Children walk 3KM to remind adults to vote wisely

Children from a rural town in Batangas remind voters to choose the right political candidate who has the children's wellbeing in his/her agenda.


Though they cannot vote yet, children carrying the slogan "Vote for Children" walked three kilometers around town in Batangas to remind voters to wisely choose political candidates on May 9.


Children presented issues on illegal drugs, lack of classroom materials, child labor, early marriage, malnutrition and inefficient disaster preparation through colorful banners that they themselves drew.


A general election in the Philippines is set on May 9 for executive and legislative branches in the national, provincial and local levels.


“We need to improve public attitudes towards children’s issues --- and make sure there is sustained advocacy to make these at the top of the national agenda. We need to unite and work together towards the full achievement of children’s rights,” Kathrine Yee, advocacy manager for World Vision, says.


In the Philippines, the leading child abuses are neglect (34%), sexual abuse (24%), abandonment (17%,), child trafficking (10%), and physical abuse (7%), the Council for the Welfare of Children reports. 


Officers and members of Barangay Children's Association (BCA) also expressed their sentiments and questions to political candidates running for councilor and government representatives from agriculture, social welfare, police, and a village chief. 


The BCA is a group of children helped formed by World Vision in the communities aimed at honing the leadership skills of children. 


Child leader Zyra says, "Kailangan natin ng mabuting mamumuno sa ating barangay na magpapatupad ng programa para sa aming mga kabataan lalo na sa usaping pangkalusugan. Sabi nga po 'malnutrition needs a solution for a better generation' (We need a good community leader who will implement the different programs especially on issues pertaining to health. It is said that 'malnutrition needs a solution for a better generation')."



Though the children seek solutions from voters and government officials, the BCA also advice other children to become part of the solution. On early marriage, for instance,  a group of children say that many of the youth enter early marriages thinking that it is a way out of poverty and from their parents' strict guidance. 


"Marami po kasing mga kabataan ngayon na mapagalitan lang ng mga magulang nila ay nagagalit na, naglalayas o kaya'y nag-aasawa nang maaga. (There are many youth today who get angry, run away or marry early when they are scolded by their parents.)," Brix, a child leader, says.


Aside from presenting issues affecting children, the BCA also thanked government officials and community members for finding a solution to the problems they brought up last year. They particularly thanked pig owners in their communities for doing proper pig waste management that reduced the foul smell coming from pig pens. 


"I am happy that owners provided a solution to the problem we raised last year," Jay, another child leader, says, adding that this is an example on how children can become part of a solution to problems that affect their communities. 


#VoteForChildren is World Vision’s advocacy campaign aiming to influence the voting public to choose leaders who will commit to making children’s interests a priority. It also urges candidates to include children’s rights and issues in their platforms and meet these goals when they are elected. 







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