The Regional Committee for the Welfare of Children (RCWC) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VII kick off the regional children’s month on November 10, 2023 at SM Seaside in Cebu City.

Choir members of the City of Naga’s Children’s Choir perform the National Children’s Month song entitled “Sigaw ng Kabataan.”

Under RA 10661, or the National Children’s Month Act of 2015, November is observed as the national children’s month. This celebration continues to cement the commitment of the Philippines to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, signed in November 1989.

The Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), the DSWD, and the National Youth Commission (NYC) led the 31st NCM celebration this year. The celebration places primary importance on children’s participation as rights holders, as well as the parents, the government agencies, the non-government organizations, and the local government units as duty-bearers to carry out the objectives of NCM.

Bannering the theme, Healthy, Nourished, Sheltered: Ensuring the Right to Life for All! The NCM focuses on quality healthcare and nutrition for children, which are vital to every child’s development. This concern emerged from the challenges brought by the effects of the pandemic and the accelerated inflation rate that adversely affects everyone, especially the children’s sector.

The duty-bearers in the region, through the RCWC, an inter-agency monitoring body chaired by DSWD-7, work to strengthen programs and policies intended for children and promote awareness of survival rights as a way to achieve other core rights of children to be met, fulfilled, and realized.

Further, the 31st National Children’s Month aims:

  1. To promote evidence-based and inclusive healthcare and nutrition services and interventions for children;
  2. To equip children, parents, and caregivers across all media with the correct information to prevent health misinformation or disinformation; and
  3. To encourage and facilitate health-seeking behavior among families and communities

Chief of Regional Women and Children Protection Desk Albe B. Codilla of the Philippine National Police 7 led the recitation of the Panatang Makabata or the Pledge for Children as duty-bearer’s commitment to uphold the rights and welfare of children that signifies the start of the month-long celebration.

DSWD-7 Regional Director Shalaine Marie S. Lucero, in her message, encouraged the media to have a stake in the celebration. “We should equip ourselves with the right information to prevent health misinformation and disinformation. The media plays a vital role in ensuring that we live up to our promise to our children, who need our support, guidance, and protection to enable them to enjoy their important developmental years,” Lucero said.

Ruff Vincent I. Valdevieso of Department of Health, Patricia Dalan of National Nutrition Council, Ma. Romilene C. Padilla of DSWD-7 Supplementary Feeding Program, and child representative Gerrah B. Pimental of United Children of Talisay Association during the coffee table talk with Atty. Noemi Truya-Abarientos of Children’s Legal Bureau.

A coffee table talk on nutrition policies and programs for children was staged with guests from the Department of Health, the National Nutrition Council, DSWD through the Supplementary Feeding Program, and a child representative from the United Children of Talisay Association.

Executive Director of the Children’s Legal Bureau, Atty. Noemi Truya-Abarientos moderated the talk about interventions to address healthcare and nutrition problems.

On the side of the LGUs, they ensure that the communities know the NCM commitment and objectives. They are mandated to celebrate a local version of the NCM based on the DILG M.C. 2023-152.

Meanwhile, Dr. Debra Marie Catulong, Head of Mandaue City’s Health Service Delivery Division, shared the LGU’s best practices in combating malnutrition and nurturing hope among underserved communities in the city through efforts to address malnutrition, food insecurity, and unjust dietary practices.

The children also showcased their performances during the kick-off. Moreover, child-friendly activities have been lined-up, including a webinar with the Commission on Population and Development, a children’s congress, and the culmination activity by the end of November.

The blue campaign advocacy

 According to RCWC, the color blue represents joy, innocence, and the potential of children. Over the years, this inspired many to dedicate themselves to raising awareness about children’s rights and their well-being. The regional council prepared various advocacy activities that the public and private sectors can show their support for.

A campaign called #BlueKadaBiyernes invites everyone to wear blue on all the Fridays of November. To further the support, one must take a group photo or selfie and share it through social media with the hashtags #2023ChildrensMonth, #BuwanNgMgaBata, and #ParaSaBata.

Changing one’s social media profile is another campaign of the NCM. Download the NCM photo frame from this link: twb.nz/nov2023 to generate. In posting the social media profile, write a caption that says, “Ako si (state your name or nickname), at ngayong #BuwanNgMgaBata, #LusogSaPaglaki ang aking hangad para sa lahat ng mga bata!.” ###

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