PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald Dela Rosa admitted Monday that crimes committed against women and children have been overlooked when the police became busy in the government's war on drugs.
"Dahil sa busy sa war on drugs, terrorism, hindi natin natutukan na 'yung sarili nating mga bata, infant na ginagamit sa exploitation," he said during the awarding of outstanding Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) personnel in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
[Because we were so busy with the war on drugs, terrorism we lost our focus on exploited children and infant.]
But since the PNP was eased out from the war on drugs operations, Dela Rosa said the police can now include the women and children's welfare on their priority list, which include riding-in-tandem criminals.
Dela Rosa said that during his several meeting with the top police officials of other countries they were asking him about child exploitation and human trafficking aside from illegal drugs-related operations noting that the Philippines is one of the "favorite" countries of foreigners involved in such illegal activities.
"Every time may international gatherings like Aseanapol, 'yung European countries and Australia, gusto ko mag-share ng issues sa respective police forces like drugs and terrorism pero wala silang ibang binabato kung di ‘yung problema sa child exploitation and trafficking in person," he said.
[Every time there is an international gathering like Aseanapol, the European countries, and Australia, I wanted to share issues like drugs and terrorism but what they are asking me about is our problem on child exploitation and trafficking in person.]
"So ito nga napabayaan natin ito dahil hindi natin masyadong pinapansin but ganun na pala kalala. Andami na pala nating mga bata na minors na naging biktima dito sa ganitong kaso. So ito ngayon tutukan natin," he added.
[We neglected this matter and we failed to realize that this problem is already becoming worse. A lot of children are victimized. And now we will focus on this.]
The WCPC, however, said it has yet to consolidate the cases of women and children exploitation.
Last week, police arrested two suspects for trying to receive money in exchange for the "special services" of a 17-year-old girl to a client.
Senior Superintendent Villamor Tuliao, director of PNP anti-trafficking in person division, said the suspects' modus operandi is enticing the would-be victims, particularly the pedophiles, to visit the country and to have a personal encounter with their "candidates."
Tuliao said the minors are being offered P20,000 to P30,000 and the sexual act is recorded on video.
Dela Rosa said he instructed the command group and directorial staff to make necessary actions to elevate the status of the WCPC as a national operational support unit so they would be entitled to their own fund, which will boost the provision of their additional equipment and personnel to combat such crimes.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the Philippine Drug Enforcement Group (PDEA) to be the "sole agency" in charge of the government’s war on drugs while the PNP will only be providing assistance.
He made the order following the drop in his satisfactory ratings.
Dela Rosa said they will be diverting their attention in combating killings perpetrated by riding-in-tandem as well as their internal cleansing.
However, not unlike their bloody war on drugs, Dela Rosa said he instructed his men to arrest motorcycle-riding gunmen alive.
"Keep them alive para walang problema, walang kaso. It's so foolish of us to insist on killing these suspects unnecessarily. We have been facing a lot of criticisms already bakit namin patayin ‘yan na hindi naman dapat patayin," said Dela Rosa.
[Keep them alive so we don't have any problem, no charges. It’s so foolish of us to insist on killing these suspects unnecessarily. We have been facing a lot of criticisms already why are we going to kill them?]
From July 1, 2016, to September 30, the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management said 33 percent of the killings recorded were perpetrated by riding-in-tandem. (SunStar Philippines)