“Walang karapatan ang sino man na paglaruan ang isang bata. Ang sinumang gagawa nito maski mga sariling magulang ay maaring maparusahan sa ilalim ng batas (No one has the right to treat a child like a toy. Whoever does this can be punished under the law).”

This was the stern warning of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman amid the circulation of photos over social media showing a child being treated like a puppy, naked and with a leash around the neck.

“Kahit nagbibiruan lang, masamang biro.  Hindi alam ng bata na binibiro siya (Even if it was made in jest, it was done in bad taste.  The child does not know that it is just a joke),” Sec. Soliman said.

“It is a clear case of child abuse and the perpetrator is liable under the Violence against Women and Children (VAWC) Act and under Republic Act 7610 or the Anti-Child Abuse Law,” Sec. Soliman emphasized.

Sec. Soliman said that in cases like this, the most important thing is to get the custody of the child.  She added that whoever is behind the photo has no right to take care of a child.

Whereabouts located

This morning, Sec. Soliman received a report from DSWD-Field Office III that they have already located the whereabouts of the mother of the child.

Sec. Soliman has already instructed for the rescue and temporary custody of the child.

She added that the child will undergo psychosocial assessments while DSWD will evaluate the mother to determine her capacity to take care of her child.

Senior abuse

Aside from this child abuse case, Sec. Soliman also condemned the case of a man hitting his mother in a bus station. The video of the incident has also gone viral on social media.

It was evident that the video was taken by somebody who was also waiting at the bus station.

She added that DSWD is also doing its best to trace those involved in this video so that appropriate action can be done. The perpetrators must realize their responsibilities.

Sec. Soliman said, “Again, I appeal to the public to interfere when you witness violence happening.  Get involved and help stop violence like what happened to the senior citizen. If you are afraid, report to a security guard or to a nearby barangay station.”

Sec. Soliman also mentioned that Quezon City has Ordinance 2307 or the “Citizen’s Arrest Ordinance of Quezon City” that says ordinary citizens can now arrest criminals and other law-breakers. ###