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Give our children better lives

01:56 AM June 13, 2015

Social media recently exposed a horrible case of child abuse when a mother posted in her Facebook account a picture of her child being treated like a dog—tied in the neck and made to crawl like a puppy eating from a bowl.

It is inconceivable that a mother would totally forget that her child is not to be treated like an animal, and certainly not before the public eye on social media.

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The mother totally forgot that her child must be taken care of, not laughed at; cuddled and protected, not exploited; and that her child is a precious gift from God.

This posting became viral and elicited negative comments nationwide. Whatever the mother’s purpose was for posting it, only she knows.

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There are laws on children which apparently the mother in the recent news is not aware of. Two of these laws are Presidential Decree No. 603 (The Child and Youth Welfare Code) and Republic Act No. 7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act).

Article 3(8) of PD 603 states that: “Every child has the right to protection against exploitation, improper influences, hazards and other conditions or circumstances prejudicial to his physical, mental, emotional, social and moral development.”

Article 1, Sec. 3 of RA 7610 states that: “Child Abuse refers to the maltreatment, whether habitual or not, of the child which includes any of the following:

“1. Psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment;

“2. Any act by deeds or words which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being…”

No mother in her normal senses would do any such act that would harm her own child. A mother’s instinct is to protect, not to harm or hurt, a child. But apparently incidents of mothers or fathers hurting their children are all too common in society.

What can be done about this? Parents or soon-to-be-parents should be educated on laws that protect children against exploitation, humiliation and any form of harm.

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In order that education is driven to as many homes as possible, government must mobilize the barangays in advocating effective parenting. In this aspect, government should strengthen the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children. It should adopt at the barangay level programs and services that can help parents understand more parenting responsibilities.

Credit should also be given to social media for exposing these inhuman acts against children. But government must address these current trends and incidents of child abuse and exploitation. For this purpose, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Education and the Department of Interior and Local Government, in particular, should work closely in coordination and collaboration with each other.

This should be the focus and priority of government, for if we give our children a better life and environment now, we give our country a better tomorrow.

—GWEN PIMENTEL-GANA, president, Association of Child Caring Agencies of the Philippines, [email protected]

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TAGS: abuse, children, exploitation
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