National Children’s Month marked by call to save kids from drugs

Patty Pasion
National Children’s Month marked by call to save kids from drugs
The Council for the Welfare of Children leads the soft launch of their campaign 'Pito Bata Pito' that seeks to empower kids to call for help when in crisis

MANILA, Philippines – The Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) began a campaign aimed at keeping kids from getting involved in illegal drugs and other forms of violence.

During the launch of the 25th annual celebration of the National Children’s Month (NCM) on Monday, November 6, CWC and its partners called for the public’s participation in their project “Pito, Bata, Pito! A Call 4 Help” (C4H). The theme of National Children’s Month this year is “Bata: Iligtas sa Droga!” (Save Children from Drugs) 

“What is good about a whistle is that it can be used by any victim. Because how can a mute person shout for help when he/she is raped? We want the whistle to be a sign for everyone in the community to be aware that when there is a successive whistling, we’d have to give attention to it,” CWC Executive Director Mitzi Cajayon-Uy told reporters during the event.

The campaign will collect donations for whistles in cash or in kind until the end of this year with the help of its project partner Rotary Club Pasay. The council aims to collect a million whistles, which will be given to children nationwide during the Christmas season. 

“It’s really empowering themselves to be strong to be brave to be courageous and not to worry,” said Rotarians Against Child Exploitation board member Bing Carreon. (Are minors now safe in the Philippines?

“We see this all as a concerted effort. It should begin in the home. All the children in school, we want them to actually educate their parents because their parents will see the whistle and ask them what is that about,” she added.

Aside from the whistle campaign, Cajayon-Uy said that they are also working on activating child protection units in each barangay to ensure that children know their rights amid the anti-drugs operations. The Department of Education earlier ordered that the mandatory random drug testing of public and private high school students will begin this school year. 

“There’s a women’s desk in each barangay and police unit but the barangay councils for the protection of children’s rights are not activated. We want to activate it at the barangay level,” said the CWC head. 

Violence towards minors came to light after the successive deaths of teenagers Kian delos Santos, Carl Arnaiz and Reynaldo de Guzman allegedly under the hands of police officers from Caloocan City. (READ: LIST: Minors, college students killed in Duterte’s drug war

National Youth Commission Chairperson (NYC) Aiza Seguerra, who also graced Monday’s activity, said that his agency, the CWC, and the Juvenile Justice Welfare Council are forming a coordinating body that will monitor the investigation on the killings of minors. 

Seguerra also said that he is pushing for the passage of the measure that will impose a curfew on children not only to keep them from drug involvement but also other activities that they may be exposed to such as gang violence, pre-marital sex that may lead to teenage pregnancy or an HIV infection.  

The proposal, filed as House Bill 894, passed the House Committee on the Welfare of Children last September. – Rappler.com

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Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.