September 27, 2023

Appalled with the increased number of sexual abuse incidents in the city, Mayor Benjamin Magalong directed concerned agencies to immediately work out programs for its control and prevention.

In a meeting Wednesday afternoon with representatives from the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), City Health Services Office (CHSO), and City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), the mayor asked that steps be done outright.

CSWDO head Liza Bulayungan said their office extends psycho-social support to sexual abuse victims and their families. Incest and sexual abuse cases are also investigated by the BCPO with cases filed against perpetrators.

Dr. Maria Loudes Pakoy of the CHSO said the office is spearheading an evaluation for implementation in city public primary and secondary schools as part of the national program Health and Home, Education, Drugs and Depression, Suicide and Safety (Headds). 

The program, which will start next month, uses an assessment tool to determine mental health and risks to pupils and students. 

Led by the CSWDO, the group agreed to conduct trainings and capacitation of 100 Headds counselors from the schools, BCPO, CHSO, CSWDO and probable implementors from the civic-social organizations immediately. 

Lecture-programs on “Safe Touch, Good Touch,” in schools to be done by concerned authorities; regular collaboration meetings shall be conducted; campaign materials for child abuse/rape will be shared; blogging/social media applications for teenagers’ information, participation, and engagement regarding molestation, abuse or rape; and child protection programs shall be designed and implemented by each department to prevent child abuse cases

In 2019, 68 sexual abuse cases had been reported to the BCPO; 45 cases in 2020; 64 in 2021; 44 in 2022; and nine from January to April this year. – Julie G. Fianza