Save the Children Philippines has partnered with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to ensure the fulfillment of children’s rights during situations of armed conflict, and other emergencies including calamities and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The partnership will be implemented through the European Union’s Php 22 Million grant titled: Integrated Emergency Preparedness and Child Protection Framework to Protect Children and their Communities from Violence during Emergencies in ASEAN.
The program aims to support children’s access to education, health and nutrition, child protection, child rights governance, food security and livelihoods, and protection of children during disasters and humanitarian response. It will be implemented in strife-torn municipalities of Datu Salibo, Mamasapano, and Radjah Buayan in the province of Maguindanao.
Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines said the partnership is a step forward in addressing the lifelong physical and psychological trauma and disabilities of children facing the harsh impact of armed conflict, compounded by the natural disasters and COVID-19.
“Armed conflict cripples communities, and disrupts health services and schools that are critical to children’s learning and development,” said Muyot, adding, “ we must ensure local governments respect international laws and norms and do more to protect children from the horrors of gun battles.”
According to Save the Children’s “Stop the War,” report, one in six children across the world live in armed conflict areas, including those in Mindanao.
Fanny Divino, Head of Save the Children Philippines in Cotabato City signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG) in BARMM and the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society to implement the project that will monitor and address grave violations of children’s rights in armed conflict.
“Children in armed conflict situations are prone to experience sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), child trafficking, and child marriage for girls and with boys disproportionately vulnerable to recruitment as child soldiers, maiming, killing, and abduction, and child labor,” said Divino.
The implementation of the program will be in coordination with members of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, Inc. (CBCS), youth groups, school heads, armed state and non-state actors, and religious organizations.
Save the Children Philippines is providing technical support in enhancing the Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 162 or the Act Granting the Magna Carta of Children in the ARMM of 2003 in fulfilling children’s rights.