Mother caught slapping baby, DSWD vows action

Fritzie Rodriguez
The DSWD says it already sent a social worker to assess the condition of both the mother and child

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Could you ever slap a baby?

A woman slapping her baby right across the face was caught on video and posted on social media. The Facebook post quickly went viral, drawing shock and disgust from Filipino netizens.

The mother and child were both lying on a hospital bed.

Rappler contacted the office of Welfare Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman on Saturday, August 22, and was told that a social worker was already “sent to check on the status of the mother and the child.”

As of Saturday, the DSWD told Rappler that the situation is currently being handled by the Pasay City Social Welfare and Development Office.

The baby will be taken to a center managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), while social workers search for a relative who could eventually take care of the child. Meanwhile, the mother will be provided with counselling. According to Soliman, the young mother may be experiencing post-partum depression.

It is important to let the youth understand that if they enter into a relationship, they should first understand that parenthood is a great responsibility, Soliman added.

PH laws on children

Child abuse is punishable by law, with greater penalties if the perpetrators are the parents themselves. 

The Philippines has a lot of laws protecting children, but the problem lies with implementation and information dissemination, advocates say. It would seem that not all parents are aware of the rights and needs of their children. At the same time, children must be taught what constitutes abuse.

In 1992, the Philippines enacted Republic Act 7610, a national law protecting children from all forms of abuse, exploitation, and discrimination. 

The law also states that the government should intervene whenever a parent or guardian “fails or is unable to protect the child.”

In 2014, the DSWD reported more than 4,000 cases of child abuse nationwide, with incidents involving infants. Nearly 9% of all cases were concentrated on physical abuse and maltreatment. 

The Philippines also has separate laws protecting children from violence, trafficking, and labor. Police stations are expected to have child protection desks, while courts are encouraged to have a child-friendly environment. Children may also avail of protection orders from their abusers.

Aside from local laws, the rights of Filipino children are also protected under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. No one, not even parents, are above this universal agreement.

Report abuse

Staying indifferent is just as bad, advocates argue, calling on Filipinos to report cases of child abuse – even if they are not directly related to the child. 

Chid abuse cases may be reported to the DSWD, barangay offices, the police, or other concerned agencies or non-governmental organizations working on children’s welfare. 

The children themselves may file the complaint, or on their behalf, it could be their parents, guardians, relatives, social workers, the barangay chairperson, or at least 3 concerned citizens. 

In the viral video, the abuse allegedly took place inside a hospital. Advocates remind hospital staff to be also responsible in preventing such kinds of abuse. – Rappler.com

To report cases of child abuse or neglect, please reach the following agencies:

DSWD
Batasan  Pambansa Complex, Quezon City
(02)931-8101 to 07

DSWD –NCR Ugnayan Pag-asa Crisis Intervention Center
Legarda, Manila
(02) 734-8639/ 734-8654/ 734-8626 to 27

Philippine National Police (PNP)
Camp Crame, Quezon City
723-0401 to 20

PNP-Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC)
Camp Crame, Quezon City
410-3213

NBI-Violence Against Women and Children Desk (VAWCD)
Taft Avenue, Manila
523-8231 to 38 / 525-6028