/ 26 November 2022

VICE President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio on Thursday led the launching of the Department of Education’s Child Protection Unit website and the Learner Telesafe Contact Center national hotline.

Through the CPU website, students will learn about safety threats and who to call or communicate with when there are threats.

The Learners TeleSafe Contact Center Helpline, on the other hand, will address the victims’ concerns, such as a possible backlash, victim shaming, or physical punishment.

“When I assumed my role as the DepEd Secretary in June this year, not only did I have to think of solutions to the problems that had hounded the department for years, but I also had to deal with disturbing and painful stories about learners being victims of sexual abuse,” Duterte-Carpio said during the launch at the DepEd Central Office.

“Obligasyon po natin na protektahan ang mga kabataan sa mga pang-aabuso at karahasan dahil sila po ang hope of our country,” she added.

Duterte shared her experience when she was still mayor of Davao City that led to the creation of the Kean Gabriel Hotline.

Kean Gabriel was a child who died of abuse.

“Noong pagbalik ko as mayor, we always get deaths of children because of abuse — ginulpi, pinahirapan, and pinatay. I was asking our City Social Welfare and Development Office, “Bakit dumarating tayo pag patay na ang bata? Bakit hindi ninyo alam that there is something happening already in the houses in the community?” Duterte said.

“I told them to create an anonymous way where people can report. I won’t have to tell who I am, I don’t have to tell you my name, I just have to tell you kung anong nangyayari sa bata and anong nangyayari sa bahay na iyan,” she added.

Since the creation of the hotline in 2016, the city has had no recorded child death due to abuse.

Duterte-Carpio said the DepEd will be in the forefront of the campaign to end violence and sexual abuse in schools.

“DepEd will ensure a safe and nurturing learning environment by strengthening child protection mechanisms in schools,” Duterte-Carpio said.

“We look forward to working with our education champions, barangay leaders, civil society partners, and fellow child protection advocates to strengthen our Learners TeleSafe Contact Center Helpline, provide immediate assistance to our learner-victims, and bolster our existing intervention mechanism and referral system,” she added.