The City Government of Valenzuela together with the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), UNICEF Philippines, Positive Youth Development Network enjoined the culmination ceremony of the Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Week at Valenzuela City Hall, February 11.
The 27th Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Week with the theme, Stop Online and Offline Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children. Act Now! launched a series of activities and webinars with mindful conversations towards safe spaces online and offline to raise awareness about the said campaign.
During the ceremony, in his address, CWC Executive Director and Undersecretary Angelo M. Tapales shared some data attained through a research study on sexual abuse before pandemic, “Year 2015, according to baseline study for violence against children, one out of five Filipino children ay nasasadlak sa sexual abuse…. Ito po ay nakakaalarma.” (Year 2015, according to a baseline study for violence against children, one out of five Filipino children is involved in sexual abuse…. This is alarming.)
Usec. Tapales added that the National Government is doing everything to fight against sexual abuse especially that the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) and Anti-Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials (CSAEM) is now a law, “Ito pong batas na ito ay may pangil at lalaban sa online sexual na mas talamak noong pandemic…. While maganda po ang internet nakakatulong sa pag-aaral at sa iba pang bagay, ang kalahating aspeto niyan ay panganib kung hindi babantayan.” (This law has fangs and will fight against online sex that was more chronic during the pandemic…. While the internet is good for learning and other things, half of it is dangerous if not monitored.)
City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) Head , Ms. Dorothy Evangelista shared the City’s experience of being the first Pathfinding City in the world, “It is a big responsibility….We will continue to craft ordinances to make Valenzuela City a safe haven for children. Every money we spend, every time we have, we will put the children in our mind and make them pursue their dreams. They deserve to fly high and reach for their stars.”
It was in 2019 when Valenzuela City strengthened its advocacy through the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children (GPEVAC) when the City became the 1st Pathfinding City in the world to end violence against children.
Moreover, the culmination ceremony also highlighted the signing of the manifesto and declared their commitment against online and offline sexual abuse and exploitation of children. The signing was led by Usec Tapales, and CSWDO Head, Ms. Dorothy Evangelista.
The event was concluded by responses from different sectors where Lyra Embalsado, a member of YHI SaferKids Ph Valenzuela City Adolescent Facilitator shared her insights as a child representative, “Kami man ay mga bata, ngunit hindi kami basta bata lang. Kundi, kami ang mga batang may kaalaman, kakayahang makinig, at may boses upang ipaglaban ang aming karapatan laban sa karahasan online man o offline.” (We are children, but we are not just children. But, we are the children who have knowledge, the ability to listen, and have a voice to fight for our right against violence whether online or offline.)
The said celebration is pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 731 series of 1996 which declares that 2nd week of February of every year as National Awareness Week for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation.