The DSWD Field Office 9 attended the Community-Based Dialogue (CBD) conducted by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) which tackled issues on barangay settlement and referral system under the Republic Act No. 9262 or the “Anti-Violence against Women and their Children Act of 2004” held on June 25 at Primera Hotel, Zamboanga City.

“Through the dialogue, we were able to discuss the role of the barangay in handling reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation,” said Rowena Eustaquio, Regional Focal for Women, Children, and Family.

According to her, the barangay is mandated to designate a gender-sensitive worker (kagawad or tanod) to be in charge of the barangay help desk that will receive and monitor VAWC cases and shall refer victims to the appropriate agency for the right intervention.

Rowena Eustaquio, Regional Focal For Women, Children and Family shares the role of the social welfare agency in the aspect of case management to fellow participants

The worker in the help desk must enter reports in the barangay blotter for child abuse and domestic violence cases where this shall be kept confidential at all times. Meanwhile, anyone can report to the barangay, and if the report is made by a victim who is less than 18 years old, only personal circumstances must be asked from him or her. 

“The barangay is not allowed to make settlements of VAWC cases on their level. Their role is to primarily receive reports and refer clients to the right agencies for proper intervention,” clarified Eustaquio.

The objective of the said dialogue was to find a common ground and understanding of the issues and concerns with regards to barangay settlement and referral system. During the activity, the roles of each of the participating agencies were also discussed. Aside from the DSWD and CHR, other agencies such as the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Health (DOH), and several barangay officials, to name a few, were also in attendance.

“The DSWD cannot save the world alone. We need a multi-stakeholder partnership to address the needs of our clients especially those who are victims of abuse and domestic violence,” she ended. ###