in education statistics
suggest that the Philippines faces challenges in that field. With the
attention given to ECCD, a growing number of five year old children are
attending kindergarten or day care centers, but in 2008, according to the
Annual Poverty Incidence Survey (APIS), in 2008 a third of those children
were not in school. Official primary Net Enrolment Rates were trending
toward Universal Primary Education in the period 1990 to 2000, but they
dropped and plateaued, with the current rate at about 90 percent.
Indirectly, the official NER from DepEd and the NER figures from UIS both
suggest that about 10 percent of children aged six to eleven years are
not in primary school, and the BEIS and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics
also suggest that about 40 percent of children aged twelve to fifteen are
not in secondary school. However, there are also primary school-age
children who are in preprimary- or postprimary-school levels, and there
are secondary school-age children who are in the presecondary- or
postsecondary-school levels. Data from the Basic Education Information
System (BEIS) and DSWD indirectly suggest that there were 3.3 million
children in 2008 between the ages of five and fifteen who were not in
school, and nationally representative survey data (APIS 2008) gave a
slightly smaller figure of around 2.9 million, three-fifths of them, boys.
Region XI: 17.3% of males and 12.8% of females out of school
Region XIII: 14% of males and 9.8% of females out of school
Children with Disabilities are prone to exploitation, violence and abuse as
other children are, but they face additional obstacles such as isolation,
lack of confidence and communication barriers which make it difficult for
them to seek support especially in emergency situations56. According to
XXXXXXXX data, a total of 55,831 CWD would have been affected by
typhoon Pablo, 52,377 in Davao and 2,454 in Caraga (see attached
summary of priority needs for a breakdown of the 43 affected
municipalities in 8 provinces), although these figures reveal a mismatch
with the ones provided by NSO.
Humanitarian actors are ensuring the
inclusion of CWD in all vulnerability
assessments as well as their access to the
Child Friendly Spaces and back to school
programs to be set up, appropriate and
timely medical attention also in terms of
nutrition, WASH interventions and
emergency shelter.
Aid workers are bringing 250PHP basic food
Indigenous children usually live in hard-to-reach communities, which
posed many serious challenges for relief assistance to get there
immediately after typhoon Pablo hit Mindanao; some IPs in Compostela
Valley and Davao Oriental remained with little or no help at all for several
days after their villages got isolated; the only way of bringing aid to them
was through choppers57.
Out-of-School-Children: the most critical of the demand-side barriers and
bottlenecks to schooling, late school entry and completion are parental
perceptions on school readiness, differences in expectations between
boys and girls, education of mothers and poverty58, which in this case
might increase the number of OOSC with children of parents who’ve lost
their livelihoods because of the typhoon and get forced to make them
look for jobs as well. Plus, on the supply side schools might not be able to
resume classes on a normal basis.
Child physical and sexual abuse, maltreatment and other forms of
violence including torture are on the rise and continue to afflict children
at home, in schools and in communities, perpetrated by relatives,
teachers, peers or unknown people; DSWD served 4,701 cases in 2010
(table to follow). In the chaos that can follow an emergency, children are
especially at risk of sexual violence because of the lack of rule of law, the
lack of information provided to them, their restricted power in decisionmaking and their level of dependence.
Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). Sexually abused and
exploited children include cases of rape, incest, acts of lasciviousness and
children victims of prostitution, pedophilia, pornography (including cyber
pornography). The commercial sexual exploitation of children is
considered to be among the worst forms of child labour. Children who
escape from dysfunctional households and abusive parents are forced to
fend for themselves and are more likely to be exploited. The lack of
family and community support systems and poverty, among other factors,
packs containing rice, coffee, sugar, milk,
canned goods and noodles and other
goods to areas where major roads and
bridges were damaged.
The Government is setting up Temporary
Learning Spaces in those schools damaged
by the typhoon, but available tents are not
enough to cover all of them. They’re
establishing Child Friendly Spaces too, so
that children have a safe place to go and
Sub-Committee on Sexually Abused and
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.
