(File photo)

The City Council has urged the Ospital ng Palawan (ONP) to strengthen its capability to attend to “violence against women and children” (VAWC) cases by capacitating its existing Medical Social Services Extension (MSSE) to operate round the clock instead of only during regular work hours.

The body passed this week a resolution on a push by Vice Mayor Nancy Socrates requesting the ONP’s desk to be available “24/7” for VAWC victims.

This developed as the Puerto Princesa City Police Office (PPCPO), in its latest available report from January to July 2020, reported an increase in VAWC cases in the city.

The top crime reported during the said period was rape with 19 reported incidents.

Police authorities have attributed the increased number of VAWC cases to the strict lockdowns that started mid-March when most domestic abuses happened.

“Ang highest crime based sa tally namin ng Station 1 and Station 2 consolidated report, rape ‘yong pinaka mataas followed ng murder and theft. Sunod ay physical injury, robbery, homicide, and carnapping,” said Mark Allen Palacio, chief investigation unit (CIU) of the PPCPO in an earlier statement.

In November 2020, ONP joined in the observance of an 18-day campaign to end VAWC that ran from November 25 up to December 12.

The ONP currently has an extension service dedicated to attending to VAWC cases.

Dr. Melecio Dy, director of the ONP, said that their Medical Social Services Extension is being manned by one trained social worker and one pediatrician.

“ONP WCPU is functional. [The] normal operations [is between] 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We have one formally trained social worker and one pediatrician. After office hours, cases referred are handled by social workers on duty,” Dy said.

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.