IT STANDS true to its name. The Kapuso Network once again manifested its concern for the vulnerable sector, extending its assistance to the City Government's massive campaign against child abuse.
"We congratulate Mayor Inday Sara Duterte for creating the Kean Gabriel Hotline and for paving the way for the public to be more vigilant against child neglect and abuse," GMA Regional TV Department officer-in-charge Oliver Amoroso said during the signing of the memorandum of agreement, formalizing the partnership between the city government and GMA Network at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao Friday afternoon.
"We are also honored that the city mayor chose GMA Davao as the first local station to have this partnership. GMA fully supports any initiative that protects and upholds the rights of a child," Amoroso added.
The partnership is expected to help strengthen the City Government's fight against child violence.
The Kean Gabriel Hotline is a brainchild of the city mayor in memory of Kean Gabriel Agustin, a four-year-old child who died of abuse in the hands of his guardian in August 2016. The incident exposed the violence, neglect, and possible death children in Davao City face under those who are supposed to keep them safe.
"Through this partnership, we aim to help the City Government of Davao communicate to the public the importance of the community's involvement in protecting our children," GMA Davao station manager Mariles Puentevella said.
"All of us are responsible in ensuring that our children grow up in an environment that is conducive to their well-being,” she added.
By calling or texting the number 0908-818-4444, the "Kean Gabriel Hotline" encourages the public to report cases of child abuse and neglect to the authorities. Since its launch in 2016, the 24/7 hotline has already received 84 reports and was able to rescue 61 children.
At the MOA signing, Mayor Sara explained that the hotline operates 24/7 and the center is run by social workers, lawyers, police officers, and other professionals who are trained to conduct the most needed interventions, including rescue.
She said abused children rescued through the hotline are temporarily housed at the center while given the needed assistance.
"The reason why we are here today is because of Kean Gabriel and the many faceless and nameless children like him," she said in her speech before the MOA signing.
"Kean Gabriel died last year. But he did not just die. He was killed. He was killed by an angry, violent stepfather who forced him inside a sack, struck him repeatedly until he died without getting any help — not even from his own mother. It was the kind of death that shows the dark side of the human heart," she said.
"We do not wish to just accept his death or child abuse as just another fact of life. Kean's tragic death betrayed the urgent need to confront the violence experienced by hapless children in their homes -- from the hands of the very people who are supposed to provide them with care and love," she added.
This is basically the reason that prompted her to establish the hotline.
"We were guided by the objective to provide immediate help to children who are victims of abuse and neglect from their own parents or guardians," she said.
"We have taken a stride in this campaign. And we intend to continue because we are inspired by the support that we get from institutions like GMA. This partnership means so much not only for us, but for many children like Kean Gabriel, who need our help, compassion, and love," she pointed out.