Zamboanga Del Norte

Rising number of rape cases in Dapitan alarms authorities

Gualberto Laput
Rising number of rape cases in Dapitan alarms authorities

DOCUMENTED. Corporal Shekehna Moh Reen Ibno of the Dapitan City Police Office’s Protection of Women and Children Section goes over her records of cases of rape and other forms abuse against women and children in the city.

Gualberto Laput/Rappler

Police Corporal Shekhena Moh Reen Ibno says the cases continued to increase despite a police campaign to stir public awareness for the protection of women and children in Dapitan’s villages

DAPITAN CITY, Philippines – Authorities expressed alarm over the number of rape cases in the city which has generally risen in the last five years.

Many of the cases were incestuous, according to the police.

In 2018, Dapitan registered nine rape cases, and it doubled the following year, Corporal Shekhena Moh Reen Ibno of the Dapitan City Police Office’s Protection of Women and Children Section told Rappler on Friday, August 12.

From 18 in 2019, the number increased to 20 in 2020, but went down to 14 last year, which was still 64% higher than 2018’s documented number of cases, police said.

Ibno said the number of rape cases in Dapitan reached 14 during the first seven months of 2022 and could surpass previous years’ records at the rate things were going.

She said the cases continued to increase despite a police campaign to stir public awareness for the protection of women and children in Dapitan’s villages.

Many of the sexual attacks took place in remote villages, Ibno said.

Police said many of the rape cases were incestuous, and most of the victims came from broken families, the less fortunate, or children who were left to the care of relatives of parents working abroad.

But Dapitan saw a gradual drop in the violations of the anti-violence against women and children law in the last five years. From 46 violations in 2018, it went down to 36 cases in 2019, and 30 in 2020. It slightly climbed to 33 cases in 2021.

Police so far recorded 24 cases of violations of the anti-violence against women and children law during the first seven months of 2022.

Dapitan Mayor Seth Frederick Jalosjos told Rappler that the city government finds the increasing number of rape cases in the city alarming.

He said city hall was collaborating with the police and other groups that were working to lower cases of rape and other forms of abuse against women and children.

Jalosjos said the city council’s committees for the protection of children, anti-trafficking, and violence against women and children have started work to help in efforts to keep the cases from increasing.

“It could be the pandemic – the lockdown. People didn’t have much to do. Many just stayed at home,” Jalosjos said.

Dapitan and other cities and provinces were forced to impose strict quarantine and public health rules starting in the first quarter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Jalosjos has urged a 3rd year nursing student at the Jose Rizal Memorial State University (JRMSU) to press criminal charges for sexual harassment against one of the institution’s non-teaching staff.

The student alleged that the JRMSU employee had touched her inappropriately after offering her money, and then annoyed her with text messages she saw to be loaded with sexual innuendoes.

On March 17, the student filed an administrative complaint that prompted the JRMSU to task its Committee on Decorum and Investigation of Sexual Harassment Cases (CODI) to look into the matter and submit its recommendations.

The CODI is scheduled to present its findings and recommendations before the JRMSU’s Board of Regents on August 25.

The student said she has yet to receive an official copy of the staff’s counter-affidavit despite her request.

The student said CODI members showed her sympathy, but she found some of their actions about the case to be suspect.

“I intend to pursue my complaint despite my apprehensions that I may not be given a fair and partial investigation,” the student said.

The suspect, she said, was said to have close ties with the Jalosjoses, an allegation the mayor denied.

Jalosjos said he did not know the suspect. – Rappler.com

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