CHR backs IATF on allowing children to go outdoors in GCQ, MGCQ areas

Published July 14, 2021, 11:21 AM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

Commission on Human Rights (CHR)

Allowing children five years old and above to go outdoors in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ (MGCQ) will improve their overall wellbeing, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said on Wednesday, July 14.

It said it supports fully the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on the case of children.

IATF

The CHR, in a statement issued by its Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said: “Children have the right to leisure, play, and recreational activities. This is crucial to their development and well-being while also enabling their participation in the community’s cultural, social, and artistic life.”

De Guia said that children have also been negatively impacted by quarantine restrictions, the economic loss of their families, and the disruption of their education.

Because they are forced to stay indoors, children suffered from limited social interaction and recreational activities, she said.

“Allowing young people to safely go outdoors will enable social interaction instead of just being glued on their digital devices. Outdoor activities will also revive their physical and mental vitality by being more engaged in the cultural and social life,” she noted.

“More importantly, the outdoor ambiance, opportunity to access diverse recreational and leisure activities, and quality social engagement, can help maintain their well-being and mental health. Considering that face-to-face classes are still not allowed, outdoor activities can also help provide balance to the children’s confined remote learning routine,” she stressed.

At the same time, De Guia said that allowing children to go out will even help revive businesses and tourist attractions — particularly those that cater to families and children.

But, she said, the CHR stresses the importance to maintain all health protocols and safety mechanisms to ensure the protection of children. Most important is the strict implementation of limited capacity in establishments, she also said.

De Guia said: “The preservation of the children’s wellbeing and dignity is a collective responsibility. We must still ensure that children will suffer no further harm and that their best interest and basic rights are prioritized as we continue to hurdle through this pandemic.”

 
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