The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has pledged anew to help the new administration conduct programs that uplift the rights of women and children in Mindanao.
A memorandum of agreement was recently signed by Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Luwalhati Antonino and UNICEF Country representative Vanessa Tobin, witnessed no less than President Benigno Aquino III himself.
The Country Program for Children (CPC) would engage UNICEF in key MinDA-led and Mindanao Working Group activities such as strategy meetings with international donors and development agencies on social and human development, conduct of social policy research, dissemination and advocacy, and program reviews which have implications on the rights of children and women in Mindanao.
Further, as the party representing the government in the Country Program Action Plan (CPAP), the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) shall also provide oversight, coordination and monitoring functions for the CPC.
In a speech, President Aquino said having these topographic maps with the goal of peace and measures in protecting women and children help everyone take part in the commitment to serve humanity.
“We hope that you will always stand in solidarity with us in making sure that the Mindanaoans get the peace and quality of life they rightfully deserve. The journey of transformation we have embarked on is long and undoubtedly difficult, and we need each one's help,” said President Aquino in his speech during the Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework presentation held in Malacañang.
The MOA between MinDA and UNICEF would be instrumental for the Philippines to achieve its targets in the Millennium Development Goals within the context of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
As of the moment, UNICEF is focused on the poorest population working hand in hand with the government and NGO partners on programs that aim to reduce disparities in the situation of children and women.
Its work for the children's welfare has been supported by its major development partner AusAid, which has provided around 30.6 million Australian dollars to help children and young people in Mindanao.