Vice President Jejomar C. Binay described as unfair certain statements made by the United Nations Rapporteur on Trafficking that tended to “devalue” the gains made by the Philippines in its anti-human trafficking drive.
“While we do accept that we need to improve on some aspects, we must object to some media statements made by the UN Rapporteur that tend to devalue the gains we have made since 2010,” the Vice President said.
“We do not ask for glowing reviews but merely an acknowledgement that in the Asian region, the Philippines has made considerable headway in the fight against human trafficking,” he said.
The Vice President said the Philippines has secured 52 convictions in a span of two years and compared to only 29 for the nine years of the Arroyo administration.
He also said a total of 586 cases have been filed in court in the past two years. In contrast, 1,225 cases were filed during the past administration.
The Vice President noted that the US State Department had warned him in 2011 that the Philippines was in the brink of plunging to Tier 3 status in the Global Trafficking in Persons Report (GTIP).
“I told them to give us time. We will show them what this administration can do. And, after just a few months, we were able to deliver on our promise,” Binay said.
From Tier 2 Watchlist, the Philippines was upgraded to Tier 2 status in 2011 and retained its standing in 2012.
Being in Tier 2 means the government made significant efforts to comply with international standards in the fight against trafficking in persons (TIP).
“We closed down agencies that violated the rights of our workers. We also rescued those who fell victim to illegal recruiters and human traffickers,” the Vice President said.
Binay said the Philippines’ achievements in the campaign against trafficking enticed other countries to study its TIP programs.
“When I was in Brussels, European Commission Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom expressed interest in learning how our country manages migration and combats human trafficking and illegal recruitment,” Binay said.
The Vice President further said that Indonesia and Japan visited the Philippines to study its implementation of TIP programs.
“Singapore also wants to observe how we enforce our TIP programs, prosecute trafficking cases and protect the victims of TIP,” he added.
Meanwhile, Binay emphasized that as a predominantly Catholic country, the Philippines detest sexual exploitation of children and deems sex tourism utterly unacceptable.
“Contrary to the observation of the UNSR, we do not tolerate sex tourism here in our country. Our government is taking all necessary measures to protect our women from being sexually exploited,” he said.