BONTOC, Mountain Province – Governor Leonard Mayaen appealed to all stakeholders to do away from traditional child rearing practices and recognize legally promulgated laws to ensure a brighter future for the young generation. “Accepted societal practices in child rearing, child education, and treatment of children in the past may no longer be tolerated. Indeed, many provisions of existing laws run counter to our experience when we were children. Many also run counter to the way we would want to raise our children. Nonetheless, there is logic and soundness in these laws. We have to change long-standing traditions and attitudes,” Mayaen declared in his State of the Children Address last week.
Despite the many children rights’ interventions and special programs implemented the past years, various tribes in the province are still attached to age-old practices in rearing and disciplining their children. However, these time-honoured norms, the governor said, must be made to go with internationally and locally accepted regulations even if it entails major adjustments on the part of parents, adults and the community.
“We have to change the way we look and treat our children. We have to look into the intent of existing laws and make them work for the long term benefit of our children,” the governor reasoned out.
The provincial chief executive also took the opportunity to report on the annual accomplishment of his administration relative to the rights of children. He said that with the cooperation of the community and national line agencies, the present leadership was able to deliver positive results as far as four-pronged survival, developmental, protection, and participation – rights of children in the province is concerned.
On survival rights, he reported that the continued delivery and improvement of primary health care, safe motherhood and nutrition programs brought about a decrease in teen-age pregnancies, still birth occurrences, and the number of underweight children.
Relative to the development rights of children, the right of children to education has been enhanced. At least 288 day care centers are tended by responsible workers to serve the needs of the pre-school tots. Fifty three individuals were also hired by the province to beef up the workforce of the Department of Education. These locally employed individuals work as teachers, administrative aides, or school watchmen. Five hundred thirty eight college students are provided financial support through the Mountain Province Student Financial Assistance Program.
The governor however said that much is to be done as far as the rights of children to protection is concerned. More than a hundred instances of child labor and thirty nine violations against children were noted this year. It is hoped that the numbers would go down next year given the school supplies provided to child laborers to attract them back to school and the series of trainings and speaking engagements spearheaded by the police in an effort to minimize lawlessness among the youth.
The provincial government also provided help to rehabilitate children in conflict with the law. As a long term solution, the Provincial Council for the Protection of Children unanimously moved to strengthen their barangay counterpart even as the provincial government has committed an amount to construct a rehabilitation center within the province.
As an equally important actor in the community, the provincial government guaranteed the participation of children in all cultural, sports, skills, and academic events inside and outside the province.
The governor ended his report with a challenge to all the people to be models of children. ”I want to challenge each of us regardless of our belief, status, or educational background. We should, as a province, strive to protect every child. We should start it in our homes and communities because our children will have no other better models but the very people they deal with everyday,” Mayaen stressed.