The Inbox

P100 million to combat human trafficking

De Lima with victim A

Commentary

By Ellen Tordesillas

Amidst stories of Filipinos being lured by syndicates to a life of misery and degradation, here's a silver lining:

Budget Secretary  Florencio "Butch" Abad has the request of the Department of Justice for P100 million for the 2013 operations of the Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking.

There were fears earlier that the DBM would only give IACAT P40 million which is even P10 million less than last year's budget.

Justice Undersecretary Jovy Salazar, who is in-charge of IACAT, said "The IACAT 2013 budget approval is a recognition and acknowledgment of the importance of what we do for the most vulnerable members of our society. We are truly grateful and up to the challenge."

He said although the 2013 budget (which is over P2 trillion)  will still be deliberated in the House of Representatives he is "confident that the impact of IACAT's mandate will justify the need for the requested budget for 2013."

IACAT's mandate is to implement on the ground what is declared in the Constitution that the "State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights."

The government's policy of manpower export started by Ferdinand Marcos and carried on by his successors of exporting Filipino workers overseas is actually anathema to the Constitutional provision. But be that as it may, it has its upsides and one of it is it helps greatly Philippine economy.

The downside is the vulnerability of poor Filipinos to unscrupulous human traffickers.

IACAT is an inter-agency body and it is supposed to help prevent trafficking to happen. That means close coordination with the Department of Labor, the police and other DOJ agencies such as the Bureau of Immigration.

It is also supposed to ensure recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of the victims into the mainstream of society by providing emergency shelter or appropriate housing; counseling; free legal services which shall include information about the victims' rights and the procedure for filing complaints, claiming compensation and such other legal remedies available to them, in a language understood by the trafficked person; medical or psychological services.

IACAT also helps victims in acquiring livelihood skills and education to trafficked children.

With so many cases of Filipinos victimized by traffickers not only overseas but also in the domestic front, it was not surprising that the Philippines was in Tier2 Watch List of the United States Department of State's monitoring of Trafficking of Persons.

Countries in Tier2 Watch List are those with the most number of human trafficking victims and with less government effort to stop all forms of human trafficking.

In 2011, the Philippines was removed from the Watch List and has maintained it this year. The State Department Global Trafficking in Persons Report took note that although the government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, "it is making significant efforts to do so."

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said, "Tier 2 is an important recognition of the country's sustained and aggressive initiatives and programs to eliminate human trafficking. The Tier 2 status officially recognizes a country's significant efforts to adhere to the benchmarks prescribed by the US State Department and meet the minimum standards."

Top in the recommendations of the Global Trafficking in Persons Report for the Philippines are to sustain the intensified efforts to investigate, prosecute and convict an increased number of both labor and sex trafficking offenders both locally & overseas and increased the funding for anti-trafficking programs.

These things can be done only with a bigger budget.

Based on IACAT's 2nd Strategic Action Plan which plots the goals  of the council until 2016, the projected budget needed to ensure optimum performance is around P150 million. Conscious  that there are sectors that also need funds badly, the  DOJ only asked for P100 million.

And it was granted.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Super typhoon expected to weaken before reaching Philippines
    Super typhoon expected to weaken before reaching Philippines

    HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — A super typhoon blamed for the deaths of at least four people on islands in the western Pacific Ocean has moved into the open sea and is expected to significantly weaken before reaching the Philippines later this weekend. …

  • Philippine leader says 'worst airport' now looking much better
    Philippine leader says 'worst airport' now looking much better

    President Benigno Aquino Wednesday hailed renovations to the Philippines' main international airport, expressing optimism it would soon shake off its ranking on one website as the world's worst airport. Almost a year after he personally apologised for the failure of air-conditioning at Terminal 1 of Manila's international airport, Aquino said the facility appeared to be completely different. "It is like I have entered a completely different airport," he told reporters as he inspected the …

  • Volkswagen opens new showroom along Quezon Avenue
    Volkswagen opens new showroom along Quezon Avenue

    Volkswagen opened a new showroom along Quezon Avenue, which is now the automotive row of Northern Metro Manila.At the Innauguration was Chief Operating Adviser Klaus Schadewald, Branch Manager Bob Anthony Palanca, Volkswagen Philippines: President and CEO John Philip Orbeta and General Manager Nemesio Solomon, Jr. This new showroom has the latest Volkswagen Interactive Showroom applications. ... …

  • The Race to Global Greatness - YGP6
    The Race to Global Greatness - YGP6

    Yamaha Motor Philippines (YMPH) recently held the first leg of the Yamaha Grand Prix 6 at the SM Sta. Rosa compound in Laguna. The racing categories for this year are the following: Automatic Inter-Club RaceUnderbone Inter-Club Race115 Superstock ATVega Force i SuperstockSniper 150 Open UB130 Open UBMio 125 MX i …

  • Volkswagen opens new showroom along Quezon AvenueVolkswagen opened a new showroom along Quezon Avenue, …
    Volkswagen opens new showroom along Quezon AvenueVolkswagen opened a new showroom along Quezon Avenue, …

    Volkswagen opened a new showroom along Quezon Avenue, which is now the automotive row of Northern Metro Manila.At the Innauguration was Chief Operating Adviser Klaus Schadewald, Branch Manager Bob Anthony Palanca, Volkswagen Philippines: President and CEO John Philip Orbeta and General Manager Nemesio Solomon, Jr. This new showroom has the latest Volkswagen Interactive Showroom applications. ... …

  • Nissan launches its “Virtual to Reality” GT Academy here in the Philippines
    Nissan launches its “Virtual to Reality” GT Academy here in the Philippines

    The Filipino Gran Turismo gamer just became eligible to become a Pro Race Car driver as Nissan Philippines Inc. launched its GT Academy here in the Philippines. The object is to find the best Grand Turismo players in both the online qualification process and participating in the live events after which they’ll compete with each other in National Finals to see who gets to attend the 3 month Race camp.  The winner gets to stay in the UK near Silverstone and will take part in UK national and club …

  • Osmeña wants electricity exempted from VAT
    Osmeña wants electricity exempted from VAT

    Sen. Sergio Osmeña III wants electricity to be exempted from value added tax under a proposed measure that will amend the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 and the Reformed VAT Law. He said the move aims to ease the burden of the public in paying high electricity rates in the country. “VAT on electricity is another burden on the already over-taxed shoulders of our people, especially those whose incomes are barely enough to cover their basic needs. Osmeña, chairman of the Senate …

  • No lotto draws starting tomorrow until Easter Sunday
    No lotto draws starting tomorrow until Easter Sunday

    No lotto tickets will be sold and no lotto draws made starting tomorrow, Maundy Thursday, up to Easter Sunday in observance of Holy Week. In a statement, Jose Ferdinand Rojas II, acting Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairman and general manager, said the selling of lotto tickets and lotto draws will resume on April 6,  Monday. “We thank all Lotto players for your trust and confidence in the PCSO games, and we count on your continued support of our efforts to raise funds for …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options