Rey Anthony Chiu
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, April 1, 2013 (PIA) –Local children’s rights advocates and tourism authorities now lay the ground works for a as successful Child-Wise Tourism (CWT) launch in Panglao this April 11-12.
This as the Department of Tourism (DOT) brings to Bohol its campaign against sexual exploitation and abuse of children, in a measure to put up the safety nets for children threatened by sexual exploitation and open up a venue for sector participation in standing up against this social evil.
In its effort to set the mood for the initial discussions on a CWT Program, the DOT along with Bohol Tourism Office opened round table discussions for the program last year and another one last March 26 at the Panglao Regents Park.
Bohol launching was set at the Alona Kew Resort in the famous Alona stretch of beaches.
With Alona fast becoming a tourist destination in Panglao, it presented itself as a convenient entry point for child-sexual exploitation perpetrator who can easily pick up a disguise as a tourist, tourism authorities said.
Topics discussed were the mainstreaming of children’s protection against sexual abuse in the light of world tourism making cultural and physical boundaries across nations so porous.
CWT Program is a DOT-implemented program seeking to proactively address commercial sexual exploitation of children, according to the government tourism agency.
Launched in Boracay in the Philippines years ago, CWT has been hailed as a best practice by the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization.
WTO authorities issued the citation after they saw that the implemented program, packed training and information dissemination components of child-sensitive practices especially to the public and private sectors, which makes it unique.
Earlier, tourism authorities found Boracay launching site as appropriate after noticing that the established tourism destination in the country was more vulnerable to the problem, says Jaypee Orcullo of the DOT desk here.
After Boracay, the Bohol activity set up to protect the country’s future treasures, he said.
The DOT also cited that child-sex tourism (CST) has become an issue as tourists traveling from one place to another and engaging into sexual activities with children has become a preoccupation among pedophiles.
It usually happens when a tourist from a richer country, but with a sexual perversion seeks sexual fulfillment by going to a poorer country where sexual gratification can be had at a lower cost.
DOT identifies three forms of child sexual exploitation as child trafficking, child pornography and child prostitution.
A national paper quoted Tourism undersecretary for Tourism Services and Regional Offices Oscar Palabyab saying, “Tourism has allowed the entry of all kinds of people to our shores. While there are responsible tourists, there are also those with ulterior motives who use tourism to commit abusive acts. There is an urgent need to put strict measures to safeguard minors and women against exploitation.”
“We need a very strong advocacy program that will out emphasis on the protection of children. The DOT wants to promote the country as a destination that is not only family-centered, but also as a truly wholesome place to visit,” Palabyab said.