MANILA, June 1, 2017 -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as the chair of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) this 2017, supports the plan to strengthen and develop new initiatives to address concerns on violence against children (VAC), including issues on cyberbullying and sexual exploitation.
“We recognize the need for the ASEAN to work as a collective unit to combat all forms of violence against children. This includes not only governments of ASEAN member-states but also civil society organizations (CSOs) and the children themselves,” said DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo.
On June 6-8, the Department will lead the Seventh (7th) Cross Regional Meeting on Violence Against Children in Manila which aims to gather recommendations and identify opportunities for cooperation at the regional and international level, to end VAC.
The meeting will focus on the theme, “Placing Children at the Heart of the Sustainable Development Agenda: Mainstreaming Children’s Protection from Violence” and will be spearheaded by H.E. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General for the ASCC; Madame Marta Santos Pais, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children (SRSG); and, Secretary Taguiwalo, the Philippine leader to the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (AMMSWD).
Aside from the regional organizations, regional and international NGOs, chairs of relevant ASEAN sectoral bodies, and the Republic of Korea, the event intends to mainstream the voices of children in the agenda through a children's parallel session where child representatives and adult mentors from the 10 ASEAN Member States and the Republic of Korea, will take part in the official discussions by presenting their recommendations on how to eliminate VAC.
“Admittedly, there are not many events that allow children to participate in inter-government meetings and this activity is a good opportunity to hear their voices and allow them to speak about policies and programs that affect their safety and welfare,” the social welfare chief said.
“Through the cross-regional meeting, we hope to pursue stronger initiatives to combat transnational crimes affecting children such as child labor, trafficking, sexual exploitation, and pornography. We need to create an enabling environment where the rights of children are upheld and protected. This includes measures to lessen or eliminate discrimination and violence based on nationality, race, gender, language, religion, economic status, disability, or background,” she added.
Lastly, Sec. Taguiwalo said, “Our goal must always be geared towards the achievement of just and lasting peace where our children and the future generation are able to live safer lives, free from any form of violence, inequality, and discrimination.” (DSWD)