MANILA, Philippines (PNA) — President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Wednesday that he supports the goals of the United Nations Commission on the Rights of Children, particularly on early child development, a cause which he enjoined the donors and benefactors of Children’s Hour Philippines Inc. (CHPI) to also embrace.
The President urged the CHPI donors “to look at what you can do for the pre school children.”
He said his administration puts utmost importance to the welfare of children and protecting them from poverty, ignorance and lack of opportunities by providing more budget for elementary and secondary education. It has also increased the allocation for tertiary education and allotted a big budget for the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program so that “children of marginalized families will be given the basic inputs for a healthy growth.”
“I have increased the budget of the Department of Education for 2011 to P31 billion (to cover the salaries of teachers, classrooms and textbooks) of primary and secondary public schools; and contrary to reports, I also increased the budget of the state universities and colleges by 11 percent for 2011,” he stressed.
The President has also allotted P21 billion for the conditional cash transfer program, envisioned to support indigent families and feed pre school children.
The President led hundreds of donors and benefactors, who donated one hour worth of their salaries in a year to the CHPI, which in turn will channel these funds to accredited institutions, orphanages and non government organizations catering to children’s welfare.
He wrote on the APIR (High Five) commitment wall, where numerous hand prints of children have been marked, and signed his own hand imprint to indicate that he also donated one hour worth of his salary in a year to the CHPI, where his sister, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz is honorary chairperson.
The President said he is happy to note that from just 351 companies which donated P22 million of their one-hour worth of salaries to the Children’s Hour, this has grown to 1,280 companies donating P181.79 million.
The CHPI fund-raising benefit luncheon was held at the Antel Lifestyle City in Makati City, which was attended by Jaime Zobel de Ayala and Ambassador Bienvenido Tan, founders of the Children’s Hour, patterned after the United Kingdom Children’s Hour launched by then Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Founded in 1999, at the height of the Y2K bug scare and the jitters from the approaching new millennium, Children’s Hour was brought to the Philippines by Bea, the wife of Jaime Zobel de Ayala, who attended the launch in England.