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Social welfare execs warn against use of children in rallies

Correspondent .

SOCIAL welfare officials in Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro yesterday cautioned parents of activists who make their children participate in rallies and street demonstrations, warning that they could be charged with child exploitation.

Children too young to understand what’s happening are made to take part in a rally organized yesterday morning to protest the arrest of activists and church workers, some of whom are from Cagayan de Oro, in General Santos City on Wednesday night. (photo by joey nacalaban)

The warning came after activists staged an “indignation rally” at the Press Freedom Monument on Don Apolinar Velez Street here that showed many children too young to understand what was happening being made to shout and flash slogans.

“Children are not supposed to join rallies as it could be considered exploitation,” according to  Emelia Andea of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development  office.

City administrator and concurrent city social welfare chief Teodoro Sabuga-a said the there are limitations and adults should always consider that there are activities and undertakings that are inimical to the interest of children.

Sabuga-a said children should only be allowed to participate in wholesome activities.

Rallies organized by activists, he said, are “adversarial in nature.”

“That is already inimical to the interest of the child,” said Sabuga-a, adding that it could be seen as a violation of the Child and Youth Welfare Code.

Sabuga-a said it is the parents’ responsibility not to allow children to participate in rallies or similar activities where adults with causes  express their sentiments.


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