Supreme Court assures commitment in protecting children

Supreme Court of the Philippines in PAdre Faura on June 19, 2018. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

Amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the Supreme Court (SC) has assured its commitment to the protection of children in view of the misuse of technology in abusing marginalized minors

In a statement on Friday, Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said the SC affirmed its commitment during an online meeting with the Australia-backed SaferKidsPH Consortium.

He said action is needed following studies that there is a heightened online abuse and exploitation of children since the pandemic began.

“The Philippine Judiciary is committed in doing its part in ensuring access to justice for those who are victims of deplorable and vicious activities,” Gesmundo said.

A resolution approved the recommendations of Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe to draft a comprehensive benchbook for the disposition of family cases; participation of appellate court justices, SC officials, trial court judges who are members of the SC Committee on Family Courts and Juvenile Concerns (CFCJC) technical working group, and court personnel in the project; and coordination by the Program Management Office with SaferKidsPH Consortium for possible support.

Bernabe is the chair of the CFCJC.

SaferKidsPH is a six-year program from 2019 to 2025 aimed at reducing the prevalence of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children in partnership with Save the Children Philippines, The Asia Foundation (TAF), and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef).

Among those who joined the Chief Justice online were lawyer Alberto Muyot of Save the Children Philippines, Thanh Le of the Australian Embassy, TAF’s Ethan Geary, and Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov and Behzad Noubary of Unicef Philippines.

Aside from Bernabe, Justices Ramon Paul Hernando, Rodil Zalameda, Henri Jean Paul Inting, Mario Lopez, and Jhosep Lopez were also in the meeting, along with Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, SC Spokesperson and Public Information Office chief lawyer Brian Keith Hosaka, Philippine Judicial Academy chancellor Arturo Brion, Court of Appeals justices, and other SC officials.

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