CHR seeks protection of students vs abuse on Int'l Day of Education

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 24 2021 12:11 PM

Students of Ateneo De Manila University, along with other youth groups, call for an academic break and accountability in the government’s response to education amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the series of typhoons that hit the country, during a protest along Katipunan Ave. in Quezon City on Nov. 25, 2020. The Duterte administration rejected calls for an academic break, citing the distance learning setup and leaving suspension decisions up to schools. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) urged government to ramp up protection of students against sexual exploitation and to provide support for teachers as the world celebrated the International Day of Education on Sunday.

The CHR, in a statement, cited justice department data that the online sexual exploitation of children "spiked by over 260 percent" during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The DOJ has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to look into reports that students fell victim into holding a “Christmas sale” of their “sensual” photos and videos so they could buy gadgets and pay internet bills in support of their distance learning.

"Protection of young people from all forms of abuse is among the obligations of the state. A holistic approach in ensuring the protection of children from all form of abuse also includes ensuring that they are well-informed of their rights and that they receive proper psychosocial support from their teachers and parents," CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) should remain vigilant in blocking the access to websites carrying child pornography materials, the CHR added.

It also urged schools and the Department of Education (DepEd) to intensify its efforts in identifying cases of child abuse and noted the agency's psychosocial support and training for parents, teachers, and school heads in protecting the health, safety and well-being of children.

The independent body called for support as well for teachers as the country exercised blended learning.

"As teaching shifts heavily to online means, government must ensure that communication allowances to teachers are provided or reimbursed in a timely manner," De Guia said.

"For those pursuing learning offline due to limits in internet connectivity, the delivery of modules should be done more efficiently without compromising teachers’ safety towards guaranteeing that every child with no access to the internet is not deprived of education."

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