(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Tuesday, 18 June 2024) Southwest Monsoon affecting the western sections of Southern Luzon and Visayas. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—˜π—”π—§π—›π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—œπ—‘π—— 𝗔𝗑𝗗 π—–π—’π—”π—¦π—§π—”π—Ÿ π—ͺπ—”π—§π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Light to moderate winds coming from Southeast to South will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.1 meters).

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Surigao Norte strengthens campaign vs child, women exploitation thru TourISM WoRCS

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte – To jumpstart the campaign against sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT), the Provincial Tourism Office (PTO) of Surigao del Norte in partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT) Caraga organized a two-day Tourism Integrates, Supports and Minds Women's Rights and Child Safety (TourISM WoRCS) Program seminar at the Go Negosyo Center, Capitol Compound, Surigao City on April 25 to 26, 2023.
The TourISM WoRCS Program by DOT aims to address the issues of gender-based violence, sexual harassment, and child abuse in the tourism industry. It supports the Philippines' national policies and laws that promote gender equality and protect the rights of women and children, including the Magna Carta of Women and the Anti-Child Abuse Law.

Board Member Julecs C. Sunico, who serves as the committee chair on Tourism, welcomed the diverse participants and shared in his message, "This seminar is an excellent opportunity for us to come together and discuss ways to enhance the safety and security of women and children in the tourism industry. We have to stay strong and solid in protecting our beloved women and children.”

"It's no secret that tourism plays a significant role in the economy of our province, and we are committed to ensuring all visitors, especially women and children, to feel safe and secure while exploring the beauty of Surigao del Norte," Sunico added. 

He also urged everyone to work together towards creating a safe and more secure tourism industry in the province.

PTO officer-in-charge Jolly Joyce Tibay acknowledged the role the tourism sector plays in the proliferation of sexual abuse and exploitation of women and children and they take these challenges seriously.

“Ang tourism sector is potential siya nga anha mahitabo ang mga abuses because the tourism industry, in general, provided the venue as what our speakers articulated. We want to ensure na this venue will take responsibility and accountability so that we can implement a very sound tourism management sa ato province especially sa mga host destinations. (The tourism industry sector is where potential sexual abuses can happen because the tourism industry, in general, provided the venue as what our speakers articulated. We want to ensure that this venue will take responsibility and accountability so that we can implement very sound tourism management in the province, especially in our host destinations),” Tibay said. 

Instead of becoming a venue for these acts,Tibay said they will strive to make tourism a sector in the province that protects women and children with the help of policymakers and stakeholders in the tourism industry including the invited participants, such as the municipal tourism officers, Women and Children's Protection Desk (WCDP), Tourist-Oriented Police for Community Order and Protection (TOPCOP), accommodation establishment owners, and other concerned government and private organizations.

Speakers from End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT) Philippines, Janice Sofia Talip, project coordinator, and Edward Fernandito S. Tiongco, project officer, provided significant discussions and workshops on the realities of SECTT in the Philippines, special protection laws, particularly on child protection, and the unique role of the private sector. 

In one of the workshops, the participants presented scenarios through a role play on how a Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) Desk Unit, WCPD, local tourism office, or Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) can respond to suspected and confirm sexual abuse or exploitation of women and children, how and where can a hotel staff report such incidents, and implement child protection structure signages in lodging establishments like hotels, resorts and vacation rentals.

A feedback session held afterward highlighted the group's best practices and elaborated on the action items that needed to be addressed when dealing with suspected or confirmed cases of sexual abuse or exploitation of children and women. The presence and enhancement of the TOPCOP were also emphasized, which is responsible for facilitating and providing adequate assistance, service, and security protection for tourists

ECPAT speakers also introduced the private-public partnership towards child-safe tourism and model ordinance on child protection policy, which guides local government units in coordination with the PTO to adopt a child protection policy and craft a tourism child protection ordinance that primarily addresses the protection of children from commercial sexual exploitation and promotes the prevention and counter-sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism. 

This will be accomplished in the third quarter of 2023 and will be implemented immediately, Tibay confirmed. (DMNR/RPC/PIA-Surigao del Norte)