Monday, July 16, 2012

PH seen as model in reducing regional human trafficking | Inquirer Global Nation

Source:  Inquirer Global Nation


Monday, July, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – An Ambassador of the US State Department said that the Philippines could provide a model to help other Southeast Asian nations in combating human trafficking.
“I think that one of the things that the Vice President and I were able to discuss today (Monday) was [finding a] better way by which the United States and the Philippines can cooperate here in the region to fight against the problem of human trafficking,” Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, head of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons of the US State Department, said in an interview with reporters after he paid a courtesy call on Vice President Jejomar Binay at the Coconut Palace Monday.
“With the leadership that we’ve seen from the Vice President and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) chaired by (Department of Justice)Secretary (Leila) De Lima, we’ve seen a new approach to fighting against modern slavery here in the Philippines that I hope can be a model for the Asean region and the rest of the world,” CdeBaca said.
“The notion of prevention, protection, prosecution and partnership is something that would not have happened without the leadership of President Aquino and Vice President Binay,” he added.
Binay, for his part, said that he and CdeBaca discussed new ways by which the country could combat human trafficking.
“Yes, we discussed ways to fight the problem, some of these involved how embassies were able to provide information on suspected syndicates who victimize Filipinos,” Binay said.
Binay and the US official also tackled a proposed plan to set up a regional office so that enforcement and implementation would not only be “centralized.”
“What’s happening now is that when we have a problem for example in Sandakan we have to go Johor and to Kota Kinabalu, etc., so we have to talk to the Malaysian government. But if we have a regional office, we use it in information exchange and seeking help,” Binay said.
Binay also noted the importance of the campaign against human trafficking in getting funding and assistance from the US government amounting to $700 million.
Binay also compared the present administration’s accomplishments in terms of human trafficking to the past administration, saying that the Arroyo administration only handled “a handful of cases and had a very low conviction rate.”
“Under the Aquino administration, which completely supports our efforts against human trafficking and illegal recruitment, many have been prosecuted, many have been convicted and the conviction carries from a minimum of 10 years of imprisonment to life imprisonment,” he added.
Binay also attributed the country’s maintenance of a Tier 2 status rank in the list of the US State Department’s 12th Annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report to what he referred to as an “effective cooperation” among agencies of the government.
“For one, we appreciate the full cooperation of the national government—NBI, DILG, DOJ, DOLE, Office of the Vice President, etc…,” he said.
In 2010, the Philippines was on the Tier 2 Watch List – a list that included countries having the most number of human trafficking victims and with less government effort to stop forms of human trafficking. In 2011, the country’s status was upgraded to Tier 2 (removed from the Watch List) and maintained the status in 2012.

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