Vloggers, content creators told: Refrain from interviewing child victims of disasters

Children are among those evacuated at Barangay Masara in Maco, Davao de Oro after a tragic landslide occured in the area on Tuesday evening, February 6.
Children are among those evacuated at Barangay Masara in Maco, Davao de Oro after a tragic landslide occured in the area on Tuesday evening, February 6.Davao de Oro Vice Gov. Tyron Uy/Facebook

AN OFFICIAL from the Regional Sub-Committee for the Welfare of Children (RSCWC) reminded community broadcasters, vloggers, and content creators to refrain from interviewing children who are victims of disasters as they are still traumatized by the incident.

Renee Boy Binondo, regional coordinator of RSCWC, said during the Kapehan sa Dabaw, on Monday, February 19, 2024, at SM Ecoland, that vloggers and social media content creators are usually the ones who do this.  

"We'd like to remind that these children suffered trauma, loss of life, and we would not want to keep on repeating [it to them]," he said. 

Binondo added that when covering about children, it is important to think of their general welfare, thus they should not be harmed in any way. Interviewing children and informing the public of their situation must be in good faith and must help them instead of harming them. 

He explained that the videos of these children that will be uploaded online will be forever present in the online sphere. When the child matures these videos, which can be easily searched online, may affect their mental and psychosocial health. 

The trauma of these children will not emerge immediately, he said. 

Binondo also emphasized that even rescuers' trauma emerges two to three years in the future which is why they are also subjected to debriefing. 

He then emphasized that Data Privacy Law, Child Abuse Law, as well as other laws concerning children, are applicable whether online or offline or even in an emergency setting.  

“Kato gyud naa sa baba sa public, sa barangay, bisag kinsa lang naman gyud ang pwedeng mo-interview unya mawala ang protocol and we are very much concerned because of this (Those in the ground, in the public, the barangay since anyone can conduct interviews and often protocols are forgotten and we are very much concerned because of this),” he said.

In times of emergency, people must observe the Republic Act (RA) 10121 otherwise known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010. However, Binondo stressed that people should also take into account the full implementation of RA 10821 or the Children’s Emergency Relief Protection Act which declares that the state must “protect the fundamental rights of children before, during, and after disasters and other emergency situations when children are gravely threatened or endangered by circumstances that affect their survival and normal development.”    

He said that RA 10821 is not often followed in some areas specifically in media coverage. In response to the rising concerns of coverage of children, the office is looking at the comprehensive emergency program for children incorporated in the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (LDRRM) Plan to monitor whether this is being implemented by the Local Government Unit (LGU). 

Binondo also stressed that evacuation centers should be child-friendly to prevent child abuse, exploitation, and other harmful circumstances. He said that they are also localizing the four main pillars of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which are the right to survival, the right to protection, the right to development, and the right to participation including education. 

He said they are looking into conducting a media workshop on covering children online, where they would discuss the current media trends and mainstream child protection. RGP


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