The Department of Education (DepEd) has ordered the creation of two units that would further strengthen its efforts in upholding and protecting the rights of children.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones issued DepEd Order No. 3, Series of 2021, or the Creation of the Child Protection Unit (CPU) and the Child Rights in Education Desk (CREDe) in DepEd.
Briones issued the policy on the creation of the CPU under the Office of the Undersecretary for Field Operations, Palarong Pambansa Secretariat, and DepEd Employees Associations Coordinating Office and the CREDe under the Office of the Undersecretary for Legal Affairs in DepEd.
In upholding the right of the child to special protection and to reiterate its policy of zero tolerance for any act of abuse and violence against the child, DepEd issued DepEd Order No. 40, Series of 2012, also known as the “Child Protection Policy.”
Fully recognizing the rights of the child, DepEd said that it continues to issue “proactive measures to uphold not only the right of the child to special protection, but also to the other rights of the child in the context of basic education.”
Given this, Briones said that the department created two separate but coordinating mechanisms, the CPU to “strengthen the implementation of the DepEd Child Protection Policy,” and the CREDe to help “ensure that the rights of the child in basic education are respected, protected, promoted, and fulfilled in, and by, the department.”
The newly-issued DepEd order, Briones said, covers the creation of CPU and the CREDe. It also lays down the functions of the offices and identifies the offices at the regional and schools division office that shall lead in carrying out the duties and responsibilities of these governance levels as provided for in DepEd issuances on child protection.
Briones said that CPU was created to “establish a mechanism to fully operationalize, implement, and coordinate programs, projects, and activities” pertaining to child protection. The CPU will also perform functions pertaining to the right of the child to protection in basic education.
On the other hand, the CREDe was created in pursuance of the holistic development of the child. Briones said that DepEd envisions “child-centered and child caring basic education schools, learning centers, and offices which respect, protect, promote, and fulfill the dignity and rights of the child in basic education they may lead productive and happy lives as they participate in nation building.”
Using a child rights and legal lens, the CREDe will also perform functions pertaining to policy formulation, monitoring, and reporting of the implementation of the rights of the child in basic education, and building awareness and advocacy of these rights.
Pursuant to the 1987 Constitution, DepEd said that the State “shall protect and promote the right of all children to accessible and quality basic education.”
DepEd noted that alongside this right is the constitutional policy that the State “shall promote and protect their holistic development through the promotion of their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being.”
DepEd noted that the 1987 Constitution as well as other domestic and international laws, primarily the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, “guarantee a range of rights of children to promote their overall well-being.”
Among the rights of the child in the basic education, DepEd said, are the right to education, right against discrimination, right to health, right to participation and to have one’s views heard, right to religion, right to rest and play, and the right to protection against all forms of violence, abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation, and maltreatment.