WANDERLUST| ARMM celebrates Universal Children’s Day

THE REGIONAL Human Rights Commission of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao spearheaded the celebration of the Universal Children’s Day last November 20 at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in Cotabato City.

The Universal Children’s’ Day is a globally recognized event that takes places simultaneously in various countries that endeavors an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights. This year’s theme is ”Quality Education to Stop Violence Against Children”.

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KIDS and guests inside the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex

“Today, we recall the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989. Aside from ceremonial, today is a meaningful celebration as we reaffirm our duty and our moral and legal obligation to protect and in fulfilling our children’s right. At all times, we will advocate quality education to stop violence against our children,” said Regional Human Rights Commission chairperson Atty. Abdulnasser A. Badrudin to an audience composed mostly of children from Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao and Maguindanao.

In his overview of the activity, Atty. Mojahid Salic Guro, chairperson of the Child Protection Committee of the Department of Education- ARMMM, shared that violence against children impacts children of all ages, social economic status, or ethnic affiliation in their own homes, schools, communities, and now, online.

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THE KIDS at the Universal Children’s Day booth activity area

“In various studies conducted, 2 in every 5 children experience psychological violence at home, 3 in every 5 children experience physical violence at home, and 1 in 10 children experience sexual violence at home. Morover, 6 out of 10 children experience bullying, and 1 out of 4 children who experience online abuse is usualy exposed to sexually explicit content. This is a very sad statistic that mirrors the condition of our children,” he said.

According to Guro, violence against children can only brought to a halt through quality education, awareness, and prevention.

“Today is also historic as this is the first time that we celebrate Universal Children’s’ Day in ARMM,” Regional Human Rights Commission executive director designate Jehan Yap Mitmug said. Mitmug who delivered the message of ARMM regional governor Mujiv Sabbihi Hataman.

In his message, Mitmug reasserts Governor Hataman’s administartion’s concern for the children of ARMM and their continuing efforts to respond to their needs. “At ARMM, we continue to campaign and engage active participation of our children, their parents, communities, and LGUs in the entire process of project implementation, such as in our efforts in addressing hunger and malnutrition. Working towards a better future for our people entails taking care of our children – that has always been central in ARMM’s governance,” Mitmug added.

One of the highlights of the Universal Children’s’ Day was the messages delivered by the children from various provinces of ARMM where they genuinely expressed their aspirations, disillusionments, and hope for their future.

This was followed by Dr. Sharjan P. Kalim, head of the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center Blood Bank, storytelling session with the children about the “Story of One Blood”.

Meanwhile, Christopher Ian Everingham, National Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Philippine Volcanoes, led a balancing of the mind and body exercises for the children. The Human Rights coloring book entitled “Kulay at Karapatan” (Colors and Rights) was also launched during the event.

HRC-ARMM’s celebration of the Universal Children’s’ Day was supported by the Department of Education-ARMM, Plan International, Save the Children, ACF, The Moropreneur, Datu Odin Sinsuat Women’s Producers Cooperative, Sherrienity, Dashap and Zohayma Montañer.

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