PHL unveils new national plan for children’s rights

The Council for the Welfare of Children, with support from UNICEF, announced the approval of the 4th National Plan of Action for Children (NPAC) for 2024-2028 on July 3.

The plan aims to enhance the protection and welfare of children in the Philippines, particularly the most vulnerable.

“Today marks a significant milestone for children in the Philippines with the approval of the 4th National Plan of Action for Children 2024-2028,” said Angelo Tapales, Executive Director of the Council for the Welfare of Children.

“With UNICEF’s support, we are committed to enhancing child protection, amplifying children’s voices, and fortifying resilience against climate change. This plan underscores our unwavering dedication to securing a brighter future for every Filipino child.”

Developed through collaboration with government agencies, civil society organizations, children, and development partners, the NPAC addresses critical gaps in existing national strategies. The comprehensive plan focuses on several key areas:

Child Protection: Establishing robust protection systems nationwide to create a safe and nurturing environment for children. This involves implementing effective laws and policies, good governance, preventive and response services, clear standards and checks, and sufficient training and funding.

Child Participation: Emphasizing the importance of children’s voices and perspectives in initiatives designed to protect and empower them. Children are active contributors to their well-being under this plan.

Climate Change: Integrating climate resilience strategies to protect children from immediate threats and prepare them for future challenges. This forward-thinking approach aims to promote long-term health, safety, and stability for children growing up in an increasingly unpredictable environment.

The plan also aligns with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s directive to adopt a holistic approach to combat online sexual abuse and exploitation of children and child sexual abuse and exploitation materials.

UNICEF Country Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov highlighted the importance of the plan’s implementation.

“We are committed to ensuring that the 4th National Plan of Action for Children is fully implemented. It is not just a plan on paper. We thank the Council for the Welfare of Children for recognizing the importance of strengthening systems. Now, the Philippines will no longer have a fragmented approach, but instead a united way forward to safeguard child rights.”

The NPAC places a greater emphasis on systems strengthening as a core change strategy. It requires coordinated efforts across multiple government agencies, including developing joint action plans with clear roles and responsibilities, aligning activities, and monitoring progress.

The Council and its regional counterparts will assist local government units to ensure the alignment of the National Plan of Action with their local development plans for children, investment plans, codes, and state of children’s reports.

UNICEF will provide guidance on rolling out and budgeting for child protection systems at both the national and sub-national levels. This support aims to strengthen prevention, response, and rehabilitation measures for all children at risk of or who have experienced abuse, violence, and exploitation.

The previous five-year plan, praised by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child for its rights-based and participatory approach, laid the groundwork for this new initiative.

The 17 Regional Plans of Action for Children that followed have guided local government units on child welfare, reflecting the effectiveness of a coordinated, evidence-based approach.

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