Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez (2nd from right, seated) signs the memorandum of agreement for the establishment of the Bahay Kanlungan sa Paliparan (BKP) which will serve as a temporary shelter for human trafficking victims from the province at the Puerto Princesa City International Airport (PPCIA). The agreement signatories also include Undersecretary Aimee Torrefranca–Neri (in red vest) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Assistant Secretary George O. Ortha of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Rudger C. Falcis, Executive Director of the DOJ-Inter Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and Regional Director Floreceli Gunio of the DSWD-MIMAROPA. (Photo courtesy of Palawan Provincial Information Office)

A shelter for victims of human trafficking at that Puerto Princesa City International Airport (PPCIA) is expected to open its services in 2020 following the signing of an agreement among the provincial government and national agencies recently.

Abigail Ablaña, chief of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, said Thursday they are now in the preparatory stage for the opening of the Bahay Kanlungan sa Paliparan (BKP) at the PPCIA terminal building.

The memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the purpose was signed also Friday among Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez and key representatives of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and Department of Justice-Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (DOJ-IACAT).

“‘Yong Bahay Kanlungan sa Paliparan ay hopefully next year na ang start nang implementation. Preparatory works muna tayo this year. This is for trafficked persons in the province funded by CAAP, kaya next year talaga ang simula,” she said.

Ablaña said CAAP has allocated P30 million for the project under its Gender and Development Fund (GADF).

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Under the MOA, the provincial government will also allocate funds for the operation and the maintenance of the facility, including the social workers who will supervise the individuals that will take shelter at the BKP.

On the other hand, Ablaña said the DOJ-IACAT will provide medical and legal assistance while technical assistance in handling trafficking cases and victim processing will be handled by the DSWD.

Education and livelihood skills training and opportunities will also be provided.

Ablaña said the facility will serve as temporary shelter and as a safe house of trafficking victims apprehended in the province.

She said data showed that Palawan has the highest incidence of human trafficking in the MIMAROPA region from 2015 to 2018 with more than 100 cases reported.

Eight women were trafficked in 2018 compared to the four cases they recorded in 2017.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.