by Romina Cabrera – The Philippine Star, 17 Dec 2021
MANILA, Philippines — The 911 National Emergency Hotline can now respond to calls regarding incidents of violence against women and children (VAWC) and other gender-based violence emergencies.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) signed a joint memorandum circular that opens the emergency hotline to such calls.
”We want to let the victims of VAWC feel that the government cares and is ready to help them in their time of need. All they need to do is dial 911 and they will be assisted promptly,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said yesterday.
The memorandum circular was signed by the DILG, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Justice.
Año noted that due to mobility restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were limited opportunities to report VAWC cases that usually occur in the households.
The DILG cited data showing that one out of three women experienced physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence even before the pandemic.
All VAWC calls routed to the National Call Center will be coordinated and relayed to the appropriate responders and government agencies for action.
Emergency hotline telecommunicators will adopt the Guidebook for Handling VAWC calls and give psychological first aid and survivor-centered care to callers.
Hotline executive director Diosdado Valeroso assured the public that the DILG is committed to ensuring accessible, easy and reliable response to the emergency needs of the public.
He said the hotline has received 1,391 non-emergency calls, 3,739 telephone inquiries and 368,154 prank calls.