AS PART of its campaign for the 18-Day of Activism to End Violence Against Women and Children in the country, Zonta Club of Cebu 1 held a virtual training on gender-based violence for public school teachers in the Municipality of Cordova, Cebu on Nov. 25, 2021.
The virtual training marked the start of the Zonta Club of Cebu 1 campaign for the 18 Days of Activism, which started on Nov. 25 and will end on Dec. 12. A total of 333 public school teachers joined the online training.
Jane Panganiban, vice president of Zonta Club of Cebu 1, said the training was held for the teachers upon the request of Cordova Mayor Therese P. Sitoy-Cho.
“It widely known that Cordova is the place where the online sexual abuse and exploitation of children is prevalent; therefore, educating the Cordova teachers on Republic Act (RA) 9262 and other laws protecting the rights of women and children would help equip the teachers on guiding and protecting their students in Cordova,” Panganiban said.
The activity was also approved by the Department of Education, she added.
The speakers were lawyers Evelyn Nuñez and Joan Dymphna Saniel, and Adesty Dulawan-Ting.
Nuñez is also a certified public accountant and a former Children’s Legal Bureau chairperson and board of directors (BOD) member, and current BOD member of Feed the Children Phils. and People’s Law Enforcement Board. Saniel is a professor of University of San Carlos School of Law and Governance. Ting is the clinical supervisor of World Hope International in the Philippines.
Nuñez, a member of the club, said the training is in partnership with World Hope International.
She discussed RA 9262 (the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004). Her discussion focused on the salient points of the law such as parties involved, punishable acts, remedies of the offended party and types of protection orders.
RA 9262 seeks to address the prevalence of violence against women and their children by their intimate partners such as husband or ex-husband; live-in partner or former live-in partner; boyfriend/girlfriend or ex-boyfriend/girlfriend; and dating partner or former dating partner.
Physical, psychological and sexual violence as well as economic abuse are punishable. Those proven guilty of these acts would be penalized with imprisonment ranging from one month and one day to a maximum of 20 years.
They will also be required to pay damages ranging from P100,000 to P300,000 and undergo mandatory psychological counseling or psychiatric treatment.
For her part, Saniel discussed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a legally binding international agreement setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every child.
She also discussed two optional protocols that are anchored on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. One is on the involvement of children in armed conflict and the second on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
Saniel also tackled the salient features of RA 7610 as amended (the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination) and the relevant provisions of the Cybercrime law.
The other topic she discussed was RA 9775 (the Anti-Child Pornography Act).
Ting discussed the Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (Osec) and its impact. Osec is facilitated or takes place through the internet and other related media.
According to Plan International, commercial sexual exploitation of children and Osec remained to be a significant problem in the Philippines. The prevalence of these cases can be traced to the widespread poverty in the country.
Ting also talked about how to ensure online safety for children.
During the virtual training, the teacher-participants were given pre-test and post-test to determine their understanding of the subject. They will also be given a certificate of attendance.
A study on online exploitation of children in the Philippines conducted by the International Justice Mission in 2019 shows that Internet Protocol addresses used for child sexual exploitation increased from 43 out of every 10,000 in 2014 to 149 of every 10,000 in 2017.
The Philippines is confirmed as a global hotspot for Osec as the country received more than eight times as many referrals as any other country during the 2010-2017 baseline period, the study reveals.
On the other hand, the municipality of Cordova has become known as the cyber pornography capital of the Philippines after minor children were rescued by non-government and law enforcement agencies, according to a study funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The children were exploited for the purposes of online pornography, the study found.