Governor to women’s advocate: Be more ‘vocal’ amid wave of disappearances, gender violence

By John McPhaul

Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced urged Women’s Advocate Lersy Boria on Wednesday to “be vocal” in the face of the disappearances of women and the rise in cases of gender violence.

“I would have hoped that she would be more vocal, that she would give more confidence to all women and young women to approach the Office of the Advocate [for Women],” Vázquez said in response to questions from the press. “And that’s why last night, I instructed her that I need her to be vocal, to talk about all the [available] tools so that women feel safe and that they have an opportunity in the Office of the Advocate to be represented and, also, that they cooperate with the Puerto Rico Police so that a plan is presented, so that the people of Puerto Rico know where our women are, where those young women are who have not yet been located.”

She called the recently reported disappearances of women “an extremely worrying situation.”

“Once I was made aware through the media and the press, I had that direct communication with Henry Escalera, the Police commissioner, on the photos that came out yesterday, except for the young woman who is still being looked for and there is an investigation underway,” the governor said. “We do know that there are still some cases whose status is not known in terms of whether they have been located, so I entrusted the Office of the Advocate [for Women] to be the instrument of guidance, prevention and protection for all these young women and [so they know] that they can approach the Office of the Advocate and the Puerto Rico Police to provide all the information that is necessary.”

The governor made the statements in the middle of a press conference to announce the budgeting of $18.6 million for the demolition of 120 structures in the southwestern municipality of Guánica.

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