Vice guv: ‘Continue fight against human trafficking’

An awareness seminar on the Anti-Human Trafficking Act for hotel and resort operators and stakeholders in southern Cebu was held at the Capitol Social Hall last Sept. 30.

The whole day seminar started with Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino welcoming the participants on behalf of Gov. Hilario P. Davide III. The governor was in Samboan at that time for the launching of the digital tourism project in the so-called Boss (Boljoon, Oslob, Santander and Samboan) area.

Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, who co-chairs the Provincial Women’s Commission (PWC) and the Provincial Council for the Welfare of Children (PCWC), led the group of speakers who delivered their solidarity messages.

She cited the efforts of the PWC and the PCWC, which support the Anti-Human Trafficking Act. She also mentioned success stories of the two groups.

She likewise encouraged authorities and advocates ‘not to be discouraged’ nor to let their ‘guards down’ and instead ‘continue to fight until our battle is won against traffickers and child abusers.’

She pointed out RA 7610 in protecting chidren’s rights as well as two recent ordinances that she herself authored, namely: Ordinance No. 2014-16 or The ‘2014 Anti-Child Sex Tourism Ordinance of the Province of Cebu’ that penalizes child sex tourism and other acts of exploitation of children, and Ordinance No. 2014-17 that declares the first week of October, every year as the “Anti-Child Sex Tourism Week” in the Province of Cebu to increase awareness on the issue.

The other speakers were DILG Regional Director Ananias Villacorta, DOLE Regional Director Exequiel Sarcauga, DSWD focal person on anti-human trafficking Rosemarie Salazar, Regional State Prosecutor Fernando Gubalani, and Police Inspector Margienett T. Yosores on behalf of Police Chief Inspector Noel Gillamac.

Each of them cited their respective agency’s roles in the implementation of the law and what they had done to achieve the objectives of the law.

Other speakers also include lawyer Adonis Ardao of the International Justice Mission who gave the human trafficking situation in Central Visayas and Prosecutor Ma. Luisa Ratilla of DOJ Regional Task Force on Anti-Human Trafficking who spoke on the R.A. No. 9208 or the Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2012 as amended by R.A. No. 10364.

The PNP Region 7 Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (PNP RAHTTF) spoke of Detection of Trafficking In Person (TIP) cases while the Department of Tourism gave an overview of the Child Wise Tourism.

The Children’s Legal Bureau discussed the R.A. 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act. The Department of Labor and Employment expounded on the Closure and Inspection Power of the agency over erring establishments.

Detection and Handling of Cases Involving TIP and Child Pornography was handled by the Anti-Cyber Crime Group. The Cebu Provincial Women Commission presented its best practices.

Finally, Prosecutor Maria Teresa Casiño of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking Reg. 7 (IACAT 7) dwelled on the Formation of Team Approach Coordination and Referral System.

Certificates of attendance were distributed at the end of the seminar.