BAGUIO CITY – The Department of Social Welfare-Cordillera Administrative Region (DSWD-CAR) expressed alarm over the rise in the number of rape cases in the region and the ages of both victims and perpetrators.
In an interview with DSWD-CAR OIC Regional Director Janet P. Armas, she said there are rape cases in all provinces in the region and the number is increasing.
The region covers the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga Mountain Province, Tabuk City Kalinga and Baguio.
During the joint Regional Peace and Order Council and Regional Development Council (RPOC-RDC) meeting recently, Police Regional Office (PRO-COR) Operations and Plans Division chief Police Senior Superintendent Homer Penecilla reported that rape is among the eight focus crimes in the region.
He said that Ifugao province, specifically Lamut Town, recorded the most number of incidents from January to June 2017.
Armas revealed that the same was also reported during the inter-agency meeting with partner Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
“The 20 rape incidents for just a period of six months in a single locality is big, and I consider it alarming because in most provinces, if not theft, the highest reported crime is rape,” Armas said.
She also expressed alarm that young girls are victims with the perpetrators being also minors. “It is still a crime committed against our women and children, and what concerns me most is that girls as young as 11 are already victims. The perpetrators are also very young and the ages are going down,” Armas added.
She said that DSWD-CAR is constantly continuing its information campaign on the implementation of Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004.
Armas also called on governors and heads of local government units (LGUs) to reactivate at all levels the Gender and Development Technical Working Group (GAD TWG) in their areas and to continue lobbying for the protection of women and children.
“With the present situation, it is very important for the GAD focal persons in every barangay in the municipality to include preventive measures or advocacies in their GAD plan,” Armas said.
She added, “parents play a big role, but as an institution, we find the need to help parents too, especially when they are not at home.”
Meanwhile, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan who is also the RPOC and RDC chairman, called on the leaders of the different provinces and municipalities to emphasize values-formation among parents.
“The neglect of parents towards their mandates as first teachers of their family and their children makes it obvious that these children have not been taught the point values in their respective homes,” Domogan said. MERRIAM S. DEL ROSARIO/PNA / ABN
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