MANILA: Malacañang on Tuesday expressed dismay over the reported increase in cases of violence against women and children since the start of the implementation of quarantine restrictions in the country in March to curb the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“Nakakalungkot po iyan na habang tayo’y nasa quarantine, sama-sama ang mga pamilya ay ngayon tumaas pa po tumaas ang bilang (It’s saddening that now that we are under quarantine and with our family, [the number of cases of violence against women and children] rises),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4.
President Rodrigo Duterte, in his 11th weekly report to Congress submitted on Monday, revealed that nearly 3,700 cases of violence against women and children have been recorded by the Philippine National Police (PNP) since the imposition of quarantine rules in the country.
As of June 4, the PNP has recorded a total of 1,945 cases of violence against women and 1,754 cases of violence against children, according to Duterte’s report.
Duterte said the police are coordinating with local government units to protect the rights of women and children amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added that the Philippine Commission on Women is implementing its Violence Against Women Referral System that provides for a national mechanism for monitoring and reduction of gender-based violence.
Roque was optimistic that violence against women and children would stop now that the quarantine measures in the country have been relaxed since June 1.
He also urged victims of violence to file complaints before the authorities to hold the perpetrators accountable for their commission of the crime.
“I-report niyo po iyan para naman, maimbestigahan at maparusahan yung gumagawa nitong mga ganitong abuso (Report [cases of violence] so that those can be investigated, and perpetrators can be punished),” Roque said.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) earlier asked the government to undertake measures to combat domestic violence and provide protection for women and children during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The CHR made the call as it lamented that households have been troubled by psychological and mental exhaustion because of the implementation of the community quarantine nationwide.
It also claimed that women and children have since been forced to stay at home with their abusers.
(PNA/ Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos/ SRNY/ RSP)