by Samuel P. Medenilla
Children of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), are more prone to suffering abuses at home, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Citing a report from the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Council for the Welfare of Children, Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre III said migration is one the drivers of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse for children.
Unicef’s National Baseline on the Study on Violence Against Children: Philippines was conducted in 2015, but was only published during the last quarter of 2016.
It showed 80 percent of the 3,866 child respondents from 172 baranggays nationwide experienced some form of violence in their life time.
Migration is one of the factors identified as the main contributor of this trend.
“We were quite alarmed by the results of the study on violence against children,” Bello said.
With no parents to protect and guide, the children, Labor undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad III said, become a “collateral damage” of migration.
“There are about 10 million Filipinos fly out of the country. And if you imagine the number of children that would be left because of the kind of work opportunity abroad, the high possibility of abuse will be there…Maybe through a direct effort or even through negligence,” Lagunzad said in a press conference yesterday.
To address the issue, DOLE and OWWA together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOA) yesterday to launch a nationwide anti-child abuse campaign for the children of OFWs.
The campaign is expected to be piloted in the Davao Region by March.
DOJ assistant secretary Aimee Neri said the new initiative will help in the implementation of country’s anti-child abuse laws
“We have sufficient laws on child protection…Philippine is among the countries in Asia that has good laws on child protection…it is only a matter of enforcing them,” Neri said.
For her part, DSWD Mae Templa urged the government to conduct additional study on the impact of migration for children so they could be provided the needed support.