PNP Women and Children Protection Center defends performance from complaints online
The CRN said this failure is evidenced by the alarming increase of foreign perpetrators and involvement of families in trafficking their children.

PNP Women and Children Protection Center defends performance from complaints online

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - June 15, 2020 - 6:40pm

MANILA, Philippines — Responding to criticisms of inaction, the Women and Children Protection Center of the national police said Monday that it had not received any formal reports and that its investigators had faced challenges of their own amid the enhanced community quarantine. 

The Philippine National Police has been on the receiving end of criticism in the past weeks over social media posts that critics said blamed victims of sexual harassment for being harassed.

Earlier, a report by Rappler also alleged a 'sex-for-pass' scheme perpetrated by cops manning quarantine checkpoints that preyed on sex workers, both men and women. 

"We have already issued another directive reminding the WCPDs to exert their best efforts to investigate complaints, assist complainants to avail of remedies, and adopt measures that would allow complainants to safely report abuses during these times," the statement read.  

"All lower units of the PNP were directed to continuously undertake proactive measures to protect women and children not only from contracting COVID19 virus, but also against all forms of abuse, exploitation and violence in this challenging situation," it added. 

READ: Gamboa urges victims of sexual abuse by cops to file case against perpetrators

According to the PNP-WCPC, the investigators of Women and Children Protection Desks faced "the suspended filing of complaints for preliminary investigation, their limited and cautionary movements due to the pandemic, their initial lack of knowledge on online filing of temporary remedies before the courts, and even shortage of logistics because of the closure of establishments and unavailability public transport."

Both the Palace and the PNP have urged victims to come forward to the police to report and file complaints on what other policemen have done. 

Earlier Monday, the National Federation of Peasant Women and Rural Women Advocates (Amihan) warned that passage of the anti-terrorism bill would only intensify abuses on women, along with those critical of the government. 

"It is clear to see that the training they received on Violence against Women and Children is fake and their actions show a lack of sincerity and respect towards women,” Amihan National Chairperson Zenaida Soriano said in a mix of Filipino and English. 

In its statement, though, the center was careful to rebuff reports of its inaction, going as far as listing its accomplishments over the quarantine period. 

"In actuality, the WCPC and WCPDs continued its daily operation during the Community Quarantine and demonstrated resourcefulness whenever faced with difficulties," the statement read.

"For example, for the period covering March 16, 2020 to June 15, 2020, the WCPC and WCPDs conducted a total of 5,049 investigations, 3,628 arrests with 3,462 inquest proceedings — demonstrating their dedication to duty and professionalism in the midst of this pandemic," it added. 

According to President Rodrigo Duterte's last weekly report to Congress on June 8, the PNP recorded a total of 1,945 cases of violence against women and 1,754 cases against children since the enhanced community quarantine was implemented on March 17. 

On the other hand, recent data from Joint Task Force COVID Shield, of which the PNP is the lead agency, 1,003 cases of rape were reported from March 17 to June 14. 

The Center for Women’s Resources said it has recorded 33 cases of violence against women committed by police officers since July 2016. 

READ: Anti-terror bill will embolden PNP’s ‘anti-women culture’ — peasant group  

"Be that as it may, we would not turn a blind eye to those who have been neglectful and incompetent in their responsibilities," the statement read.

"As such, we would encourage complainants who have been ignored and disregarded by WCPD investigators during the lockdown period or even after, so that we could conduct investigations to look into the matter and impose disciplinary measures if warranted." — with reports from Bella Perez-Rubio


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