DOJ, Mactan-Cebu International Airport renew pact to fight human trafficking

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram December 12,2017 - 10:29 PM

Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking head Liceria Rabillas and MCIAA general manager Steve Dicdican pose for a picture after signing the memorandum of agreement on Dec. 12, 2017.
CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON

THE Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) renewed their commitment to cooperate in preventing human trafficking suspects from escaping Cebu.

In line with the celebration of International Day Against Trafficking yesterday, the DOJ and MCIAA signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to strengthen the function of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) task force, which was created in 2010 to apprehend human traffickers at the airport.

Cebu City Prosecutor Liceria Rabillas, who also sits as the IACAT head, said “The MCIA is an identified exit point for human traffickers and we must prevent them from escaping,” said Rabillas.

Rabillas said that since 2010, the task force has recorded at least 10 incidents of human trafficking at the Mactan airport, wherein 20 suspects were charged with trafficking, and more than 50 children were rescued.

Rabillas said that there are several human trafficking cases now pending in courts — both in Cebu City and Lapu-Lapu City — but nobody has been convicted yet of the offence since IACAT was formed.

“One human trafficker intercepted at MCIA was convicted but this happened before us (IACAT),” she added.

Rabillas said there are various challenges that hamper them from attaining their goal to convict a human trafficking suspect, such as when the victims refuse to cooperate that would lead to the dismissal of the case.

“But we remain hopeful especially now that there’s a MOA that IACAT will strengthen their operations and will be able to prosecute individuals involved in human trafficking,” she said.

MCIAA general manager Steve Dicdican expressed gratitude to IACAT. “IACAT is one way for us (at MCIAA) to promote corporate governance. It is also our responsibility to prevent incidents of human trafficking considering that Mactan airport is one of the major gateways in the country,” said Dicdican.

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TAGS: airport, Cebu‬, DOJ, human, Internatonal, Mactan, pact, renew, trafficking

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