The Quezon City government recently approved an ordinance that prohibits minors in public places, even if they are accompanied by their parent or guardian.


While the purpose of the ordinance is to curb the transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a child’s rights group said the ordinance is actually a violation of children’s right to play and leisure under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

The Child Rights Network (CRN), the largest alliance of organizations and agencies pushing for children’s rights legislation in the Philippines, said that the pandemic should not translate to children being confined in their homes 24 hours a day and seven days a week “without even a minute of legroom.”

“This will soon prove to be detrimental to their physical and mental health,” the group warned.

The group added that Quezon City Ordinance No. SP-2985, S-2020 patently violates Article 31 of the UNCRC, which states that “States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.” 

CRN also took cognizance of the situation faced by children in street situations (CiSS). Since the ordinance did not provide enough protection for them, the group is fearful that this would lead to a new spate of children’s rights violations.

“Our monitoring of CiSS conditions in the past has revealed that in more than a few instances, there have been incidences of children experiencing violence or torture in the hands of those detaining them for curfew violations and other offenses, as well as even in government-run shelters after they were ‘rescued,'” the CRN said.

In light of this, the CRN is hoping that the Quezon City government will reconsider and review its new ordinance with “extensive consultation” with the Philippine Pediatric Society, IATF and WHO guidelines, and children’s rights groups.

The group stressed that children must be at the heart of every law. Rather than adopt a “punitive” approach in keeping them safe from the virus, CRN suggested that the government beef up their preventive and protective measures such as the conduct of online sessions on COVID-19 prevention for those caught loitering in public spaces with no valid reason.

“We call on the local government to also focus on reviewing its community health protocols and plugging holes and gaps that hinder efforts to address the raging pandemic,” the group said. 

“To this end, CRN invites the Quezon City government to engage children’s rights groups immediately in a public dialogue to iron out issues arising from what we view as a potentially dangerous local law that will imperil, rather than protect, children,” it added.

Source: Manila Bulletin (