DepEd leads opening of 2018 National Child Protection Summit

Published August 23, 2018, 8:02 PM

by Roel Tibay

 

By Merlina Hernando-Malipot

In line with its efforts to strengthen the implementation of its Child Protection Policy (CPP), the Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday led the opening of the 2018 National Child Protection Summit.

The first-ever National Child Protection Summit gathered youth representatives, teachers, guidance counselors, school heads, child rights advocates, and other education stakeholders from various government and non-government organizations for a two-day event at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

DepEd Undersecretary Jesus Mateo (photo courtesy of DepEd Philippines/ Facebook/ MANILA BULLETIN)
DepEd Undersecretary Jesus Mateo (photo courtesy of DepEd Philippines/ Facebook/ MANILA BULLETIN)

With theme “Strengthening the Implementation of the Child Protection Policy,” DepEd said the summit aims to give the participants an opportunity to identify strategies that will further advance the implementation of the DepEd Order No. 40, s. 2012, or the Child Protection Policy (CPP) and thereby promote the best interest of all school children.

In his opening remarks, Undersecretary for Planning and Field Operations Jesus Mateo underscored the need to constantly review the policies of the department particularly those that directly involve children’s rights and safety.

“Since it’s been six years since we initiated the CPP, it’s important to review from time to time all those policies to update the implementation of the policy,” Mateo said in an interview at the sidelines of the event. “We need this event to identify the gaps in the implementation of the CPP and to highlight the best practices and to call for stronger the participation of the community and other agencies on how best to ensure the protection of the children,” he added.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary Officer-n-Charge for Legal Affairs Atty. Josephine Maribojoc reiterated DepEd’s commitment to the protection of children’s rights as well as to the realization of the Philippine Plan of Action to End Violence Against Children. “We need to create and recreate our schools to be not only citadels of child protection but also a happy playground for learning,” she said.
The Summit is organized by DepEd in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Philippines and Child Protection Network Foundation, Inc.

‘HIGH LEVELS’ OF ABUSE, VIOLENCE

Meanwhile, UNICEF Representative to the Philippines Lotta Sylwander noted there are “high levels of violence and abuse” committed against Filipino children. “Whether children are at home, in school or online, they should be protected at all times,” she said.

Among the topics that were discussed during the plenary presentations include strategies to end violence against children, results of the monitoring on child protection implementation in selected regions, initial results of the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the capacity building component of the DepEd Child Protection Program.

During the panel discussions, perspectives on child protection as well as the vulnerable children’s needs were tackled. Among the topics during these discussions include the status of indigenous children, children in situations of armed conflict, children at-risk and children in conflict with the law, mental health concerns, children with disabilities, as well as children and SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression).

In the simultaneous workshops, the participants were oriented on the promising practices on child protection particularly on positive discipline, online safety, creating a functional Child Protection Committee, anti-bullying, and safe schools for teens.

At the end of the two-day activity, panel representatives from departments of Social Welfare and Development; Health; Justice; Interior and Local Government; and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) are expected to give their reaction to the workshop outputs.

The Summit also aims to serve as a venue for the participants to gain knowledge on the issues and challenges encountered by schools in implementing the policy and for experts and child care practitioners to share their insights on the vulnerabilities that children encounter.

At the end of the Summit, it is expected that partners have shared promising practices on child protection and stakeholders have identified areas of priority action and further collaboration to help strengthen the Child Protection Policy of zero tolerance against all acts of child abuse, exploitation, violence, discrimination and bullying.

 
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