Wednesday, May 24, 2023

PLDT, Smart support meaningful conversations, collaborations on championing children’s rights

Taking on a whole-of-nation approach to addressing online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC), leading integrated telco network PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) are deepening conversations and exploring meaningful collaborations on advocating for child rights, especially in the digital space.

Ramon Magsaysay Awardee and children’s rights crusader Dr. Bernadette Madrid headlined the recent meeting of the Filipina CEO Circle (FCC) where she dove deeper into the trauma that children who experienced online sexual abuse and exploitation go through.

“There is no silver bullet to treat child abuse victims. We need many programs to address different issues. We need a coordinated effort from different stakeholders to offer holistic care plans for victims and their families,” said Dr. Madrid.

A pediatrician by profession, Dr. Madrid heads the Women and Child Protection Unit (WCPU) at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) where she has personally witnessed the struggles of abused children. 

Her work at PGH has placed her in a unique position to identify treatment modalities and rehabilitation programs that address the needs of victims and their families. The WCPU employs a multidisciplinary approach in providing integrated medical, psychological, social, and legal services to women and children survivors of violence.


The conversation with Dr. Madrid sparked interest among FCC members to develop synergistic initiatives that build on their own unique expertise to help the government’s prevention and intervention programs.


“PLDT and Smart believe in a multi-pronged approach when it comes to OSAEC. We are always on the lookout for opportunities to work together with like-minded organizations in launching initiatives aimed at creating safer spaces for children, both online and offline,” said Cathy Yang, FVP and Group Head of Corporate Communications at PLDT and Smart, who steered the discussion.


FCC counts top women executives from some of the country’s biggest and most influential organizations as members. The organization is well-connected to help the country protect children both online and offline. The latest general meeting was sponsored by PLDT and Smart, The Manila Times, Diamond Hotel Philippines, Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, and Philippine Ballet Theater (PBT).


PLDT and Smart’s participation in this event highlights the Group’s long-term commitment to help the country attain UNSDG #16 that promotes just, peaceful, and inclusive societies including the end to abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence against and torture of children.

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