With rape registering at one-fifth of all index crimes in the province, officials in Banawe, Ifugao and the visiting regional heads of government agencies agreed that violence against women and children (VAWC) is a social concern that should be addressed with urgency.
BY LYN V. RAMO
Posted by Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 25, July 27-August 2, 2008
BANAWE, Ifugao (348 kms. north of Manila) — With rape registering at one-fifth of all index crimes in the province, officials here and the visiting regional heads of government agencies agreed that violence against women and children (VAWC) is a social concern that should be addressed with urgency.
Gov. Teddy Baguilat points to several social problems, besides rape, as the greatest threats to Ifugao’s peace and order, adding that while the province has been declared jueteng-free, some other vices and problems still manifest.
“If we are to prepare a place where we could nurture the future of our children, then it should also be free of social problems,” Baguilat said. “This is a generally peaceful province, but it has its share of the region’s problems,” he said as he greeted participants to the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC), which held a meeting at the Banawe Hotel here on July 25.
In his report to the Provincial Peace and Order Council, which also met at the same venue shortly before the RPOC meeting started, Provincial Police Director Joseph Adnol said Ifugao is the only province with no “insurgency” problems.
Both officials, however, acknowledged the relatively high incidence of sexual abuse, especially among minors.
In his orientation paper Adnol mentioned that rape consisted 21 percent of all index crimes in the province in a one-year period. Physical injuries comprised 17 percent while homicide registered 9 percent. Other crimes registered low rates, with robbery at 5 percent, theft at 4 percent, and murder at 1 percent.
The Cordillera PNP (Philippine National Police) report during the RPOC meeting also mentioned rape occurrence in Benguet and other provinces of the Cordillera.
The PNP Cordillera’s observations on rape occurrence in the region were confirmed by Provincial Social Welfare Officer Joyce Niwani, who said the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) is looking into violence against women and children, especially now that she receives reports that these violations happen inside homes.
“Local folk are aware of what is happening and they come to us to report the incidents,” Niwani told the press in an interview.
Police Regional Director Eugene Martin, however, clarified that the recorded crimes “do not necessarily reflect the true picture” because only those which have been pursued in court are included in the listing of crimes.
“Once you look at the police blotter, the list may be longer,” Martin clarified. He said a lot of cases reported in the police blotter go through amicable settlements, and are usually stricken out of the records.
Niwani said government agencies encourage the filing of cases against the perpetrators so that they get the corresponding treatment under the law.
Meanwhile, both Niwani and Baguilat said the Summit on Women and Children in November would be a good step at raising people’s consciousness on VAWC but agree that the activity alone could not address the problem. (Bulatlat.com)