In an initiative to help protect the children of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) while they are away from the country, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has recently announced the new Hotline 1349.
Silvestre Bello III, Secretary of DOLE, said:
“I am asking the public that if they witness or suspect that a child of an OFW is being abused, they should call our Hotline 1349 so we can ensure the safety of the child.”
Bello cited UNICEF’s “National Baseline on the Study on Violence Against Children: Philippines” saying that children with OFW parents are often prone to abuse.
In 2016, an incident in Davao City reported that a 2-year-old boy, who is a son of an OFW in Bahrain, was beaten to death by his guardians.
“We have to protect these children. One way of protecting them is to report this to our Hotline 1349. We will investigate, and if necessary, rescue the child. Mahirap kasi na ang pinagtitiwalaan mo na mag-aalaga sa anak mo ay iyon pa ang mag-aabuso sa mga bata.”
Reports that will be received through the hotline will be validated and investigated by DOLE. The agency will also be closely coordinating with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
According to Bello, DOLE’s Hotline 1349 is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This means that they are always ready to take calls and reports from concerned citizens at any given time of the day.
Hopefully, the public will take advantage of this new tool in order to help prevent cases of abuse against youngsters. This will allow OFW parents to focus on their work and have peace of mind that their children are safe and protected back home here in the country.