Sagada rape victim seeks justice

PARENTS of 12 children aged 9 to 14 – years - old in Sagada, Mountain Province are seeking justice against a 56-year old suspect Rolando Bandril from Makati for allegedly raping and sexually harassing the victims.

According to Carol Bagyan, woman leader from the Binnadang, a provincial organization of women in Mountain Province, said the suspect should face the consequences he committed against the minors.

Bagyan said the suspect was arrested by civilians in February this year and is now under police custody. The suspect was a yoga instructor in Sagada, and was accused of bringing some of the victims in his boarding house and taking advantage of them.

Four of the victims together with their parents and guardians have already filed a case in court.

Bagyan said the suspect already admitted the crime to police.

At least 26 cases of violence against women and children were already recorded in seven of the 19 barangays in the past two years urging the mayor, the local priest and women leaders to address the situation.

Of the 26 cases noted from records secured from Sagada police, 12 are reported incidents of sexual abuse on children for years 2015 and 2016 including two recent incidents early 2017 for violation of RA 7610.

Mayor James Pooten said the needed attention be given to children’s and women’s plight during a forum on violence against women and children conducted by the Inayan Watch at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin (CSMV) in celebration of the International Women’s Day on March 8 heavily participated by the Sagada-wide Episcopal Church Women (ECW), Innayan Watch, and some members of the Sagada Inabe, women-tourist guides of northern Sagada based BFTAMPGA, and some women kagawad leaders.

Increasing incidents is noted with four alarming cases of sexual abuse and acts of lasciviousness on children in 2015 to seven incidents in 2016 in violation of RA 7610. The early months in 2017 reported two incidents of sexual abuse on children.

RA 7610 or Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act covers child prostitution and other sexual abuse, child trafficking, obscene publications and indecent shows, other acts of abuses, and circumstances which threaten or endanger the survival and normal development of the child.

Seventy - five to 85 percent of the reported 26 cases went through amicable settlement by both the perpetrator and the victim either through the guardian or the victim.

The rest were filed and are now undergoing trial in court.

Sonia Bullong of Innabuyog exhorted women to come out and tell VAWC incidents that happened to them or to children so that these shall be addressed and not to be repeated again to the child victim or woman victim or to any child or woman.

ECW and woman community leader Regina Tambiac said the community especially women should be watchful and report migrants to barangay officials as to who they are, their purpose residing in town and to what duration.

It has been noted Bandril currently detained at the Provincial Jail is from Marikina, Manila who long stayed in Sagada as a masseur and reportedly committed sexual abuse to 12 children and impregnated another high school student. Another incident on sexual abuse early this year was reportedly committed by a 14 – year – old son of a migrant on a 6 – year – old girl.
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