14 September 2012

Benguet: Child-Rape Capital of Philippines

Benguet Rape cases
The "sleepy" Benguet province, has recorded the highest number of rape cases, especially on children.

Reports of incest, rape, theft and robbery being committed by children, said Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Juana Bannawe "is a hidden epidemic needing action."

A research in the province revealed that child abuse cases in Benguet have reached 117 from January 2011 to June 2012 alone. Only the two towns of Bokod and Bakun have no reported cases of abuse.

The capital town - La Trinidad - logged the highest number of cases accounting for 62 precent while its neighbor town - Tublay - with the least at 2 percent. Bannawe said majority of the victims are girls.

In a recent Provincial Summit on Child Welfare at the Benguet provincial capitol where Bannawe unveiled the number of rape cases, participants were stunned by the report.

Rape cases logged the highest overall with 45 incidents followed by incest with 26 cases, acts of lasciviousness with 11, seduction with two incidents and physical abuse with 33 cases.

Still, Benguet's capital La Trinidad logged the highest number of rape incidents with 18 cases while incest at eight, acts of lasciviousness with nine, seduction at two and physical abuse with 25 reported incidents.

The mining district of Tuba came second with nine cases of rape, one case of incest and two cases of physical abuse while in Kibungan town there were three cases of rape, six cases of incest and a lone case of physical abuse.

"Child abuse occurs at different age groups, the youngest is a two-year eight-month old female child raped by a five-year-old male neighbor, followed by a three-year-old suffering from physical injury and a four-year-old child who underwent the ordeal of incest rape by her own father," Bannawe said.

“Most of the rape cases happened at the perpetrator’s or neighbour’s house while most of the incest cases were consummated at the victims' own home.”

Most of the perpetrators were neighbors (42 percent); followed by parents at 20 percent, relatives at 16 percent, other abusers were the victims' teachers, playmates, boyfriends and employers.

"Alarming in the report is a serial rapist of five different children and a father who raped all his three children," Bannawe said.

However, the Summit was participated in only by three town mayors – Kabayan mayor Faustino Aquisan, Buguias Mayor Melchor Diclas and Mayor Benito Siadto of Kibungan, while most towns only sent a small delegation of representatives.

Disgusted, Governor Nestor Fongwan expressed dismay over the apparent lack of interest on the issue, noting that mayors would have been all over the place had the meeting was about the allocation of farm to market roads.

"We invited (them) to come because we wanted to sit down with (them) and talk about these problems," he said.

Fongwan was himself alarmed months ago when police reported a surge in rape cases in Benguet during the regional peace and order council meeting and has since ordered a research on child abuse cases here.