The work of UNICEF in the Philippines to promote child friendly communities, cities, municipalities and provinces can be traced back to the Child Friendly Movement (CFM) in 1999. Back then, UNICEF worked in 20 provinces and five cities: Pasay, Manila and Quezon in Metro Manila; Cebu in the Visayas; and Davao in Mindanao. The main goal of the CFM initiative was to realize the Philippine National Development Plan for Children or ‘Child 21’ by mainstreaming children’s rights into local development planning.
Since then, the initiative has evolved into a nationwide Child Friendly Local Governance Audit (CFLGA) system, which is administered by the Government of the Philippines. Since its inception in 2014, CFLGA has used at least 12 assessment criteria that measure the delivery of results for children by the city, municipality or province. With technical support from UNICEF, the CFLGA was recently revised and expanded to include 15 assessment criteria based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the four categories of survival, development, protection and participation, including the cross-cutting category of governance. UNICEF is supporting the Government in its efforts to raise awareness of the updated audit system.
Local government units (LGUs) that pass the audit with a rating of at least 75 per cent become eligible for the Seal of Child friendly Local Governance (SCFLG), annually conferred by the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC). The cities showing the best performances eventually qualify for the Presidential Award for Child friendly Municipalities and Cities. The Presidential Award gives outstanding cities and provinces national recognition and financial incentive.
To date, 96.51 per cent of the LGUs have been audited, and 93.98 per cent have been awarded the SCFLG (see Table 1). At least 38 of the LGUs have already been conferred with the Presidential Award, with six entering the Hall of Fame for consistently performing well for three consecutive years.
In the Government of the Philippines’ current cycle – UNICEF Country Programme of Cooperation, 2019–2023 – UNICEF will be working with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the CWC to promote the use of the CFLGA results as a benchmark for generating local commitment and increasing political will to fulfil the CRC in cities, municipalities and provinces nationwide.