By BOSORINA ROBBY
WOMEN in downtown Port Moresby now have a safe haven to escape to from any distress or violence against them by going into the Revenue Haus or the Stop N Shop store.
Revenue Haus became one of many corporate buildings to take on the Meri Seif Ples concept from the Yumi Lukautim Mosbi (YLM) project, last Wednesday.
Internal Revenue Commissioner General Betty Palaso was on hand to unveil the plaque and declared Revenue Haus as an official safe place for women to take refuge from any form of violence.
Ms Palaso said violence in the community, especially against women and children was a problem that had an impact upon our current capacity and potential.
She said violence and threats against her staff affected the productivity of the commission such as absenteeism, loss of productivity and failure to achieve their full potential.
Ms Palaso said she decided to declare the IRC a safe haven for those in need, not because she was a woman but for the basic need to respect others.
“By taking up this responsibility, the IRC hopes to eliminate violence, intimidation and fear from work environment while at the same time providing a refuge for their clients and women in general.
“We, at IRC, want to demonstrate that we are not just about collecting taxes but we also care for our community,” Ms Palaso said.
This launching of the Meri Seif Ples coincides with the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women.
YLM project coordinator Rabura Aiga said the concept of the Meri Safe Ples was simply for the community to be responsible for each other by providing safe havens where women, men and children could take refuge from distresses they faced.
Mr Aiga said this project was managed by the NCDC’s urban safety unit and was co-funded by AusAID and the Government through the law and justice sector programme.
He said since last year, all the Stop N Shop and City Pharmacy stores in PNG, Kwila Insurance Four-Mile, Digicel, the Australian and British high commissions, Kaugere and many others had become part of this project.
There is also a 24-hour phone line at the Protect security firm where one can call 7222 1234 for immediate rescue and assistance by the police and ambulance and Protect.