MANILA — “Why do we need laws?” Kian Jimenez, 10, asked Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan Monday, June 3. Kian is one of 14 kids who visited the Philippine Senate as members of the duly-elected KidZania CongreZZ, the legislative branch of KidZania.
KidZania Manila is an interactive mini-city where kids take on roles in 65 establishments similar to the real world like airline pilot, pharmacist, and magazine writer. Having their own kid-sized city with their own set of rules, the Honorable CitiZens of KidZania elect their peers to a representative body of government that cares for their welfare and their city.
These young legislators representing the five Ministries of KidZania went to the Senate to present the following manifestos to Senator Pangilinan:
1. A clean and safe environment
Juhi, Angela, and Gale of the Ministry of Environment
“We believe that everyone must have access to clean and safe environment,” said Angela De Guzman.
“We believe that everyone should also be responsible for their actions that might impact our environment,” said Gale Julian Cera.
“We believe that everyone, especially the Filipino children, must know how to take care of the environment and should encourage others in doing their part as well,” said Juhi Chandiramani.
“Because we only have one world to live in and we should save it,” they said.
Senator Pangilinan agreed. “We must address plastics, pollution — smoking, water, air, noise pollution. It should be crime-free. Children should be able to walk [around the city] safely.”
2. Accessible quality education
Happy, Renz, and Jiada of the Ministry of Education
“We believe that education plays a vital role in our lives as it shapes our future,” said Happy Aguilar.
“We believe that every Filipino child should have the right to accessible quality education,” said Jiada Javier.
“We believe that education is crucial in informing us of the [bad] things that happen in our society, learn from it, and make sure to control it from happening again,” said Renz Emperador.
“Because quality education is the key to success in building the whole nation,” said Happy.
Senator Pangilinan then asked what their proposals are for accessible quality education to which Happy replied, “We should have something that interests the children and suitable for the generation in today’s world. If something interests the child, they would enjoy learning it.”
3. Fair compensation
Kian, Liz, and Andrea of Ministry of Labor
“We believe that everyone must learn the importance of working hard, in earning fair salary,” said Andrea Sta. Maria.
“We believe that everyone is entitled to fair salary compensation. We believe that people should learn how to save and spend their money wisely,” said Kian Jimenez.
“Because the value of hard work is a value that anyone can pass on to their children and having fair salary can pay for better home, food, and other needs,” said Liz Castigo.
Senator Pangilinan shared how human beings are the number one resource of any organization.
“You have to make sure that your workers are paid well, given fair salary,” he said.
4. Access to and responsible use of technology
Patricia and Riley of Ministry of Information Technology
“We believe that everyone should have easy access to technology, regardless of social status,” said Patricia Balatbat.
“We believe that everyone should use technology responsibly and in a good way,” said Riley Catral.
“We believe that more technological jobs should be made available in our country,” said Patricia.
“Because having advancements in technology will help our country solve information accessibility and could create more jobs,” they said.
Senator Pangilinan asked how they propose to go about their manifesto to which Patricia replied, “I want to encourage [children] to do it themselves instead of adults doing it for them.”
5. Anthem, language, and history
Kim, Kate, and Jillian of the Ministry of Culture
“We believe that Filipino children must learn the National Anthem of the Philippines by heart and show respect to it whenever it is being played,” said Kate Amarille.
“We believe that it is important for Filipino children to learn Filipino, our National Language, and its importance in connecting everybody and we believe that learning and embracing the history of our country is important for Filipino children, so they can understand how our culture and traditions came into existence,” said Kim Amarille.
“Because Philippines is our country and knowing our culture shows how proud we are as Filipino citizens,” said Jillian Salinas.
Senator Pangilinan stressed the importance of identity in culture, and asked, “Can you imagine if we don’t know who we are?”
“Mind-blown!” the kids replied.
So why do we need laws? Senator Pangilinan said laws are like the rules in one’s home.
“Rules are there to benefit those who are covered by those rules…Laws are there to help us, so that we may benefit from these laws, so that it may benefit the citizens. Laws are crafted for the general welfare,” Senator Pangilinan said.
With these 8- to 15-year-old CongreZZ kids who ask the hard questions and who are clear about what they want, the future can only be bright.