Child abuse cases in Benguet soar to 117-A A +A
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – A hush fell over the hall where stakeholders gathered to talk about child abuse.
Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Juana Bannawe left officials who chose to come dumbfounded to see reports of incest, rape, theft and robbery involving children.
“This is the hidden epidemic in the province and we need action,” she said.
You could hear a pin drop inside the Palispis Hall when Bannawe said rape cases logged at 45 incidents followed by incest with 26 cases, acts of lasciviousness with 11, seduction with twin incidents and physical abuse with 33 cases.
Bannawe said based on research, child abuse cases are pegged to reach 117 cases from the period of January 2011 to June 2012 alone; only the towns of Bokod and Bakun have no reported cases of abuse.
La Trinidad logged the highest number of cases with 62 percent and Tublay with the least at two percent, majority of the victims are female children.
La Trinidad logged the highest number of rape with 18 cases while incest was pegged at eight, acts of lasciviousness with nine, seduction at two and physical abuse with 25 reported incidents.
Second in line is Tuba with nine cases of rape, a lone case of incest and twin cases of physical abuse while in Kibungan town there are three cases of rape, six cases of incest and a lone case of physical abuse.
Bannawe said, “Child abuse occurs at different age groups, the youngest is a two-year-eight-month-old female child raped by a five year old male neighbor, followed by a three-year-old suffering from physical injury and a four-year-old child who underwent the ordeal of incest rape by their own father.”
She added, “Most of the rape cases happened at the perpetrators or neighbor’s house while most of the incest cases were consummated at the victims own home.”
The summit convened in two batches with the first group comprised of Bakun, Bokod, Buguias, La Trinidad, Kabayan, Kibungan and Sablan towns meet Tuesday while the second batch made up of municipalities of Atok, Kapangan, Itogon, Mankayan, Tuba and Tublay is set to meet on August 22.
Perpetuators were identified as neighbors representing 42 percent followed by parents at 20 percent, relatives at 16 percent, other abusers logged were teachers, playmates, boyfriends and employers.
“Alarming in the report is a serial rapist if five different children and a father who raped all his three children,” Bannawe said.
Only three local chief executives found the time to come to the provincial summit on child welfare Tuesday morning: Kabayan Mayor Faustino Aquisan, Buguias Mayor Melchor Diclas and Kabayan Mayor Benito Siadto of Kibungan, with a majority sending a small delegation of representatives.
Governor Nestor Fongwan who pushed for the summit rued the lack of chief executives present during the summit saying if the meeting was for allocation of farm to market roads, the hall would have been full.
“We invited you to come because we wanted to sit down with you and talk about these problems.”
Fongwan was alarmed months ago when police reported a surge in rape cases for the province during the regional peace and order council meeting and has since ordered a research of child abuse cases here.
Fongwan said, “by all means we should sit down and talk about this,” the governor then decided to hold office inside the hall the whole day to monitor who would stay for the daylong summit and stayed near the door of the entrance preventing officials and representatives to sneak out.
The summit ended with the crafting of an action plan.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 16, 2012.