MALATE, MANILA — In partnership with Stairway Foundation, Inc. (SFI), the DSWD MIMAROPA Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) trained 63 Parent Leaders and re-oriented 22 Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) officers and staff on cybersafety and introduced forms of child sexual abuse through a virtual learning session held last January 26 and 27.

The training on cybersafety and child sexual abuse prevention aims to teach the parents ways to protect their children against online and offline sexual abuse and identify practices and approaches which they can share with their families, especially to their children.

Sobra po akong natutuwa dahil bilang isang Parent Leader at kawani ng baranggay na naghahawak sa VAWC desk, marami po akong natutunan. Magagamit ko po ang mga natutunan ko sa ating training”, said by Rhodora Montero, Parent Leader from Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.

The MSWDO officers and staff have also joined the learning session to reorient them about their roles in the case management and referral pathways on child sexual abuse and exploitation happening among the 4Ps beneficiaries in the region.

According to Joselyn Matimtim, MSWD staff from Mogpog, Mariduque, the training helped her refresh her knowledge about the different types of touches and the process of grooming which will lead to child sexual abuse and exploitation.

“With the aim to spread awareness and reach out to as many children and adults as possible, we have continued to partner with key organizations within the government. Our partnership with the DSWD Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program MIMAROPA has been a continuous process of exploration, dialogue, consultation, and collaboration at different levels”, mentioned by Grace Esteban, Program Manager of SFI.

The training on cybersafety and child sexual abuse prevention is a part of the Break the Silence (BTS) campaign launched by SFI that aims to prevent and stop abuse and sexual exploitation among children across the country.

“Our partnership with SFI is a shared goal where we both aim to decrease gender-based violence cases in our region, specifically among our Pantawid beneficiaries. We did this training to teach them basic cyber safety techniques for the safety of their child at home while using the internet or any online platform given the pandemic situation. Through our parent leaders, we orient them ways so we can prevent child sexual abuse and promote cybersafety. This is just in time as our education system has explored online learning due to the pandemic and this has resulted in more time a child uses his/her gadget. We do not want an environment where children are afraid to report abuse and parents ignoring signs of abuse, online and offline. We want prevention as early as now that is why we start with educating them”, said Angelique Lorraine Sumera, Regional Gender and Development Focal of Pantawid MIMAROPA.

Meanwhile, there are 24 cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation recorded in 2020 in the region. ###

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