Go calls law enforcers to beef up operations vs online sexual exploitation involving minors

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DAVAO CITY —Senator Christopher Lawrence’ Bong” Go has again called on law enforcers to beef up operations against online sexual exploitation against minors.

Go, reiterates the need to strengthen enforcement of laws protecting minors; calls for a whole-of-nation approach to combat online sexual exploitation of children.

With the proliferation of reported cases of online sexual exploitation of children amid pandemic and Malacañang’s marching order to sanction erring internet service providers, Go also called for a more comprehensive, a whole-of-nation approach to put a stop to these illegal activities in order to protect the welfare of children during these challenging times.

“Hindi po rason ang kahirapan para ibenta ang kaluluwa. Gabayan natin ang mga bata na hindi malulong sa masasamang gawain para lang makaraos sa kahirapan. Huwag natin hayaang maligaw ng landas ang mga kabataan na pag-asa ng ating bayan,” he stressed.

Moreover, Go also urged Congress to exercise oversight on relevant laws that must be enforced to protect minors.

To strengthen the protective measures against child sexual abuse, Go had filed Senate Bill No. 1650 in 2020 which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 7610, also known as the ‘Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act’.

The bill aims to amend Section 5 (b) of the Anti-Child Abuse Law which concerns the penalty for persons engaging in lascivious conduct with minors under twelve years of age by increasing the penalty to reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua for any individual found guilty of violating the law under the said provision.

Go also filed earlier SBN 1649 or the Bureau of Immigration Modernization Act of 2020, which aims to enhance and upgrade the outdated immigration system to cope with the changing times by providing a better system of documentation, and updating the prescribed procedures and requirements for admitting immigrants.

The bill also prohibits the entry of pedophiles, sexual perverts, and persons engaged in prostitution into the country citing moral grounds. It also denies entry to foreign nationals convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude or suspected to be engaged in human trafficking.

“Siguraduhin natin na naiimplementa ang mga batas nagpoprotekta sa ating kabataan. Kung kailangan taasan ang parusa o higpitan pa lalo ang ating mga patakaran ay gawin natin para maitigil ang ganitong pang-aabuso,” explained Go.

Moreover, Go said that while it is important to address these illegal activities by going after those responsible and also those who tolerate such immoral acts through their online platforms, it is also necessary for guardians to provide proper guidance to vulnerable children.

“Hindi pa nila ganap na naiintindihan kung paano masisira ang buhay nila sa ganitong mga gawain para lang sa pera. Responsibilidad nating siguraduhin na magiging maayos ang kanilang kinabukasan,” he added, emphasizing that it is the duty of the State to protect the future of the next generation as he called on the government to ensure that the root cause of this social problem, which is poverty, is sufficiently addressed.

“Kaya mahalaga na habang sinusugpo natin ang gawaing ito sa pamamagitan ng pagpataw ng kaukulang parusa, dapat gabayan natin ang ating mga kabataan at tulungan ang kanilang mga pamilyang makaahon sa kahirapan,” he added.

Earlier, Go called on authorities to look into the reported online sale of lewd photos and videos of some Filipino students as he urged law enforcement agencies to strengthen the government’s anti-cybercrime campaign.

“I am calling on concerned agencies to provide necessary interventions to put a stop to this. Alarming ito, lalo na’t ang kalaswaan na ito ay dulot rin ng kahirapan,” Go said.

His pronouncements came after reports indicating that some students have been resorting to selling their obscene photos and videos online to support their needs amid the ongoing pandemic.

Go’s appeal resulted in President Rodrigo Duterte directing the National Telecommunications Commission to sanction ISPs for any failure to fulfill their duties under Republic Act No. 9775, otherwise known as Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, in order to stem the abuses as well as the flow of sex tourists into the country.

The law mandates ISPs to report to the Philippine National Police or NBI any instance of child pornography being committed using their servers or facilities. Every ISP is likewise directed to install technologies, programs, or software to block or filter access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography.

During a media briefing on January 12, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles also said that the growing number of online cases of pornography involving minors, which jumped from 19,000 to 48,000 cases in 2019 and 2020, respectively, has troubled President Rodrigo Duterte.

Meanwhile, Go also called on the Council for the Welfare of Children to lay down measures to prevent child exploitation and also support them in dealing with the adverse socio-economic impacts of the ongoing health crisis.

“Tinatawag ko ang pansin ng CWC para alagaan ang kapakanan ng mga bata. Gabayan natin sila dahil hindi nila kailangan magbenta ng kaluluwa para lang sa pera. Nandito po ang gobyerno para tumulong sa inyo,” Go earlier appealed.

Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, the Senator has extended support to hundreds of children from poor families by providing learning materials such as computer tablets to assist their education.

“Hirap na hirap na po ang mga kababayan natin. May iilan na nagiging desperado na para lang kumita. Kung kaya’t ginagawa natin ang lahat para sa bagong taon ay walang magugutom, magkakaroon ng sapat at ligtas na bakuna para sa lahat lalo na ang mga mahihirap, at magkaroon ng kabuhayan at trabaho muli ang bawat Pilipino,” he said.

He also pushed for measures to protect the mental health of Filipinos and provide additional psycho-social assistance to individuals in distress.

“Sa ating mga kabataan, kung may kailangan kayo, lapitan niyo lang kami. Nandito ang gobyerno para tulungan kayo. Huwag po kayo mawalan ng pag-asa dahil malalampasan rin natin ang mga krisis na ito na dulot ng pandemya at kahirapan,” he further said, adding that no Filipino should be left behind towards recovery. Newsline.ph

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