House okays bill protecting children in armed conflict

House okays bill protecting children in armed conflict

The House of Representatives has passed on third and final reading a bill declaring as a criminal act the use of children by government security forces or other armed group in an armed conflict.

Rep. Marcelino Teodoro (1st District, Marikina), author of House Bill
4480, said the recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts
shall be prohibited under the proposed act.

“The bill will prosecute those responsible especially for grave child
rights violations in armed conflict. Children shall be provided
relief, protection and rehabilitation in such situations,” Teodoro

Teodoro said the prohibited acts include killing, torture, intentional
or causal maiming, rape, abduction, cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment or punishment of children and taking them as human shields.

Also included in the prohibited acts are the recruitment,
conscription or enlistment of children into government armed forces
and other armed groups.

The bill bans military operations near the premises of schools,
hospitals, places of worship and other public places where children
can usually be found.

The bill also prohibits hamleting, food blockade, intentional delayed
reporting of a child in custody, false reporting of a child in custody
and false branding of children.

Under the bill, parents, ascendants, guardians, step parents or
collateral relatives within the third degree of consanguinity or
affinity can be charged in court if they are found guilty of
encouraging, compelling, coercing, or influencing their child or
children to be part of any armed group.

Anyone found guilty of committing the offenses shall be punished with
a penalty of imprisonment ranging from six years to life imprisonment
and a fine of P500,000 to P2 million.

Teodoro said the bill, to be known as the Special Protection of
Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Act of 2011, is guaranteed
under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, its Optional Protocol
on the involvement of Children in Armed Conflict and all other human
rights treaties.

“Protecting children from the ravages of war is a moral imperative, a
legal responsibility and a question of international peace and
security,” Teodoro said.

Teodoro said protection of children from armed conflict is an
important aspect of any comprehensive strategy to resolve conflict and
should be a priority not only at the international community but also
by every State, especially when it is experiencing armed conflict.

Deputy Speaker Maria Isabelle Climaco (1st District, Zamboanga City),
also an author, said the bill will ensure that children are considered
as Zones of Peace entitled to special protection during an armed

Climaco said the Philippines has a long history of armed conflicts
and Filipino children are the most affected sector with the
consequences of these conflicts impacting severely on their lives.

“Their rights are flagrantly violated and disregarded.  Many of them
continue to become victims of killing, maiming, rape and other forms
of sexual violence and abduction,” Climaco said.

Other co-authors of the measure are Reps. Josephine Veronique
Lacson-Noel (Lone District, Malabon City), Lani Mercado-Revilla (2nd
District, Cavite), Eufranio Eriguel (2nd District, La Union), Aurora
Enerio-Cerilles (2nd District, Zamboanga del Sur), Cinchona
Cruz-Gonzales (Party-list, CIBAC) and Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd District,


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