^

Headlines

‘Budget cuts may lower Philippines human trafficking status’

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star
âBudget cuts may lower Philippines human trafficking statusâ
At the hearing of the Senate finance committee, chaired by Sen. Sonny Angara, on the proposed 2023 budget of the Department of Justice (DOJ) last week, it was found out that the budget for anti-trafficking in persons programs has been cut by 35 percent from P90 million in the 2022 General Appropriations Act to P59 million in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for next year.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines —  Cuts made to the budget for combatting human trafficking and online sexual abuse or exploitation of children (OSAEC) could lead to the downgrading of the country’s current Tier 1 status in fighting the scourge, senators have warned.

At the hearing of the Senate finance committee, chaired by Sen. Sonny Angara, on the proposed 2023 budget of the Department of Justice (DOJ) last week, it was found out that the budget for anti-trafficking in persons programs has been cut by 35 percent from P90 million in the 2022 General Appropriations Act to P59 million in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for next year.

Senators Risa Hontiveros and Sherwin Gatchalian, during the hearing, pushed for the restoration of the budget cut to ensure the government’s sustained crackdown on all forms of human trafficking and OSAEC.

“Human trafficking is a clear and present danger in our country. It’s still happening right now. If we can increase the budget just a bit more, so much the better,” Gatchalian said.

Asked by the senator whether the cut would affect the Philippines’ Tier 1 ranking under the US Department of State’s Anti-Trafficking in Persons Report for 2022, Justice Undersecretary Nicky Ty confirmed it would.

Being in the Tier 1 ranking means the country has met the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons.

Hontiveros and Gatchalian are among the sponsors and authors of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2022. The law was signed in June this year.

Gatchalian was also a co-author of another relevant law: the anti-OSAEC law.

Expressing her dismay, Hontiveros said funding the law “is as important as passing the law.”

“We want our lawmakers to be more agile in responding to trafficking cases – monitoring human traffickers online, the entrapment operations – these all need the budget, including putting up the sex offenders registry, must be funded,” Hontiveros said.

She warned the hard work of advocates and lawmakers would be rendered useless if the cuts push through.

Ty said the two laws would make the government more capable in curtailing human trafficking, OSAEC and other crimes.

The official, however, said under the NEP, the budget for training, among others, was significantly slashed.

Since the laws also mandate the creation of the National Coordination Center Against OSAEC under the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, the DOJ said it would need funding for the hiring of necessary personnel.

NEP

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with