The Philippines has retained its Tier 2 status in the latest Global Trafficking in Persons (GTIP) Report of the United States Department of State, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay announced today in Jeddah.

“As Chairman Emeritus of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), I am pleased to announce that the Philippines has retained its Tier 2 status in the U.S. State Department’s Global Trafficking in Persons Report for 2012,” Binay said.

Binay said the country’s consistent performance was the result of the “effective coordination from all member-agencies of the IACAT.

He congratulated the members of the council and thanked the non-government organizations (NGOs) involved in the anti-trafficking drive of the government.

“Under President Benigno Aquino III’s leadership and in a span of two years, we have exceeded what the previous administration had accomplished in five years. We were able to achieve 39 trafficking-related convictions in a span of 22 months compared to the 29 convictions the previous administration had from 2005 to June 2010,” the Vice President said.

He added that under President Benigno Aquino III, the country has remained consistent in the Tier 2 category.

“Being in Tier 2 status means that we are making significant efforts to comply with the requirements of the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA),” he said.

“We were in Tier 2 Watch List status during the previous administration, in danger of being placed under Tier 3, which means being included in the list of countries that do not cooperate in the fight against trafficking and subjected to US foreign assistance sanctions,” he added.

Binay said that IACAT has taken note of the U.S. State Department’s recommendations in the report.

Recommendations included in the report were for the government to “sustain the intensified effort to investigate, prosecute, and convict an increased number of both labor and sex trafficking offenders in the trafficking of Filipinos within the country and abroad” and increase funding for anti-trafficking programs of all IACAT member-agencies.

The report also noted that the government needed to “address the significant backlog of trafficking cases by developing mechanisms to track and monitor the status of cases filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ),” conduct “immediate and rigorous” investigations of government officials complicit in trafficking activities.”

Furthermore, the GTIP report recommended the strengthening of anti-trafficking training for police recruits, front-line officers, and police investigators, and to improve collaboration between NGOs and law enforcement authorities.