Vote for candidates who have soft heart for children, Bata Muna urged electorate

May 1, 2013 11:21 pm 

MANILA, May 1 — In an effort to educate the public on how to select candidates who will stand up and fight for the rights of children, ‘Bata Muna’ campaigners reiterated on Wednesday a checklist of a pro-children candidate for the upcoming 2013 national elections.

In the checklist, a pro-children candidate must have a concrete platform that advances the rights of children especially the most vulnerable children; already stood up for children and their rights and continues to do so; value children’s involvement and participation; one who thinks and acts independently for the good of the majority especially of children; not corrupt; has not violated any children and human rights; and must be progressive – one who thinks of the present and the future generations.

The “Bata Muna: Bomoto para sa Kapakanan ng mga Bata” campaign seeks to put children in the center of the coming elections.

Early this month, the Bata Muna Caravan was launched and gave children spokespeople from organized children’s groups the chance to personally talk to candidates and share their priority issues surrounding access to education, safety and welfare of children, access to sexual and reproductive health education and services, and children’s participation.

Unfortunately only 9 candidates and partylists granted the dialogue out of 36 Manila-based candidates who were sent invites. This includes Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III, Greco Belgica, Paolo Benigno ‘Bam’ Aquino 4th and Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero, and partylists Kabataan, Akap Bata, Bagong Henerasyon and Akbayan Citizens Action.

Bata Muna, which is composed of more than 30 children’s organizations and networks nationwide are thankful to the candidates who faced them.

“While all the issues of children are not totally supported by the candidates we visited, we are grateful that they listened to the children,” said Deborah Carmina Sarmiento, Save the Children Policy Advocacy Manager in a statement.

“It was a learning experience and a great opportunity for the children to learn and somehow be involved in an electoral exercise, even if they still cannot vote and choose their candidates,” she added.

According to Sarmiento, the Bata Muna campaign will continue reaching out to candidates who do not have the same views on their advocacies.

“At least, the candidates who faced us gave us the opportunity to understand where they are coming from. We see this as an opportunity to continue dialoguing with them,” she explained.

Bata Muna campaign activities are being held nationwide, most recently in Bicol and Sarangani where children voiced out their issues during caravans and media briefings. (PNA)



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