Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bata Muna releases criteria for pro-children candidate

QUEZON CITY, May 3 --With only 13 days remaining before the 2013 National and Local Elections, do you have in your list candidates with children's welfare on their agenda?

The Bata Muna (Child First) campaign is promoting a checklist of a pro-children candidate that voters can use in choosing their officials for the May polls.

On the Bata Muna checklist, candidates must have a concrete platform that will advance the rights of children, must value child involvement and participation, must be independent thinkers for the good of the majority especially of children, must not be corrupt, must not have violated children's rights and must think about the present and future of children.

A network of more than 30 children's rights organizations, Bata Muna campaign has launched a caravan aimed at convincing candidates and their organizations to adopt a children's platform that will addresses issues on education, safety, access to sexual and reproductive health education and services, and children’s participation.

So far, the Bata Muna Campaign had dialogues with Jun Magsaysay, Koko Pimentel, Greco Belgica, Bam Aquino and Chiz Escudero, and partylists Kabataan, Akap Bata, Bagong Henerasyon and Akbayan Citizens Action.

"While all the issues of children are not totally supported by the candidates we visited, we are grateful that they listened to the children," said Deborah Carmina Sarmiento, Save the Children Policy Advocacy Manager.

"It was a learning experience and a great opportunity for the children to learn and somehow be involved in an electoral exercise, even if they still cannot vote and choose their candidates," Sarmiento said, ''at least, the candidates who faced us gave us the opportunity to understand where they are coming from. We see this as an opportunity to continue dialoguing with them."

Bata Muna campaign activities are being held nationwide, most recently in Bicol and Sarangani where children voiced out their issues during caravans and media briefings.

Bata Muna is a nationwide campaign aimed at advancing children’s issues in the heart of electoral discussions in the 2013 National Elections. It is jointly organized by Save the Children, Samahan ng Mamamayan – Zone One Tondo Organization (ZOTO), Children Talk to Children (C2C) about the UN CRC Project children’s organizations AKKAP, AYM, CYO and YMETCO, Plan International, Asia ACTs, WomanHealth Philippines, ChildFund, Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD), Caraga Emergency Response Group (CERG), Mindanao Action Group for Children’s Rights and Protection (MAGCRP), Mindanao Emergency Response Network (MERN), World Vision, Intervida Philippines Foundation (Intervida), Cebu Court Appointed Special Advocates /Guardian Ad Litem (CASA/GAL)Volunteers Association Inc., Inclusive Education Network Chapter (IEN), Philippines Against Child Trafficking (PACT),  Lingap Pangkabataan Inc., Angels of Peace Academy Foundation Inc., Open Heart Foundation, NGO Coalition, ERDA, ChildHope Asia Philippines, Reina Federation,
Families and Children for Empowerment and Development (FCED) Foundation Inc., and Yakap sa Kaunlaran ng Bata Inc. (Lyndon Plantilla/Media ng Bayan)

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