MOU seeks to protect OFWs' kids from abusive guardians
Various government agencies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that aims to provide full protection for children of OFWs who are in the care of guardians while their parents are overseas.
The MOU was signed Friday at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) office to address "tall-tale" reports of children of OFWs who were abused while their parents work abroad.
A particular case noted by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is the death of a two-year-old boy who died from the abuse inflicted on him by his guardians while his mother worked in Hong Kong.
OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac said the MOU will ensure that OFWs can provide the needs of their children without worrying for their safety in the hands of people they entrusted them to.
"Hopefully, thru this MOU among our partners, we will be able to realize a zero-victim/casualty of any form of abuse to children of OFWs," Cacdac said. "After all, we do not wish to see a double-whammy situation; an absent parent and an abused child."
Officials from OWWA, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) were present to sign the MOU.
Under the agreement, OWWA will intensify child protection campaigns on violence against children especially children of OFW; conduct regular consultations through family welfare officers; and disseminate information on child abuse through OFW Family Circles (OFCs) and OFW Help Desks.
Suspected child abuse cases discovered during the implementation of pre-departure Orientation Seminar, community organizing and orientation, family counseling, and other programs shall be reported to the DOJ immediately.
OWWA will also integrate the DSWD's Child Abuse and Exploitation module into OFW training and orientation.
Legal help will be provided by the DOJ while assistance, shelter and protection will be given to children of OFW who suffer abuse.
The MOU complements Republic Act No. 7610, “An Act Providing Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination”, and Republic Act No. 9262, “An Act on Violence Against Women and their Children” (VAWC).
Apart from the rumor of the abused two-year-old, the MOU was also created to address a study by the Council for the Welfare of Children and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) pointing at migration as one of the reasons for physical, sexual, or psychological violence to children. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News