No. of :

No. of Shares:

Currently viewed by: Marcus Rosit

Feature: Addressing the root causes of child abuse and exploitation in Quirino Province

For an officer who has been working for the protection of children against all forms of abuse, dealing with the problem everyday seemed normal work but it can be emotionally draining and can cause feelings of helplessness.

Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Agaton Pagbilao who guested at the Tipon-Tipan sa PIA shared that he has been in the PSWDO for many years and has witnessed how their clients suffer their ordeal against their perpetrators and how the provincial government and other stakeholders pooled their skills and resources to help the victims recover from trauma.

During the I Love Quirino on air radio program with PSWD Office Agaton 'Jun' Pagbilao, he shares how the government and other stakeholders incorporate their strategies in helping victims of child abuse.

Pagbilao shared that they are facing their clients everyday and most of the time, they seem to take on their feelings and absorb their emotions. These situations had taken a toll on their health but they cannot do otherwise because that’s their sworn duties and responsibilities.

“What’s more painful is that, many of our clients are victims of incestuous rape and it is very hard for us to solve the problem because the relatives, mostly the mothers of the victims, choose to side with the perpetrators and refuse to cooperate and file cases against the them,” Pagbilao lamented.

He said they are the ones filing cases and at the same time ensuring that the victims are okay by giving them proper intervention and engaging them with deeper counseling to be able to regain their social functioning that was affected due to depression.

The PSWD officer also shared that there were times when some people tried to discourage and threaten them but  they are not afraid because they are after the interest of the victim/s.

“Not all cases that we filed won in court due to some factors, of course the perpetrators are entitled to due process although there are witnesses to prove. There were also cases that were withdrawn due to some reasons. Some victims were being threatened so we have to relocate them to safer homes such as relatives who want to provide shelter for them and some were put under the witness protection program of the DOJ,” Pagbilao added.

The social welfare officer shared that they have a case like this at the moment and they are closely monitoring her because they  saw that there was no support from the mother and she even want that the case be withdrawn.

“Parents should show their support to their children, fight for their rights and they should understand that the children’s perpetrators should be given lessons.  If they (your children) see that their parents support them, it’s a big boost for them during the court hearing,” Pagbilao said.

Noting the accessibility of information through the internet, Pagbilao said parental control is very much needed on the children’s phones to prevent them from entering the porn sites either by accident or due to curiosity.

If children and adults were not misguided in its use, this could be a great source of knowledge because almost everybody now is using Online Digital Platform,” Pagbilao said.

According to PSWDO Officer Pagbilao another intervention of their office together with other partner agencies is the Project 'EMBRACE' or Empowering Movement for the Better Reintegration and Advocacy in a Caring Environment.

When asked how can the sim card registration help in preventing child abuse and exploitation, Pagbilao said, “ in a way,” noting that only text messages can be filtered or blocked and one can still  have access to the internet even without a simcard.

“We will intensify our campaign for safer internet use, because it is one of the root causes of sexual abuse and exploitation. As parents, we must exercise parental control on our children’s cellphones to prevent them from entering pornographic websites,” Pagbilao said adding that this is one way of going into the roots of problems.

Letting the children to use gadgets and have access to the internet just to make them behave is a modern way to some parents on how to take care of their children nowadays. PSWD Officer Pagbilao encourages parents to still monitor and set boundaries to their children while using gadgets. (Internet photo)

He also said the non-consensual sharing of images may happen to those who are forced to do and in that way, they are being exploited. On the other hand, consensual sharing may be experienced by those who are willing to do it in exchange of money.

“There was a one case, an individual tricked some male and female children aged 7, 8 and 9  into watching x-rated movie.  What did these children do? They tried doing what they watched and based on medical examination results, there was penetration, so there was an exploitation against these children,” Pagbilao said.

Pagbilao said during the pandemic, there was a big number of rape cases in the province and there was a decrease only in the last quarter of 2022.

“The provincial government, QSU and DepEd are currently undergoing a research on “ How to Address the Increasing Number of Rape Cases in the Province, and we are now on our initial mode and thru the assistance of the different  stakeholders, we hope to complete it within the year,” Pagbilao said as he stressed the importance of  identifying the factors that led to the increase of rape cases.

He disclosed that some initial findings in the research such as common room in homes, drunkenness, drugs rape are now being considered and given initial interventions.

“We thank the QSU thru President Hermenegildo Samoy Jr, the DepEd thru Schools Division Superintendent Flordeliza Gecobe, the PNP and the DILG for their support to the said endeavor,” Pagbilao said.

As to the campaign against illegal drugs, Pagbilao lamented the return of illegal drug problems in the problems noting the the recent arrests of alleged drug users and sellers in some parts of the province.

He however expressed hope that thru the intense campaign of the PNP, the days of the drug personalities will soon end.

“What is good here is that there is a very slim percentage of going back to illegal activities of those who had undergone Community Based Rehabilitation Program and those who availed of the plea bargaining program, if they do, we cannot do otherwise except to conduct the same processes again and this is a big challenge in our programs,” Pagbilao said.

Project 'Kwarto ni Neneng' is one of the interventions and best practices of Quirino PPO together with the LGUs and other stakeholders to prevent rape cases or sexual abuses that may happen in a household. (Photo by Quirino PPO)

The provincial government, the EMBRACE and the PNP will also intensify the information and education campaign during the I Love Quirino Caravan, EMBRACE on the Air and thru barangay visits.

“We will try our best to dig into the deepest roots of these problems. Drunkenness and drugs are not an excuse to commit crimes so these must be addressed immediately,” Pagbilao assured. (OTB/TCB/PIA Quirino)

Kailyans who have some concerns regarding child abuse and exploitation, may visit the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office for help. It is located at Capitol Hills, Cabarroguis near Philippine Red Cross.

About the Author

Thelma Bicarme

Information Officer III

Region 2

Feedback / Comment

Get in touch