(CIAC president-CEO Alexander Cauguiran (center), DOJ Asst. Sec. and IACAT head Atty. Juvy Ramirez-Manwong, regional prosecutor Atty. Carolyn Dumlao-Amis, deputy city prosecutor Atty. Percival Atinaja, Visayan Forum Foundation Inc. executive director Ma. Cecilia Flores- Oebanda and Angeles City GAD Office head Purita David lead the signing of the MOA creating the CIATFAT. Photo Courtesy of CIAC-CCO)
CLARK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – “We are not for sale! Nobody should ever be.”
Thus, said Assistant Secretary Juvy R. Manwong of the Department of Justice (DOJ) as she capped her keynote address during the signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) creating the Clark International Airport Task Force Against Trafficking (CIATFAT) at this airport’s arrival lobby on Friday.
“Human trafficking covertly erodes the sound foundation of civil society. It derails the development of our humanity and economy by exploiting our younger generation,” she said.
Studies have shown that that around 80 percent of human trafficking victims are women and a fifth are minors. According to UNICEF, a child is being prepared for sexual exploitation every two minutes and 1.2 million children are being trafficked every year excluding the millions already being held captive by traffickers.
In the Philippines, the Global Slavery Index data shows that as of 2017, 401,000 are victims of human trafficking. “These are not just numbers, not just statistics. These are humans, desecrated, violated and scorned by their fellow humans,” Manwong said.
Among the members of the CIATFAT who signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) are the CIAC led by its officer-in-charge Alexander Cauguiran, the DOJ led by Manwong who is also the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) head, Regional Prosecutor Atty. Carolyn Dumlao-Amis of the DOJ-Central Luzon, Deputy City Prosecutor Atty. Percival Atinaja, Visayan Forum Foundation Inc. executive director Ma. Cecilia Flores-Oebanda; and Angeles City Gender and Development Office head Purita David, representing Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan.
Also signing the MOA were officers and representatives of the PNP Aviation Security Group, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Ing Makababaing Aksyun (IMA) Foundation, Bureau of Immigration, National Bureau of Investigation, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency Regional Office 3, and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-3.
Also signed during the event was the iFight Trafficking Movement that will provide a halfway house and holistic aftercare intervention for victims of human trafficking.
“We are far from having won his battle. Human trafficking remains pervasive throughout the country despite the Philippines achieving a Tier 1 status when it comes to anti-trafficking compliance measures,” noted Manwong. “Clearly, we still have much to do.”
For his part, Cauguiran cited a milestone recently reached by the Philippines in its anti-human trafficking efforts, which the U.S. Department of State recognized in its 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIPR) released in June as a Tier 1 category which is the highest compliance level a government can achieve for its anti-trafficking measures.
The Philippines is now the only country in Southeast Asia to fully comply with the U.S. minimum standards in fighting human trafficking. He also commended the actions of the DOJ which led to the forming of the IACAT which in turn is the mother unit of the CIATFAT.
Cauguiran said the continued expansion in the operations of Clark airport also entails stringent measures to ensure that laws against human trafficking are dutifully observed.
He said Clark airport’s modest contribution, among others, is the provision of at least three office spaces at the airport’s lobby for CIATFAT’s law enforcement personnel, as well as temporary shelters for trafficking victims.