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Taclobanon named as "Ninoy and Cory Aquino" Fellow for Public Service

By Vicky C. Arnaiz

TACLOBAN CITY, June 24 (PNA) — A Sangyaw Awardee 2013 in Government Service in Tacloban City, is this year’s "Ninoy and Cory Aquino" Fellow for Public Service, a statement from the United States Embassy in Manila disclosed.

Maria Liza Miscala Jorda, assistant city prosecutor for the Department of Justice (DOJ) Cebu City, travelled to the United States in April this year, to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) on cooperative efforts at combatting traffic persons.

According to the news release, while Jorda was in the U.S., she visited diverse geographic regions and interacted with prosecutors, police officials, judges and members of various academic communities.

She brought with her two valuable learnings, which sums up her years of experience in the profession – the importance of properly evaluating the crime scene for appropriate and speedy prosecution and the significance of establishing open cooperation and communications between various community sectors, including the police in properly responding to the victims’ needs.

Jorda received the 24th Aquino Fellowship Award in Public Service for her work in human trafficking cases in Tacloban City and in Region 8.

In an interview, she said that she want to thank the social workers and the non-government organizations in Tacloban, because they risked their lives in this fight. She is grateful to Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez for providing her security when she needed it.

Her work in pursuing human trafficking cases such as the Anti-Violence against Women Act; Child Abuse Law and Anti -Trafficking in Persons Act has brought her not one, but many death threats.

She said that prosecutors and the police in the Philippines should work closely to stop this human slavery.

“I would like to also thank City Prosecutor Ruperto Golong, staff of the Prosecutor’s office, who was supportive of my advocacy. And my family and friends who prayed for me, I share this award with them,” she said.

Jorda spent eight years in Tacloban City as assistant prosecutor before her temporary assignment in Cebu City. She was forced to transfer to Cebu, after Super Typhoon Yolanda devastated Region VIII and damaged her home badly last November 2013.

Balsy Aquino Cruz, the eldest child of the Aquinos handed the award to her together with U.S. Ambassador Philipp Goldberg last June 20.

Jorda is the only awardee this year.

After her study tour in the U.S. she submitted a comprehensive report to DOJ Secretary Leila D. Lima. Along with the report are her recommendations and thoughts on how the Philippines can better address the issue on modern-day slavery.

“It was my way of giving back to the United States and the Philippine government for sending me to a study tour in the U.S.,” she added.

According to the press statement, the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Fellowship for Professional Development is an exchange program between the U.S. Government and the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation to commemorate the accomplishments of the late senator and former president in strengthening Philippine democratic institutions.

It aims to honor and acknowledge distinguished individuals who continue to make noteworthy contributions to Philippine society and development. (PNA)

CTB/PGL/VCARNAIZ/EGR

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