When parents leave a 1-year-old child inside a car at Metrowalk

July 9, 2018 - 7:56 PM
Metrowalk, a dining destination along Meralco Avenue in Pasig City, as seen in this March 2017 snapshot on Google Streetview.

(Updated, July 11, 8:12 p.m.) A video of a crying one-year-old child left inside an unattended car has sparked a conversation about unlawful acts against children.

The video was initially shared on social media, where its uploader Jasper Pascual narrated that he saw the child inside a Toyota Fortuner that was parked beside his own car.

“Heavily tinted ‘yung car niya so ‘di ko mapansin if may kasama siya or wala. But then bago ako sumakay sa car ko, hinahampas ng baby ‘yung salamin ng car and mas lalong lumakas ‘yung pag-iyak niya. It’s a cry for help!” he shared.

Pascual discovered that the child was left unattended by his parents, who were in Metrowalk — a place usually frequented by adults in the Ortigas area who wanted to catch drinks, eat or watch live acts after work.

Reports say that a security guard arrived at the scene 10 minutes or so after Pascual’s discovery, although the child may have been left inside the car longer.

When the child’s parents arrived, Pascual shared that the former got angry at the security guard who helped the child. They immediately left Metrowalk after the incident.

Possible sanctions for leaving a child

While it is not clear if the parents’ decision to leave a child momentarily unattended in the car violates the land’s tenets, there are certain laws that protect children from neglect.

Parents who fail to attend to their children may face sanctions under Republic Act 7610 or the “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.”

The Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act prevents minors from being abused, neglected and exploited, among others. (Philstar/File photo)

Under the law, children should be protected from all forms of “abuse, neglect, cruelty exploitation and discrimination and other conditions.”

It also defines “child abuse” as maltreatment — done out of habit or not — in the form of the following:

  • Psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment;
  • Any act by deeds or words which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being;
  • Unreasonable deprivation of his basic needs for survival, such as food and shelter; or
  • Failure to immediately give medical treatment to an injured child resulting in serious impairment of his growth and development or in his permanent incapacity or death.

Actions of the child’s parents fall under the first factor, where they would be imprisoned for a minimum of six years and one day and a maximum of 12 years.

Meanwhile, the child will be under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. — Video from Pilipino Star Ngayon via Jasper Pascual