To increase the effectiveness and coordination of the members, various agencies and non-government partners comprising the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Chairperson of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) has recently issued Memorandum Circular No. 21 of 2012, establishing the reorganization of the IACAT Secretariat.
The Circular specifically articulated that the IACAT Secretariat, in the interest of service and pursuant to the provisions of existing laws, has been reorganized into nine (9) divisions which would respond to specific tasks aimed to enhance the government’s anti human trafficking efforts.
The following personnel were designated as Executive Officers of the Secretariat: State Counsel IV Mary Grace Quintana (Legal), Attorney V Marie Michelle Munoz (Financial Management), Attorney VI Jennifer Buan-Robles (International and Foreign Relations), Former DOJ assistant Secretary Atty Teresita R. Domingo (Legislative Monitoring), State Counsel II Chulo Palencia, Jr. (Training), Khrizzy Avila (Case Monitoring and Administrative Management), Janet Chavez-Arceo (Public Information and Communications), Ruby Ramores (Strategic Management and Special Operations), Assistant City Prosecutor Jedrek Ng (Task Force Operations Monitoring).
Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar, Undersecretary-in-charge of IACAT, expressed that “these appointed individuals have good standing and displayed exemplary merit with regards to involvement in the prevention and suppression of trafficking in persons.”
Since the creation of the IACAT, the government’s primary anti-human trafficking body, in May 26, 2003, the IACAT has been at the forefront in the long drawn battle against trafficking in persons (TIP). Drawing committed support from an expansive range of partners, from the government, private sector and international development organizations, the Council has made significant stride in the country’s campaign against trafficking in persons.
“The reorganization of the Secretariat seeks to trim down fragmentation, increase effectiveness, enhance quality of services, streamline practices, develop skills, and better utilize resources within a transparent environment,” added Salazar.
The IACAT Secretariat was created by virtue of Section 22 of Republic Act 9208 or “Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2003” designating the Department of Justice (DOJ) to create the administrative unit. The implementing rules and regulations of the same legislation charged the Secretariat to coordinate and monitor, under the direction of the Council, the implementation of the policies and guidelines promulgated by the Council. It was similarly tasked to establish, maintain and manage a central database on trafficking in persons. The Secretariat is also required to keep records for the Council.