Save the Children
Philippines has raised concern on the situation of 1.8 Million
children living in conflict affected areas in Mindanao
May 22, 2019
MAKATI CITY – Save
the Children Philippines has raised concern on the situation of 1.8
Million children living in conflict affected areas in Mindanao who
face death, injury, diseases and psychosocial trauma due to
lingering gun battles.
Lawyer Albert Muyot, Chief
Executive Officer (CEO) of Save the Children Philippines said
children are the most vulnerable in armed conflict as they have
fragile bodies and dependent on parents and adults for care and
He said reports gathered
by Save the Children Philippines showed that 96.4 percent or 3.6
Million of the population of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for
Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are vulnerable to conflict. Of this number,
48.8 per cent or 1.8 Million of them are children. BARMM provinces
include Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.
Save the Children, now
celebrating 100 years has launched its global campaign “ Stop the
War on Children” to seek protection of some 420 Million children
around the world who are living in conflict zones , a rise of 30
million more since 2016.
“Across the world,
children wake up to the sound of explosion of bombs, gunshots,
suffer hunger and displacement, are orphaned and are separated from
friends and classmates,” said Muyot.
He said armed conflict
either end or disrupt childhood as children die from gunshots,
injury and diseases, forced to leave homes and miss out on school.
“The impact of war on
children linger beyond the end of conflict,” said Muyot. He said the
breakdown of essential services such as healthcare, water and
sanitation aggravate the situation.
Save the Children global
data showed that from 2013 to 2017, the number of deaths of children
five years old and below due to armed conflict has reached 870,000,
five times higher than the 175,000 adult fighters who died during
the same period.
Muyot said children in
Mindanao suffer grave violations of their rights. At least 16
children were killed in a crossfire in Mindanao last year and
another 17 children injured due to similar cause.
He said since 2017, there
were 157 recorded cases of grave child rights violations that
include 24 attacks in schools and 36 attacks in health care
facilities, recruitment of child soldiers and trafficking for sexual
The condition in
evacuation centers also put children at risk of suffering physical
and sexual exploitation.
In the last two years,
Save the Children Philippines has provided assistance to more than
22,000 children affected by the Marawi siege. These include
emergency relief and hygiene kits, learning and teaching materials
and psychosocial support services.
Save the Children
Philippines continues to provide help to children in Mindanao to
have access to education by setting up Temporary Learning Spaces and
Child Friendly Spaces. It also trains barangay health workers and
set up birthing facilities to improve child and maternal health
“Schools and health
centers should be treated as zones of peace and protection,” said
He said there is need to
improve the living conditions of communities to avoid child
recruitment for economic and sexual exploitation.
Muyot hopes that the
situation of children in Mindanao will improve with the passage of
Children in Situations of Armed Conflict (CSAC) or Republic Act
The law guarantees
humanitarian support and protection of children in situations of
“Every child deserves a
future, we must be relentless in pursuing peace to improve their
situation, particularly those trapped in situations of armed
conflict,” said Muyot.