DSWD: No Partisan Politics as Mr. Willie Revillame alleged


Statement of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman:
On the public clamor for action against the TV show, Willing Willie
[Released April 14, 2011]
From March 27 to March 29, 2011, the attention of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) was called to a YouTube clip of an episode of “Willing Willie,” where a six-year-old boy named Jan-Jan Estrada was made to repeatedly perform dance moves usually done by adult dancers.   We received more than 100 email messages from concerned individuals, mothers, child advocacy/legal groups, and even OFWs from Hongkong and the USA.
In the succeeding days, a Facebook page called “Para kay Jan-Jan” was created and has 13,450 “Likes” as of Wednesday, April 14, 2011. This number continues to grow, demonstrating the public clamor against this incident.
The letter of Dr. Lourdes “Honey” Carandang of the MLAC Institute for Children and Families to the MTRCB first came out online when it was reposted on Blog Watch on April 3, 2011.
Dr. Lourdes “Honey” Carandang has been a long-time partner of the DSWD for over 10 years now, working together with us for the rights and protection of children and families.  She is the country’s foremost expert on child psychology and after the DSWD’s social workers conducted home visits to Jan-Jan to verify his status and provide family therapy, we made arrangements to tap her expertise for the provision of child and family counseling sessions.  On the appointed date which Mr. Suan agreed to meet Dr. Carandang, he did not show up.  The DSWD social workers conducted a follow-up home visit and learned from their neighbors that TV 5 representatives fetched the family and that the house is now padlocked.
We appeal to all concerned parties not to confuse the issue.  There is no partisan politics angle or any hidden agenda as Mr. Revillame and his lawyers alleged.  The welfare of Jan-Jan and his family is our primary concern – so despite repeated attempts for copies of the home visit reports, we are not releasing these reports and are keeping them confidential.
This is one glaring example of the need of society, including parents, to understand the different forms of child abuse. We are working to have clearer guidelines and strong advocacy with the concerned agencies for the protection and promotion of the rights of children. We also wish to reiterate that the Department will respect the privacy of Jan-Jan and his family as counseling and family therapy sessions are being provided by the Department.