REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM

Kagawaran ng Turismo

Local News

 

Quezon City, Philippines —— In a momentous covenant signing, various government agencies pledged their commitment in ensuring a tourism industry that is conducive to children and women.

This transpired as the Department of Tourism (DOT) presented the TourISM WoRCS Program or the Tourism Integrates, Support and Minds Women's Respect and Child Safety .

Signing the covenant were representatives from various agencies involved in the cause: Executive Director Dolores Alforte of End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) PH, Ms. Renay Farrel of Friends International, Mr. Jose Clemente of Tourism Congress of the Philippines, PBGen. William Macavinta of Philippine National Police (PNP), Exec. Dir Mary Mitzi Cajayon—Uy of Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), Asec. Roosque Calacat of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Asec. George Ortha II of Department of Justice (DOJ), OIC—Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Josephine Maribojoc of the Department of Education (DepEd), Ms. Janet Ramos of CFO, and Ms. Cecille Gutierrez of Philippine Commission on Women (PCW).

In her keynote address, DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo—Puyat stressed the agency's commitment to pursue this daunting task. She said, "As we celebrate the world renowned hospitality of the Filipino and the characteristic readiness of our people to please at all cost, it is also incumbent upon us to ensure that we give equal protection to the most vulnerable members of our society. Like how we value and protect our natural attractions and safeguard our diverse cultures, it is also our responsibility that our people, particularly our women and children, are free from harm, abuse, much more from any sexual exploitation and human trafficking.'

From the original version, the Child Wise Tourism Program in 2006, the advocacy evolved as the Child Safe Tourism (CST) program in 2014, and now as TourISM WoRCS, the comprehensive version incorporating gender and development (GAD) concerns and interventions.

Through the TourISM WoRCS program, a series of trainings and seminars that promote sustainable tourism practices will be mounted to ensure that the rights of children and women are protected. It will also facilitate the establishment of "child safe and women in tourism" focal persons in every regional office.

"The DOT is also committed to help train tourism frontliners, empowering them to play a role in prevention, reporting and responding to the need to protect women’s and children's rights. In fact, we have put in place a policy that requires tourism workers such as tour guides, to learn about GAD and CST," said Puyat

The program will also pave the way for the creation of an Inter-agency Working Group for Child Safe Tourism Philippines and provide Child Safe information to travelers in the Philippines.

It can be recalled that the department, in partnership with the Friends International, an NGO focusing on children and the youth in South East Asia and across the world, released the "7 Travellers Tips" which include reminders on what to do if a sex worker appears underage, or if one sees an adult propositioning a child. The tips also inform travelers to report to the authorities if he or she becomes a witness of child labor in their travels in the Philippines.

Travelers and the general public are encouraged to report if a child is in danger to PNP hotline117 or the international police: www.interpol.org

In closing, Sec Puyat issued a stern warning to violators of rights of children and women.

"We certainly do not need tourists in the Philippines who would prey on the young and women. I look forward to the day when we would not have to report about children or women who suffer at the hands of sex predators, a time when child—sex tourism and women trafficking will just be painful lessons in history. That would come. But today, we have a battle to win, and win, we will."

Photos:


L—R: Executive Director Dolores Alforte of ECPAT PH, Ms. Renay Farrel of Friends International, Mr. Jose Clemente of TCP, PBGen. William Macavinta of PNP, Exec. Dir Mary Mitzi Cajayon-Uy of CWC, DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo—Puyat, Asec. Roosque Calacat of DILG, Asec. George Ortha II of DOJ, OIC-Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Josephine Maribojoc of DepEd, Ms. Janet Ramos of CFO, and Ms. Cecille Gutierrez of PCW



 

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