By ACE ALEGRE
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — An alarming number of cases of rape, especially among children, here in the province was revealed.
Reports of incest, rape, theft and robbery committed by children, said Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Juana Bannawe “is a hidden epidemic needing urgent action.”
Findings of a research here indicated that child abuse cases in Benguet have reached 117 cases from January 2011 to June 2012 alone. Only two towns, Bokod and Bakun, have no reported cases of abuse.
The capital town, La Trinidad logged the highest number of cases accounting for 62% while its neighbor town Tublay reported the least at 2%. Bannawe said majority of the victims are female children.
In a provincial summit on child welfare at the Benguet provincial capitol where Bannawe unveiled the harrowing scenario, participants could hear a pin drop if only to demonstrate how officials took the grim revelation.
Rape cases logged the highest overall with 45 incidents followed by incest with 26 cases, acts of lasciviousness with 11, seduction in twin incidents and physical abuse with 33 cases.
Still, La Trinidad logged the highest number of reported rape incidents with 18 cases while incest at 8, acts of lasciviousness with 9, seduction at 2 and physical abuse with 25 reported incidents.
The mining district of Tuba came second with 9 cases of rape, a lone case of incest and twin cases of physical abuse while in Kibungan town there are 3 cases of rape, 6 cases of incest and a lone case of physical abuse.
“Child abuse occurs at different age groups, the youngest is a 2 year 8 month old female child raped by a 5 year old male neighbor, followed by a 3 year old suffering from physical injury and a 4 year old child who underwent the ordeal of incest rape by the father.”
“Most of the rape cases happened at the perpetrator’s or neighbor’s house while most of the incest cases were consummated at the victims own home.”
Most of the perpetrators were neighbors (42%); followed by parents at 20%, relatives at 16%, other abusers logged were teachers, playmates, boyfriends and employers. “Alarming in the report is a serial rapist of 5 different children and a father who raped all his three children,” Bannawe said.
Only at least three town mayors – came to the provincial summit on children last Tuesday — Kabayan mayor Faustino Aquisan, Buguias Mayor Melchor Diclas and Mayor Benito Siadto of Kibungan, while most sent a small delegation of representatives.
Disgusted, Governor Nestor Fongwan minced no words in expressing dismay over the apparent lack of interest on the issue, while if the meeting was for allocation of farm to market roads, the hall would have been full. “We invited (them) to come because we wanted to sit down with (them) and talk about these problems.”
Gov. Fongwan was alarmed months ago himself 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. # nordis.net