Kid victims get government attention
The government has come up with a four-year program designed to provide protection to Filipino children—5.5 million of whom are working for their family’s survival, four to six million who are children of overseas Filipino workers, and a “sizable” number who are physically and sexually abused.
“Gloomy statistics that they are we have every reason not to give up on them. It is our monumental duty to ensure that we arrest these figures and identify effective strategies that will eliminate or lessen this terrible condition of our children,” said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in a speech last week in which she presented the Aquino administration’s four-year Comprehensive Program for Child Protection (CPCP).
De Lima said the program aimed to provide “a protective environment for children” against abuse, exploitation and other circumstances that endanger their survival and normal development.
De Lima’s speech was read by Undersecretary Leah Armamento during the launch and presentation of the CPCP and the National Plan of Action for Children at the Manila Pavilion.
In the speech, De Lima said the government hoped to pursue reforms for child protection “by generating a culture of care and protection.” Results are expected by the end of the program in 2016.
“It calls for building and strengthening capacity for prevention and response through adequate laws, policies and programs, relevant and responsive structures and systems, competent and committed service providers,” she said.
The justice secretary said the program would build an improved and comprehensive child protection database and monitoring system on the national and local levels to allow the government the use of intelligent information “that will guide us in the development of effective child protection programs and policies.”
De Lima said the DOJ had completed a Multistakeholders’ Protocol in Handling Cases of Child Victims of Abuse, Violence, Exploitation, Neglect and Discrimination that they hoped to launch next year.
“The protocol would ensure child-sensitive procedures and handling from the time a report is made, up to the point when the child is reintegrated to the community,” De Lima said.
She also said she had revived the Task Force on Women and Children in the DOJ to act on cases referred to it by the CPCP.
To further protect the privacy of children, De Lima said the department would continue to advocate for the adherence to the Media Guide in the Reporting and Coverage of Cases Involving Child Abuse.
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