Several government agencies have committed to coordinate and work on policies to address the exploitation of women and children in the country’s tourism industry.
The Tourism Integrates, Support and Minds Women’s Respect and Child Safety (TourISM WoRCS) was initiated by the Department of Tourism (DOT) to ensure that women and children are given protection in the tourism industry.
Signing the covenant were representatives from the Philippine Commission on Women, the Department of Education, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Inter-agency Committee for Anti-Trafficking (IACAT).
“The DOT will train industry front liners and involve tourism establishments in the advocacy.”
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the tourism department will continue to work with IACAT in addressing the issue, saying the DOT will train industry front liners and involve tourism establishments in the advocacy.
Those establishments which host shady activities involving women and children exploitation will also be held liable, Romulo-Puyat warned.
“If you don’t have a DOT accreditation, you won’t have a business permit.”
“Definitely, they will be stripped off of their accreditation. Once their accreditation is removed, they can’t do business because under the law, if you don’t have a DOT accreditation, you won’t have a business permit,” the tourism chief said in a media interview.
The TourISM WoRCS, is an evolved version of the 2006 Child Wise Tourism Program and the 2014 Child Safe Tourism Program, incorporates gender and development concerns and interventions.
Through the initiative, a “child safe and women in tourism” focal persons will be assigned in every region and an inter-agency working group for child-safe tourism Philippines will also be formed.
“We certainly do not need tourists in the Philippines who would prey on the young and women,” the tourism head said.
“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,” she added.
Meanwhile, Romulo-Puyat is urging the public to immediately reach out to the IACAT or the PNP for any information on activities that seemingly exploit women and children.