Save our little girls from rape


By Ermin Garcia Jr.


I WAS aghast on receiving the initial report from our Tita Roces about the little known fact that some 251 girls in our towns and cities were raped last year, and that the number of victims have increased since 2014!

It is evident that our government and schools have done very little to protect our innocent girls from becoming rape victims.

One thing that society has learned about rape is that the parents are unable to protect their children even from the clutches of relatives who rape their daughters.

So far, the statistics did not clarify if any of the victims were killed after being raped because these could have been perpetrated by drug users, or how many of the victims were aided by police and DWSD to file cases against the perpetrators.

Thank God for Manay Gina’s Haven for Children and Women, our young and vulnerable victims can find aid and comfort in those facilities momentarily. But the victims need to have justice, and this is where our government has to step in.

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ONE TOO MANY. This situation must not be allowed to continue, and this is one reason why I support moves to restore the death penalty for heinous crimes – drug trafficking, rape and plunder.

Meanwhile, I hope the PNP Desk for Women and Children at the Pangasinan Provincial Police Station will begin to work with the DepEd officials in Pangasinan about the holding of symposium in all public and private primary and secondary schools beginning this month to educate boys and girls about the risks of being victim of the rapist, and how such could be prevented.

One more rape victim is just one too many!

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PULLING THE WOOL OVER HER EYES. The PUNCH exclusive interview with the city environment and natural resources office (CENRO) by our Hilda Austria revealed several facts that could have saved the Fernandez administration a lot of aggravation regarding the illegal fish pens. Then there, too, is the matter of worsening pollution of the beach and the barangay by BJMP’s District Jail.

On the illegal fish pens, the City Agriculture Office obviously pulled the wool over Mayor Belen Fernandez’s eyes over the fact that CENRO was in a position to help facilitate the enforcement of the ban on illegal fish pens. If Mayor Belen had known that CENRO could have recommended what charges could have been filed against the unscrupulous businessmen for illegally operating and polluting the city’s tributaries, she would not have been pressed to grant endless ‘grace periods’.

In fact, it appears that all that City Agriculturist Emma Molina had to do was to provide and update CENRO on the names, number and sizes of fish pens found operating, and the book could have been easily thrown at the businessmen operating large fish pens. They could have been arrested and hauled to jail with hefty fines to boot. But she didn’t.

Ms. Molina not only failed to advise the mayor but she also did not provide CENRO a report on the illegal fish pens. What she did efficiently was to whisper to the mayor that the fish pen operators would suffer great losses if they are dismantled without a chance to harvest. And Mayor Belen relented. That she managed to convince the mayor to grant 2 more grace periods or for more than a year more boggles my mind.

So, today, Mayor Belen is left with the dirty and difficult chore of cleaning up the mess created by the more than 300 illegal fish pen operators, thanks to the City Agriculturist!

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PROTECTING ILLEGAL PROFITS. What I don’t understand is why the city agriculture office refuses to penalize the erring businessmen not only for flouting the law but for violating the terms of the grace period and ultimatum issued by Mayor Belen. It will be recalled that the pen owners had agreed in the past to voluntarily remove the pens in return for the grace period, but none of that is happening. Instead  they now  just leave it to the city government to do the dirty work at no costs to them.

The illegal fish pens have seriously polluted and still continue to pollute the rivers until they are demolished. Meanwhile, the government continues to spend for the dredging of the silted rivers that the fish pens caused. Add this the costs that the city government has to spend to hire trawlers and hire more emergency workers just to remove the illegal pens.

Through it all, the city government is content to watch the unscrupulous businessmen have a good time laughing all the way to their banks with nary a centavo lost.

Then, why haven’t the honorable councilors in the city not raised a howl of protest, not even a pipsqueak to prompt an investigation of the city agricultural office’s affairs? If it is about promised campaign funds for the May elections, then shame on you!

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BJMP’S ACCOUNTABILITY. We learned that the BJMP has been warned last November by CENRO about the worsening level of pollution originating from the District Jail in Tondaligan Park shortly after the PUNCH sounded the alarm. Did the BJMP care to seek a solution? Apparently not.

Obviously, the BJMP officials have taken the position that since they don’t have the resources to correct the situation, the community and the city of Dagupan can just go to pot! But of course, they would not lift a finger because they don’t see anyone being made to account and be made responsible for the criminal acts.

Well, here’s a situation for the BJMP officials here and in Manila to ponder – they can all be charged before the Ombudsman overnight for willfully violating our laws protecting our environment, and the obtaining situation at the District Jail will be enough to end their careers. There is enough jurisprudence on this, ask Atty. Antonio Oposa!

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THERE IS HOPE. Now that the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act has been signed into law, (take a bow PNoy!), it’d be interesting to learn how political families (from the barangay level) in the province will respond since SK elections will be in October, just nine months away.

Finally, barangay and town officials who are known to be in the pockets of drug syndicates will no longer be able to field any of their children to control SK chapters in their area.

For too long, we’ve seen many unsuspecting children of local corrupt officials in Pangasinan taught the ropes of the “business” of politics, from turning a blind eye to drug dealing in the streets to padding expenses of activities of events or costs of purchases of basketballs and volleyballs. I only had pity for these kids because they were aware that what was being taught them were against the law but that they had no choice about it. And as they went along, they began to appreciate the notion that corruption, indeed, pays.

The SK Reform Act also incorporated other provisions that would help ensure proper orientation of the youth leaders. With this in place, I have more faith in the future of our grandchildren when their time comes to take on the reins of government.

Perhaps they would at least look back to appreciate what this generation tried to do to save them from imminent destruction as a society.

Alas, my generation can only dream now of what could have been, comforted solely by the thought that Generation Z and beyond have been saved.

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I’ve been so engrossed with petty problems of our province that I had forgotten to thank our friends, readers and advertisers for a good punching year in 2015!! My sincerest apologies for this very serious thoughtless oversight.

Maraming salamat po sa inyo!!

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Special thanks to our Kabaleyans who expressed their support for us and keeping faith with us by joining and staying with our PUNCH KABALEYAN CLUB! They are Wenceslao Gellido, Bernard and Arsie Valdez, Jose Ceralde, Nida Rofe, Art Barberan and the DCNHS Class 1960. May their tribe increase.

(For your comments and reactions, please email to: punch.sunday@gmail.com)

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