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Bahay Kanlungan sa Paliparan, Soon to Rise in Palawan

Puerto Princesa City, Palawan—The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Department of Justice (DOJ)- Inter Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), Provincial Government of Palawan (PGP), and the City Government of Puerto Princesa signed a Memorandum of Agreement for the operation of the Bahay Kanlungan sa Paliparan (BKP), the Airport Halfway/Safe House for at-risked and trafficked Persons.

As members of the Inter Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), the agencies involved pushed for the realization of the BKP to serve as a temporary shelter for persons-at-risk and trafficked persons, especially women and children.

In the latest data available, a total of 100 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) cases have been recorded from 2011-2018 in MIMAROPA. Of the 100 cases, Palawan holds the highest record with a total of 61 cases intercepted. In addition, victims coming from other cross-regions using Palawan as a backdoor exit has virtually increased. Most of these victims come from Central Visayas (53), Central Luzon (52), CALABARZON (45), National Capital Region (37), Davao (13) and Cagayan Valley (12). In total, TIP cases coming from other regions hit a 280-record.

CAAP will be funding the construction of the facility allotting a total of 30 Million peso Gender and Development (GAD) fund. Once done, BKP will provide a 24-hour service or a one-stop-shop, including temporary protective care and psychological services, counselling, and other services to walk-in, referred, and rescued victims of human trafficking.

“CAAP commits that our resources will be utilized to support a national agenda,” said CAAP Asst. Director General Atty. Joseph Rey Gumabon.

On the other hand, the DSWD will be providing technical assistance in handling trafficking cases and victim processing, as well as the provision of necessary funds to cater the victims. While the PGP and the CGPP will be providing funding for the necessary operations and maintenance of the BKP.

“As co-chair in IACAT, we, in the department, has been an active partner in combatting [human] trafficking,” shared DSWD Undersecretary for Operations, Aimee Torrefranca-Neri. According to her, the construction of the BKP is a welcome development not only in MIMAROPA, but also in the whole country considering BKP in Palawan is just the first of its kind.

BKP is expected to be in operation in the year 2020.

Provincial Governor Jose CH. Alvarez, Department of Justice (DOJ) Assistant Secretary George Orcullo Ortha, DOJ-IACAT Executive Director Rudiger G. Falcis, and DSWD MIMAROPA OIC-Regional Director Floreceli G. Gunio were also present during the MOA Signing.

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