Rizal 2nd district Rep. Fidel Nograles recently filed House Resolution (HR) No. 999, which directs the House Committees on Justice and on the Welfare of Children to conduct a probe on the matter in aid of legislation.
The neophyte solon cited reports from the Department of Justice – Office of Cybercrime (DOJ-OOC), which said that a total of 279,166 cases of online child sexual exploitation were tallied from March 1 to May 24 this year.
He said this is a 265.63 percent increase from the same period in 2019, when 76,561 cases were lodged. The DOJ-OOC used data from the US-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
“Lubos po tayong nababahala sa mga datos na ito. Kawawa po ang mga bata. (This data is very alarming. I pity the children). This is an urgent issue that we need to address,” Nograles said.
Incidentally, Philippine National Police-Women and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC) chief, Police Brigadier General Alessandro Abella had acknowledged in a virtual House panel hearing last month that the pandemic may have given more opportunities for sexual predators to victimize children.
This is because kids probably stayed online longer compared to the pre-lockdown situation, when it was allowed for them to go to establishments like malls.
“There is a realistic possibility of an increase in the number of minors engaged in taking and sharing self-generated indecent images,” Abella told lawmakers.
Nograles bemoaned that Internet service providers have been unable to curb the proliferation of online exploitation due to an inability to install technology that could block access to and distribution of child pornography.
“Naging barrier din ang ECQ sa pag-detect ng mga kaso ng child sexual exploitation dahil nakakulong ang mga biktima sa kanilang mga bahay at hindi nila nakikita ang mga maaaring mapagsumbungan kagaya ng mga guro (The ECQ also became a barrier against the detection of child sexual exploitation cases since they couldn’t leave their homes and report these things to people like their teachers),” he noted.
Nograles stressed the need for government to crack down on the sexual trafficking of children.
“Umaasa akong pagtutuunan ng agarang atensyon ang isyu na ito hindi lang ng Kongreso, kundi ng buong pamahalaan (I expect that the entire government and just Congress would give immediate attention to this issue). We must protect our children,” he added.
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