‘Tokhang’ for rapists, group urges
LEGAZPI CITY—Women activists in Bicol are demanding tough measures to stop a surge in cases of violence against women (VAW) in the region, calling on police to carry out its “Oplan Tokhang” (Knock and Plead) against drug suspects on sex offenders as well.
Jenelyn Nagrampa, secretary general of Gabriela Bicol, said President Duterte has no concrete plan to stop VAW cases which have reached alarming levels already.
“If there is ‘Oplan Tokhang’ for drug personalities, why not have ‘Oplan Tokhang’ for rapists, too?” said Nagrampa.
“There is a program on the war on drugs but there’s no concrete plan on violence against women. If we will check the records, rape cases can be considered as alarming,” she said.
Senior Insp. Ma. Luisa Calubaquib, information officer of the regional police office in Bicol, said the region ranked first in number of VAW cases in 2013, prompting police to strengthen the campaign against VAW.
Calubaquib said police are “not just doing the tokhang” but are keeping a list of persons wanted for rape cases.
“The problem with rape cases is, most of the time, we cannot locate the suspects in the area,” she said.
In 2015, the Bicol police recorded 3,467 cases of VAW. From January 2016 to August 2016, at least 2,080 cases of VAW had been recorded in Bicol. At least 105 of these are rape cases.
Calubaquib said the regional police has been coordinating with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, through the department’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program which gives police information on households.
Cristita Triunfante, member of the Philippine Commission on Women, said from 82.8 percent, corresponding to 9,021 cases, in 2011, violations of Republic Act No. 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004 rose to 85.1 percent (28,892 cases) in 2015.
She said nationwide, at least 32,000 VAW cases had been reported in 2015.
Triunfante said the number of cases continued to increase despite efforts to end violence against women.
“We will not stop empowering women, especially those who are poor and uneducated,” she said.
Lawyer Arlene Alangco, director of the Commission on Human Rights in Bicol, said the region’s ranking as highest in terms of VAW cases is no cause for alarm, though.
It just means more victims are coming out in the open, she said.
She said “there is an active advocacy wherein victims are reporting their cases or organizations or agencies are active in submitting reports.”
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