Catanduanes strengthens campaign against child abuse; undergoes training and learning tour


With support from Consuelo Foundation, thirty-three (33) local government executives from the provincial offices and municipalities of Baras, Gigmoto, Bato, and Virac in Catanduanes Province attended the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention (CSAP) Training on July 5-7, 2018 at Lucky Hotel and Resort in Virac, Catanduanes. The participants form part of the Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention Network (CAPIN Project) aimed at strengthening local government response mechanisms to address the high incidence of violence against children. Topics included orientation on the creation of CAPIN in their own local governments, basic concepts on child sexual abuse, facilitation skills, and adult learning principles.

The activity aimed to deepen the understanding of the network members about child abuse, bring them together to work as a team, establish structures in handling abuse cases, and demonstrate facilitation skills and design plans for advocacy or awareness raising endeavors.

Rowena R. Seblario, Program Officer of Consuelo Foundation, facilitated the three-day training. Participants of the CSAP Training included representatives from municipal social welfare and development offices, local health units, Women and Children Protection Desks (WCPDs) of the Philippine National Police, Provincial Prosecutor’s Office, Department of Education, non-government organizations, and priests from the Diocese of Virac.

A subsequent Partners Exchange Program (PEP) was held on July 19-20, 2018 in Valenzuela City, Metro Manila. Twenty seven (27) CAPIN members from Catanduanes joined the 2-day learning exposure. The tour itinerary included the city hall and museum, Child Protection Center, Bahay Kalinga (a crisis center for foundlings, abused children, and elderly), and Bahay Pag-asa (a residential care facility for children in conflict with the law). The learning tour inspired CAPIN members to create initial plans for the establishment of child-friendly systems and practices in their own municipalities and develop camaraderie among the CAPIN members.

In 2005, a contemplative community of Good Shepherd Sisters was canonically erected in the Diocese of Virac upon the request of Bishop Manolo de los Santos. Apostolic works only began in 2016 when Bishop de los Santos sought the assistance of the Good Shepherd Sisters in facilitating the diocesan women ministry. CAPIN Project, implemented by Good Shepherd Home Legazpi and supported by Consuelo Foundation, is the first project of the province in the diocese. Sr. Minela Alvarez, RGS serves as Coordinator for the project.

Contributed by Marie Barrameda of Good Shepherd Home Legazpi