The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) have blazed a new trail by joining forces to intensify the government’s public awareness campaign in fighting human trafficking in the country, through the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that seeks to institutionalize the awareness, education and prevention campaigns of the government.
MTRCB Chairperson Eugenio H. Villareal and Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente B. Salazar, in-charge of IACAT led the MOA signing during the regular board meeting held on March 18, 2015 at the MTRCB Office in Quezon City.
The Agreement marks the start of the pro-active escalation of the public awareness and call-to-arms campaign, with the end in view of transforming the informed citizenry into vigilant advocates against human trafficking activities. The MOA will pave the way for the widest dissemination of anti-human trafficking advertorials in cinema houses, television stations and radio.
Salazar underscored the importance of conducting a massive information dissemination campaign on the existence of the law and the various issues concerning trafficking in persons. “What IACAT and MTRCB are trying to do is to educate the public, not only about the evils of human trafficking, but also what they can do to help in our shared battle against this crime,” Salazar said.
Present in the MOA signing were Members of the MTRCB and several media partners of both government agencies. Also present were the Executive Officers (EOs) of the IACAT Secretariat.
MTRCB Chairperson Villareal salutes what he calls the “historic convergence of intentions, where enforcement action will be complemented by a critical outpouring of public support.”
Villareal alludes to the cohesive alignment of anti-trafficking initiatives with the MTRCB’s Matalinong Panonood Campaign, the agency’s national advocacy drive to educate the public to be more active and critical in watching films and TV programs. Salazar further noted that this partnership will allow the government to elevate its efforts in dealing with the human trafficking problem of the country.
“This alliance between IACAT and MTRCB opens more opportunities for us to finally impose our will against human trafficking syndicates by educating our people and ultimately prevent them from being victimized,” he said.
Villareal believes that “half of the battle is knowing when and where children and adults are most vulnerable to one of the most deplorable of all human atrocities: human trafficking.” Villareal adds, “When we win more hearts and minds to our cause, we establish battle fronts that will outlive our own lifetimes.”
The IACAT is the government’s central body mandated to combat human trafficking, as provided in Republic Act No. 9208, or the “Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003” as amended by Republic Act No. 10364, or the “Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.