Mayor Joy Belmonte (right) and QCPD director BGen. Antonio Yarra (Courtesy of Quezon City Government Twitter account)
By Rjhay E. Laurea
MANILA — Mayor Joy Belmonte expressed her concern about the reported increase in cases of VAWC or violence against women and children in Quezon City and urged QCitizens who are victims of such cases to seek help through the city government’s various programs.
Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Director BGen. Antonio Yarra, during the Quezon City Peace and Order Council meeting, reported a 66.67% increase in VAWC cases and a 21.54% increase in rape cases for the first eight months of the year compared to the same period last year.
“We have launched a campaign to make women aware of their rights and make them advocates so they will be encouraged to report abuses,” BGen. Yarra said.
He explained that the pandemic played a significant role in the upward trend, as most families are at home. This was compounded by the financial difficulties experienced by many families, resulting in domestic conflict. Most of the recorded cases were of physical abuse, with psychological abuse a distant second.
Because of these records, Belmonte rallied victims or their relatives and friends to report such abuses through the QC Protection Center, through Hotline 122, or to the barangay and QCPD women’s desk.
She also directed the QCPD, QC Protection Center, and Gender and Development office to closely monitor and act swiftly on calls and reports pertaining to VAWC and other gender-based incidents.
“Nakakabahala ang mataas na numerong ito ng mga kaso ng pang-aabuso. Hindi natin ito maaaring palampasin, at kailangan gawan agad ng aksyon. Ang mga tahanan ay itinuturing nating safe space at dapat nating mapanatiling ligtas ang mga ito sa anumang uri ng karahasan. Ang mahalaga ay maiparating natin sa mga biktima na may matatakbuhan at may magtatanggol sa kanila (These number of cases of abuse are alarming. We can’t let it pass. We need to act immediately. Homes should be a safe place and we must protect it in any form of violence. The important thing is, we convey a message to the victims that they can go to us for protection),” Belmonte said.
Belmonte also reported that the Quezon City government together with the QCPD are set to launch a unified information management system to facilitate the monitoring and hasten the investigation of VAWC cases.
“Kailangan natin paigtingin pa ang ating mga programa para sa kaligtasan ng mga biktima ng karahasan. We cannot let any QCitizen suffer from gender-based violence in Quezon City especially during the pandemic (We must intensify our program for the safety of the victims of violence. We cannot let any QCitizen suffer from gender-based violence in Quezon City especially during the pandemic),” she added.
Last year, the Quezon City government reopened the QC Protection Center for victim-survivors of gender-based violence and abuse. The protection center is a one-stop-shop that provides medical assistance, legal assistance, and counseling.
The city also established the Bahay Kanlungan, a temporary shelter where victims are given safe refuge. The shelter has sixty (60) beds for women, children, and LGBTs escaping violence and abuse in their homes. (ai/mtvn)