By Roi Anthoni B. Lomotan
DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) – The Provincial Commission on Women (PCW) in Negros Oriental highlights on the issue of human trafficking in the observance of the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW).
In a special joint Kapihan Forum and briefing-orientation of the Association of Negros Oriental Public Information Officers (ANOPIO) recentlymorning at the Provincial Convention Hotel, officials from the provincial government and non-government organizations (NGOs) stressed that human trafficking is a form of violence against women’s rights since it leads them to sexual and other forms of exploitation.
The PCW and NGOs GWAVE and Visayan Forum called for strengthened partnership from information officers and Gender and Development (GAD) focal persons of each local government units (LGU) and other partner institutions who were at the forum to eliminate these two human rights issues that threaten the lives of women and children.
“As information officers, GAD focal persons and institutional partners, I am confident that we can do our part in putting a halt in this modern-day scourge and ensure a better future for our women and children,” Angelo Tiongson, executive assistant of the Gov. Roel R. Degamo echoing the governor’s message.
GWAVE official, Atty. Jeannette Icao said that based from the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 or R. A. 10364 “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, adoption or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation” are considered acts of human trafficking.
Atty. Icao added that through human trafficking, women and children can be exposed to pornography, prostitution, forced labor and involuntary servitude.
Moreover, Maribel Pagulong from the Visayan Forum disclosed that human traffickers take advantage in recruiting victims during calamities where everyone, especially women are desperate to find work to recover from great devastation they experienced during natural disasters.
In order to avoid this scenario, Adrian Sedillo, Executive Director of the Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council said the provincial government is considering allocating some of their disaster funds for cash for work funds for the livelihood to victims of calamities.
Icao encourages all information officers and GAD focal persons to be more active in preventing cases of human trafficking involving women and children by regularly coordinating with the Provincial Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (PIACAT).
She mentioned a salient provision of R.A. 10364 which states that a law enforcer can put a person under temporary custody to the local social welfare and development office or any accredited shelter institution if he finds her a victim of human trafficking or attempted trafficking under reasonable suspicion.
Icao hopes that through these measures, cases of human trafficking in the province will be diminished.
Meanwhile, the city and municipal social welfare offices provincewide have enlisted 24 human trafficking victims for livelihood and financial assistance.
From the 24, one is from Vallehermoso, two are from Giuihulngan, 11 are from Ayungon, another two from Tanjay City, three are from Sibulan, one from Bacong, two from Siaton and one from Sta. Catalina.
Each of them were given P10,000 by Department of Social Welfare and Development office in Negros Oriental as livelihood assistance while the provincial government extended funding assistance for food, medical and transportation expenses especially those who are attending court hearings regarding their cases.
On the other hand, the 18-day Campaign to End Violence Against Women was launched by the Philippine Commission on Women and is observed from Nov.25 to Dec. 12 every year. (mbcn/RAL/PIA7-NEGOR)