Cebu News

Government agencies unite vs child pornography

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) joined key agencies of the government in expressing its commitment to step up efforts to protect and stop victimizing Filipino children against pornography and trafficking in person (TIP) following an increase of reported cases of abuses among children.

As of July this year, 103 cases of violation against the Anti-Child Pornography Act were recorded and 198 cases of Online Sexual Exploitation of Children were filed in court as a result of 227 police operations conducted in the same period, a press statement from DILG said.

“Nagsama-sama ngayon ang  karamihan sa mga ahensya ng pamahalaan para ipakita ang aming commitment sa mahalagang adhikain na ito para siguruhin ang kaligtasan ng mga bata,” DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. said during an inter-agency press briefing earlier.

Abalos underscored that the PBMM’s administration is hellbent on eradicating any abuses committed against children, with focus on pornography, online sexual exploitation, and TIP.

“Like the many ills of the society, it is only through a collective stand that we can overcome these abuses committed to our children. Malaki ang responsibilidad natin na pangalagaan ang kapakanan at kaligtasan ng mga bata mula sa mga sindikatong nais pagsamantalahan ang kanilang kahinaan at kamusmusan,” stressed Abalos.

Joining Abalos in the said briefing were Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles; Department of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla; Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Erwin Tulfo; Department of Information and Communication Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy; US Homeland Security Attache in Manila Ricardo Navalta; National Bureau of Investigation Director Medardo De Lemos; and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief PGen. Rodolfo Azurin, Jr., among others.

“We have to show them that we are dead serious about putting a stop to these crimes against our children. We are going to show the perpetrators that the government is on a united front in combating this. Talagang nagkakaisa lahat gamit ang kani-kaniyang specialization,” Abalos said.

Along with this, the local government units (LGUs) from the provincial down to the barangay level will also be tapped to carry out measures to counter child pornography and TIP through their respective Local Committee on Anti-Trafficking and Violence Against Women; Local Council for the Protection of Women and Children; and, Barangay Council for the Protection of Women and Children.

The Philippines has retained its Tier 1 status in the United States Trafficking in Persons Report of 2022 for the seventh straight year as a result of its resilient efforts against transnational crimes, but there is still some room for improvement.

“Our resolve against child pornography, TIP, and other abuses against children is unwavering. Ang DILG po ay titindig upang pangalagaan ang ating mga anak sapagkat sila po ang ating kinabukasan,” Abalos said.

Abalos also recommended the procurement of forensic software for online investigations; provision of child-friendly facilities in Anti-Cybercrime group offices; collaboration with foreign law enforcement agencies; approval of the SIM Card Registration Law; and, provision of capacity development to LGUs down at the barangay.

DILG believed there is more to be implemented to protect the children not only from the perpetrators of crimes but from the long-lasting effects of these abuses committed against them including withdrawal and isolation; anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder; impact on their future livelihood and employment. — GMR (FREEMAN)

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