DoLE, DSWD and DOJ join hands to protect children of OFWs
Posted: 2017-Feb-17 08.12.02 UTC+0800
MANILA — The government is looking at launching in Davao City the national campaign for anti-child abuse and child protection of children left behind by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
This after the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Justice (DOJ) for the provision of full protection to children left behind by OFWs.
"Since we are all taking off from...we are taking from the case of the two-year old boy who passed away in Davao. Maybe we could start in Davao. We can have a launch, the OWWA can bring in our OFW Family Circles (OFCs). And there could be a region 11-wide seminar or sessions, workshops before launching a national campaign for the protection of Filipino children," he said after the signing of the MOU on Thursday in Manila.
OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac said they were planning to launch the campaign during the first quarter of the year.
"Possibly first quarter. Next week pa lang magpapatawag tayo ng meeting tungkol dito. We are hoping na sa first quarter magkaroon na ng malalaking forum including the OFW families and other stakeholders," he added.
According to DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the MOU is part of the government's effort to balance the desire of the OFW parents to provide for the needs of their children by working abroad on one hand, and to ensure that their children are in the safe hands of the people they have chosen to look after the well-being of their loved ones.
"We were quite alarmed by the results of the study on violence against children which stated that migration is one of the reasons of physical, sexual, or psychological violence to children," he said citing the study initiated by the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
Under the Agreement, OWWA will intensify child protection campaigns on violence against children, especially children of OFWs through the immediate clarification and resolution on issues and concerns raised by the OFWs by conducting regular consultations and monitoring of Family Welfare Officer; provide relevant information on specific cases of OFWs; assist in the distribution and dissemination of the Child Abuse and Exploitation information materials through the OFCs and OFW Help Desks; integrate Child Abuse and Exploitation module prepared by the DSWD in the conduct of trainings and orientations for OFWs and their families; and report suspected cases or incidence of child abuse to DSWD, DOJ and other law enforcement authorities.
The DOJ will conduct preliminary investigation on child abuse and exploitation cases; provide legal advice/assistance to the child/family; coordinate and monitor the status of referred cases filed at the Prosecutors' Offices and in courts; ensure child-friendly, child and gender sensitive investigations of cases as stipulated in the DOJ-CSPC Protocol for the Management of Child Victims of Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation; conduct speedy preliminary investigation/resolution of referred cases; and participate in the case conferences on cases referred by OWWA and in the convergence program of the OWWA, DSWD, Local Government Unit, and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
The DSWD, on the other hand, will provide assistance, shelter and protection to children of OFWs who are victims of child abuse and exploitation in coordination with the LGUs; and coordinate with the agencies covered by the MOU on the process of reporting complaints and assistance.
The DSWD will also participate in the prevention campaign against Child Abuse and Exploitation and converge with OWWA, DOLE, LGU, DOJ, and AFI; provide other forms of assistance, pursuant to its mandate under Executive Order No. 221 and Executive Order No. 1 that define the mandate, roles, powers and functions of the DSWD and its implementing Rules and Regulations; take the lead in the conduct of psycho-social interventions/referrals and case conferences on cases referred by OWWA; and integrate issues and concerns of children of OFWs in the Family Development Sessions (FDs) and Parenting Effectiveness Sessions (PES) modules.
The DOLE chief added the MOU complements with Republic Act No. 7610, "An Act Providing Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination", and Republic Act No. 9262, "An Act on Violence Against Women and their Children" (VAWC). (PNA)