THE overseas Filipino worker (OFW) mother of the two-year-old child who died from battering arrived home Saturday to bury the son whom she left in the care of her nephew and the nephew's wife while she worked abroad to provide for the family.
This developed as Davao City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) chief Malou Bermudo appealed to residents to seek assistance whenever they notice child abuse going on.
Read: Toddler battered to death in Davao
"Ang makasakit ani kay daghan nakadungog nga silingan (What hurts most is that the neighbors heard the boy's cries)," she said at the sidelines of the 46th anniversary celebration of Boys Town Davao in Ma-a, Davao City Monday. The victim, Earl John Cagalitan, died last November 15.
"Naa na man unta ta'y mga ready assistance, naay 911, naay hotline and we have the Kean Gabriel Hotline (We have the rescue facilities, we have the Central 911)," she said, adding that just last week they were able to rescue another toddler from abusive parents because neighbors called the hotline.
"Pagkabana lang gyud (We need people's concern)," Bermudo said when asked what else the city needs to make the hotlines for child abuse save more children. Neighbors who know of such incidents must call as soon as possible, assuring that any information on the identity of the one who reports will be kept confidential.
Bermudo said they are still hoping to talk with the mother, Erlinda, for Earl John's burial.
"Dili pa man gud maka-istorya ang mama kay bag-ong abot lagi," Bermudo said.
From the autopsy report on John Earl, the boy was killed by his adult cousins, couple Ronilo and Sara Jane Alca-in. It was apparent that the boy was regularly beaten up contrary to Ronilo's claim that he rarely punished the boy.
"Buhok lang talaga nya ang walang marka, pati sa lapa-lapa (He bore bruises all over his body, including the soles of his feet)," Bermudo said.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio had just launched the Kean Gabriel Hotline (0908-8184444) that operates 24/7 to address at once the cases of children who are victims of abuses, following the death of Kean Gabriel Agustin, who was beaten up with a wood after being placed inside a sack by his 21-year-old stepfather Sonny Boy Mendoza. Mendoza and Kean's mother Grace Gilaga Agustin are now facing trial for the boy's death. Kean Gabriel just turned four when he died.
The offices involved in the hotline are the Integrated Gender Development Division, the City Health Office, Central 911, the Philippine National Police and the Children Center of CSSDO.
The team will join forces and will be dispatched to rescue the abused children. The hotline is under the Quick Response Team for Children Center of CSSDO.
President Rodrigo Duterte, meanwhile, said he will bring up the rising number of child abuse cases to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) when he returns from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit 2016 in Lima, Peru.
"I will talk to DSWD when I come back. I might (have) really overlooked these things," he said during his departure at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport for the Apec meeting.
"This is really disturbing for human being who cannot defend himself to die in a brutal manner through negligence. We'll have to do something," Duterte said.