By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has appealed to all concerned agencies, the media, and general public to exercise confidentiality in handling or reporting cases involving children.
DSWD Secretary Virginia Orogo said the agency has observed that, lately, there have been many instances of cases involving children being reported with their faces clearly identifiable, especially on social media.
She explained that there is an existing Protocol for Case Management of Child Victims of Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation formulated by the Committee on the Special Protection of Children under the Department of Justice (DOJ).
It is highlighted under this protocol the importance of utmost confidentiality in managing cases of children in need of special protection.
“In any incident or case involving children, the best interest of the child must always be observed. Actions must always be in accordance to child protection laws. This also applies to those posts and shares about children in social media,” she said.
Orogo also ordered the re-circulation of the Protocol through Administrative Order (AO) No.07 series of 2015 or the DSWD Child Protection Policy in the Workplace, within the Department, both at the central office and in all field offices.
The re-circulation of the serves to prompt all officials and employees to make sure that confidentiality must not be compromised at all times even as they pursue the goal of transparency.
“Handling children’s cases is different because one must exercise good judgment, with bias on the welfare and development of the child,” Orogo added.
She urged the public to report directly to DSWD or to appropriate authorities when faced with a situation involving a minor.
“We call on the public to please do not make your social media accounts as your first option in reporting a case, because you also exploit the child in that way,” she said.
“The DSWD understands the good intention behind the posting, but we encourage you to direct your report to the Department’s official social media accounts via direct message, which can be accessed through @dswdserves in Facebook and Twitter,” she added.