Handout photo shows Unicef regional director for Asia and the Pacific Karin Hulshof and Unicef Philippines representative Oyun Dendevnorov (middle, front row) with the Unicef staff and Bangsamoro youth representatives at the Bangsamoro Transition Authority Parliament. The event commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and World Children’s Day.
Bangsamoro vows to promote international children’s rights treaty
John Unson (The Philippine Star) - November 22, 2019 - 12:00am

COTABATO CITY, Philippines  – Concerned citizens in the Bangsamoro region promised on Wednesday to promote the international children’s rights treaty and at the same time restore normalcy in conflict-stricken communities.

The symbolic pledging rite was one of the highlights of the commemoration here of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

The CRC is touted as the world’s most widely ratified human rights treaty.

Hundreds of children and teachers from various schools joined the event organized by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and other foreign benefactors with the help of the Bangsamoro government.

Pledges of support for the promotion of CRC in the newly created Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) were made by local lawmakers, peace advocates, journalists and both local and international nongovernment organizations.

Members of the Bangsamoro parliament and the region’s Islamic mufti (grand preacher) Abu Huraira Udasan also participated in the activity.

Representatives from Unicef said that child poverty in the Philippines is highest in BARMM based on statistical profiles covering all regions in the country.

The BARMM has 63.1 percent child poverty rate, twice higher than the national average of 31.4 percent.

The figures indicate that 1.6 million out of 2.5 million children in BARMM are living below the poverty line.

Sources said at least 200,000 children in BARMM’s five provinces – Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi – are not going to school.

The source said only one in five children enrolled in school completes elementary education, while thousands more youths drop out due to conflicts and extreme poverty.

There are also reports that around 300,000 children in BARMM are malnourished and that a big number of them do not have access to restrooms at home and in school. 

Senior staff members of BARMM’s Bureau of Public Information said that Bangsamoro chief minister Ahod Ebrahim will embark on programs to promote children’s welfare in all of the region’s five provinces and two cities, Lamitan and Marawi.

The BARMM also covers 63 barangays in North Cotabato province in Region 12 whose residents voted for the inclusion of their villages in the region during a plebiscite early this year.

BARMM Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said the Bangsamoro leadership is deeply aware of the situation of children in areas ravaged by recurring conflicts since the early 1970s.

Sinarimbo, a human rights lawyer, said the BARMM government will focus attention on improving the welfare of Muslim, Christian and lumad children through comprehensive inter-agency programs.

He said their education and social welfare program for children are to be closely coordinated with foreign organizations and agencies of the United Nations operating in the region.

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