Press Release
August 4, 2014

Nancy welcomes MOA to protect children in conflict
But cautions more work to be done

Senator Nancy Binay welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between government agencies which will carry out Executive Order 138 on protecting children involved in armed conflict.

Binay, however, said that while the signing is a "big step", there is still more work to do.

"This is a big step, but more concrete steps must be done to protect children in armed conflict," the lady senator said.

The MOA seeks the commitment of government agencies and other stakeholders in implementing Executive Order 138, specifically the monitoring, reporting and organization of a response system to prevent the abuse of children's rights in armed conflict situations.

"What are the next steps of government? How do we protect children from being recruited as child warriors? Do we have rehabilitation plans in place? These are the questions I think we need to address going forward," Binay said.

The President has signed Executive Order 138, which amends "Executive Order 56 Adopting the Comprehensive Program Framework for Children in Armed Conflict, Strengthening the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) and for Other Purposes" in August last year.

The Comprehensive Program Framework for Children in Armed Conflict directs government agencies and local government units to address the alarming involvement of children in armed conflict as combatants, couriers, guides, spies, medics, cooks or any similar non-combatant capacity.

"We need to raise awareness that extra measures are needed to protect children following incidents like the Zamboanga conflict and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters' (BIFF)," Binay said.

"These children are being used as laborers and combatants. We adults are robbing them of their childhood and exposing them to the horrors of war," she added.

Binay has filed measures aiming to further strengthen children's rights as well as the creation of Resource Development and Crisis Assistance Centers for Women and Children nationwide.

Senate Resolution 504 urges the appropriate Senate committees to study the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in Armed Conflict, which came into force in 2002.

The resolution aimed to strengthen the implementation of the UN protocol, which the Philippines ratified on 2003, as well as to improve legislation on children's rights.

Senate Bill 83, meanwhile, aims to create Resource Development and Crisis Assistance Centers for Women and Children nationwide, which will cater to victims of armed conflict, among others.

At least four children were detained in the suspicion of being involved in the Zamboanga conflict last year, while at least three teenagers were among those killed in the week-long fighting between government and BIFF forces. The child warriors were seen wearing fatigue uniforms with BIFF markings and carrying firearms.

"I also call the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the BIFF to stop recruiting and using children in armed conflicts," Binay said. "This is the worse form of child labor," she added.

News Latest News Feed