The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) today gave its full support to the launch of the first  Philippine Plan of Action to End Violence Against Children (PPAEVAC) put together by DSWD adjunct agency Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The launch was held this morning at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), and it was attended by various partner agencies in the campaign to uphold children’s rights and end violence against children.

DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel A. Leyco delivered a message of solidarity to the organizers and lauded the PPAEVAC and the intents for its creation.

“This is a very important document, and the DSWD is  proud to support all the efforts that went into the development of its contents. We also vow to help popularize the PPAEVAC and to continue calling attention to all the issues it carries affecting children, their rights and welfare, as well as all the relentless campaign to build a kinder, more humane, and compassionate society for all children regardless of social and economic background,” he said.

OIC Leyco lauded both the CWC and the UNICEF for collaborating on the plan of action.  He cited statistics from the 2015 first National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children that reveal how 80 percent of  some 3,866 respondents aged 13 to 24 years old  had experienced some form of violence in their lifetime, whether in the home, school, workplace, community or during dating. The estimated total prevalence of violence against children among males was 81.5 percent and 78.4 percent  among females. About 78.8 percent of children aged 13 – 18 years encountered these experiences of violence compared to 80.9 percent among the older group.

“These are very disturbing statistics. Because of such data and the continuous proliferation of reports about children being exposed and/or subjected to various forms of violence such as sexual exploitation, physical abuse and maltreatment, DSWD social workers are always determined to help as many children as they can through the Department’s centers and institutions,” he said.

OIC Leyco said that the PPAEVAC is a most laudable effort also because children were directly involved in the process of its creation.

“It was developed through consultative processes which not only involved NGOs and CSOs and the private sector, but parents and children as well. Children themselves gave their input on what they believe to be the ideal home, school, and community settings, and as they are the focus of this plan, their ideas and insight are very valuable,” he said.

The welfare official said that the DSWD fully supports the PPAEVAC and issues a strong commitment to take continuous action on the projects, campaigns, and activities that will fall under Key Results Area (KRA) 1: Parents and caregivers are aware of and practicing evidence-based parenting skills and positive discipline towards building a safe, nurturing, and protective environment. The agency is also the co-lead in KRA 3: All children in need of special protection have access to appropriate and quality protective, social, mental, health, legal, economic, and judicial services ensuring that violence and trauma are prevented from recurring.

“We must not let up our efforts to inform our communities that children are very vulnerable and as such they need all the protection from violence that society, government, and institutions can give them.  We should also call attention to the shocking fact that there are so many children whose wellbeing is threatened in fundamental ways and whose rights are not being upheld. Think of the circumstances of many children with disabilities, children who are homeless, and children in youth justice detention. Let us work for a Philippines where every child can live in safety and security, with dignity and opportunities not only to exist and survive, but to thrive. We want all children to be free from violence, abuse and neglect. To do this, we must emphasize that these are all legal rights of every Filipino child, and beyond that – they are all inalienable human rights,” he concluded.#