In full support and cooperation to the 18-day campaign of the Regional Anti-Trafficking Task Force (RATTF) to end violence against women and children, personnel of the Port Management Office of Misamis Oriental/Cagayan de Oro (PMO MO/C) attended the culmination program of the said campaign on 10 December 2019 at the Centrio Ayala Mall, Cagayan de Oro City.

The culmination program hosted by the Commission on Human Rights drew a high attendance rate from various agencies. The PMO’s Civil Security Officer Zaldy E. Magtagad, PPO1 Pam Budiongan and Human Resource Management Officer III Eden Yee attended the said event.

The whole day activity started with a Eucharistic Mass, offered for the lives of women and children worldwide who are experiencing abused physical, emotional, and/or mental abuse. The second part was a “Talakayan”, an open forum between Regional Directors of concerned agencies and participants composed of representatives from media, academe and various non-government organizations.

The forum or the culmination program itself was conducted to forward the pressing concern on the welfare of women and children. The forum revolved around the discussion on cases that fall under RA 9262 or Violence Against Women and their Children, and the assistance that may be extended by the agencies concerned such as the promotion of rights, alternatives/programs to support solo parents, among others.

According to the World Health Organization, 1 out of 3 women worldwide have experienced either physical or sexual abuse. Locally, in the Philippines, it has also been reported that some Filipino women aged 15-49 have experienced physical, emotional or sexual violence. All types of abuse: physical, emotional, and mental, have detrimental effects on the victims.

A video presentation was shown to the audience, composed of clips portraying violence and human trafficking. Afterwhich, two individuals shared a testimony on their experiences of violence and how they got through the tragedy, which was aimed to be a wake-up call for everyone and to teach lessons to avoid future unfortunate events.

One of the guest speakers of the culmination program left a note regarding the celebration, “Advocacy should not only be celebrated 18 days only, it should be celebrated every day.”

Aware of the rampant yet unpredictable cases of violence especially against women and children, the PMO MO/C has boosted its security protocols to detect and intercept possible human trafficking among passengers in the ports under its jurisdiction. Furthermore, a series of capacity building training and seminar were conducted to the security personnel, partner agencies, and other port users.—NR Balverde