The World Vision Development Foundation (WVDF) have gathered children from various parts of the country in the “Island-Wide Children’s Congress” with the theme “Iisang adhikain ating abutin, Kakayahan at talinoy’ gamitin, Kultura’t karapatan ay pagyamanin, Pagbabago’y simulan natin!” It was a 3-day activity held at Hotel Koresco, Cagayan de Oro City on May 25-27.

“Itong children’s congress ay annual na ginagawa ng mga bata.Sila ay nagtitipon at gumagawa ng kanilang plano. Kasama sa objective nila ay ma reinforce ang kanilang fellowship,” (This children’s congress is done yearly by the kids. They gather together to create plans. One of their objectives is to reinforce fellowship), said Libay Rigor, WVDF Transformational Development Manager.

The event is inclined towards promoting children and youth participation in nation building.

Further, the purpose of the congress is to unite different cultures from Mindanao and to inculcate the value of respecting each other’s differences. More importantly, the activity seeks to elect a new set of officers for their organization as discussed by Chara Mae Pacang, Chairperson of Mindanao Children’s Federation.

Christine Jane Luib, Vice Chairperson of WV National Children?s Federation added, “4th congress na ni sa Mindanao. Naa sad sa Luzon og Visayas. Sa Mindanao ang venue kay diri sa Cagayan de Oro City,” (This is the 4th congress held in Mindanao. The activity is also being carried out in Luzon and Visayas as well. The venue for Mindanao is here at Cagayan de Oro City).

Regarding the processes being undertaken in the creation of the National Children?s Federation, she explained, “Mag-start siya sa barangay nga gitawag og BCA, Barangay Children’s Association. Then, mag-elect sila sa ilang barangay og officers para sa PCA o Province Children’s Association before pa mag regional association o kaning Mindanao Children’s Association. Mag-elect napud dayon sila og mga officers, parehas sa amu gibuhat kagahapon. Ang ma-elect dayon mao ang ipadala sa national level for another election para sa National Children’s Federation,” (It starts at the barangay with the BCA, Barangay Children’s Association. After that, the BCA would elect officers for the PCA or Province Children’s Association before proceeding to the regional association; example of which is the Mindanao Children’s Association. Subsequently, those who would be elected will be sent for the national level for another election in order to create a new set of officers for the National Children’s Federation), she said.

It was accentuated further that relevant matters concerning the congress include addressing climate change to encourage children to do their responsibility in protecting the environment. There was also a “Kids Can Save” activity wherein the kids are persuaded to save money for the future. “May discussion rin kami tungkol sa mga children’s rights,” (We also have a discussion on children?s rights), said Pacang.

The first national congress organized by the World Vision was in 1993 in cooperation with the Christian Children’s Fund (CCF) which is now known as Child Fund (CF).

World Vision is a development-oriented organization working with children, families and communities worldwide. It creates successful communities where everybody can enjoy peace, justice, security, opportunity and happiness through sustainable development, disaster relief and raising public awareness and advocating for justice. More than 116,000 poor children were sent to school by means of its Child Sponsorship Program.

by Janinah Jimmin M. Molina, XU DevCom / PIA

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