Senate Bill No. 1650 seeks to amend Section 5 (b) of the Anti-Child Abuse Law regarding the penalty for persons engaging in lascivious conduct or sexual activity with minors under 12 years old. The proposed amendment will increase the penalty to reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua for any individual found violating the law under the provision.
Photo by Geralt
Go bills to combat child sexual abuse
(The Philippine Star) - July 11, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Bong Go filed a measure to amend Republic Act No. 7610 or the “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act” which will enhance the country’s protective measures against child sexual abuse.

Senate Bill No. 1650 seeks to amend Section 5 (b) of the Anti-Child Abuse Law regarding the penalty for persons engaging in lascivious conduct or sexual activity with minors under 12 years old. The proposed amendment will increase the penalty to reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua for any individual found violating the law under the provision.

Under the present law, lascivious acts against a minor below 12 are penalized with reclusion temporal in its medium period while the same act committed against a child above 12 years but below 18 is penalized with reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua. The penalty is lower despite the victim being younger.

Go also cited a 2019 Supreme Court case, People v. Tulagan, which called for “corrective legislation” to address the incongruent penalties.

The United Nations estimates tens of thousands of children have fallen victim to the global child-abuse industry, now worth over $1 billion. The Philippines, in particular, is the largest known source of Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (OSEC) cases, according to a recent study conducted by the Washington-based International Justice Mission in partnership with the Philippine and United States governments.

The number of cases increased by 250 percent from 23,333 in 2014 to 81,723 in 2017.

OSEC is predominantly a family-based crime. The average age of the victims is 11 years. The youngest documented victim is less than one year. Seventy four percent of the local cases were facilitated by someone within the child’s circle of trust, such as a family member, guardian or family friend.

An official of the US State Department disclosed the number of OSEC cases in the Philippines is swiftly rising partly due to the economic downturn as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

The pedophiles are mostly in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. Many have either travelled to or lived in the Philippines at some point. This led Go to file SB 1649 to reduce the risk of such crimes occurring.

The Bureau of Immigration Modernization Act of 2019 aims to update the Philippines’ outdated immigration system. It provides a system of documentation and prescribes the procedure and requirements for the admission of immigrants. Section 77 of the bill cites moral grounds prohibiting the entry of pedophiles, sexual perverts and persons engaged in prostitution into the country.

It also denies entry of foreign nationals convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude or suspected to be engaged in human trafficking.

CHILD ABUSE
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