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Vigilance needed, surge in violence against children likely during ECQ

Amid the re-imposition of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and other areas, Senator Win Gatchalian is calling for increased vigilance on another potential surge in cases of violence against children.


MANILA, Philippines – Children hang out and play by the river esplanade in Pandacan district amid the COVID-19 pandemic, 5 May 2021. Senator Win Gatchalian has pressed for the importance of sustained accessibility for helplines of authorities as the re-imposition of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) could again trigger a surge in domestic violence. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Citing data from the Philippine National Police (PNP), children’s organization Save the Children flagged the increase of crimes committed against women and children during the imposition of ECQ last year.

On April 30, 2020, 1,284 cases were recorded by the PNP, 521 against children and 763 against women. These figures increased dramatically to 3,600 crimes by June 4, 2020 – 1,745 against children and 1,945 against women. For Gatchalian, economic hardships that loom over families could again trigger a surge in domestic violence. He added that because of stricter quarantine measures, victims could have a harder time seeking help.

“Noong ipatupad ang mga lockdown noong nakaraang taon, nakita natin ang paglobo ng mga kaso ng karahasan sa mga kababaihan at kabataan. Nanganganib na maulit ito kung hindi natin paiigtingin ang ating mga hakbang upang masugpo ang mga kaso ng karahasan,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

The lawmaker pressed the importance of sustained accessibility for helplines of the National Bureau of Investigation’s Violence Against Women and Children Desk and the Philippine National Police’s Women and Children Protection Center. Gatchalian also cited the role of barangays because of their proximity to victims.

Under the Protocol for Case Management of Child Victims of Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation by the Committee for the Special Protection of Children, barangays should put up help desks that monitor cases of child abuse and violence against women. Barangays are also tasked to coordinate with social workers, health officials, and women and children protection units to give intervention and assistance to the victims.