Child rights advocates eye Manila program

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Sr. Eloisa Holdiem (4th from left) and Salvatorian sisters during SPCC 6th National Congress in 2015. (Photo from Holdiem's Facebook account)

MANILA, Dec. 21, 2016 – The Salvatorian Pastoral Care for Children (SPCC) has set its sights on expanding its children and women rights advocacy in Manila by next year.
“The Salvatorian Pastoral Care for Children is a parish-based child protection program,” said Sr. Eloisa Holdiem (SDS), SPC program director for the National Capital Region. “This is one of the major projects of Salvatorian sisters.”

Unspoken issues

The opening of the SPCC program in Tondo, Manila would require consultations with the Church hierarchy of the Archdiocese of Manila, revealed the sister.

“We wrote a letter to Cardinal Tagle,” she said. “But we [have been] turned over to Bishop Pabillo.”

The SPCC is scheduled on Dec. 22 to have a dialogue with Pabillo, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila.

The often unspoken issues of domestic and sexual violence are close to home.

“Most of the abuses on children and women happen at home,” said Holdiem. “The perpetrators are family members.”

Majority of the abuses involve the father or the uncle of the victim, she disclosed.

Help desks, sustainability

After about 10 years, the SPCC found out that most survivors of sexual abuse came from depressed areas, she said.

According to her, survivors are also more comfortable with religious people facilitating their case than government institutions.

The SPCC won a rape case against the uncle of a victim from the Diocese of Novaliches in 2012, she noted. The girl was 12 when she was raped. She won the case at 17.

According to Holdiem, the Salvatorian sisters have been developing leaders to advocate for the rights and welfare of children and women in the parishes.

The sister said three parish-based groups are formed: adult child rights advocates, teen child rights advocates, and kid child rights advocates.

The Salvatorian sisters also work on the sustainability of the program by training the parish-based advocates to work independently of the sisters.

Desks are setup in the parishes where survivors of abuse can seek assistance.

The SPCC has also established a network of organizations and individuals like lawyers, psychologists, and other professionals who offer their services to survivors.

Conceptualized in 2001, the SPCC first partnered with the Diocese of Novaliches and had Parokya ng Mabuting Pastol in Commonwealth as the first parish to adopt the program. Today, the Diocese of Novaliches has 9 parishes which have already adopted the SPCC.

In 2006, the program island-hopped to Cebu, where 3 parishes are currently pushing the said program, Holdiem said. (Oliver Samson / CBCPNews)

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