The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) expressed support for the government allowing children 5 years old and above to go out in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ.
“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,” CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline de Guia said.
“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 added.
Last week, the government allowed those aged 5 and above to leave their homes in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ.
According to Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire, the Inter-Agency Task Force’s (IATF) consent to the release of children is also based on studies showing that they are highly affected by the long lockdown.
“Nagkakaroon na sila ng issues, both physically and mentally. ‘Yong kanilang developmental stages ay naha-hamper at naapektuhan because of the lockdowns, because they can’t interact properly with other people,” said Vergeire.
It is now up to parents to keep their children safe while outdoors.
Aside from wearing a face mask and shield and washing hands, it is also best to avoid mixing with other “bubbles” or groups.
According to Department of Health data, 151,887 COVID-19 victims belong to the pediatric age group or those of about one-month-old infants up to 19 years old.
CHR supports allowing children to go outside
According to the latest IATF resolution, children can be in the following areas:
- biking at hiking trail
- outdoor tourist sites
- outdoor non-contact courts at venues
- alfresco dining establishments
But children are still not allowed in mixed-use, indoor-outdoor buildings, and facilities such as malls.
Meanwhile, Quezon City has designated several open-air areas in the city as “child-friendly safe zones” that children can visit.
The so-called safe zones include the Quezon Memorial Circle, Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center, the urban farming area of Quezon City Hall, Amoranto Stadium, and 15 local parks in the barangays.