The advocacy for the rights of Filipino children won a victory when Congress approved the bill raising the age of sexual consent from 12 to 16 years old, which is significant because it will equalize the protection of boys and girls against all forms of sexual abuse, violence, and exploitation.
As the measure, Republic Act 11648, was signed by the President, the Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse (CPTCSA) considers the enactment of the law as one of the most noteworthy milestones of the organization’s national advocacy for the protection and care of children.
The CPTCSA also cites the Blue Cap Movement #Boys Do Cry to counteract the prevailing Filipino machismo culture and stereotype on “what it is to be a real man.” This movement, initiated by the Junior Chamber International Philippines and Junior Chamber International-Alabang Chapter with more than 200 local chapters and a number of international chapters, supports the goals of the Blue Umbrella Day (BUD) international campaign that calls attention to tackling the harmful social norms that challenge the wellbeing of boys. Prior to the BUD campaign was the United for Boys campaign that ran from 2018 to 2020
Blue Umbrella Day (BUD) international forum on April 19, 2022, to seek action and support for protection and care for boys
In September 2021, a shelter was opened by the Regeneration Philippines in Pila, Laguna, dedicated only to boys. The founding of this shelter was based on national and global research findings on the need to develop more responsive programs and services for boys affected by sexual violence.
In continuing the advocacy, CPTCSA executive director Zenaida Rosales said the organization will pick up from the activities from 2020 and 2021, such as the national awareness week for the prevention of child sexual abuse and exploitation, the BUD international lecture series that focuses on strengthening our culture of care for all children and for better protection of boys.
“In 2022, we will continue to change the situation regarding sexual violence affecting boys and create a system that’s better equipped to help boys,” said Rosales. “Part of this continuing advocacy is an intensified awareness-raising through a wider multimedia engagement that provides high-quality information to educate children, families, and communities on sex, sexual health, sexuality, and internet safety with a focus on boys.”
The CPTCSA was also instrumental in sharing the story of Erick Reyes, a survivor of child abuse, when the Singapore Straits Times that carried his story won the EPPY Awards for Best Investigative Video Series. Reyes is now a male ambassador for the Blue Cap Culture Movement. (Blue Cap Movement link: https://www.canva.com/design/DAEu9PTgs1E/aE3BgSXqCjcu6AlEUZoifw/view?utm_content=DAEu9PTgs1E&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link&utm_source=sharebutton
In research, the CPTCSA has a wealth of information with the National Global Desk Review on Boys and Sexual Violence conducted from 2017 to 2018 and the Primary Research on caring for boys affected by sexual violence from 2018 to 2019.
This year, the organization continued its national awareness week for the prevention of child sexual abuse and exploitation and launched the Blue Cap Culture movement with the Junior Chamber International-Alabang. It also embarked on the development of a practical manual of the father-son communication about sexual health.
The CPTCSA also launched “Making safe schools happen (MSSH),” a campaign revitalizing Department of Education (DepEd) Order No. 45. Series of 2009 that are blended school-based personal safety lessons to empower boys and girls to assert their right to feel safe in school and other places at all times. MSSH link: https://www.facebook.com/MSSHCptcsa/photos/a.100810495913598/100809079247073/
In the second year of the BUD campaign, CPTCSA and Family for Every Child (FEC), in partnership with Junior Chamber International, Alabang, and Canada Advantage, will hold the BUD International Forum on April 19, 2022, from 8 PM to 10 PM in Manila and virtually, with the theme, “Challenging the damaging narratives around sexual violence affecting boys, and offering concrete action and support on how to better help our boys.” Below is the program for the online international forum.
|8:00PM -8:05PM||Opening Remarks||ATTY. DARIO V. AGUILA, CPTCSA Board President|
|8:05PM – 8:10PM||Message of Support||SEC. ROLANDO BAUTISTA, Department of Social Welfare And Development DSWD Secretary|
|8:10PM -8:25PM||Caring for Boys Affected by Sexual Violence-Asia study||Dr. LOIS ENGELBRECHT, Research Co-Author|
|8:25PM -8:40PM||Philippine Study /National Baseline Study on Violence against Children (NBSVAC)||MS. AUBREY SUZY PUNZALAN Planning Officer II Council for the Welfare of Children|
|8:40 PM-8:50 PM||Blue Cap Culture Movement||ADMORE A. ALZATE, Founder & Project Chairperson (Blue Cap Culture Movement) VP for Internal Affairs (Junior Chamber International, Alabang Chapter)|
|8:50 PM-9:00PM||Presentation of Video Clips||JUNIOR CHAMBER INTERNATIONAL Alabang Chapter|
|9:00PM– 9:15PM||Voices of Campaign Advocates/Ambassadors||ADMORE A. ALZATE: Founder & Project Chairperson (Blue Cap Culture Movement) VP for Internal Affairs (Junior Chamber International, Alabang Chapter) FREDERICK REYES, Country Manager Canada Advantage|
|9:15PM-9:25PM||Word Day for Boy Child Initiative||JEROME TEELUCKSINGH, Founder, World day for the Boy Child, Trinidad and Tobago|
|9:25PM-9:40PM||Reactions from Panelists||ALASTAIR HILTON, The South- South Institute on Sexual Violence JARETT D. DAVIS, Love 143|
|9:50PM-10:00PM||Closing||Junior Chamber International|
The CPTCSA also runs the Rapha Helpline (Rapha means “healing” in Hebrew), which has trained counselors who offer free online care and support to those in need of assistance and guidance from 8 AM-5 PM Mondays through Fridays. You may reach them via Globe (M-F): 0977-6520230; and Viber: Monday: 09617182654; Tuesday and Thursday: 09617182658; and Wednesday and Friday: 09617182655.