The Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) expresses its commitment to ensure the implementation of the Philippine Plan of Action to End Violence Against Children (PPAEVAC), which the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) and its partners recently launched.
Grounded on the data on children established through the National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children (NBS-VAC) conducted in 2015, the PPAEVAC is an important multi-sectoral plan that outlines six key result areas and strategies to address Filipino children’s prevalent experience of violence. This includes positive discipline, child and adolescent skills against violence, children’s access to protective services, effective monitoring and evaluations framework, enforcement of all VAC-related laws, and child protection systems across all levels of the government.
Other lead agencies identified in the implementation of this plan of action from 2018 until 2022 are the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Justice (DOJ), department of Health (DOH), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Released in 2017, the National Baseline Survey on Violence against Children (NBSVAC), reveals that in the Philippines boys experience sexual abuse more often than girls. The survey also show the following: 1 out of 5 suffers from sexual abuse at home, in school and in the community; 2 out of 5 commit a form of violence with their peers; 3 out of 5 admit experiencing some form of psychological violence; 4 out of 10 grew up seeing some form of physical violence at home; 5 out of 10 suffer from cyber-violence; 6 out of 10 are physically and psychologically abused; 7 out of 10 do not avail of local child protection systems in their community; 8 out of 10 LGBT children are physically and psychologically abused; 9 out of 10 think that parents act in the best interest of children; and 10 percent of children are physically neglected by their parents of guardians.
The Philippine Plan of Action to End Violence against Children is envisioned to contribute to addressing this situation. The Philippines became a pathfinding country in 2017 and as such, the country is committing to three to five years of accelerated action towards achieving a violence-free environment for children through policies that are rights-focused, child-centered, universal, gender-sensitive, inclusive, transparent, evidence-based, and results-focused in the Global Partnerships to End Violence against Children. While the Philippines can boast of its relatively advanced legal framework on child welfare, there are still significant gaps in the fulfillment and promotion for the rights of children to survival, development, protection and participation, which can be addressed through policy and legislative reforms.
PLCPD and its partners including UNICEF and the Child Rights Network, which it convenes, are advocating for the passage of laws that will eliminate the various drivers of violence against children. Pending Senate and House bills on increasing the age to determine statutory rape, promotion of positive and non-violent forms of discipline, ending online and commercial sexual exploitation of children, comprehensive anti-discrimination, and the protection of mental health of children especially those in situations of armed conflict are just some of the many legislative proposals that the group is supporting through multiple strategy campaigns. The group is also pushing for oversight of related child protection laws and remains steadfast in seeking lasting results through laws and their efficient implementation.