Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte [right] and Regional Prosecutor Antonio B. Arellano unveil the Anti-Trafficking poster at the launch of the Advocacy Campaign Against Human Trafficking. Also in photo is DSWD Director Priscilla N. Razon.

DAVAO City  -The Advocacy Committee of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) XI Network launched Tuesday the 2013 Advocacy Campaign Against Human Trafficking at the NCCC Mall Atrium.

The Anti-Trafficking in Person (TIP) campaign materials include AVP, posters, stickers and tarpaulins which were also handed over to partner agencies, mall representatives, taxi companies and schools for dissemination.

Following the campaign launch was the Signing of the Pledge of Commitment by all member agencies and stakeholders.

The Council was created in November 2003 under the mandate of RA 9208 and RA 9262. It is a concrete response to the international protocol of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women or CEDAW, the International Human Rights Law, the Humanitarian Law and other human rights instrumentalities.

It is chaired by the Department of Justice with member agencies such as DSWD, DOJ, DILG, DEPED, DOH, DFA, DOLE OWWA, PPA, ATO, PNP, CIDG, NBI, BI, Visayan Forum, Commission of Overseas Workers, IGDD and CSSDO.

In his keynote address, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte said poverty is the fundamental reason why human trafficking exists. He said it is very odious. The people’s travails and lamentations prevail because there is not much opportunity for money to go around, he said.

Targeting the human traffickers, he emphasized, “Hindi ko talaga kayo palulusutin. Galit ako sa droga, galit ako sa recruiters, galit ako sa kidnappers (I will never allow you to get away with it. I am angry at drugs, I am angry at recruiters, I am angry at kidnappers).” I will always protect people, he stressed.

IACAT XI Network Chair and Regional Prosecutor Antonio B. Arellano also cited poverty as the root cause of human trafficking. He said as long as poverty exists, there will always be persons who will be vulnerable to illegal recruitment.

Director Priscilla N. Razon of DSWD presented the initial gains of the Council such as  increased filed cases in court with 6 convicted, increased/maximized participation of member agencies, heightened awareness on Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, strengthened collaboration and cooperation between and among IACAT XI Network member agencies, availment of complete package of services [one-stop shop] of TIP Victim-Survivors, and increased recovery and reintegration of TIP victim-survivors.

Earlier, the Council signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte, Panabo City Mayor Jose Silvosa Sr. and Davao Del Norte Gov. Rodolfo P. Del Rosario, to respond to the growing concerns against possible incidence of trafficking in persons in their locality.

A MOA was also inked between the Council and Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon N. Malanyaon and Compostela Valley Gov. Arturo T. Uy, to replicate the IACAT XI Network in the two provinces.

DILG Director Francisco C. Jose said there is a need to advocate and educate the people down to the barangay level. “We have a long way to go. We invite all, the schools, barangays, to join this campaign and saturate our communities with information against human trafficking. Let’s all work together to end human trafficking.” DSWD