Mayor: Violence against women, kids up in Sagada

>> Thursday, March 23, 2017

By Gina Dizon

SAGADA, Mountain Province –Twenty six cases of violence against women and children happened in seven of 19 barangays of this tourist town the past  two years, police said.
Of the 26 cases noted from town police records, 12 were sexual abuse on children for years 2015 and 2016 including  two recent incidents early 2017 for violation of Republic Act 7610 (violence against women and children.)
Mayor James Pooten  Jr. said the issue needed attention during forum on violence  against women and children conducted by Inayan Watch here at the Church of St Mary the Virgin in celebration of the International Women’s Day on March 8.
This was attended by Sagada-wide Episcopal Church Women, Inayan Watch and Sagada Inabe, women-tourist guides of northern Sagada and women kagawad leaders.
Increasing incidents were noted with four  alarming cases of sexual abuse and acts of lasciviousness on children in 2015  to seven incidents  in  2016 in violation  of RA 7610.
The early months in 2017 reported two incidents of  sexual abuse on children.
RA 7610 covers child prostitution and other sexual abuse, child trafficking, obscene publications and indecent shows, other acts of abuses, and circumstances which threaten or endanger the survival and normal development of  the child.
The rest of the 26 reported incidents were violations of  RA 9262 and one on  RA  8353 or the Anti-Rape Law of 1997. 
Violation of RA 9262  known of "Anti-violence against women and their children act of 2004" showed decreasing trend from  eight  in  2015 to  four incidents  in 2016. 
Seventy five percent to 85% of the reported 26 cases  went through amicable settlement by both the perpetrator and the victim  either through the  guardian or the victim.
The rest were filed and  are now undergoing trial  in court.
Forum speaker Sonia Bullong of Innabuyog urged women to come out and tell VAWC incidents that happened to them or to children so these shall be addressed and not to be repeated again on any child or woman.
RA 9262  covers acts against the rights of the woman and her child including the following: causing or threatening physical harm,  threatening to deprive or actually depriving custody to her/his family, depriving or threatening or  deliberately providing the woman's children insufficient financial support, depriving or threatening to deprive the woman or her child of a legal right, preventing engagement  in any legitimate occupation or activity or controlling the victim's own money or properties, solely controlling the conjugal or common money or properties, causing or attempting to cause any sexual activity  by force or threat of force or through intimidation directed against  her/his immediate family.
ECW and woman community leader Regina Tambiac said the community especially women should be watchful  and  report migrants  to barangay officials  as to who they are, their  purpose residing in town and duration. 
It has been noted that accused Rolando Vishok Bandril currently  detained at the provincial jail is from Marikina, Manila who long stayed in Sagada as a masseur and reportedly committed  sexual abuse against 12 children and impregnated another high school student.  
Another incident of sexual abuse early this   year was   reportedly committed by a 14-year-old son of a migrant on  a 6-year-old  girl.
The law-mandates formation of barangay council for  protection of children (BCPC). Article 87 of Presidential Decree No. 603 of the Child and Youth Welfare Code provides every barangay is mandated to establish a BCPC.
Barbara Bumatang of ECW-St Simon of Demang said training be given to BCPC members so they will know what their roles.
Sonia Bullong urged formation of a Council of Women Leaders to collectively address children’s and women’s and welfare.
Ms Toyoken of ECW- St Matthew  Bangaan said there should also be a Day for Men to collectively know the plight of women and children.
CSMV rector Rev.  Constancio Naoy in his sermon said women in the Bible played crucial roles for the good of the people urging women to be strong and brave midst challenging times.
 Fr Naoy said  Mary Magdalene witnessed the  resurrection of Jesus Christ  from the  tomb and informed the rest of  Jesus disciples  and relatives of Christ’s  resurrection as  instructed by Jesus Christ amidst    dangerous situations when the movement for Christianity operated underground and Christians  were then persecuted.
Inayan Warch chairperson Ivy Solang  in her opening remarks  reminded the history of Women’s Day  when the United Nations declared  in March 8, 1975  Women’s International Day  further traced to women garment workers in New York who protested against working conditions in 1908. 
Another body tasked to look after women's welfare is the Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and Their Children (IACVAWC) created by virtue of Republic Act No. 9262 .
To ensure effective implementation of the law, 12 agencies are  tasked to formulate programs and projects to eliminate VAW based on their respective mandates, develop capability programs for their employees to become more sensitive to the needs of their clients, and to monitor all VAW initiatives and to convene and form the Council. These agencies are Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Civil Service Commission (CSC), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine National Police (PNP), Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).


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