QC children's agenda will address mental health, LGBT discrimination
MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City has come a long way from its first Children's Code that was crafted in 2010, since the children of 2019 now have different issues in mind.
In her first State of the Children report on Friday, November 29, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte noted a "very different" set of priorities relating to children, now focusing on issues such as mental health and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) discrimination.
Belmonte recalled the first children's agenda in 2010, which included the following:
- a stronger commitment to protecting and ensuring children's rights
- comprehensive and accessible health services
- promotion of healthy environments and lifestyles for children
- access to primary education
- intensified intervention for children in conflict with the law and street children
- governance and child participation
"The issues were very different, so they were the traditional issues of health, education... but then now when we had a summit this month, [the] issues the kids raised were already very different," Belmonte told Rappler in an ambush interview.
The new children's agenda for 2019, on the other hand, will address the following:
- teenage pregnancy
- the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility
- sexual harassment, discrimination, and LGBT issues
- decline in reading
- depression and mental health
This agenda was crafted by 500 children from schools and communities as well as child-focused organizations during the Children's Summit on November 15.
Belmonte promised these issues will be taken into account in the governance agenda as well. "So imagine, itong mga issues na ito wala nung una tayong nagkaroon ng summit, pero ngayon ay andito na sa hanay ng ating mga kabataan. SIla mismo ang nagbanggit nito sa ating Children's Summit. We promise that these issues will be included in our governance agenda in the coming two and a half years," Belmonte said during her address.
(So imagine, these issues were not raised in the past summit, but were now voiced by our children. They were the ones who raised them during the Children's Summit. We promise that these issues will be included in our governance agenda in the coming two and a half years.)
Moving forward, Belmonte said policies and programs that will address these issues will be tackled by the Local Council for the Protection of Children.
The Quezon City Council recently approved a P27.8-billion budget for 2020, with nearly half allocated for social services. – Rappler.com