(SACSEC). Composed of eleven
government and seven non-government
agencies, this structure’s main function is on
policy development and recommendations
relative to issues on sexual abuse and CSEC.
It collaborates with government and nongovernment partners to lobby for the
passage of bills (such as the recent passage
of RA 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography
Act of 2009). Further, the Sub-Committee
strengthens and establishes linkages to raise
public awareness on SACSEC; develops
appropriate IEC materials and fact sheets
on SACSEC programs, services and other
contribute to increasing children’s vulnerability to commercial sexual
UNICEF reported that the Philippines ranked 4th among nine countries with
most children in prostitution estimated between 60,000-100,000 although
the NGO End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT) estimated a
higher figure of 300,000 children in prostitution. (UNICEF-Child Trafficking
SitAn, 2006). However, there is no precise number of children in the sex
industry and no data is available on the actual magnitude of children
who fall victims to commercial sexual exploitation except those cases
reportedly served or handled by government authorities.
Most children exploited in the sex trade are on the average between
ages 13 and 18, but cases of children younger than five years old have
also been reported. The majority of sex tourists who solicit sex from minors
are white males from industrialized nations.
The number of sexually abused and exploited children served by the
DSWD decreased to 1,374 in 2010 from 1,970 sexually abused and
exploited children served in 2009. Family court prosecutors handled
16,000 cases of sexual and commercial exploitation from 2005 to 2011.
Child pornography. Children who work in the sex industry are prone to
pornography as they are most exposed to pedophiles and perverts who
may be involved in the production of child pornography. However, even
ordinary children become easy prey because of the lack of stringent laws
against child pornography and prosecution of perpetrators. The effects of
pornography on victims are far reaching and may actually last a lifetime
because these images are lasting testaments of a child’s exploitation and
abuse causing maladjustment, low self esteem, depression, sense of selfblame, guilt, shame, and psychiatric illness. It can cause irreparable
emotional damage through their adult life leading to violent tendencies,
maltreatment of their own children, or may turn as abusers or prostitutes.
(UNICEF-Child Pornography, 2004)
ongoing responses; reviews and evaluates
programs and interventions; plans and
recommends innovative strategies; and
monitors and evaluates recommendations
for approval by the CWC Board. It is also a
venue for learning and capacity building
session where initiatives and pilot projects,
and other relevant concepts are presented
and discussed.
For the period 2006-2011, the CSPC exerted
efforts to improve policies, guidelines and
procedures on legal and judicial protection
of child victims. Some of these are the
(a) Child-friendly investigation and
interviewing procedures and facilities have
been instituted particularly among law
enforcers (police and NBI), prosecutors
(DOJ-NPS) and social workers (DSWD, LGU
social workers, NGOs such as CPU-Net, etc).
Related to this, the DOJ and the CSPC
members had developed a Manual for
Prosecutors in consultation with the other
pillars of the justice system.
(b) In addition, the DOJ issued
memorandum circulars concerning proper
handling of affidavit of desistance in child
abuse cases, conduct of autopsy without
consent, and non-prosecution of social
workers taking protective custody, among
others. These are some of the bottlenecks in
the speedy and successful disposition of
cases brought before the justice system. It is
therefore important that these
memorandum circulars should be
consistently enforced.
(c) A draft comprehensive protocol on case
management of child victims has been
developed under the auspices of the CSPC.
A series of consultation workshops and write
shops were done to ensure widest possible
participation of all major duty bearers
particularly the pillars of the justice system.
Finalization of the comprehensive protocol
will hopefully address remaining bottlenecks
towards improved legal and judicial
protection measures.
45. In terms of training and capacity
building, the CSPC and its member
agencies reached hundreds of service
providers including the pillars of the justice
system for upgrading of knowledge,
competencies and skills in responding to
child abuse, violence and exploitation.
