The data from the Prosecution’s Office in the province of Catanduanes is alarming, particularly concerning the increasing number of topnotch cases, with rape cases leading the list.

According to the data presented by the spokesperson, Atty. Pamela Joy Herrera-Sanchez, Associate Provincial Prosecutor, they have filed 1,648 counts of rape cases in court, while there are 777 cases of violation of child protection that involve acts of lasciviousness.

In the year 2022, the town of Caramoran had the highest number of reported rape cases, reaching 1,598. It was followed by Virac (750), San Andres (22), Viga (18), and Panganiban (13).

Among these figures, 99% involved minors, and most of the accused were relatives of the victims.

Overall, their office has filed more than 2,300 cases of rape and child abuse in court.

In the first quarter of this year 2023, the town of San Andres recorded a high number of cases, followed by the town of San Andres.

In this regard, Sanchez urged the victims of such crimes not to be afraid and to immediately report to the authorities, particularly to the police, social workers, and barangay officials, to hold the perpetrators accountable.

These data are only the cases that have been reported to the prosecution and court, and they do not include those kept hidden within the barangays or families due to shame.

It is now time for the relevant authorities to give serious attention to this matter through concerted efforts to reduce and eventually resolve this problem.

Empowerment and awareness campaigns play a significant role in addressing this issue. The role of barangay officials is also crucial in encouraging victims of such crimes to come forward.

Kudos to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for encouraging and providing free legal aid to help address this problem. The DOJ is the prime agency that can assist in prosecuting those behind these crimes.

Barangay Gardening Project The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has launched a campaign and project for community gardens in barangays (villages). This program is nationwide and aims to help residents grow vegetables in their respective areas.

The “Hapag sa Barangay” or “Halina’t Magtanim ng Prutas at Gulay Project” is the title of the program. The launching in Virac was held in Barangay JMA Puniton, which is considered the Showcase Barangay Community Garden in the province.

According to the office, the goal of this project is to address the problem of food insecurity faced by some communities. They are encouraging approximately 42,000 barangays nationwide to participate in this project, which will be instrumental in finding solutions to food-related challenges across the country.

The agency hopes that this initiative will also contribute to the growth of the country’s economy.

However, some questions arise. Why is the DILG behind this initiative, and where is the Department of Agriculture (DA) which should be the prime agency for this type of campaign?

It would be better if similar efforts were directed towards programs like the “Tupad” program and others, so that residents are not solely reliant on assistance but are also encouraged to have an appetite for farming for their livelihood.

As they say, it is better to teach people how to fish than to rely solely on the government’s help.

(FB EYE/Ferdie M. Brizo/weekly column/Bicol Peryodiko Regional Newspaper)