"Sa bata magsisimula ang pagbabago ng Pilipinas."
The transformation of the Philippines starts with the young.
The small town of Alicia in Isabela province takes its children seriously. The second-class municipality with a population of 26,000 has put the child at the center of its development program. Its Child-friendly Movement is being implemented under the banner "BATA" (the Filipino word for CHILD) -- an acronym for a four-pronged strategy: Broadening awareness and institutionalize the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; Allocation of fund support for children welfare and protection; Total involvement and commitment through collective efforts of all key players; and Attainment of competitive performance through Child-friendly Governance.
The BATA program has earned the town various recognition as the "Most Child-friendly Municipality" at the provincial, regional and national levels from 2000 to 2002. The success of the child-centered program did not come from government efforts alone.
Active support and participation came from people's organizations, non-government organizations, church groups, the private and business sectors, and the entire community. All sectors contribute to a fund campaign dubbed to support programs that will bring all school-aged children to be enrolled in public schools. To ensure the program's sustainability and for Alicia to live up to its reputation as a child-friendly town, the municipal government passed ordinances for a five- and 25-year children investment plan. It also adopted the Isabela Provincial Children's Code, and undertakes "continuing advocacy and capability-building".