Gatchalian alerts PNP on surge in crimes against children, women during ECQ

Published August 8, 2021, 10:38 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Sunday urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to watch out for a possible surge in violence against children during this enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period.

Gatchalian recalled that the last time there was an increase of crimes committed against women and children was during the imposition of an ECQ last year, citing data from the PNP, children’s organization Save the Children.

The senator noted that the economic hardships that loom over families could again trigger a surge in domestic violence. He said victims could also find a hard time seeking help due to stricter quarantine measures.

“Noong ipatupad ang mga lockdown noong nakaraang taon, nakita natin ang paglobo ng mga kaso ng karahasan sa mga kababaihan at kabataan (When the lockdown was implemented last year, we’ve seen an increase in the number of cases of violence against women and children),” Gatchalian said.

“Nanganganib na maulit ito kung hindi natin paiigtingin ang ating mga hakbang upang masugpo ang mga kaso ng karahasan, (This could happen again if we don’t strengthen our mechanisms to resolve these kind of violence),” he pointed out.

The chair of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, said it is necessary for authorities to sustain the accessibility for helplines such as the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) Violence Against Women and Children Desk, and the PNP’s Women and Children Protection Center.

Gatchalian also stressed the importance of the role of barangays in thwarting crimes against women and children due to their proximity to the victims.

Likewise, he said, barangays should put up help desks to monitor cases of child abuse and violence against women, as well as coordinate with social workers, health officials and women and children protection units to provide timely intervention and ample assistance to the victims.

At the height of last year’s ECQ, the PNP recorded at least 1,284 cases with 521 involving children and 763 against women on April 30, 2020.

These figures dramatically increased to 3,600 crimes by June 4, 2020 with 1,745 cases against children and 1,945 against women.