PASIG CITY, August 20, 2018 – The Department of Education (DepEd), in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Philippines and Child Protection Network Foundation, Inc. will gather youth representatives, teachers, guidance counselors, school heads, child rights advocates, and other education stakeholders from various government and non-government organizations for the National Child Protection Summit 2018 on August 23 and 24 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

Anchored on the theme “Bata, Bata, Ating Kinakalinga: Strengthening the Implementation of the Child Protection Policy.” this summit aims to give the participants an opportunity to identify strategies that will further advance the implementation of the DepEd Order No. 40, s. 2012, or the Child Protection Policy, and thereby promote the best interest of all school children.

The Summit shall serve as a venue for the participants to gain knowledge on the issues and challenges encountered by schools in implementing the policy; for experts and child care practitioners to share their insights on the vulnerabilities that children encounter; for partners to share promising practices on child protection; and for all stakeholders to identify areas of priority action and further collaboration to help strengthen the Child Protection Policy of zero tolerance against all acts of child abuse, exploitation, violence, discrimination and bullying.

Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones iterated that one of the topmost priorities of the Department is to provide a safe, nurturing and free-from-fear learning environment to students, as well as to teachers and other personnel at the school level, and this gathering of champions in child protection will help the Department in ensuring this.

“DepEd actively promotes for a safe and conducive learning environment, not just for our learners but also for our teachers and other employees. We, in DepEd, continue to partner with different stakeholders in conducting efforts geared toward achieving this mandate, and an improved basic education system in our country,” Briones stated.

“UNICEF congratulates DepEd for taking a leadership role in this gathering, which is a very timely milestone in the landmark initiative that the Philippines has become a model in operationalizing the global INSPIRE strategies. We will continue to support DepEd and the Philippine Government in implementing the laws, addressing social norms, creating safe spaces for children, providing parent and caregiver support, strengthening families’ economic situation, providing support and response services, and empowering children and youth with key life-skills,” said UNICEF Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander.

Furthermore, this activity responds to the targets of the Philippine Plan of Action to End Violence Against Children for 2017-2022, which stipulates that the Department has a stake in reducing the prevalence of violence against children. It is DepEd’s mandate to create a learning environment that is safe and conducive to the education of all children, one that respects, protects, fulfills, and upholds their rights.

DepEd’s Office of the Undersecretary for Planning and Field Operations and Office of the Undersecretary for Legal Affairs are grateful for the support and technical assistance provided by its partners and stakeholders in child protection.