Philippine Vice President Sara Z. Duterte honors unconditional efforts of social workers

2023 August 15

SOCIAL WORK. Vice President Sara Z. Duterte delivers her speech during the National Social Welfare and Development Forum and General Assembly at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City on Tuesday (Aug. 15, 2023). She lauded the social workers behind the Kean Gabriel hotline — a helpline for abused kids established when she was the city mayor.

MANILA – Vice President Sara Z. Duterte expressed on Tuesday her appreciation for social workers for their “essential roles” during the 26th National Convention and General Assembly of Association of Local Social Welfare and Development Officers of the Philippines (ALSWDOPI) at SMX Convention Center in Davao City.

In her keynote speech, Duterte emphasized the essential role of social workers in attending to the community during calamities, providing assistance during search and rescue operations, and trauma healing for victims of battering and physical and sexual abuses.

“Social workers, the foot soldiers for social change. How you surrendered your lives to that special calling to serve other people, to help communities without any conditions is truly inspiring,” Duterte told around 2,000 social welfare officers from across the country.

Sumasaludo po ako sa inyo kagaya ng pagsaludo ko sa iba pang mga sektor na nagsasakripisyo at nagbubuwis ng kanilang buhay para mapagsilbihan ang kapwa Pilipino at matulungan ang mga komunidad na malampasan ang ano mang krisis (I salute you like how I salute other sectors who sacrifice their lives to serve fellow Filipinos and help communities to overcome any crisis),” she added.

Citing her experience as mayor of Davao City, Duterte shared the Kean Gabriel Hotline where community members can anonymously report incidents of child abuse.

“The Kean Gabriel Hotline receives calls and messages 24/7. And behind the hotline are social workers. They receive and process information about possible child abuse and, together with the child protection officers of the police, conduct rescue operations,” Duterte said.

Kean Gabriel was a child who died because of abuse.

Since the creation of the hotline (0908-8184444) in 2016, the city has no recorded child death due to abuse.

Records from the local government showed the City Social Welfare and Development Office, through the hotline, rescued 31 abused children from January to March this year — 19 were cases of physical abuse while 12 were sexual abuse.

In 2022, the hotline helped rescue 131 children, 72 of them physically abused.

Duterte also highlighted the crucial roles social workers play in implementing all social services projects of the Office of the Vice President. such as the Medical and Burial Assistance Program, Mag Negosyo Ta ‘Day and the PagbaBAGo: A Million Learners and Trees Campaign.

ALSWDOPI is a professional organization of social welfare and development workers that envisions a strong, viable and proactive association with functional provincial, municipal and city chapters and members and with the active partnership of agencies, professional groups and non-government organizations. 

Wilnard Bacelonia (PNA)