MANILA — The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Friday urged the Philippine government to address the various threats faced by children as the country continued to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic and aftermath of devastating typhoons.
In a statement, UNICEF highlighted the challenges experienced by Filipino children during the pandemic and following the recent typhoons that caused destruction in the country.
"The COVID-19 pandemic, combined with a threatening typhoon season, have upended thousands of children's live and has left many more children uncertain about their future," the organization said in a statement issued in commemoration of World Children's Day.
Among the "threats" children currently face are consequences of COVID-19, interruption in essential services, and increasing poverty and inequality, UNICEF said.
A UNICEF report, titled "Averting A Lost COVID Generation," also found that the number of children globally who have no access to education, health, housing, nutrition, sanitation or water increased by 15 percent or an additional 150 million children.
The mental health of children and adolescents also suffered during the pandemic, according to the report.
To address the issues raised in the report, UNICEF issued a "six-point action plan" as a recommendation to governments:
- Ensure all children learn, including by closing the digital divide.
- Guarantee access to health and nutrition services and make vaccines affordable and available to every child.
- Support and protect the mental health of children and young people and bring an end to abuse, gender-based violence and neglect in childhood.
- Increase access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene and address environmental degradation and climate change.
- Reverse the rise in child poverty and ensure an inclusive recovery for all
- Redouble efforts to protect and support children and their families living through conflict, disaster and displacement.
“We must listen to children and young people now, working with them to secure a better future,” said UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov.
“In the years to come, children and young people will be living with the impact of this pandemic and with the consequence of how we choose to respond. They must have a say in the decisions that will affect their future,” Dendevnorov added.
In the past weeks, a series of strong storms — notably Quinta and Ulysses — ravaged the country, inundating large parts of Luzon and forcing thousands to flee their homes.