The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will conduct an assessment of the family of a boy who was photographed being treated like a pet dog by his own mother.
Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said Thursday the members of the boy's immediate family will undergo psychological assessment to determine their mental capacity.
"I really want to know if the whole family had any sense of the wrongness of the act and why they participated in it," said Soliman.
She said the result of the psychological assessment will guide the DSWD in deciding the issue of custody and whether a case should be filed against the mother.
The DSWD earlier said that the mother may be liable for violating Republic Act No. 7610, or the anti-child abuse law, and the Violence Against Women and Children Act.
On Tuesday, the DSWD office in Orani, Bataan province, rescued the young boy from his mother after a photograph of the boy with a rope on his neck and crawling on all fours went viral on Facebook. The post has been deleted.
The mother earned the ire of netizens for treating her son like a puppy, as the boy was photographed crawling toward a dish filled with dog food.
The boy was first taken to the district hospital in Orani upon his rescue for a medical checkup.
Soliman said the boy was healthy and did not sustain bruises from the incident.
The child has been transferred to the temporary custody of the DSWD Reception and Study Center for Children in Pampanga.
The boy's mother apologised for the incident, saying the act was done in jest and that she did not mean any harm to her child.
Soliman said both the mother and father will undergo continuous counseling to remind them of their responsibilities as parents.
"That is the reason why we want to give them counseling on responsible parenting. They should know that it is their primary responsibility to protect and uphold the dignity of their child. It is ironic that she did that to her own child," Soliman said.
The boy will remain in the DSWD's custody until the agency's psychologists determine the parents' capacity to take care of their child.