DSWD rescues child on a leash
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has taken into custody the young boy who was treated like a dog by his mother (READ: DSWD investigates viral photos of child on leash)
At noon on Tuesday, May 26, a psychologist and a social worker went to the house where the boy lived and talked to his parents and relatives, DSWD Director Joel Espejo told Rappler in a phone interview.
"Pumayag din sila sa paliwanag ng social worker na sumama yung bata at ilagay sa isang DSWD center (They eventually agreed to put the child under DSWD's care in a facility)," Espejo said.
The child, about 3 to 4 years old, is now under the care of the Reception and Study Center for Children (RSCC) in Bataan.
Espejo also said DSWD will continue to assess the psychological condition of the mother who photographed her naked son on a leash, being fed with what appeared to look like dog food. DSWD will also evaluate the mother’s capacity to take care of the child.
DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman and Justice Secretary Leila De Lima earlier said the mother may face child abuse raps.
"If proven authentic, then we are looking at a case of gross child abuse which is punishable under RA 7610 (Anti-Child Abuse Law),” said De Lima in a previous text message to reporters.
In a statement sent to Rappler, Soliman said, “Walang karapatan ang sino man na paglaruan ang isang bata. Ang sinumang gagawa nito maski mga sariling magulang ay [maaaring] maparusahan sa ilalim ng batas (No one has the right to treat a child like a toy. Whoever does this can be punished under the law).”
Stop making photos viral
The DSWD official also called on the public to stop circulating the photos of the child which was originally posted on Facebook.
"Please help stop making it viral as it might traumatize the child as he grows up," Espejo said.
The controversial photos angered thousands of people online, prompting the DSWD to immediately find and rescue the child. – with reports from Mara Cepeda/Rappler.com
Editor's note: We previously used a background file photo of a Reception and Study Center for Children in Zamboanga, which had nothing to do with the story. We apologize for the error and have made the necessary correction.