Statistics presented Thursday by the police showed an increase in rape incidents in Palawan last year, marked by a 20 percent rise in incest cases, or those committed by a victim’s relative.

Police Major Baby Jane Comosa, chief of the Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) of the Palawan Provincial Police Office (PPPO), said there were 117 rape cases in 2018 compared to 108 in 2017.

Of the total recorded in 2018, 20 percent or 23 cases were all incest, she said.

Comosa pointed out that majority of the victims do not have the capacity to defend themselves against their sexual abusers.

“Halos nasa 20 percent po ng kabuoang rape cases natin [sa Palawan] ay incest. Karamihan ng mga biktima ay mga bata na hindi talaga kayang ipagtanggol ang sarili nila,” she said during a Kapihan hosted by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in connection with the National Women’s Month celebration.

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In the city, Police Captain Pearl Manyll Lamban-Marzo of the Puerto Princesa City Police Office (PPCPO) WCPD, said majority also of the 38 rape cases they recorded in 2018 were incest. The total figure is four cases higher than the recorded 34 rapes in 2017.

Marzo said that based on their data, majority of the rapes were only reported to them after how many months.

“Sa city kasi base sa record natin ay karamihan ay incest rape kung saan nasa loob lang ng tahanan nangyayari ang panggahasa. Last 2018, ganyan po kadalasan ang naire-report sa atin. Then late karamihan bago mai-report, ilang buwan o taon na ang nakalipas,” Marzo said.

She said the victims are nine to 15 years old.

She added that the majority of the suspects have already been charged with rape cases.

“Karamihan ng kaso sa city ay cleared, ibig sabihin nyan ay identified ang suspek at nai-file namin ang case. ‘Yong karamihan ay late na nakakapag-report sa atin, ‘yon ang nangyayari pagdating sa rape,” she said.

Based on their data, the top three barangays with high incest rape incidents are within the center of Puerto Princesa City.

Marzo declined to disclose any other information for the protection of the victims and their families.

Meanwhile, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) chief Abigail Ablaña explained details and information regarding the victims must be confidential for their protection.

According to Section 29 of Republic Act 7610 or the “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act”, the names of offended parties may be withheld from the public until the court acquires jurisdiction over the case.

“It’s another form of victimization kung patuloy natin inire-report [ang information nila], kaya kung tinatanong ninyo kung bakit hindi nilalabas ang mga pangalan ay dahil pinoproteksyunan natin ang mga biktima. May kaukulang sanction if ever na mailabas ang impormasyon nila,” Ablaña said.

She said victims can ask for help from social welfare offices to undergo psychological counseling and physical rehabilitation through sports for fast recovery.

Incest rape is identified as forced sexual activity between family members or close relatives, most perpetrated by fathers and uncles.

Data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said that out of the 7,418 cases recorded from 2011 to 2016, around 2,770 were incest victims.

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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.