A Filipino boy performs breakdance in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)
DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 15, 2011) – Two Filipino children’s rights institutions - the Children’s Rehabilitation Center and KABIBA ALLIANCE – marked this year’s commemoration of Earth Day with a workshop here on Children’s Environmental Rights, stressing the urgent necessity to take action against environmental destruction as one of the major threats to children’s health and safety.
The workshop, held at the Sunken Garden of the Peoples’ Park, was attended by dozens of children. The young participants created posters showing the kind of environment they want to grow up in. On a big cloth, their hand imprints sealed their calls for clean air, water, seas and rivers, organizers said.
Bearing the theme “Pagduso sa Katungod sa mga Bata Alang sa Himsog ug Makiangayon nga Kinaiyahan,” the workshop incorporated creative forms of educational inputs on the rights of the child, and their ecological rights. A story on the impact of climate change and coal-fired power plants was also presented.
“The direct correlation between environmental hazards and children’s health is clear. It is the children who suffer most from pollutions caused mainly by heavy industries, lack of access to water, and other environmental factors,” said Girley Dela Cerna, Executive Director of CRC in Southern Mindanao.
Citing the World Health Organization, CRC said it is alarming that “of the global total burden of disease, a substantial proportion (up to one third) is caused by environmental risk factors, and 40% of this falls on children under five (who constitute 10% of the world's population). Over five million children per year ages 0-14 years old die from illnesses and other conditions caused by the environments in which they live, learn and play.”
Dela Cerna said: “A known fact is that as much as 60 percent of acute respiratory infections worldwide are related to environmental conditions and cause the death of more than 1.6 M annually. This worsens year on year as extractive and highly polluting industries are relentlessly built such as the ten additional coal-fired power plants planned to be built in the country, one of which will be put up here in Davao City.”