Beyond Brushstrokes

“Studies have shown that violence against children and adolescents, the most vulnerable member of our society, leads to a wide range of health and social problems,” Dr. Bernadette J. Madrid, Child Protection Network executive director, remarked.

The Child protection Network Foundation is presenting the 11th Ako Para Sa Bata International Conference (APSB) in Manila. It is co-presented by UNICEF with the Council for the Welfare of Children and the Society of Adolescent Medicine of the Philippines, Inc.

The theme “INSPIRED Teens” is a package of strategies developed by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the Global Partnership to end violence against children.

INSPIRED is the acronym for “Implementation and enforcement of laws, Norms and values, Safe environments, Parents and caregiver support Income and economic strengthening, Response and support services, Education and life skills, Delivery system.”

The APSB conference has the following objectives for the participants:

1. The identification of the unique vulnerabilities and challenges that adolescents face in today’s rapidly changing world.

2. The explanation of risk-taking and resilience in the context of adolescent psychosocial and cognitive development.

3. The description of evidence-based approaches for adolescents under the INSPIRE package.

4. The awareness of efforts and programs initiated by adolescents and youth that address crucial issues related to violence and discrimination.

5. The recommendation of ways to promote authentic youth engagements in existing and future programs to end violence against children.

Conference Chair Dr. Renee Joy P. Neri said, “In line with the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights (CRC) of the Child, the Child Rights Coalition Asia will be launching a tribute to Child Rights Advocates. The Department of Foreign Affairs will launch the CRC Big Book. Both events will happen of the first day of the conference Nov. 18, 2019.”

“The APSB International Conference serves as a continuing education for physicians, social workers, police, local government officials and other front liners in the field of women and children protection work,” explained Katrina Legarda, Director, National Network of Women and Children Protection Units, Ways and Means Chair of the conference.

“Continuous training ensures that every abused woman and child is treated with the compassion and competence they truly deserve. The proceeds of this conference continue to support our goal of establishing at least one Women and Children Protection Unit (WCPU) in a government hospital in each province, providing free direct services to abused children and children-at-risk. We have 106 WCPUs in 55 provinces and 10 independent ones. We hope to cover all provinces within the next few years. We thank everyone who have supported and continue to support us.”

The program on opening day will have keynote speaker Department of Social Welfare Development Secretary Joselito Delizo Bautista.

Among the diverse topics to be discussed at plenary sessions and simultaneous sessions are:

• BARMM Youth: Empowered, Engaged and Ready for Nation Building. The objective is to discuss issues such as health from the perspective of youth from cultural minorities; young people and their critical role in peace building in the region; the transition of the Bangsamoro interim government and the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

• Teen Brain under construction: Implications in Health and Law by Liane P. Alampay, PhD, Professor, Ateneo de Manila University.

• Violence against Children in the Philippines: Issues on Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation by Julia Rees, Deputy Representative, UNICEF Philippines.

• Off the Record: Bullies and MOMOs gone viral hosted by Katrina Legarda and Prof. Randy David with panelists Zaida Padullo, Mira Alexis of Ateneo de Manila University and Ed Briones MA, of the Philippine Science High School.

• Trending: Stress, Anxiety and Depression among Gen Z by Dr. Cornelio G. Banaag, Jr. of the Philippine Society for Child and Adolescent Psychology.

• The Rainbow Connection: Examining Norms and Attitudes towards Gender roles and Gender diversity

• Influencers, Entrepreneurs and Dreamers: Young People at the Helm; Mental Health Screening and Interventions: A primer for Front liners

• Comprehensive Sexuality Education: Beyond the Birds and the Bees

• PHQ-9: Easy and Valid tool for depression

• Knowing how to use mindfulness and relaxation techniques as a form of response and support mechanisms in handling victims of child and adolescent abuse and maltreatment.

• Shining Light on the dark web: Issues, Investigations and interventions

• Boys and sexual violence

• Mental Health of children exposed to Online exploitation

In 2007, the Philippines, through the Child Protection Network, hosted the Asian Regional Conference of the Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. It had 77 national and international delegates. The following years drew more delegates with powerful themes such as “The Emotional Health of your Child,” “The Child Without Borders,” “Cyber protection of Children” (held in Cebu City), “Stressed? Coping, Recovery and Healing,” “The Art and Science of Parenting Children Today,” and “INSPIRED: Eight Strategies for Ending Violence Against Children” in 2018. The audience had expanded to 2,240 delegates.

Congratulations to the CPNF trustees and organizers, partners and sponsors!

The APSB conference will be held on Nov. 19 and 20 at the SMX Convention Center Manila. For details contact the Child Protection Network Foundation, Inc. at, visit the website


Maria Victoria Rufino is an artist, writer and businesswoman. She is president and executive producer of Maverick Productions.