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Council for the Welfare of Children

The Council for the Welfare of Children is the focal inter-agency body of the Philippine Government for children. It is mandated to coordinate the implementation and enforcement of all laws; formulate, monitor and evaluate policies, programs and measures for children. Providing dynamic leadership in ensuring a child-friendly and child-sensitive society where every child fully enjoys his/her rights.

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The Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) condemns the recent reported video of children in Pili, Camarines Sur who were gathered for a smoking contest is another alarming report on violation of child rights. CWC is the government’s inter-agency body mandated to formulate policies and plans for children’s well-being and monitor the implementation and enforcement of laws to protect and promote children’s rights by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 603 or the Child and Youth Welfare Code.

Article 1 of P.D. 603 specifies that the child is one of the most important assets of the nation. Every effort should be exerted to promote his welfare and enhance his opportunities for a useful and happy life. The child is not a mere creature of the State. Hence, his individual traits and aptitudes should be cultivated to the utmost insofar as they do not conflict with the general welfare.

Section 2 of R.A. 7610 stipulates that it shall be the policy of the State to protect and rehabilitate children gravely threatened or endangered by circumstances which affect or will affect their survival and normal development ad over which they have no control.

The incident was reported on February 15, 2016 by ABS-CBN Bayan Mo Ipatrol MO staff, which indicated that this is the case of five (5) children who were participants in the smoking contest held during the fiesta celebration dated February 13, 2016 in the honor of our Lady of Lourdes at Sitio Lourdes Barangay Sagrada, Pili, Camarines Sur. According to the Sitio Lourdes Youth Organization President, the “smoking contest” was not conducted by the youth officials but by a private individual, a resident of Barangay La Purisima, this municipality. Punong Barangay of Sagrada, Pili, Camarines Sur cited that he was not aware that the “smoking contest” was realized and he accompanied the MSWDO to Sitio Lourdes to confirm if the said game was conducted during the fiesta. The MSWDO team together with the Barangay Officials and the youth officials went to the Punong Barangay of Barangay L a Purisima to complain the matter.

To date, per submitted report of RSCWC Chairperson and DSWD Regional Director Arnel Garcia, five minor children participants and referred them to Rural Health Unit for check-up; counselling to parent of five children; provided medical/financial assistance to five children; counselling given to barangay officials/youth officials; assisted the parent/children to PNP Women and Children’s desk; conducted meeting with Sitio Lourdes resident/parent including the minors/children who were present during the contest; facilitated seminar/lecture on responsible parenthood conducted last February 20, 2016 attended by the parents at Sitio Lourdes; regular coordination and updating with the barangay officials regarding the case and assisted the mother of the winner child of the “smoking contest” to file a case (PNP Pili).

We call upon the Barangay and Municipal Council for the Protection of Children to take action as a community body to ensure the protection of the rights and welfare of children and shall coordinate with the CWC (Article 86, P.D. 603).

Parents should advise their children on the ill-effects of smoking even for fun as the saying goes “cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health”.

According to a 2009 survey conducted under the auspices of the Philippines' Department of Health, Philippine Statistics Authority, the World Health Organization, and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28.3 percent of the population are "current tobacco smokers". This figure represents 17.3 million of 61.3 million adult Filipinos.

The Philippines was the 15th largest consumer of tobacco in the world in 2002 and currently has one of the highest smoking rates in Asia, as well as some of the lowest cigarette prices. It is home to several major cigarette and cigar manufacturers, including one owned by Philip Morris International.[4] The Philippines ranks second in number of smokers, and has the highest number of female smokers in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The World Health Organization estimates that 10 Filipinos die every hour due to cancer, stroke, lung and heart diseases brought on by cigarette smoking.

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