(a) CPU-Net has been a key partner of the
CSPC in training and capacity building
particularly of law enforcers and
(b) DSWD has trained social workers on
psychosocial case management, referral
system for trafficked children, handling CICL
under RA 9344, handling children affected
by HIV/AIDS, PES, and ERPAT, among others.
(c) DOLE has conducted training of labour
inspectors on child protection laws and on
the use of the manual on inspection, rescue
and enforcement.
(d) DOJ has regularly conducted training
and orientation of prosecutors, retooling on
writing child-sensitive and women-sensitive
resolutions, TOT on GAD focus on the
component on the girl child.
(e) DOH has entered into MOA with CPUNet to establish women and child
protection units (WCPU) in strategically
located hospitals. DOH advocates for a
change in mindset to look at child abuse as
a public health issue.
(f) DILG conducts training on child-friendly
local governance and on the barangay
performance rating system.
(g) ECPAT conducts community education
on trafficking, child pornography, and child
sex tourism.
(h) PNP has an integrated training package
for police men and women assigned to the
Women and Children Protection Division
(i) CHR conducts training and orientation on
human rights and children’s rights,
popularizing CRC.
(j) NBI conducts training on child-sensitive
investigation procedures.
(k) BI holds training on child-sensitive
interviewing as part of trafficking module.
(l) Faith-based organizations under the
umbrella of the Philippine Inter-Faith
Network for Children (PHILINC) such as the
Salvatorian Pastoral Care for Children
(SPCC) have implemented parish-based
child protection programs in selected
parishes in the Diocese of Novaliches and
the Archdiocese of Cebu. SPCC trains
parish-based child rights advocates (CRAs).
To date, one parish – St. Peter Parish in
Commonwealth, Quezon City – has already
formulated its own child protection policy.
A holistic and multi-pronged approach
aligned with poverty alleviation and social
protection measures will continue to be
adopted to provide a caring and
protective environment for children in
various conditions of vulnerabilities: (a)
massive information and communication
interventions promoting preventive
measures; (b) pursuing a legislative agenda
that calls for tough and stringent sanctions
and penalties for those accountable, (c)
strengthening the criminal justice system
such as the courts, law enforcement
agencies and other government institutions
tasked with the protection of children,
whether as victims or offenders, (d) making
formal and non-formal education widely
accessible including a range of alternative
learning systems; (e) increasing the provision
of basic and preventive health care and
social services combined with responsive
interventions that cater to their specific
conditions; (f) creation of more facilities for
psycho-social interventions for the early
recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of
children affected; (g) enabling families and
communities with capacities and skills to
provide adequate security and protection
to their own children; (h) institutionalization
of mechanisms for community monitoring
and surveillance, able to track vulnerable
children and prevent their abuse and
exploitation; and (i) establishment of a
sound data base and monitoring system at
both national and local levels and area
mapping for preventive, referral and
synchronized interventions.
Child protection strategies require political
will and leadership at national, sub-national
and local government levels, the
harmonization of efforts by all three
branches of government, civil society
engagement and international
cooperation. Communities, families and
parents as immediate duty bearers must
recognize their own obligations for caring
and protecting their children.
Local governments will ensure that the
councils for the protection of children are
functional and adequately supported by
ordinances, budget appropriation,
technical support and assistance. These
councils will be assisted in strengthening its
role for early detection and tracking to
deter abuse, violence and exploitation.
Local government units will be encouraged
to build and operate shelters, establish local
cooperatives, and conduct livelihood and
skills training for children victims and their
Children who need special protection are:
children without family or parental care and
those left behind, children with disabilities,
child labourers, children victims of violence,
children who are trafficked, children who
are commercially and sexually abused and
exploited, children in prostitution and in
pornography, children in conflict with the
law and those involved in drugs, street
children, children in situations of armed
conflict, children of indigenous populations,
children in emergency situations, affected
and displaced by natural disasters
Standard 13:
Neglected and abandoned children are among those who are deprived
of a caring family environment. These children may be given up for
adoption or are placed in residential care facilities. In 2010, DSWD placed
a total of 1,339 children in alternative care such as adoption, foster care
and legal guardianship. Increasing numbers of children of overseas
Filipino workers (OFW) are at risk of losing parental care. NGOs like
Scalabrini and Anak Migrante-Pamilya have estimated that roughly 4-6
million children of OFWs are left behind and are therefore at risk of losing
parental care. Children living in extreme forms of poverty, estimated at
14.9 million as of 2009, are highly vulnerable to family separation, neglect
and abandonment.
