13 April 2021

The Government of the Philippines held a high-level dialogue with the United Nations Special Representative on Violence Against Children (VAC), Dr. Najat Maalla. Special Representatives are independent experts appointed by the UN Secretary-General to mobilize action and political support to achieve progress.

The high-level dialogue, chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Rolando  Joselito Bautista, aimed at providing the government an opportunity to present progress on the Philippine Plan of Action to End Violence Against Children 2017-2022 (PPA EVAC), identify challenges in preventing and responding to Violence Against Children, and identifying key actions required to accelerate the implementation of the Plan and build back safer for children during and beyond COVID-19.

Delegates, including children, reflected on how the direct impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the mitigation measures adopted in response, are placing children in situations of risk and further undermining the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Various family stressors such as movement restrictions, loss of income, overcrowding, school closure, and disruption of services have exacerbated mental health risks in both adults and children and increased various forms of violence within the family, such as domestic violence, and child physical and sexual abuse.

The dialogue ended with the Government of the Philippines reaffirming its commitments to eliminate violence against children, as reflected in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and key national policies and legislation. The government will prioritize measures to strengthen inter-sectoral coordination, strengthen child protection systems at national and local levels, consolidate data collection and monitoring, reporting and referral mechanisms, and continue expansion of child protection services.