ANGELES CITY – Authorities rescued more than 20 individuals from a prostitution den during a raid along Barangay Balibago here on Thursday night, January 16, marking a 50% decrease from the previous rescue operation.
According to Mayor Carmelo ‘Pogi’ Lazatin Jr., he will not allow any act of exploitation in the City, especially on women, youth and children.
“That is why the City’s saturation and inspection drive will be continuous. In fact, pagkaupo po natin noong July bilang Mayor, agaran tayong naginspeksyon sa mga clubs natin. At patuloy po tayong mag-iinspeksyon para matanggal na sa siyudad natin yung ganyang mga gawain,” he said.
The Mayor furthered that these rescued workers, composed of 17 women and 9 members of Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, 2/Two-Spirit, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual Ally, or LGBTQ2+ community, are unregulated entertainment workers, which means they lack pink health cards from the City Government.
“The City Government has an obligation to promote and protect the health of its constituents, especially those working in vulnerable industries, and in the interest of protecting the health of workers in Angeles City, it is adamant that the city government implements measures to ensure that their health and safety is protected,” he added.
It can be recalled that in July 2019, Mayor Lazatin issued Executive Order No. 5, requiring “all workers in massage parlors, spas, and other establishments offering similar services in Angeles City to secure a pink health card from the Angeles City Sanitation/EHS Division.”
The EO No. 5 stated that “due to the popularity of entertainment and other recreational establishments in the city, as well as the influx of both local and foreign tourists, Angeles City has become particularly vulnerable to the prevalence of sexually-transmitted disease.”
The city government enforces measures to prevent the spread of HIV by requiring the city’s entertainment district to secure health clearances, including testing for HIV and other diseases, prior to being given permits to work.
Some 12,000 individuals have applied and renewed for pink health cards from the city government following a crackdown on business establishments along Fields Avenue.
During the previous operation and meetings of the Angeles City Government, he warned businessmen that there should be “no minor workers, no illegal drugs and no prostitution in Angeles City.” “Tanggalin po natin ang prostitution, tanggalin po natin ang bar fine. Napaka simple lang. Magtulungan po tayong lahat,” he said.
The local chief executive said the city government will clear Fields Avenue, the Perimeter Road all the way to the Friendship Circumferential Road of mendicants, ambulant vendors, street children most of whom are Badjaos, gay prostitutes, prostitution, uncollected garbage and clogged waterways.
“We will have an impressive city that is conducive for tourism and business,” said Mayor Lazatin who is eyeing a ‘Tourism Master Plan.’ Chief Adviser and Tactician IC Calaguas also told businessmen that Angeles City is “business-friendly.” The Lazatin administration has no plan to increase business taxes that will burden business owners.
Moreover, Mayor Lazatin stressed the importance of the saturation drives being conducted by a joint task force composed of personnel from the Angeles City Tourism Auxiliary, headed by Michael Lising, Angeles City Police Office, Angeles City Barangay Outreach, City Information Office, and Angeles City Emergency Disaster Command Center.