Baguio City – This year marks the 26th year of the National Children’s Month celebration in the Philippines and the recent launch of the Philippine Plan of Action to End Violence Against Children (PPAEVAC), the  2017-2022 which translates the findings of the 2015 Philippine National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children (NBS-VAC) into specific action.

The focus and theme of this year’s celebration are aligned with the key strategies of PPAEVAC to end violence against children in the Philippines. As approved by the Council Board in its Special Meeting conducted on 07 June 2018, the 2018 NCM focuses on positive parenting, with the theme “Isulong: Tamang Pag-Aaruga Para Sa Lahat Ng Bata.”

The year’s celebration aims to advocate building a safe, nurturing and protective environment for children through positive parenting among parents, guardians, caregivers and teachers. Specifically, it aims to: increase awareness on the importance of positive parenting and positive discipline; increase knowledge of parents/caregivers on how to handle or educate their children while in the cyberspace; intensify the advocacy of Positive Discipline in Classrooms responsive to the needs of the learners; strengthen the integration of appropriate classroom dynamics in daily teaching; provide space for children’s participation in legislative advocacy; push for the passage of the Positive Discipline Bill; and celebrate gains and successes on child rights promotion and protection of the country.

The key message in celebration of the 2018 National Children’s Month is Violence Against Children (VAC) is universal and it occurs across socio-economic status. VAC prevalence survey in the Philippines shows a high overall prevalence of 80% with 3 in 5 children experience physical violence, with more than half of this happening at home. Most common cases of violence at home are corporal punishment committed by parents and siblings.

In the VAC prevalence survey there 3 in 5 children experience psychological violence in the forms of verbal abuse, threats, or neglect. 1 in 5 children below age 18 have experienced sexual violence while growing up. The common perpetrators of sexual violence are brothers or cousins while 2 in 5 children experience violence online, whether sexual violence or cyber bullying. In schools, the prevalence of violence is almost equally disturbing and more than half experienced at least 2 types of abuse.

Basing on the the Systematic Literature Review of the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children in the Philippines showed that violent discipline is the most frequent form of violence against children in the home, driven by factors including social norms around the use of and effectiveness of discipline, authoritarian parenting, and parents’ level of education. Also, the lack of supervision, single headed household and absent parents increases the vulnerability of children to sexual violence at home. Emotional violence from parents increases children’s negative behavior, which increases their risk of experiencing violent discipline and perpetrating aggressive behavior towards others.

In addition, parenting practices that include the use of coercion, threats, insults, and a frightening tone increase the risk of child maltreatment and set the state for similar patterns of behavior in parent/child and other relationship. Experiencing childhood or familial sexual violence is also a driver of all forms of intimate partner violence victimization for females. Experiencing or being exposed to violence in the home also increases the risk that children will use or experience violence against partners, peers and family members.

Proven strategies to prevent children violence include enhancing individual capabilities of parents, caregivers and children; embedding violence prevention in institutions and services and eliminating root causes of violence.

According to the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), there are efforts towards ending VAC should be well promoted and accelerated. These are the promotion of positive parenting and positive discipline; changing cultural practices that contribute to VAC, including the elimination of corporal punishment; promoting non-violent values, communication and relationship with children; building the skills of parents and caregivers in non-violent discipline, problem-solving and conflict resolution; respecting the whole child and their family, their dignity, and their development needs and increasing awareness of children’s rights.

To gather and grant wishes of child laborers, Children At Risk and the children of Ucab, Itogon, Benguet, the Department of Labor and Employment – Cordillera Administrative Region (DOLE-CAR) together with its social partners once again launched it’s “Project Angel Tree: Lapis, Papel at iba pa”. We believe that Education is a crucial component of any effective effort to eliminate child labor, working children and children at risk.

In our continuing efforts to provide the educational needs of the school children of Ucab Elementary School in Ucab, Itogon  and Tabu Elementary School in Dalupirip, Itogon, you may donate school supplies, books and other children’s needs through the “Project Angel Tree: Lapis, Papel at iba pa”. You can bring your donation to the DOLE-CAR Regional Office at no. 1 Cabinet Hill, Baguio City; Club House of the Rotary Club of Baguio Summer Capital at PSD Café, University of Baguio, Gen. Luna Road, Baguio City and at the Baguio Midland Courier Office, 16 Kisad Road, Baguio City or contact DOLE CAR at 443-5339, 443-5338 or email us at dolecar88@yahoo.com.

For the past four years, this continuing project is being sponsored by the Rotary Club of Baguio Summer Capital (RCBSC); JCI Baguio Sunflower; Baguio Lodge No. 67 of the Free and Accepted Masons; SLU Boys High Ocho Tres; University of the Philippines Baguio NAMNAMA;  SLULES 79ers; Baguio Midland Courier, ABS-CBN; JOMARCANN General Construction; Hotel Supreme; PUGAD “PUGO ADVENTURE”; GMT Interlink; SITEL, Le Vain Bakery; BHM Construction; United Korean Community Association in the Philippines-Northern Luzon; United Architects of the Philippines-Baguio Benguet Chapter; RIMATYRE Construction Services and our government partners: Regional Inter-Agency Against Trafficking (RIACAT-CAR); CIDG-CAR; DSWD-CAR; DOH-CAR;PRO-COR; DEPED-CAR; NBI-CAR; City Government of Baguio; and DOLE Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) member agencies and the Philippine Information Agency.

END/Patrick T Rillorta