MANILA -- To create an inclusive and violence-free school environment nationwide, the Department of Education (DepEd) launched its first National Child Protection Summit in Pasay City on Thursday.
The two-day summit, a collaboration among the DepEd, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Philippines, and Child Network Foundation, Inc., aims to convene internal and external stakeholders of education to discuss child protection and identify strategies that will strengthen the implementation of DepEd Order No. 40 series of 2012 or the Child Protection Policy.
In her speech, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said bullying is a reality in schools or online, affecting children nationwide in different ways.
Briones emphasized that parents, teachers, child protection advocates, and communities can do something to alter its effects through active promotion of children's rights protection.
"DepEd and its partners, like UNICEF and Child Protection Network, have never wavered in the commitment to ensure that all Filipino children are in a child-friendly, gender-sensitive, safe, and nurturing environment where they learn the value of respect for one another, regardless of their background, she said.
Citing the continuous growth in the number of Filipino children being bullied today, UNICEF Philippines representative Lotta Sylwander urged parents and teachers to be actively involved in the prevention of violence against children nationwide.
"It is alarming that many children experience cyber-bullying and this calls for urgent action from all stakeholders. I encourage you to help ensure that children, whether at home, school or online, should be protected at all times," Sylwander said.
In an interview with the media, DepEd Officer-in-Charge for Legal Affairs Undersecretary Josephine Maribojoc said proper identification of children who are victims of abuse remains a challenge for the agency due to many factors.
"Ang isang balakid dito sa pagtulong sa mga bata ay iyon pong pagre-report o paglabas ng bata para sabihin ang tungkol sa pang-aabusong ginawa sa kanya. Kaya nga sinasabi natin na mahalaga na (One hindrance to efforts to help these kids is the reporting or coming out of the child to relate the abuse. That's why we say it's important that) our children are empowered. (It is) very important that they are aware of their rights, (that) they know their rights, and that they can claim these rights. This is one thing we're strengthening in DepEd -- the rights and education of our children," Maribojoc said.
The summit included plenary presentations where the initial results of the monitoring and evaluation by DepEd's Child Protection Program in relation to its capacity building component and the status of indigenous children, children in situations of armed conflict, children at risk, children in conflict with the law, and out-of-school youth. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency