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Thursday, February 5, 2015

DSWD: 1,319 children sexually abused, exploited in 2014

By Dominic I. Sanchez

ZAMBOANGA CITY – More than a thousand children in the country are victims of child abuse, and most of them were victimized online in 2014 alone.

According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) child abuse preliminary report as of January, this year, 1,319 children were abused sexually. For the last three years, sexual abuse and exploitation has ranked second in reference to child abuse cases in the Philippines.

Last year, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima has shared the grim statistics, that online child sexual abuse is by far the “biggest source of cybercrime in the Philippines”, accounting for 46 percent of cybercrime cases being handled by the authorities.

The government, in partnership with private entities and civil society groups has been intensifying advocacy efforts to put a stop to child sexual abuse including those that are perpetrated online.  

“The [Department of Justice] is working with telcos for a filtering software to restrict access to porn/banned sites as we fight against online child sexual abuse,” she said in an article posted in

As per Presidential Proclamation 731 series of 1996, every second week of February is known as the National Awareness Week for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation. This year’s observance will be held on Feb. 8-14, and aims to provide awareness to the communities, children, parents and the society as a whole on the said issue.

In support of this week’s awareness drive, Stairway Foundation will have their “Break the Silence Movement,” a school caravan on online safety simultaneously in NCR, Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, Dumaguete and in Zamboanga.

The Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), one of DSWD’s attached agencies spearheads this week’s activities, to include a series of engagements and forums with children on the national level. 

April Obtinario, CWC focal for Mindanao encourages different agencies, local government units and stakeholders to join in the advocacy. “The CWC invites all sectors to participate and make our voices be heard so we can put a stop to child sexual abuse in our own communities,” Obtinario said.

This year’s awareness week theme is: Labanan ang Pang-aabusong Sekswal sa mga Bata: NOW NA!