SEMINAR-WORKSHOP ON CHILD PROTECTION POLICY (DAY 1)
The first day of the Seminar-Workshop on Child Protection Policy kicked-off with the welcome remarks and presentation of the objectives by Fr. Orville Cajigal, RCJ, Provincial Councilor on the Sector of Charity and Missions. With that, he welcomed about 30 participants gathered for the 3-day workshop held at the Oasis of Prayer, Silang, Cavite.
In the morning, after the Fr. Orville’s presentation, Fr. Carlos Guzman, RCJ, Rector of the Rogationist College (Cavite), gave a reflection talk about “St. Hannibal Mary and the Poor”. His talk navigated on the experience of St. Hannibal in his childhood as an orphan, his resolution to understand the fringes of poverty as he immersed himself in the Avignone houses in Messina, Italy, as well as the impact of serving the poor children and youth at present. Meanwhile, Bro. Eduardo de Palma oriented the participants about the accommodation and organization of the 3-day activity. After the talk, the participants enjoyed a simple morning merienda, with some moments of silence in view of the talk. Midday prayers and lunch followed.
In the afternoon, the Seminar-Workshop began with the introduction of the facilitators coming from the Bahay-Tuluyan Foundation: Ms. Catherine Scerri, Ms. Louise Suamen, and Ms. Lecyl Roja. They also explained the proceedings of their workshop. Afterwards, they animated the participants about the process of formulating the policies laid out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Children (UNCRC). They were also led to review the Philippine laws concerning the protection of the children. Their first session concluded with a reflection on a short video presentation.
With the conclusion of the first session, the participants celebrated the Holy Mass, presided by the Provincial Superior, Fr. Herman Abcede, RCJ. In his homily, Fr. Herman centered on the need to promote love and respect among one’s neighbors, as one’s concrete expression of loving God. He concluded by saying that the love of God has to motivate everyone to promote, protect and uphold the rights of the children and their development. After the usual liturgical celebration, they enjoyed dinner.
SEMINAR-WORKSHOP ON CHILD PROTECTION POLICY (DAY 2)
With a cool climate and a fair weather in the morning, participants gathered for the morning prayer, facilitated by Bro. Tom June Lancin, RCJ. After some minutes of meditation, the Holy Mass followed. Fr. Orville Cajigal, RCJ, Provincial Councilor on the Sector of Charity and Missions, presided the Mass, together with the concelebrating Rogationist priests. Breakfast followed after the liturgical celebration.
As the seminar-workshop continued, Ms. Catherine made a brief presentation of one of the case studies concerning Child Protection. The participants were made to reflect on the importance and significance of protecting and upholding the welfare of the children through the group activities that followed. They were also asked to classify statements which either are part of myths or facts, as well as their reflection and reason for the classification.
After a short break, Ms. Catherine further animated the participants with some more activities, with a brief introduction on what will transpire in writing policy statement. There were some assessments within the workshop, to let the participants appreciate and begin to form ideas for the upcoming formulation of the Child Protection Policy of the St. Matthew Province. The processing of the activities, though heavy, were generally well-participated by the delegates. Lunch followed afterwards.
After a brief rest, the facilitators oriented the participants on the writing of the policy statement. Further in the afternoon, the participants engaged in the “write-shop” of the facilitators concerning policies to be made. Meanwhile, delegates were grouped according to their assignments like seminaries, schools, boys villages, and parishes. Each of the group proposed possible indications and directives with their respective presences. They continued the writing of the proposed Code until the section on the Code of Conduct, which the groups will present the next day.
Eventually, the concluded the day with the dinner.
SEMINAR-WORKSHOP ON CHILD PROTECTION POLICY (DAY 3)
While a windy, wet, and cold weather met the participants on the third day of the workshop, they began with a praise and thanksgiving to the Lord in their morning prayers, led by Bro. Tom June Lancin, RCJ. With the Holy Mass that followed, Fr. Rogie Quinga, RCJ, Prefect of Aspirants at the St. Hannibal Formation Center-Cebu, presided the liturgical celebration. Also during the Mass, and throughout the day, the participants celebrated with warmth the birthday of Fr. Sherwin Valenzuela, RCJ, Prefect of the Interns at St. Anthony’s Boys Village in Toril, Davao.
After the Mass and the breakfast, the participants convened once more for another session of the workshop. Prior to the introduction of another topic, the groups presented their work on the Human Resources Policy as pertains to the Child Protection Policy Code. It was generally engaged with a lively discussion, and with helpful interventions facilitated by Ms. Catherine Scerri.
Thereafter, Ms. Suamen introduced the participants to another topic called, “Guidelines on the Information and Dissemination.” She guided them with an activity concerning the external and internal communications within the organization. Moreover, she made them assess several pictures of children in view of protecting the latter’s interests when in social media and internet. Generally, it was a good exchange of information, comments, and reflections both coming from the facilitators and the participants. Later, the participants engaged in the proposed drafting of the aforesaid section, in relation with the Policy Code.
After the merienda, the participants again grouped together to discuss, write their proposals, and present them to the rest of the assembly. They were grouped according to their community assignments: parishes, boys villages, schools, and seminaries. While rains continued pouring during the workshop, the discussions and feedback continued. Before taking their lunch and afternoon rest, they had their midday prayers at the pavilion.
Early in the afternoon, after their rest, the participants engaged in the last portion of the workshop: “Guidelines for Responding to and Reporting Child Protection Concerns and Violation” and “Guidelines for Consequences of Misconduct”. This time, Ms. Lecyl Roja and Ms. Catherine Scerri intervened and facilitated it. The participants engaged in a rather lengthy discussion, characterized by feedback from personal experiences of both priests, brothers, teachers, and staff alike. Evaluation forms were distributed and filled-up by the participants afterwards.
As the modules concluded, Fr. Orville convened a session about the suggestions regarding the follow-up workshop on the Child Protection Policy. Many of the participants shared their insights and suggestions pertaining to how a Code will be drafted for the whole Province. From time to time, Ms. Scerri intervened and was asked for her insights regarding the same.
Certificates were distributed to the participants after the planning, together with the heartfelt thanks from Fr. Orville himself, on behalf of the organizers. He likewise invited the participants to sign in the commitment to Child Protection as he read the statements containing it. Finally, the participants had their group picture taking, before having their dinner and departing into their homes.
Bro. John Francis C. Aberion, RCJ