IACAT to tap NTC, telcos to beef up gov't drive vs. child porn – VP Binay

January 21, 2014 12:12 pm 

By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, Jan. 29 (PNA) — Vice President Jejomar Binay on Monday directed the government’s anti-trafficking council to intensify its efforts and increase coordination with other government agencies and the private sector in light of the uncovered child pornography rings in the country.

Binay, concurrent chairman emeritus of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), said the anti-trafficking council is looking to coordinate with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), which regulates the operations of telecommunications companies.

“We are looking into tapping the government’s regulatory body on telecommunications as these child pornography groups operate primarily using the internet,” Binay said.

The anti-trafficking czar said that the IACAT would coordinate with NTC on how to strengthen the monitoring of online pornography.

While the government is stepping up its drive against cyberpornorgraphy, the Vice President said the IACAT would welcome the help of telcos and internet service providers in tracking down sources of pornographic content in the country.

“Any data they can provide to us for authorities to be able to track down these porn syndicates faster would be most welcome,” he said.

Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), a group of Americans, British and Australian law enforcers, recently identified the Philippines as among the top ten countries with widespread online pornography that involve even minors.

Based on a data map provided by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) of the United Kingdom, it also showed on a Google map where child pornography in the Philippines was transmitted in 2012.

The report revealed that Metro Manila, Angeles City in Pampanga, Cebu, and Cagayan De Oro were the locations where the most child pornographic materials – including photos, recorded videos, and live-streamed videos – were transmitted come from.

The Vice President said that while child pornography in the Philippines does not necessarily involve recruitment, as the perpetrators are usually the victim’s parents or kin, it is still related to child trafficking because the victims are forced to perform sexual acts for clients.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of the United States, upon which the annual Global Trafficking in Persons (GTIP) Report is based, defines sex trafficking as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act.”

Binay emphasized that cases have already been filed against peddlers of child pornography.

“From 2012 to present, nasa husgado na 'yan. Nakapag-file na ng mga kaso,” Binay said during an interview at the sideline of the 32nd Olympic Council of Asia Assembly.

He said Regional Trial Court Judge Ma. Angela Paras-Quiambao of Angeles City, Pampanga is handling the said cases.

In 2013, Paras-Quiambao convicted Ruth De la Rosa of Qualified Trafficking in Person for forcing her niece into prostitution. She also held Esmeraldo Tejero and Marilyn Valencia guilty of peddling several minor girls to both Filipino and foreign customers.

The Vice President remained positive of IACAT’s anti-human trafficking drive, saying the council’s efforts are being recognized abroad.

“Tingnan n'yo na lang ang record ng IACAT sa human trafficking. Ang dami naming napakulong, natanggal sa pwesto. With pride, we can say na tayo ay nagiging model sa buong mundo,” Binay said.

“There are a lot of officials na pinupuri tayo sa ating program against human trafficking. It remains to be a problem of course, but our efforts are being recognized,” he added.

In 2012, Ambassador Luis CdeBaca of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons of the U.S. State Department told Binay that the Philippines can provide a model to help other Southeast Asian nations in combating human trafficking.

CdeBaca commended the Philippines’ improved performance in its fight against human trafficking, which earned the country a Tier 2 status in the GTIP Report.

Countries in Tier 2 status do not meet the minimum requirements of the TVPA but are making significant efforts to do so. (PNA)

CTB/SFM

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