Child Rights Network


March 18, 2024, Sofitel Manila

Legislators and advocates celebrate filing of Magna Carta of Children Bill

Champion legislators and advocates from the alliance Child Rights Network celebrate today the signing and filing of the Magna Carta of Children Bill, the single most comprehensive and cohesive legal framework for children’s development and protection and a huge legislative milestone in fulfilling the country’s commitment as a State Party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“In recent years, the Philippines has enacted and protected key child rights legislation and has witnessed the heightened advocacy for children’s rights, which transformed the lives of children in the Philippines and their families,” said Mr. Rom Dongeto, CRN Convenor and Executive Director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development, at the ceremonial signing of the bill at Sofitel Manila.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, Principal Author of the Magna Carta of Children Bill in the Senate and Chairperson of the Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, shared that the bill stands as the pinnacle of efforts to advocate for children’s rights in Philippine legislation.

“Ang pagsasabatas ng Magna Carta of Children ay katuparan ng ating pangarap para sa mga batang Pilipino: isang lipunan kung saan natatamasa nila ang kanilang mga karapatan at kaya nilang maabot ang kanilang mga pangarap. Walang balakid ng pang-aabuso, diskriminasyon, o pang-aapi. Lahat ng bata, kasali at napakikinggan,” Senator Hontiveros said.


The Philippines recently passed landmark child rights laws, such as Raising the Age to Determine Statutory Act, the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children Act, the Domestic Administrative Adoption Act, the Special Protection for Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Act, Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Magnanay Act, the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, and the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, among others.

House Speaker Martin Romualdez, one of the Principal Authors of the Bill, said that the Magna Carta of Children is a testament to the House leadership’s commitment to children’s welfare and development.

“The quality of our nation’s future depends on the quality of life that our children have. The Magna Carta of Children, once enacted into law, will raise the standard of living of the most vulnerable in our society. I call on my fellow legislators to fully support the passage of this bill. Let us ensure that this landmark legislation, which will create generations of empowered children, is part of the legacy of the 19th Congress,” Speaker Romualdez said.

Tingog Party List Representative Yedda Romualdez, one of the Principal Authors of the Magna Carta of Children Bill in the House of Representatives, shared that the filing of the bill is the continuation of the collaboration between advocates and legislators who have worked on the bill during her tenure as the former Chair of the House Committee on the Welfare of Children.

“Today, we celebrate the signing of the Magna Carta of Children Bill. We have an unfinished business to protect the rights of Filipino children and we are making a significant step in ensuring their well-being and development ” shared Rep. Romualdez.

“Sa lahat ng ginagawa ng ating gobyerno, lagi dapat isaalang-alang ang kapakanan ng mga bata. The Magna Carta of Children, if enacted into law, will give Filipino children a higher chance to be whoever they aspire to be, creating more opportunities for them to develop into productive members of our society. Ensuring that the rights of children are protected is a noble and productive use of our people’s resources,” Rep. Romualdez added.

The Magna Carta of Children Bill recognizes that a child has human rights just like an adult. They have the right to survival, development, protection, and participation. The Bill also seeks to strengthen all existing child-serving institutions of the government.

The Magna Carta is subdivided to focus on the four core pillars of children’s rights: the Right to Life and Survival, the Right to Development, the Right to Be Protected, and the Right to Participate. It outlines the duties and responsibilities of various sectors on the human rights of children, from the State to parents to media and civil society organizations.

Some of the highlights of the Magna Carta of Children Bill include:

• Establishment of the Philippine Commission on Children (PCCh), replacing the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC)

• Designation of an Ombudsman for Children under the Commission on Human Rights

• Establishment of children’s associations at the local and national levels

• Establishment of the Philippine National Children’s Conference, a biennial event to be facilitated by PCCh that serves as a platform to promote children’s rights

• Active engagement of children in governance, including involvement in local councils, youth parliaments, and other decision-making platforms

• Integrating children’s perspectives in developing support services and rehabilitation programs

• Children’s active role in planning public spaces, playgrounds, and cultural centers

• Safe digital citizenship of children

• Human rights education

• Establishment of a system of scholarship grants, student loan programs, subsidies, and other incentives available to deserving students in both public and private schools

• No school restrictions on children’s freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly

• Development of the DSWD National Parenting Framework, which emphasizes Positive Parenting principles

• Protection of children affected by displacement

• Protection of children in street situations, including ensuring their access to public areas, spaces, and facilities

• Protection of children seeking refugee status

• Establishment of an integrated child-friendly, healthcare approach

Congresswoman Angelica Natasha Co of BHW Philippines, as Chairperson of the House Committee on the Welfare of Children and one of the bill’s Principal Authors, shared her hope for the enactment of the Magna Carta of Children.

“Children have inalienable rights that must be protected in all instances and every setting. Just like adults, they have vulnerabilities and strengths, as well as special needs. Filing this bill is an important step toward creating a community where every Filipino child can thrive,” Rep. Co said.

House Senior Deputy Majority Leader Sandro Marcos, meanwhile, said he shares the same commitment as his colleagues in protecting children’s rights in the Philippines.

“I join my colleagues in declaring my full support for the passage of a law that will protect the rights of Filipino children. If we empower our children, we empower our nation. We join our partners in the civil society today to celebrate the filing of the bill that upholds and protects the rights of our nation’s future, the Filipino children. We continue to be committed to working with advocates to create a better world for our children,” Rep. Marcos said.

TINGOG Party List Rep. Jude Avorque Acidre, also one of the Principal Authors of the bill, encouraged his fellow legislators to support the enactment of the Magna Carta of Children Bill.

“Tayong lahat ay makikinabang sa isang bansang tumatalima sa karapatan ng mga bata. The future enactment of the Magna Carta of Children Bill is something that we can all collectively take pride in as the Congress that has passed the ultimate bill for the benefit of Filipino children, especially those from poor and marginalized communities,” he concluded. ###

Child Rights Network is the largest alliance of organizations and agencies pushing for children’s rights legislation in the Philippines.


Source: Child Rights Network (CRN) Philippines