The Department of Education (DepEd) continues to receive complaints of possible child abuse incidents after launching a national helpline last year.
“Latest data from the time that we launched it in November until December, nagkaroon tayo ng karagdagan na (we have had additional) 78 complaints filed through various means, email, Facebook chats, and also through phone calls,” DepEd Spokesperson Michael Poa told reporters in an interview on Friday, Jan. 13.
As part of its efforts to provide safe spaces for learners, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte led the formal launch of the “Learner Rights and Protection Office” website and a national hotline in November 2022.
The national hotline called the “Learners Telesafe Contact Center Helpline” allows DepEd to receive child protection complaints from learners through landlines, e-mail, and messages through its Facebook page.
During the launch, Duterte said that as of October 2022, DepEd’s LRPO recorded 1,871 child abuse cases from 2019 to 2020. However, she noted that these figures are “only the tip of the iceberg” since it does not include figures from 10 regions that “have yet to submit their reports.”
Aside from receiving complaints, Poa said that LRPO also monitors the resolution of the incidents reported to them.
“I am now asking for data because we will now be monitoring how fast we are resolving these reports,” Poa said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Based on the latest report, from November to Dec. 24, Poa said most of the complaints reported are incidences of bullying.
“We are verifying this because we cannot just take the complaints on their face. We’re still investigating and trying to find out — that’s the job of our LRPO,” Poa said.
Poa said that DepEd is also currently monitoring how soon these cases are resolved and what are actions taken regarding these.
“Hopefully, by the end of January, we will have another round of reports so we can compare if our hotlines are effective and to check if more individuals were given access to report these incidents,” Poa said.
Meanwhile, Poa reminded the public about the LRPO hotlines. “They can contact us to report these abuses,” he said. “What’s more important is that we have an open channel or medium for them to report,” he added.