After the much-publicized release of the US State Department's report on human trafficking, the largest OFW group Migrante International challenged president-elect Noynoy Aquino to immediately fire and prosecute RP officials colluding with human trafficking syndicates. The group likewise urged Noynoy to make the DOJ Task Force on Trafficking in Persons to also be accountable for the worsening problem of human trafficking in the Philippines.
"Human trafficking is a serious crime against humanity. Noynoy must act with force against those involved in this offense, especially those inside the government. They must be fired and prosecuted immediately. Hindi na kailangan pang mag-imbestiga para lamang matukoy kung sino-sino ang mga yan. It's an open secret. People inside the government very well know who among them benefits from this heinous crime," challenged Garry Martinez, Chairperson of Migrante.
Martinez said that they have a watchlist of officials involved in human trafficking based on OFW complaints that they received for the past few years. Migrante refused to reveal the list as they are still gathering sufficient data for their plan to file formal cases at the Office of the Ombudsman. "But if Noynoy is willing to work with us, we can sit down with him, reveal our watchlist and create plan how to make these officials pay for their crime."
Migrante also criticized the reaction of the DOJ Task Force on Trafficking on the US report. The group said that the government body should also be held accountable for the spread of human trafficking. Severino Gana Jr., chairman of the task force, admitted their faults but just ended at requesting more funds for them to execute their duties.
"Gana's attitude clearly tells of the lack of political will of government agencies to curb or eradicate human trafficking. They are actually guilty of delaying justice and also guilty of protecting the perpetrators. In effect they are giving them more opportunities to exploit more Filipinos," said Martinez.
Martinez continued by disagreeing with Gana's request of more funds. "While funds are really needed to operate, the appeal is highly questionable since they were unsuccessful in performing their assignment. They must explain their failures first before additional funds are granted"
"Apart from making officials pay for their offenses, Noynoy should also pay attention to addressing the root of the trafficking problem which is joblessness and poverty in the country. Getting rid of corrupt officials is just a tactical solution, building an economy free from domination of foreign and local big business is the answer to our long-standing woes," ended Martinez. ###