The crucial role of barangay council for the protection of children in the midst of COVID-19

It’s important that children know how to report incidents of abuse and they have access to child-friendly reporting. It is equally important that those who receive these information know how to respond so that reports are given appropriate action by duty-bearers and service providers.

When Yvonie, a World Vision community leader and child monitor heard about a family issue that ended into physical fight, she wasted no time.

“It involved a child and we had to take immediate action,” she shares.

She then went to the barangay through the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) and reported the incident. BCPC is in charge of planning and implementing activities on child protection at the barangay level and is composed of the punong barangay (village chief) as chair, chair of the committees on health, education and family, barangay secretary, a child representative and concerned government agencies.

 

Preventing child abuse in the midst of COVID-19

With the imposed community quarantine in most areas in the country due to the pandemic, children are vulnerable to the secondary impact of the disease, including abuse. The 2016 National Baseline Survey on Violence Against Children in the Philippines revealed that three out five children have experienced any form of physical abuse, more than half of the cases happened at home. The report further said that “one in two received corporal punishments in the home such as spanking with bare hand, rolled paper or small stick, and pulling the hair, pinching or twisting of ears”.

“The child said that he received spanking and verbal abuse from his mother,” says Yvonie.

“Now that families have limited mobility due to community quarantine, such cases could increase. It’s good that for this incident, the BCPC immediately resopnded,” share Rubylyn Gonzaga, World Vision’s Program Manager in Mindanao.

The issue has so far been referred to the social welfare department. Both mother and child have received counselling.

“I’m glad this has been resolved before it got worse. It’s really necessary that everyone in the village knows how to report such cases. I’m thankful that I received that training from World Vision,” she says.

World Vision has been working in the community for 20 years now. Aside from supporting different development programs in the area, the organization has also put child protection at the core of its work, working alongside village leaders to strengthen BCPC, capacitating community and child leaders on child protection.