The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), and National Youth Commission (NYC), lead agencies for the National Children’s Month (NCM) celebration, encourage all sectors to work together in building a safer and more caring environment for all children, as the nation celebrates the 28th NCM this November.

Republic Act 10661 declaring November as NCM commemorates the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on November 20, 1989, and seeks to instill its significance in the Filipino consciousness.  The Philippines is a signatory to the CRC, which is the first binding universal treaty solely dedicated to the protection and promotion of children’s rights. Section 3 of RA 10661 designates DSWD, CWC, and NYC as lead agencies in the preparation and implementation of an annual program of activities celebrating NCM.

This year’s celebration focuses on upholding the rights of children during the COVID-19 pandemic with the theme, “Sama-samang Itaguyod ang Karapatan ng Bawat Bata sa Panahon ng Pandemya.”

The theme aims to promote the protection of all children and their rights, provide practical support to parents and caregivers on how to care for children and themselves during the pandemic, empower children to protect themselves and report the experience of abuse, and guide LGUs to efficiently deliver their expected roles and functions. It is anchored on the UN CRC and the goals of the 3rd National Plan of Action for Children (NPAC) to progressively realize the rights of children.

DSWD cited that the 2015 Philippine National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children revealed that 80% of Filipino children and youth were experiencing any forms of violence in all settings, whether in the home, school or community. Specifically, 3 in 5 or 66% of children ages 13 to below 18 years experienced physical abuse, 3 in 5 or 58% experienced psychological abuse, while 19.1% experienced sexual abuse, which commonly happened in the home perpetrated by either of their parents, siblings, step-parents or by their grandparents or neighbors.

The 2015 NBS-VAC is the first ever national prevalence study on violence against children in the country and no repeat study has been conducted yet.

DSWD also chairs the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (IACACP), created by virtue of RA 9775 or the “Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009.”

In this time of pandemic, the DSWD, as chair of IACACP, emphasized that it is even more crucial to closely monitor the safety of children even inside their homes.

It also encouraged the community to be vigilant and immediately report to the authorities all forms of abuses against children through the Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons (RRPTP) Hotline (02) 8931-9141 or send text message Text DSWD <space> blockchildporn<space> URL address and send to 2327or Text blockchildporn <space> URL address and send to 0918-9122813. 

The DSWD urges all local government units, through the Local Council for the Protection of Children (LCPC), to be vigilant in monitoring cases of child abuse in their respective jurisdictions, particularly during this pandemic.

LCPC is responsible for the implementation of the National Strategic Framework Plan Development for Children in the local level. The LCPC partners with LGUs in crafting plans, programs, and activities in creating secure, healthy, and child-friendly communities.

To promote the month-long celebration, a series of online activities, such as virtual contests and webinars have been lined-up.

The Department affirms its commitment to uphold the welfare of Filipino children through the Department’s various programs, services, and policies, and strengthened coordination with partner-agencies, non-government organizations, and LGUs. -30-