QUEZON CITY, NCR, Philippines – On February 18, 2022, the Civil Society Coalition on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC Coalition), in collaboration with the
Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), conducted the second National Network to End Violence against Children (NNEVAC) webinar entitled Big Little Steps Part 2: Reaffirming our Commitment to Ending VAC. The webinar was conducted via Zoom online meeting while simultaneously streamed on the official Facebook page of the CRC Coalition.
The webinar has been an avenue for key national government agencies (NGA), civil society organizations (CSO), and children to identify the current status of children’s rights in the country through the presentation of the Philippine Plan to End Violence against Children (PPAEVAC) Mid-term Review (MTR) results and assessment of the advocacy’s impact.
The overview of the M&E of children’s rights in the country has been presented by Ms. Mika Alfonso, one of the Advocacy and Partnerships Officer of Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development, the current convener of Child Rights Network Philippines (CRN).
Likewise, Division Chief Normina “Jhie” Mojica of Policy, Planning and Research Division (PPRD) of the CWC presented the PPAEVAC MTR results.
The webinar also serves as a contribution to widening the scope of attempts in achieving the outcome that the PPAEVAC was designed to attain, which is to significantly lessen the violence against children by (1) making the government more accountable, (2) the NGOs more focused and grounded in their collective actions, (3) children more aware and assertive of their rights and (4) the wider public more cognizant to the rights of the children to be protected from any form of violence.
As the newly appointed Executive Director of CWC, Atty. Maria Lourdes Fugoso-Alcain highlighted these objectives in her opening remarks. She reiterated that the webinar is important in establishing the coordinated efforts and collaborations of the government, its partner organizations like UNICEF and UN, CRC Coalition and its members, and other CSOs in working together to deliver child protection services and make these services accessible to children and their parents or guardians.
Representatives from key NGAs were present in the event to deliver their responses on the latest updates about the PPAEVAC and the status of children’s rights in the country.
Atty. Suzette T. Gannaban-Medina, the Assistant Regional Director of DepEd MIMAROPA Region and Head of the Child Protection Unit represented the Department of Education by ensuring that the teaching, non-teaching personnel of the Department and the learners are equipped with knowledge and skills in children’s rights, child protection, and online and offline safety skills. She also assured that the DepEd is one with all the other NGAs and CSOs in implementing the PPAEVAC.
Director Dennis D. Villasenor, the Director of the National Barangay Operations Office represented the Department of the Interior and Local Government. Through a representative, Dir. Villasenor assured that all local initiatives required by or embodied in the PPAEVAC, are captured in the policies issued by the Department. The department also establshed that they are always ready to provide support in localizing policies and guidelines based on the recommendations of the PPAEVAC mid-term review.
Assistant Secretary Maria Nerissa A. Molina-Carpio also attended the webinar to represent the Department of Justice. Likewise, ASec. Molina-Carpio ensured that there are mechanisms set in place in the DOJ to ensure the protection of children from violence and abuse, specifically protection from child trafficking, online exploitation, and gender-based violence.
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is focused on continuing its partnership and network collaborations for evidence-based policies and guidelines in ensuring the protection of children. DSWD’s representative, Chief Miramel Garcia-Laxa, mentioned that the department will also continue to improve its current projects and initiatives to ensure the protection of children through the strengthening of the child protection framework, ensuring high-quality care and services, and reinforcing the social service workforce. Chief Miramel Garcia-Laxa is the Division Chief of Sectoral Programs Division for the Program Management Bureau of DSWD.
To deliver the response from the CSOs, specifically the NNEVAC, Ms. Jezreel Domingo, World Vision’s Child Protection Manager also participated in the webinar. World Vision’s response is focused on continuing to support the implementation of the KRAs and localization of the PPAEVAC, strengthening the child protection services across the continuum of care, and maintaining partnerships with LGUs and municipal social and development offices in strengthening community-based child protection mechanisms. Ms. Domingo also highlighted the importance of exploring better ways in engaging children and youth in further development of the PPAEVAC, placing a premium on the crucial contribution of children to matters concerning them. World Vision reiterated that it stands steady in supporting the CWC and NNEVAC to the implementation of the PPAEVAC.
As the highlight of the webinar, child representatives shared their reactions to the PPAEVAC reports. A child representative also delivered the children’s manifesto.
Child representatives expressed their messages of appreciation and gratitude to the NGAs and CSOs for the work that they do to end VAC. However, they also conveyed that the reports tend to be technical in format; thus, a child-friendly version is needed to ensure that children are able to understand the essence of the PPAEVAC reports.
Mr. Allan Nunez, the President of the CRC Coalition and co-lead of the NNEVAC, highlighted in his closing remarks that while much work has been done, there is still so much more to do in ending VAC. More so, he called on the NGAs and CSOs for a more vigorous and harmonized working relationship to ensure that every child in the Philippines is protected against any form of abuse and violence.
The CRC Coalition, as the co-lead of the NNEVAC, together with its 24 member organizations will support the CWC in the last year of implementing the PPAEVAC.
For more details on the recently held NNEVAC webinar, the Livestream of the event is available on the official Facebook page of the CRC Coalition.