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Philippine News Digest 89

November 10, 2006 · 

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Contents:
1. Victims of child abuse lured thru text messaging
2. Amnesty calls on governments, IT companies to stop online repression
3. Woman says daughter held for prostitution

Victims of child abuse lured thru text messaging
First posted 03:29am (Mla time) Nov 07, 2006
By Margaux Ortiz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Editor’s Note: Published on page A4 of the November 7, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

PERPETRATORS of child abuse have become more wily, using the latest technology to victimize vulnerable minors. According to Dr. Irene Baluyot, associate director for research and publications of the Child Protection Unit (CPU) Network, there has been an alarming increase in the number of child abuse victims lured through text messaging.

“We never thought there would be a trend like this three years ago,” Baluyot told the Inquirer in an interview during the “Child Abuse Prevention Year” launch at the Asilo de San Vicente de Paul in Manila yesterday. Baluyot said the perpetrators usually got the numbers of their victims — usually teenagers — from television programs featuring “text chat rooms” or through random text messaging.

“The victim would then meet up with her textmate — who she thinks is a fellow high school student — and end up being abused by an adult male,” said Baluyot, a child protection specialist at the Philippine General Hospital’s Child Protection Unit.

Baluyot said sexual abuse through text messaging and the Internet was among the top priorities of their public awareness campaign in the coming year to emphasize the dangers of child abuse.

Arroyo rallies nation vs child abuse
First posted 01:43pm (Mla time) Nov 06, 2006
By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
INQ7.net

SAYING it is time to take concrete steps to protect the health and welfare of children, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Monday called on the nation to help prevent the abuse and maltreatment of children.

At the launch of Child Abuse Prevention Year, Arroyo said her administration’s fight against poverty should go hand in hand with the campaign to protect the children from abuse and maltreatment since many of the victims are from poor families.

“I ask our partners to put the anti-child abuse campaign squarely in the context of our larger war against poverty,” she said in a speech during the launching at the Asilo de San Vicente de Paul on United Nation Avenue in Manila. “Let us vow not, with words but with deeds, to serve our nation’s future and therefore ensure the security of our children,” she said.

On September 8, Arroyo signed Proclamation 1137 declaring October 2006 to 2007 as “Child Abuse Prevention Year.” The proclamation is part of the advocacy of the Child Protection Unit Network and the UP-PGH (University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital) Child Protection Unit.

Statistics from the Department of Social Welfare and Development show that from 1998 to 2002, more than 40,000 cases of child abuse have been registered.

Children’s group leads fight against abuse
First posted 03:39:22 (Mla time) November 07, 2006
Tina Arceo-Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer

IT WAS SUPPOSED to be the happiest time of the year for 15-year-old Anna Saavedra (not her real name) of Barangay Bagong Silang in Caloocan City. But that Christmas of 2004 turned out to be her worst.

It was about 8 p.m. and Saavedra said she had just come home after being out with a friend. Her mother met her by the door and slapped her repeatedly, yanked her by the hair, beat her legs with a broom handle, all the while screaming at her for not asking for permission to be out that late.

Saavedra begged her mother to stop, saying she did ask for permission. Her entreaties fell on deaf ears. Her mother’s anger eventually subsided, Saavedra’s bruises disappeared, but the episode left permanent welts on her spirit.

Recounting the incident to the Inquirer, Saavedra said she kept her hurt feelings to herself, thinking that the physical treatment was just one of the ways parents disciplined their children.

Her world changed
Saavedra’s thinking changed when she joined the Children and Youth Organization (CYO), the first children’s organization in an urban poor community focused on upholding the rights of children.

It was during the training and seminars provided by the Save the Children Sweden in the Philippines that Saavedra first came across the term “children’s rights” and realized that spanking, hitting and other acts of abuse were forms of corporal punishment that should not be tolerated.

Such treatment is painful and demoralizing for children, considering that it is inflicted on them by parents, elder brothers and sisters, and relatives who are supposed to love them, SCS program officer Minerva Cabiles said.

Family violence
Cabiles cited a 1997 Department of Health report from 12 hospitals in Metro Manila which showed that more than half of the 662 admissions were related to family violence. Exactly 1,615 similar cases were reported by regional hospitals.

Little has changed after almost a decade.
A 2005 SCS report, titled “Comparative Research on the Physical and Emotional

Punishment of Children in Southeast Asia Pacific,” showed that 82 percent of the children interviewed in the Philippines said they were physically punished, with spanking as the most common method.

Parents main perpetrators
Corporal punishment is defined as an act where an adult uses force to inflict physical and emotional pain or suffering on a child. This is often done after a perceived act of disrespect for or disobedience to the parents or people in charge of a child’s care.

The Child Protection Unit of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital noted that the parents were the main perpetrators of physical abuse in cases reported from 1997 to 2000.

Corporal punishment in Asia ranges from the “mild” — slapping, shoving or spanking — to the “severe,” which includes scalding, burning, poisoning, stabbing or suffocating.

Fight will go on
The campaign to help abused children should get a boost with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s declaration of 2006-07 as the Child Abuse Prevention Year yesterday. [End]

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