Defensor-Santiago’s bill to teach students to fight abuse
MANILA, Philippines–Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is pushing for the passage of a measure that would arm children with the information they need to prevent their being exploited.
Santiago’s bill, filed earlier this month, seeks to put in place an age-appropriate curriculum for students from Kindergarten through Grade 8 that would provide instruction designed to prevent sexual abuse, abductions and exploitation.
According to Santiago, child sexual abuse affects up to one in four girls and one in six boys.
She noted an exploratory study conducted by the children’s aid organization Terre des Hommes Netherlands on the background and psychosocial consequence of webcam tourism in the Philippines, which confirmed the growing online child sex tourism trade in the country.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development, from 2010 to 2013, had worked on 150 cases of child pornography and cyberpornography, she said.
Santiago said that one way of protecting children was by giving them the knowledge to recognize predators and red flags.
“The incidence of child sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation and child abduction can be reduced by raising awareness among young children of common dangers and warning signs, empowering children to better protect themselves from sexual predators, and teaching children how to obtain any necessary assistance or services,” she said in the explanatory note to her bill.
In Santiago’s bill, the Department of Education, in consultation with parent-teacher associations, school officials and other stakeholders, shall provide assistance toward the development of an age-appropriate curriculum on the prevention of child abduction, sexual exploitation and abuse.
It demands a curriculum developed according to the needs and abilities of pupils in successive grade levels that would teach them awareness skills, information and self-confidence and provide them support.
The board of education or trustees of every school division would be tasked to provide the training and curriculum materials to teachers assigned to handle the subject.
Santiago, in pushing for approval of her bill, said the damaging effects of child sexual abuse could last a lifetime.