By virtue of Presidential Decree No. 603 (Child and Youth Welfare Code), as amended, the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) was created and mandated to coordinate the implementation and enforcement of all laws, to formulate, monitor and evaluate policies, programs and measures for children.

As the focal inter-agency body of the Philippine Government for children, these functions also cover our adherence to international standards and instruments where we are part of. Given such mandate, it is also inherent for CWC to be able to identify issues and/or trends on children that can be responded through the formulation of policies and/or legislation/s.

Among these instruments where the Philippines is a State Party are the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) , where it is required to undertake all appropriate legislative and other measures for the implementation of children’s rights. Significantly, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UN ComRC) in its latest concluding observations/recommendations to the Philippines’ 3rd and 4th Implementation Report welcomed the positive developments that were aimed at protecting and promoting the rights of children.

However, the same Committee remains concerned that efforts still need to be done to bring national legislation into full conformity and harmony with the CRC’s provisions and principles and urged the Philippines as a State Party to make every effort to address the previous recommendations that have been partly, insufficiently or not have implemented at all including those relating to the minimum age of sexual consent, discrimination against children born out of wedlock, prohibition of corporal punishment and other forms of violence in the home, schools, in public and private institutions and in the alternative care system.

In response to these observations/ recommendations of the UN ComRC and that of the Working Group on the Human Rights Council’s during the 2nd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review and in fulfillment of its functions, the CWC continually and periodically develops the Legislative Agenda for Children as basis for the enactment of laws that not only give priority to children but address the prevailing and emerging issues and concerns on them. It also serves as basis for advocacy to both the legislative and executive branches of government for developing corresponding legislative and policy measures that would respond to issues and concerns on them.

Based on the CWC Secretariat’s continuing review on policies (in consultation with CWC partner agencies) and based on the last Implementation Report on CRC, the following items that would need to be carried as among the priority legislative agenda for children in the 17th Congress are:

1. Anti-Corporal Punishment (Promoting Positive and Non-Violent Discipline of Children);**

2. Minimum Age of Sexual Consent (Increasing the Age of Statutory Rape);*

3. Removing the Distinction/Discrimination Against Illegitimate Children*

4. Strengthening of the Council for the Welfare of Children;

5. Special Protection of Children in Armed Conflict;

6. Protection of Children with Disabilities

* Part of the Concluding Observation of the UN ComRC under Legislation in the 1st Compliance Report

** Part of the Concluding Observation of the UN ComRC under Legislation in the 2ndt Compliance Report

The said legislative agenda has been approved by the CWC Council Board on August 16, 2016.