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NorMin fosters women, children protection amid contagion

Ensuring women and children’s protection amid the coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 contagion, the regional committees on ending violence against women, juvenile justice and children’s welfare bared various activities during the Talakayan sa PIA, November 25.

With the theme, “Kabataan, kababayenhan protektado ka sa panahon sa pandemya,” Talakayan sa PIA underscored online activities of the Regional Inter-Agency Committee Against Trafficking, Child Pornography, Violence against Women and their Children (RIACAT-CP-VAWC), Regional Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (RJJWC), and Regional Committee for the Welfare of Children (RCWC) in northern Mindanao that also targets to uphold the rights of women and children. 

VAW initiatives amid the new normal

In observance of the 18-Day Campaign to End VAW, RIACAT-CP-VAWC rallies with the government’s goal of protecting the human rights of women and girls by ratifying its commitment to answer all forms of gender-based violence in the region and promote awareness, information, and services on VAW prevention and response.

“To empower our women, our committee is conducting advocacy campaigns especially to the victims, as we work hand in hand with other government agencies and LGUs,” Marylou L. Aniñon, lead secretariat of RIACAT-CP-VAWC-10 said, emphasizing the importance of the 18-day campaign and showing visibility.

Further, as the COVID-19 pandemic limits physical interaction and mass gatherings due to health safety protocols, the committee focuses on augmenting its barangay VAW desks. 

Such targets to bolstering local support mechanisms like providing local barangay officials the required competencies, and boosting information dissemination using  tri-media to gather public support for the campaign.

Further, RCWC Technical Staff Rhea Jane A. Camanga said, “The DSWD has provided technical assistance and resource augmentation and this is continuing despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Upon assessment, we found that LGUs are compliant and have established VAWC desks per barangay.”

Alongside community-based programs, Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) Team Leader for Cagayan de Oro City and Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL) Focal Person Edgar G. Requilme emphasized the importance of empowering VAWC survivors when it comes to filing complaints against their perpetrators through counseling and community support.

In the circumstances where-in VAWC victims are still not prepared to ask for help from their barangay VAWC help desks or authorities, Aniñon said they have VAWC hotlines so victims can call for advice, consultation, and support instead.

“Break the silence. To my fellow my sisters, let us break the chain of violence, you are not alone in this fight, we, the DSWD are one with you and are working for your protection, don’t be afraid to approach us or call our hotlines, we are here for the protection of women and children, ” Aniñon said. 

Emphasizing children’s rights amid pandemic

Giving updates on the region’s juvenile delinquency in light of its annual Children’s month celebrations, RJJWC Team Leader Ronnie G. Barros said their theme for the 9th JJ week celebration is “Karapatan ng Bawat Bata sa Panahon ng Pandemya Siguruhin, Pagpapatupad ng Juvenile Justice law Paigtinin.”

To discourage the youth from committing illegal acts especially with the new normal disrupting usual economic mechanisms, Camanga said they have intensified public awareness for the rights of children in communities, and are institutionalizing barangays and LGUs to make them more child-friendly.

As for protecting children through shelters for CICLs, Barros said, “We only have a few cases here since we have challenges in bringing them there, however, we have done steps for community-based rehabilitation especially in this pandemic.”

On upholding children’s rights during the pandemic, the RCWC aims to continue its initiatives in providing protection and support for the youth in compliance with the national and local directives of Proclamation No.929 from the Office of the President.

Thus, they participated in the national kick-off led by DSWD Central Office, November 3, conducted webinars shared in social media pages and disseminated to the local government units (LGUs), and granted radio guesting that highlight youth development and protection.
“Let’s support our activities of our partner agencies and RCWC to promote the protection and rights of women and children. In compliance with the new normal, let us support them by sharing our advocacies in social media,” Camanga added.

The 18-Day Campaign to End VAW is observed through the country, November 25 to December 12. (VPSB/PIA10)

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