An emerging concern due to the massive overseas employment is the
phenomenon of children left behind. Millions of children today grow up
with a parent or both parents living and working away from home. Few
actions are made to support the increasing number of children left
behind to cope, remain safe, and have a healthy childhood as they grow
up in this “new” type of family setting. Nor are there enough efforts to
support the individual parents left behind to care for the children or to the
alternative care givers like grandparents, aunts, and friends.
"Exploitation and trafficking of children in institutions. While it is especially
difficult to obtain statistical data on the exploitation and trafficking of
children in institutions, there is evidence to suggest this is a widespread
and growing concern72. An existing modus operandi is that children
placed in institutions are, in effect, then ‘trafficked’ under the guise of
inter-country adoption. Children, including those with parents, are being
Administrative Order (AO) No. 140 series of
2002 as amended by AO NO.6 series of
2005 also known as the Omnibus Guidelines
on the Registration and Licensing of Social
Welfare and Development Agencies and
Accreditation of Social Welfare and
Development Programs and Services was
developed to enforce standards in the
registration, licensing and accreditation of
agencies engaged in social welfare and
development activities for purposes of
authorising, regulating and monitoring the
operation of such agencies in the
recruited into institutions for the purposes of financial gain via intercountry adoption. Unscrupulous adoption agencies collude with care
institutions to coerce or deceive parents into giving up their children so
that they can be adopted overseas.
In 2003, a total of 2,732 children were reported to have been deprived of
a family environment and separated from parents. Of this number, about
98.31 or 2,686 children were brought to institutions. Males comprised the
majority (1,655) compared to females (1,031). The reasons for admission
include economic difficulties and family problems such as separation,
neglect and abuse, abandonment and death of parents. Forty-two
percent of the 8,338 children admitted in 1998-2002 have been reunited
with their families, 9 percent were transferred to other residential facilities
for long-term care, 5 percent were placed for adoption, and 2 percent
for an independent living programme. The remaining 42 percent were
discharged for a variety of reasons, such as death and leaving the centre
without permission/runaway.
As of 2008, there were about 61 residential care facilities being managed
by the DSWD. Meanwhile, as of 2007, DSWD has licensed a total of 2,135
Social Welfare Development Agencies (SWDAs) and Social Work
Agencies (SWAs). Of this number, 264 have been accredited with 145
providing residential care service. The majority of these institutions cater to
abandoned, neglected and abused children with an average capacity
of 30-40 beds.
National Statistics Office (NSO), 2010 Census of Population and Housing
UNICEF Philippines, Country Programme Document 2011-2016
3 National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016
4 Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), The Second National Action Plan for Children 2012-2016
5 National Statistical Coordination Board, Children in the Philippines: Poverty and Well-Being, 2009
6 UNICEF Philippines, Monitoring Results of Equity Systems (MoRES) Report 2012
7 UNICEF Philippines, Monitoring Results of Equity Systems (MoRES) Report 2012
UNICEF Philippines, Country Programme Document 2011-2016
XXX, Regional Development Plan
Created through Republic Act 7901 as approved by President Fidel V. Ramos in 1995.
