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Children's basic right to a name and a nationality upheld

Reference Number: 2000-044
Release Date: 06 May 2000

The Second National Workshop on the Unregistered Children Project (UCP) will be held on June 6-8, 2000 at the ATRIUM Suites, Manila. Local civil registrars (LCRs) from 34 selected municipalities and 2 cities in the country, particularly those areas identified as hard-to-reach and with low birth registration rates have been invited to participate in the workshop. Also expected to grace the gathering are the respective regional directors and provincial statistics officers of the National Statistics Office (NSO), the agency mandated to carry out and administer the provisions of the Civil Registry Law.

Prior to the workshop proper, a brief launching of the UCP in the Philippines will be held in the morning of June 6. UNICEF's Senior Programme Coordinator Philip Wan is scheduled to deliver a message after a brief overview of the Project. Participants to the workshop shall also be witnesses to the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between Plan International Philippines, represented by Country Director John Chaloner, and the NSO, represented by Administrator and Civil Registrar-General Tomas Africa. Presidential Adviser for Children's Affairs Maria Ana Madrigal shall be the keynote speaker.

The UCP is an offshoot of the Southeast-Asia Unregistered Children Project which aims to assess and address the birth registration problem in the region. The Philippines is among the three pilot countries along with Indonesia and Vietnam.

The NSO estimates that about 10 to 15 percent of Filipino children born yearly whose existence are considered "unofficial" because their births were not properly documented. The birth certificate of a child is a proof of recognition of the new-born's individual importance to the state and his/her status under the law. The right to be registered at birth is provided for in Article 7 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child of which the Philippines was among the 196 nation signatories.

Early last year, a "Manila Declaration" -- which calls for the universal registration of children and the operationalization of the Task Force on the Civil and Political Rights of the Children -- was among the final outcome of the First National Conference Workshop.




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