Task force to make streets safe for women
By Jeannette Andrade
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:21:00 07/05/2008
MANILA, Philippines – Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Friday proposed the creation of a task force that would ensure the safety of women on the streets of Quezon City.
The newly-organized “Women Reclaim the Streets” and “Women against Poverty and Crime” networks pointed out the need for such a body, adding that women were usually preyed on by motorcycle-riding robbers.
Representatives of various NGOs in the city met with Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director Senior Supt. Magtanggol Gatdula, city and barangay officials to discuss the proposal.
The networks, including Akbayan, Women’s Health, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, Amnesty International, Sarilaya, Asia-Europe People’s Forum, and the Women’s Medical Circle, who maintain offices in Quezon City at the back of the Quezon City Hall, expressed alarm over the increasing street crime incidents in the city.
Said Tina Ebro, a member of one of the NGOs and coordinator for an international organization of civil society groups: “Women can no longer walk freely without fear of being robbed or their bags snatched by motorcycle-riding robbers.”
Ebro said she herself was victimized twice, most recently on June 19. Her bag was snatched by men riding tandem on a motorcycle, causing her to fall and break her arm.
“It seems incidents like these have become daily occurrences in the city,” she lamented, adding that walking had become a dangerous habit.
Susan Macabuag, who will represent the networks in meetings with Quezon City government and QCPD officials, said she hoped the task force would be "sustainable.”
Friday’s dialogue, she said, revealed “gaps” in the peace and order program that had to be filled.
The task force, Macabuag told the Inquirer, would consist of barangay officials from Central, Teachers’ Village East, Teachers’ Village West, Sikatuna, Pinyahan, and UP Village, as well as representatives of NGOs and QCPD.
The QCPD offered to train local communities through programs set up by the task force. Macabuag said increased visibility of security people, including policemen and barangay patrols, would be the primary solution to the problem.
On Monday, the NGOs will meet again with the QCPD and barangay officials, as well as representatives of the City Development Council and the business sector, to formalize the creation of the task force.
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