DSWD Field Office Caraga, website – Regional Director’s corner: http://www.caraga.dswd.gov.ph
Report of the joint field visit to the Republic of the Philippines of the Executive Boards of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS, UNICEF and WFP, 26 March-2 April 2011
13 Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) website
14 Manila Observatory, Country Scoping Study to Build Evidence on Children’s Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Disasters’ Impacts, 2012
15 Annex I, List of Acronyms
16 Child Protection Working Group, Child Protection Systems in Emergencies, 2010
17 Committee for the Special Protection of Children, Comprehensive Plan on Child Protection 2012-2016
18 President Benigno S. Aquino III, 2013 Budget Message, http://www.gov.ph/2012/07/24/2013-budget-message-of-president-aquino/
19 United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations to Philippine 3 rd and 4th combined reports on the Implementation of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child, 2009
20 OneResponse website: http://oneresponse.info/COORDINATION/CLUSTERAPPROACH/Pages/Philippines.aspx
21 National Disaster Coordination Council (now NDRRMC) Circular 5-2007
22 CPWG, Terms of Reference
23 NSO & International Labour Organization, 2011 Survey on Children
24 Republic Act 9231 on ‘Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act’
25 US Department of Labor, 2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Philippines, 27 August 2008
26 Asinero, Patrick, coordinator Pag-aaral ng Bata para sa Kinabukasan (ABK2) - http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/davao-city-still-prone-child-labor
27 Miller, Rebeca (Ascari Partners), Desk review for the assessment on trafficking in persons and UNICEF’s prevention of and response to child trafficking in the
Philippines, 2008
28 Save the Children, Child Protection in the Philippines – A Situational Analysis, 2011
29 ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes), ‘Sex Trafficking of Children in the Philippines’, 2009
30 IACAT website, Human Trafficking Statistics
31 IACAT, The Second National Strategic Action Plan Against Trafficking In Persons 2012-2016
32 Ampog, Jeannette, Talikala Executive Director, http://www.mindanaotimes.net/number-of-trafficking-cases-in-region-xi-hike-officials/
33 IACAT website, ibid, About Us
34 National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) SitRep 38 re: Effects of Typhoon Pablo (Bopha)
35 UNICEF Philippines, SitRep 5 (internal)
36 Plan International, Initial assessment and site visits to Compostela, Monte Vista and New Bataan (Andap) in Compostela Valley, and Baganga, Cateel and
Boston in Davao Oriental, 10-14 December, 2012
37 UN Secretary-General Report on Children and Armed Conflict A/65/820–S/2011/250, 2012
38 UN Secretary-General Report on Children and Armed Conflict A/65/820–S/2011/250, 2012
39 UN Secretary-General Report on Children and Armed Conflict A/65/820–S/2011/250, 2012
40 UN Secretary-General Report on Children and Armed Conflict in the Philippines S/2010/36, 2010
41 UNICEF Philippines inputs to the 10th Annual Report of the Secretary General to the Security Council on CAAC
42 UN Secretary-General Report on Children and Armed Conflict A/65/820–S/2011/250, 2012
43 UN Secretary-General Report on Children and Armed Conflict A/65/820–S/2011/250, 2012
DSWD Field Office XI, Davao Region Social Protection and Development Report 2010
Racelis, Mary, IP paper
46 UNICEF, Global Study on Child Poverty and Disparities – National Report, 2010
Committee for the Special Protection of Children, Comprehensive Plan on Child Protection 2012-2016
48 Racelis, Mary, ibid
49 UNICEF HQ, Violence against indigenous girls in XX, the Philippines and XX– zero draft
50 Regional Development Plan Region XI, 201X-2016
51 Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS), Out-Of-School-Children Global Initiative – Philippine Study, 2012
52 National Council on Disability Affairs, website: http://www.ncda.gov.ph
53 UNICEF, Global Study on Child Poverty and Disparities – National Report, 2010
54 CWC, The Second National Action Plan for Children 2012-2016
55 National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Indigenous Peoples’ Master Plan 2011-2016 (draft)
56 Handicap International, Disability Checklist for Emergency Response
57 Soliman, Corazon ‘Dinky’, http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/12/11/12/indigenous-people-trapped-isolated-comval-villages
Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS), Out-Of-School-Children Global Initiative – Philippine Study, 2012