MANILA–Ecowaste Coalition, together with school children and their parents in Quezon City, on Sunday called for the need to push for strong support for the protection of chil-dren’s right to safe toys and games.
“Through our event today, we hope to draw society’s support to efforts aimed at ensuring chil-dren’s access to safe and non-hazardous playthings that will contribute to their full intellectual, emotional and physical development, especially during their formative years,” said Thony Dizon, chemical safety campaigner of EcoWaste Coalition.
As a way to draw public attention, the group paraded near the Circle of Joy area of Quezon Memo-rial Circle which is fre-quented by families to spend bonding moments during weekends.
They made a short program where children from San Vicente Elemen-tary School were joined by an impersonator of “Santa Claus” to remind parents and children to prioritize safety when choosing and buying toys this coming Yuletide season as some toys did not go through quality and safety verifica-tion.
Dizon showed some examples of toys that are not safe for children as he enumerated some of the things to consider when buying toys for their kids or as gifts to other children.
He explained one by one how certain toys can cause danger to children.
Examples of said toys are sharp or pointed ones that can injure children; those containing small parts that are choking hazard; and other toys that are not properly labeled and may contain hazardous che-micals.
Dr. Visitacion Antonio, a pediatrician and toxi-cologist of East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in QC, warned that toys that did not pass through quality and safety assessment may contain health-damaging chemicals such as cad-mium, lead, mercury, phthalates and hazardous substances.
“Dapat nating alala-hanin na ang mga bata sila ang vulnerable popu-lation (We should remem-ber that children are the vulnerable population),” said Dr. Antonio adding that the effects of the health-damaging chemicals are higher among children and it is important that parents will be aware to properly guide their children.
She said damage to internal organs like kidney and liver may happen due to exposure to damaging chemicals in toys.
She added that such exposure to chemicals that may penetrate inside the body of children may lead to problems on proper brain development which are manifested through poor school performance.
“Nakikita natin ang bata bagsak ng bagsak sa exams sa school, kaya pala ganun ay hindi dahil bobo yung bata kundi dahil may tingga sa kata-wan niya,” she further explained.
Lawyer Vic Dimagiba, president of Laban Kon-sumer, Inc. emphasized the need to enforce Republic Act 10620 or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013.
Dimagiba lamented that over four years have elapsed since the law was passed but up to now there is still no Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
He said the absence of IRR is the reason why they cannot file cases against manufacturers and impor-ters that do not follow what the law provides.
His group plans to file a case of mandamus — a judicial remedy in the form of an order from a superior court, to any government subordinate court, corpo-ration, or public authority, to do (or forbear from doing) some specific act which that body is obliged by law to do (or refrain from doing), and which is in the nature of public duty) — to press for the IRR.
He said they are also seeking public support and participation.
The activity is part of the commemoration of the third anniversary of the adoption by the Commis-sion of Human Rights of the “The People’s Right to Chemical Safety (Novem-ber 14) and 28th anniver-sary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20. PNA