In celebration of the 31st Universal Children’s Day, PWC of Davao in partnership with the Mindanao Coalition for Children’s Rights and Mindanao Peace Council hosted a Webinar on Upholding the Rights of Children during the Pandemic last November 20, 2020 at 1:00-3:00 pm via ZOOM.
The Universal Children’s Day was first established in 1954 and has since then been celebrated every November 20 to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare. The UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and eventually adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.
As children worldwide have stopped going to school due to the pandemic, a surge in global child abuse has been reported. Ironically, while health protocols emphasize on staying at home, it may be equally as threatening to children as parents and other adults face heightened stress and anxiety from unemployment, social isolation, and other preexisting issues. Moreover, children get to spend more time online, putting them at risk to bullying, online exploitation, and other crimes targeted on children.
As an educational institution committed to uplift the rights and welfare of the children, PWC of Davao collaborated with the MCCR and MPC in bringing together key speakers from relevant organizations to shed light on the issue.
Ms. Raissa Rose Jalalon of the Comission on Human Rights (CHR) XI led the discussion on the history of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the 10 rights of the children, and laws for their protection.
Police Major Eliza Coralde-Ramirez, Chief of Women and Children Protection Desk of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO), tackled cybercrime awareness and internet safety, emphasizing caution in interacting with people met over the internet.
Further, Health Promotion Officer Ms. Priscilla Senoc from the City Health Office delivered a talk on the physical and mental struggles of children during the pandemic, including the increased risk of abuse or exposure to stressful situations at home. She called for parents and guardians to be vigilant towards the condition of children and provide them the emotional support they may need to cope with change.
Lastly, PWC chancellor Prof. Vicente Antonio V. Pijano III shared PWC’s initiatives centered on the students’ well-being including guidance counseling services, flexible class schedules, and special training for teachers to conduct a student-centered approach in distance learning.
Participants from 11 cities and municipalities across Mindanao attended the webinar, with 38 government and non-government organizations registered.
“Children themselves should be made aware of their rights for them to acknowledge their responsibilities, “ shared PWC Institutional Community Extension Services Head Mr. Paolo Gaudencio S. Naval in a post-event interview, “in these uncertain times, what they can do is to stay diligent in their studies, help their parents out, and participate in order to empower their voices.”
ICES in-charge for the Basic Education Department Mr. Willie S. Lim further stressed on the threats that come with increased internet usage: “Always be careful in engaging online as we know that the internet is not free from abuses. Stay vigilant and seek guidance from guardians.”
As part of its efforts to contribute to ensuring children’s welfare, PWC ICES is currently gearing up for the Padayon Skwela, Luwas Skwela program which aims to aid 3 adopted schools in the delivery of quality education amidst the health crisis.