On December 7, 2021, the Iligan Extension Legal Aid Clinic – Sarimanok Virtual Law Clinic (IELAC-SVLC) was tapped once again by the International Organization for Migration – United Nation (IOM-UN) to facilitate the Ordinance Writeshop of the Province of Lanao del Sur, after the successful Ordinance Writeshop conducted by the team in the City of Marawi. Lanao del Sur Province Vice Governor, Muhammad Khalid Rakiin Adiong, presided the joint meeting of the Provincial Council for the Protection of Children (PCPC) and Provincial Council on Anti-Trafficking and Violence Against Women and Children (PCAT VAWC) in the morning of the event at the Provincial Capitol. Then, the writeshop proper was held at the Maradeca, Inc. in Marantao, Lanao del Sur in the afternoon which was facilitated by the IELAC-SVLC members.
Various line agencies of the province attended the one-day event. Among them is the Deputy Provincial Prosecutor and MSU Law professor, Fiscal Loren Halillah Lao, who presented the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor’s data on cases involving minors, Trafficking in Persons (TIP), and Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) which they handled from 2019 up to the present. Many were appalled with the rampant cases of VAWC and Statutory Rape despite the province’s conservative community. The Division of Lanao del Sur II OIC Superintendent, Dr. Rubina Macabunar, pledged her office’s cooperation in the information campaign against the cases mentioned. Vice Governor Adiong acknowledged all the problems and recommendations presented by the body and promised for a continuous campaign against cases involving minors, TIP, and VAWC. He further emphasized the need for inter-agency cooperation since the government cannot work well without everyone’s help.
The IELAC-SVLC, represented by Monifah Rendal, Sittie Aisah Yusoph, Ameena Macaan, and Audrey Michelle Kwan, noted the inputs in the morning’s meeting and presided the writeshop proper in the afternoon with the objective of adopting the Executive Order of the Province on Anti-Trafficking and Violence Against Women and their Children into an ordinance before the members of PCAT-VAWC of the Province of Lanao del Sur. The United Nation – International Organization for Migration (UN-IOM) provided the vehicles to transport the participants and the facilitators to the afternoon venue. Ms. Mariam Balindong Casim of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office welcomed the participants, emphasizing her hopes for an ordinance draft at the conclusion of the event. Most of the participants were frontliners working with cases involving minors, TIP, and VAWC. They were personnel from the Province’s Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education, Dept. Of Justice, PSWDO, and Provincial Interior and Local Government.
The IELAC-SVLC facilitators encouraged everyone’s full participation in the writeshop, pointing out the importance of coming up with an ordinance that will serve as the force of law to be adopted eventually by the municipalities under the province. The participating members were divided into three groups according to their roles in handling TIP and VAWC cases. Then, they were tasked to identify their agency’s problems, existing protocols, and recommendations for countering such cases which they reported at the end of the activity. The ordinance writeshop was very interactive, but due to time constraints, the council was unable to finish the ordinance draft. However, a timeline was made to pass the ordinance in the second week of January to the PCAT VAWC Secretariat and endorse it to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for sponsorship. The IELAC-SVLC is very honored to facilitate another writeshop ordinance and looks forward to further assisting the Province of Lanao del Sur in their ordinance.
News and Update by: Monifah A. Rendal, Contributor
Edited by: Gabriel Joseph M. Esporsado, Editor-in-chief