MANILA—The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has lauded the efforts of the Philippine government in addressing the plight of children in conflict zones.
Grace Agcaoili, chief for child protection in UNICEF, said the Philippine government recently signed the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 11188 or the Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Act.
"A very exciting and challenging work awaits the government at this crucial stage of implementation, and to focus on the priorities identified in the IRR," she said, adding the Philippine government is committed to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Mitch Cajayon-Uy, executive director of Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), said the law would established stronger mechanisms to look after children in armed conflict.
Under the law, the inter-agency committee is tasked to uphold humanitarian principles and the rights of children.
Salient features of the law include upholding the rights of children to be treated as victims and expansion of the definition of "zones of peace."
UNICEF said children in armed conflict are among the most vulnerable globally. In 2017, some 10,000 children were either killed or maimed in conflict and 8,000 were recruited or used as combatants.
The agency identified the Philippines as a hotspot where children are affected by armed conflict. The 2017 Marawi siege had displaced some 160,000 people, in which half of them were children.