Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. To address the increasing incidence of human trafficking in the province, Palawan governor Jose Ch. Alvarez signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and Department of Justice (DOJ)- Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for the operation of a Bahay Kanlungan sa Paliparan (BKP), an airport halfway for the victims of human trafficking and persons at-risk.
Present during the MOA signing held yesterday, April 3, 2019 at the Governor’s Conference room in the provincial capitol were Gov. Alvarez, DSWD Undersecretary Aimee Torrefranca-Neri, DOJ Assistant Secretary George O. Ortha, Atty. Joseph Rey Gumabon, assistant director general of CAAP, Mr. Rudger C. Falcis, executive director of DOJ- Inter Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and DSWD-MIMAROPA Regional Director Floreceli Gunio.
Based on the agreement, the CAAP will allocate P30 million under its Gender and Development fund for the construction and establishment of the BKP. The provincial government of Palawan on the other hand, will allot funds for the operation and maintenance of the facility including hiring of social worker and house parent who will supervise the residents of the BKP.
Moreover, the DSWD will provide technical assistance in handling trafficking cases and victim processing, and the IACAT through the DOJ will assist in the facilitation of access to related assistance such as medical and legal, return to hometown, formal and non-formal education and livelihood skills trainings and opportunities.
According to Palawan Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer (PSWDO) Abigail D. Ablaña, the facility will serve as temporary shelter and at the same time a safe house for the victims of human trafficking that will be apprehended in the province. It will provide a 24-hour service including temporary protective care and psychological services.
Data show that the province of Palawan has the highest incidence of human trafficking in the MIMAROPA region from 2016 to 2018 with more than 100 cases reported.
The Bahay Kanlungan sa Paliparan is expected to be operational next year.