Security measures have been tightened by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Philippine National Police in the biggest evacuation center in Zamboanga City amid a rape incident reported there.
“Additional security measures were recently installed in partnership with the PNP to ensure the safety and protection of the more than 11,000 families still staying inside the evacuation center,” said DSWD Assistant Secretary Camilo G. Gudmalin, referring to JFE Sports Complex.
There are at least 100,000 persons displaced in tens of evacuation centers because of the three-week fighting between the government and Moro National Liberation Front.
“As of present, no actual case of abuse has been reported except for the rape incident previously recorded, which has since been resolved as the perpetrator apprehended. However, the Department saw fit to respond and initiate additional security measures to safeguard the evacuees, especially the women and children,” he added.
On the second week of the fighting, a five-year old girl was reportedly raped by her uncle in the said evacuation center.
A gender-based grievance desk was established inside the evacuation center to handle all reports on gender-based violence. The grievance desk is located beside the welfare inquiry desk.
Gudmalin also encouraged the media, other sectors of society and evacuees to immediately inform them of any similar report so they can validate and make appropriate response.
He also appealed to all sectors in the society “not to take advantage of the vulnerability of the displaced persons” and instead “please be one with the local and national government in rebuilding Zamboanga City.”