By RPDO-ACAT Secretariat Staff
COTABATO CITY – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has reactivated its local committees on Anti-Trafficking and Violence Against Women and their Children (LCAT-VAWC).
Lawyer Laisa Masuhud-Alamia, ARMM Executive Secretary, said efforts were up since November last year to integrate LCAT-VAWC into the Local Inter-Agency Task Force Against-Trafficking (LIATFAT).
ES Masuhud-Alamia, who is also ACAT chairperson, said coordination has been in place between the Regional Planning and Development Office (RPDO) as ACAT Secretariat, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on the seven UNICEF target areas in the ARMM. These include the municipalities of Mamasapano, Parang, Upi and South Upi in Maguindanao; Parang and Siasi municipalities in Sulu; and Languyan in Tawi-Tawi.
The LCAT-VAWC and LIATFAT are tasked to coordinate, monitor and implement provisions of the Republic Act No. 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 as amended by Republic Act 10364 and Republic Act 9710 or Magna Carta on Women, and Republic Act 9262 or Anti-Violence Against-Women and their Children Act.
This effort has been in response to increasing cases of human trafficking in the region. In her presentation, ES Alamia said “based on the DSWD-ARMM report, Maguindanao province has the most number of trafficked and potential victims with 27 victims in 2009, 24 in 2010, 113 in 2011, and 49 in 2012, and a number of unreported cases”. She added that in 2012, the DSWD-ARMM reported having monitored four trafficked victims from of Sulu, 12 from Basilan and one from Tawi-Tawi. Although Tawi-Tawi has low incidence of TIP victims, the province remains the transit point for human trafficking in the Philippines. Many potential victims nationwide were often intercepted in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.
ES Alamia said “the ARMM stakeholders and development partners should be vigilant and proactive in addressing human trafficking CASES which are often controlled by organized crime syndicates”.
Hence, the Office of the Regional Governor has to reactivate the MCAT-VAWC mainstreamed with the LIATFAT in order to ensure prevention, rescue and recovery of the survivors and or potential victims, she said.