Tuesday July 17, 2018

Editorial: Protecting the child

A WEEK since the launching last October 28 of the Kean Gabriel Hotline for abused children Quick Response Team for Children Center of the City Social Services and Development Office (QRTCC-CSSDO) Head Juenalyn Pablo said they already rescued and intervened for seven children aged between 7-12.

The Kean Gabriel Hotline is: 0908-8184444, with the number deliberately including four number fours because Kean Gabriel just turned four when he died through corporal punishment by his 21-year-old father.

Of the seven children reported to the hotline, two were rescued after a concerned citizen called to report that the children were being caged in their house while their parents are away to work.

One other case involved a seven-year-old child who was reportedly carrying a knife while his parents were not present.

All seven cases did not involve physical abuse, but were more of parental neglect in nature.

That the fact that public did pick up the phone and called for help is already a positive sign of concern for the community.

“We have received calls which mean that the public is making a move to help victims of abuse,” Pablo said.

Several years back, we had the ABS-CBN’s Bantay Bata 163 that people called whenever there are cases of child abuse in their neighborhood. It was constantly advertised on TV raising an awareness that saw the need for the establishment of a children’s home.

The children’s home has been closed in September 2013, but the rescue and referral services continue. Awareness of the 163 hotline has apparently waned, thus the Kean Gabriel Hotline is a welcome development. It’s always good to have a hotline that people are aware of, especially because, children are incapable of defending themselves especially when the abuse is from their elders.

With the hotline set up and the public responding, it is hoped that this initiative will be sustained throughout the years. It might even be better if Central 911 just has a special child concerns section considering that Central 911 runs a well-oiled and well-trained machinery.