By Liza Soriano
City of Tualatin photo courtesy
MANILA — Senator Win Gatchalian is urging the government to allocate more cash for its campaign against all types of human trafficking, including online sexual abuse or exploitation of children (OSAEC).
Gatchalian noted a reduction of almost 35% percent on the budget for anti-trafficking in persons enforcement from P90 million in the proposed 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA) down to P59 million in the proposed 2023 National Expenditure Program during the Senate Committee on Finance’s hearing on the proposed 2023 budget of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and its attached agencies (NEP).
“Human trafficking is a clear and present danger in our country. It’s still happening right now,” said Gatchalian.
Gatchalian quizzed the DOJ whether the budget cut would affect the Philippines’ Tier 1 ranking under the United States Department of State’s Anti-Trafficking in Persons Report for 2022, which the Philippines has maintained since 2016.
Countries with a Tier 1 ranking have met the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons.
Justice Undersecretary Nicky Ty confirmed that the budget cut would affect the country’s Tier 1 ranking.
Gatchalian emphasized the need to fund and implement the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2022, a law that he co-authored and sponsored.
“If we can increase the budget just a bit more, so much the better,” Gatchalian said. (ai/mtvn)