Through this Declaration, the revolutionary forces underscore their determination to advance the rights and welfare of the Filipino child, in line with the cause of advancing the national democratic revolution and people's war.
Indeed, one can say that the Philippine revolution is being carried out, ultimately, to build a liberated nation and society in the interest of Filipino children.
This Declaration is cause for celebration. It sets forth the policies of the People's Democratic Government and outlines a program of action to benefit the Filipino child. Even now, children and their parents are reaping the benefits of the future society being built and cultivated in the guerrilla zones and areas being administered by the revolutionary people's democratic government as represented by the NDFP.
Through this Declaration, the NDFP enjoins all revolutionary forces to further pursue the rights, protection and welfare of children. With this Declaration as guide, the CPP directs all its forces to outline more specific policies, programs of action and plans to address the needs and demands of children within their scope.
The NDFP Declaration on Children stands in stark contrast to the anti-child policies of the reactionary regime. Under the class rule of the big landlords and big bourgeois compradors, the great majority of Filipino children suffer grave hardships and oppression. Their conditions worsen as the chronic crisis of the ruling semicolonial and semifeudal system continues unabated.
The reactionary Philippine government violates the children's rights in every respect. There is an acute shortage of facilities for children's health care and education. Low income levels and increasing costs of living have resulted in serious and widespread health and nutritional problems among children. Grave social conditions have also forced large numbers of children to become laborers and work under dangerous conditions for a pittance. Children are forced into the streets by the lack of sports and cultural facilities. As the socio-economic crisis worsens, more and more children are drawn to petty thievery and other crimes, usually under the direction of criminal syndicates with police protection.
The Aquino regime's Oplan Bayanihan military campaign of suppression and the military occupation of communities deceptively called "peace and development operations" have resulted in widespread violations of children's rights. The CPP's fortnightly publication Ang Bayan regularly reports cases of children killed, maimed, subjected to enticement or harassment by fascist soldiers in the course of operations directed against civilians. There are growing cases of children being conscripted as armed CAFGU personnel. Homes and schools are being used as barracks, putting children and their parents in harm's way and subjecting them to traumatic situations.
It is thus timely for the NDFP to issue its Declaration on Children in order to boost efforts by mass organizations, human rights groups, children's rights advocates, agencies and non-governmental organizations to draw attention to the plight of the Filipino child amidst the Aquino regime's war of suppression. They can use the NDFP's Declaration on Children as an additional reference and document to fight for the rights of the child.
Let this document serve as a beacon to illuminate the difficult path in the defense and advancement of the cause of the Filipino children and Filipino people.