BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES
MEMORANDUM ORDER NO. 257
CONTINUING THE CHILD RIGHTS CENTER IN THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR
WHEREAS, the Memorandum of Undertaking - Pledge of Commitment to the Rights of Filipino Children (MOU) dated 18 April 1994 urgently tasked the Commission on Human Rights to operate a Child Rights Center (CRC) that will spearhead the investigation and initiate legal action for and in behalf of child victims of human rights violations and monitor government's compliance with specific provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Convention);
WHEREAS, the MOU also tasks the CRC to coordinate the national network of special prosecutors and para-legal volunteers, develop training programs on children's rights, and serve as a clearing house for government agencies and NGOs;
WHEREAS, the "Progress Towards the Mid-Decade Goals" of the Philippine Plan of Action for Children by Year 2000 reports the establishment of the Child Rights Center and underscores the need to update the legislative agenda for children, continue public education and advocacy for sustaining community-based initiatives on protecting children's rights, and develop a national system for monitoring implementation of the Convention.
WHEREAS, the same Progress Report underscores the need for capacity-building on integrating the Convention in advocacy, programming and monitoring across sectors in all levels;
WHEREAS, Executive Order No. 163 dated 5 May 1987 shrouds the Commission on Human Rights with powers and functions to include monitoring Government compliance with international treaty obligations on human rights, investigation of all forms of human rights violations, and establishment of continuing programmes of research education and information to enhance respect for primary of human rights;
NOW, THEREFORE, I FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the Republic of the Philippines do hereby order:
Section 1. Continuance of the Child Rights Center in the Commission on Human Rights. In order to facilitate and expedite the national implementation of the Philippine Plan of Action for Children by Year 2000, especially with regard to the commitments vis-a-vis the Philippine ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the organization and operations of the Child Rights Center under the Office of the Chairman in the Commission on Human Rights is hereby continued.
Section 2. Inter-agency Support. The CRC shall continue to enjoy the support of key agencies as follows:
a. The Department of Social Welfare and Development shall provide protection custody, treatment and rehabilitative services to the child victims and their families.
b. The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police shall promote child rights advocacy in their respective organizations and designate Child and Youth Relations Officers in all field offices.
c. The Department of Justice shall facilitate the prosecution of child rights cases by appointing special prosecutors for children's cases in every region and deputize lawyers attached to the Child Rights Center to handle specific cases. It shall also coordinate with the CRC on Witness Protection and the referral of cases involving youthful offenders.
d. The Department of Education, Culture and Sports shall include the teaching of children's rights in all levels of the educational system.
e. The Department of Interior and Local Government shall mobilize support from local governments for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Section 3. Technical and Secretariat Support Focused towards National Monitoring. The CRC continue to have an Executive Director IV and a Deputy Executive Director who shall provide technical and secretariat support to the CRC, respectively. The support shall be especially focused to setting up a national system for monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Section 4. Funding Support. The amount of TWO MILLION PESOS from the President's CY 1995 Contingent Fund shall be allocated for the CRC, particularly its Technical and Secretariat Support for the National System for Monitoring the Convention's implementation, for February to December 1995, after which funding support in succeeding year shall come from the fund of the Commission on Human Rights.
Section 5. This Memorandum Order shall take effect emmediately.
Done in the City of Manila, this 7th of February in the year of Our Lord, Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Five.
By the President:
TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR.
THE CHR'S CHILD RIGHTS CENTER
The rearing of the Filipino child cannot be done alone nor by just a few. The future of the nation lies in the hands of all members of society. Everyone must do their/his/her share.
For its part, the Commission on Human Rights has created a Child Rights Center tasked to perform the following functions consistent with the Commission's constitutional mandate:
1. Investigate human rights violation against children;
2. Initiate legal action for and in their behalf;
3. Monitor and report on government compliance of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other human rights instruments pertaining to children;
4. Coordinate with GOs and NGOs in the pormotion of child rights and protection of the welfare of children; and
5. Develop and implement awareness programs on children's rights.
In pursuit of its goals, the Center has linked up with government agencies and NGOs involved in child welfare such as:
1. The Department of Justice;
2. The Department of Social and Welfare and Development;
3. The Department of Interior and Local Government;
4. Children's Christian Fund;
5. Stop Trafficking of Pilipinos (STOP);
6. Adhikain para sa Karapatang Pantao of the Ateneo Human Rights Center;
7. Center for Child Advocacy; and
8. Phil. Action for Youth Offenders (PAYO).
There are complaints desks found at the CHR's Central Office and in all of its regional offices manned by trained investigators and lawyers who attend to all cases, with or without a complainant. The CRC's complaints desk are a part of a two-way referral monitoring network involving government agencies and non-government organizations working on child rights cases, to provide specialized services to the victims.
INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL LIAISING
The internal and external liaising activity enables the Center to develop, implement and participate in national and international fora on child rights promotion and protection. This activity also involves organizing consultative meetings, study groups and symposia, and initiates statements, position papers and opinions on current issues on the rights of children.
The Center's monitoring activities include working with the Council for the Welfare of Children, the Department of Justice and other concerned government agencies as well as NGOs to monitor the incidence of violations of the civil rights and freedoms of children and guarantees for their special protection.
RESEARCH AND SPECIAL STUDIES
The Center prepares studies on alternative strategies and approaches as well as pro-active papers on preventive measures and collaborative undertakings with the five pillars of the justice system. It endeavors to publish these studies with the view of informing the public on child rights and issues. It draws up performance indicators for monitoring the government's compliance with provisions in the Convention on the Rights of the Child on civil rights and freedoms and special protection measures, and prepares corresponding reports.