April 3, 2017
Members of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, who is also a member of the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) Standing Committee Member on Investing in Youth, and Rep. Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, as well as National Advocacy Officer Janelle Rabe, actively participated in the Regional Parliamentarians Conference on Combatting Human Trafficking on March 21-22 and the 2nd AFPPD Standing Committee Joint Meeting of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment and Investing in Youth and National Committee Sub-Regional Strategy Meeting on March 23 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Regional Parliamentarians Conference was composed of discussions led by technical experts on trafficking in persons and focused on the situation in South and Southeast Asia, legal and policy frameworks and good practices in prevention, protection, prosecution, repatriation and partnerships. In one of the sessions, Rep. Herrera-Dy highlighted the Philippines’ recent Tier 1 classification in the US Trafficking in Persons Report, which signifies the country’s commitment and improved efforts to combat trafficking in persons.
The Conference on Combatting Human Trafficking culminated in the adoption of the Statement of Commitment which was unanimously adopted by the parliamentarians. Rep. Turabin-Hataman and Rep. Herrera-Dy provided key inputs on revising the language of the commitment to more active expressions such as ensuring zero tolerance against those involved in trafficking instead. The Statement of Commitment reaffirms the crucial role of parliamentarians to review, amend, enact, and enforce legislation on prevention, prosecution, protection, and other measures through accelerated coordination. Rep. Turabin-Hataman and Rep. Herrera-Dy committed to pursuing actions to strengthen the programs to address trafficking in persons and ensuring the full implementation of the Trafficking in Persons Act.
At the end of the conference, Dr. Mika Marumoto, the Executive Director of AFPPD, led the tribute to PLCPD founder, Sen. Leticia Ramos-Shahani, and asked for moments of silence and prayer.
In the Joint Committee Meeting focusing on improving political participation of women and youth, parliamentarians discussed political participation of women and youth, quota for youth and women in parliaments, gender responsive national budgeting and capacity-building support for women and youth running for office. Rep. Turabin-Hataman shared about the ranking of the Philippines as the only Asian country in the top 10 of the 2016 Gender Gap Report and the highest proportion of female legislators in the House of Representatives and its leadership. She also cited the situation in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, where majority of the Cabinet members are women.
The National Committee Sub-regional Strategy Meeting featured discussions on the AFPPD Strategic Framework, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) National Voluntary Reviews and AFPPD Legislation Analysis as well as country presentations from Bangladesh, Tonga and Papua New Guinea. Ms. Rabe facilitated the sub-regional group work for the ASEAN region. She discussed the ongoing and upcoming efforts of PLCPD to campaign for the lifting of the Temporary Restraining Order affecting family planning commodities, review of the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (PRRH) Law, and efforts to address child, early and forced marriage. In the plenary, Ms. Rabe reported on the common convergence points among the ASEAN National Committees such as review of laws on women, youth and elderly, activities to strengthen women’s political participation, endeavors to improve protection for migrant workers, and advocacy efforts on population and development for members of parliament.