The Department of Social Welfare and Development – Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan (MIMAROPA) Field Office has recorded a dramatic increase in the number of cases of incest in Palawan in the last three years.
Incest is a sexual abuse committed against children and adults by persons related to the victims by blood.
Manpower Development Officer Madeline Cayanan of DSWD MIMAROPA Field Office said that from 2013 to present they have received 70 cases from 13 municipalities in Palawan. This number is extremely high compared to 6 cases recorded in the years 2010 to 2012.
According to Cayanan, the recorded number of incest cases includes those identified as ‘active’ or those still being heard in court. The figures also include cases that have been archived because the suspects remain at large, while some of the victims can no longer be traced due to stigma brought about by the incident.
Cayanan cited several possible contributing factors, including remote locations of households, lack of information or education among parents and relatives, suspects are frequently under the influence of liquor, absence of mother in the family due to economic reasons leading to children being left alone in the house, and the household set-up of having no rooms to maintain privacy among family members.
Based on the findings of DSWD, most of the cases occurred in households located in far-flung areas, often away from neighborhoods.
“Karamihan sa kaso ay hindi dito sa siyudad. Kung sa siyudad man, hindi sila malapit sa congested areas,” Cayanan said.
She however emphasized that incest does not only happen inside homes and to girls or women, but that it can also happen in schools and to boys.
She added that barangay officials play a very crucial role in reporting incest cases in their respective locality. However, there are barangay officials who still fail to perform their mandate despite having undergone training by DSWD on how to respond to such cases.
“Kaya ina-activate natin ang Barangay Council for the Protection of Children in coordination with the local council of women in the barangay. Malungkot lang na despite the trainings, seminars and orientations only few has responded,” she said.
The DSWD-MIMAROPA Field Office staff are making the rounds to spread knowledge on the Child Protection Program of the government, in partnership with the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office.
Cayanan has refused to name the town with the most number of incest cases but based on media reports in 2013, the town of Taytay has the highest number of rape cases and most of these were incest as confirmed by the Palawan Provincial PNP.