By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
To reaffirm the commitment of stakeholders to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of the child, the Department of Education (DepEd) will conduct the first national summit on the rights of the child in education this month.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in DepEd Memorandum No. 143 series of 2019, announced the conduct of the said summit scheduled on November 14 to 15 in Metro Manila.
With theme, “Bata, Bata: Karapatan Mo, Tungkulin Ko,” Briones noted that the said summit is scheduled in November as part of the annual celebration of the National Children’s Month as mandated by Republic Act No. 10661 or the National Children’s Month Act, to commemorate the adoption for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by the United Nations General Assembly on November 20, 1989 and “instill its significance in the Filipino consciousness.”
Briones stressed that this year “marks a milestone” as the world celebrates the 30th anniversary of the CRC which is considered the “most widely ratified international human rights treaty.”
“The celebration will also be marked with a milestone in DepEd as the summit is the first national gathering of the DepEd to celebrate the rights of the child, with focus on the basic education context,” Briones cited in the memo.
DepEd also noted that Mikiko Otani, a member and independent expert of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child – which is the body created by the CRC to facilitate fulfillment of child rights and with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland – will attend to present on the CRC. Briones said that the DepEd- National Capital Region (NCR) is the host region of the summit.
Aside from reaffirming the commitment of the stakeholders to “respect, protect and fulfill” the rights of the child – as enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, other domestic laws and rules, and international law (primarily the CRC), Briones noted that the summit aims to “unpack the various rights of the child in basic education and provide a venue to deepen appreciation of these rights by both the rights-holders and duty-bearers in a rights-based framework of basic education.”
More importantly, DepEd noted that the summit aims to “celebrate the successes in upholding the rights of the child and identify the challenges in their realization to help address them with a whole-of-society approach, including the participation of children themselves as rights-holders.”
Briones said that the expected participants in the summit are officials and personnel of public and private basic education schools, and the central, regional and schools division offices.
“There will also be representatives from other government agencies, as well as civil society, international and private organizations,” Briones explained. “Most importantly, the summit will be attended by children themselves and their parents, in due recognition of the rights of the child to participate in matters that concern them,” she ended.