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PIA Press Release

NGO launches project to stop trafficking in persons

By Rachelle Nessia

Dumaguete City (5 October) -- To prevent women and children in the province from falling victim to trafficking of persons, the St. Ma. Goretti Foundation will launch the Step-UP project or Stop Trafficking and Exploitation of People Through Unlimited Potentials.

The launching is set on October 8, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. at the Holy Family Formation Center, Bacong Parish, Bacong, Oriental Negros.

According to Msgr. Merlin Logronio, president of St. Ma. Goretti Foundation, the Step-UP project aims to ultimately prepare children and women who are likely victims of trafficking for the job market by providing them with skills in Information Technology.

Through Step-UP, Community Technology Learning Centers will be put up, providing access to technology, skills training and open doors to employment opportunities for underserved communities, he said.

“It is hoped that though this project a number from the vulnerable sectors of our society especially children and women will be equipped for jobs and will be protected from being trafficked,” said Msgr. Logronio.

The project is offering eight modules in its curriculum, namely: computer fundamentals, digital media fundamentals, internet and world wide web fundamentals, web design fundamentals, word processing fundamentals, presentation fundamentals, database fundamentals and spreadsheet fundamentals.

Priority beneficiaries of the program are marginalized children and women especially child domestic workers, the kasambahays and other likely victims of trafficking, other working children who are adept and interested to avail of the program, parish secretaries, bookkeepers and parish workers.

Students will attend three to four weeks of classes for each curriculum. Upon completion, students will receive a certificate from Microsoft with competency endorsement.

St. Ma. Goretti Foundation Inc. has linked with Visayan Forum and Microsoft Philippines in undertaking the project.

Being a recipient of the project, the Foundation will implement the program here in partnership with the Diocese of Dumaguete, local government units and other partners in the community.

VFFI has cinched the support of the prestigious international organization Microsoft Inc. through its grant that provides IT software and curriculum in an effort to prevent trafficking in persons in the country.

Oriental Negros has been earlier identified as a trafficking “hotspot” or a major recruitment ground for victims of trafficking.

Vic Abadesco, Visayas Coordinator of the Visayan Forum said in a Kapihan forum held earlier this year, that the province is a ‘fertile recruitment ground’ for traffickers being the center of development, commerce and transportation.

In view of this, the Provincial Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) here stepped up its efforts to combat trafficking in persons by putting up task forces in different ports in the province.

The council felt the need to put up task forces in the ports as some incidents of trafficking are prevalent in these routes.

Meanwhile, with the members of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Cabinet in full attendance, the government made the most comprehensive presentation yet of the strategic infrastructure projects in the five super regions to leaders of the business community and the private sector during a "Government Infrastructure Forum" at the Dusit Hotel Nikko in Makati City.

The forum, hosted and participated in by several major business organizations, was aimed at establishing possible avenues of collaboration between the government and private sector to fast-track the implementation of development initiatives outlined by President Arroyo in her State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July. (PIA) [top]

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