Thursday, May 11, 2017

Does the Philippines Care about Protecting It's Children from Pedophiles?

The Philippines has a problem with child pornography and pedophilia.  In 2016 UNICEF declared the Philippines to be a global epicentre of online child pornography.  Sex tourists frequently come to the Philippines looking for children to abuse. What is being done about this problem and why is it not more in the public consciousness?

Let's look at three incidents that typify this problem.

1. Romeo Jalosjos
Convicted child rapist Romeo Jalosjos is asking President Duterte to grant him absolute pardon in an apparent preparation for his plan to run in the midterm elections in 2019. 
In a public notice of the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) published in newspapers yesterday, Jalosjos’ name was included as one of the 36 convicts seeking the President’s executive clemency this year. 
Jalosjos was released from the New Bilibid Prison in March 2009 after spending only 12 years in prison for raping an 11-year-old girl. 
His conviction in 1997 for child rape was commuted by his political ally, then President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
In 2013, the Commission on Elections disqualified him from the mayoral race in Zamboanga City because of his conviction. The Supreme Court later upheld the election body’s decision.
Romeo is currently barred from running in any elections because of his conviction for raping a little girl. Why does this man think President Duterte would grant him an absolute pardon? Does he really believe that Duterte would allow this man to place himself in a position of power which he could abuse again?  Does he think Duterte would turn a blind eye to his heinous crime because his "political ally" granted him a presidential pardon?
President Arroyo commuted Jalosjos’ original two life terms on June 13, 2007 to 16 years. In the original sentence, Jalosjos was also ordered to pay P400,000 in civil indemnity and P400,000 in moral damages. 
What would prompt him to run for office again? Does he think the Filipino people would vote for a child rapist?  Is it fitting that a child rapist should be the mayor of a city? Who would be proud to live in a city where the mayor is a child rapist? Does this man have no shame?  Does he have no remorse for his crime of raping an 11 year-old child?

And what about his victim?  Doesn't anyone care about the fact that he RAPED AN 11-YEAR OLD GIRL? What about the impact this would have on the victim?  What good does a full pardon do for the victim and the Filipino people?  This man should still be in prison serving his full term.

2. Child sex tourists
About 250 Australians with child sex convictions have travelled to the Philippines in the last four years, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has revealed. 
Filipino police are currently pursuing a case against Australian man Peter Gerard Scully for what they allege are some of the worst child sex offences in the nation's history. 
The AFP was involved in the investigation and arrest and says 250 known Australian child sex offenders travelled to the Philippines in the past four years. 
A spokesman has told the ABC that Australia alerts Filipino authorities when a sex offender boards a flight, but it is up to them whether to refuse entry.
Why did Filipino authorities allow these sex offenders into their country? The authorities knew they were coming but declined to refuse entry. Why?

Seeing as how Australian national Peter Truong and his partner were both part of an international pedophile ring and seeing as how Australian national Peter Scully was in the Philippines since 2011 operating a large scale child pornography business and seeing as how the Philippines allowed 250 known child sex offenders into its country over a four year period between 2011- 2015 it is likely that there was (and still is) a pedophile ring operating between Australia and the Philippines.

There is simply no excuse for this laxity. None.

3. UNICEF declares the Philippines a global epicentre of online child pornography
What are the causes of this problem?
“This has been going on a few years now, but we’re seeing more and more cases,” says Sarah Norton-Staal, Chief of Child Protection at UNICEF Philippines. “Increased Internet access and cheaper devices have brought poor communities online. The standard of English is very high and child sex offenders have been visiting since the 1970s. There’s a large Filipino diaspora that regularly sends money home from abroad. And there’s a culture of silence and deference to elders, which keeps abuse hidden. All of this contributes to creating an easy environment for criminals.”
An unintended consequence of the OFW culture has been the growth of online child pornography in the Philippines.  Millions of dollars are sent to the Philippines every year from overseas workers.  This has lead to a booming industry of remittance centres which in turn has made it easier for anyone from anywhere to send money to the Philippines. The financial infrastructure required to sustain the child pornography industry is well in place and will remain in place as long as the OFW culture continues.

Filipino culture, including poverty and not speaking out, also contribute to this problem. That means its not going away anytime soon.
At the Philippines Department of Justice, Assistant Secretary Monica Pagunsan says the government is taking a comprehensive approach to the issue. “The Philippines is said to be the top source of ‘child pornography’ globally,” she says. “The passage of an Anti-Child Pornography Law and creation of the Office of Cybercrime gave impetus to the campaign against online child sexual abuse. We have extradition treaties with at least 13 countries and work closely with Interpol.” 
However, despite these efforts, conviction rates remain low. Ms. Pagunsan highlights the need for greater cooperation with the private sector. “The government cannot do this alone,” she says. “We need help from the private sector, especially the telecom companies and Internet service providers. We’re concerned about the length of time it takes to remove content, identify victims and perpetrators, and preserve evidence.”
Passing laws will not help stem the tide if the community and if the telecoms do not help to end child pornography.

Blocking pornographic websites which do not host child pornography will not end child pornography.
Popular pornography websites XVideos, Redtube and Pornhub have been blocked by two ISPs in the Philippines. 
Customers of Smart and Sun Cellular said they could no longer access the sites on portable devices or desktop computers. 
Instead, users see a message saying the sites have been blocked because of anti-child-pornography laws.
Denying the problem will also not end the problem.
An official of the National Bureau of Investigation took exception to an assessment made by a senior official of the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) who described the country as the “epicenter of live-stream sexual abuse.” 
NBI Cybercrime Division executive officer Victor Lorenzo said Unicef cited figures that were “way too high” compared to the volume recorded by his agency.


There is a connection between the UNICEF report and the case of Romeo Jalosjos: culture.  There is no way Romeo would feel emboldened to ask Duterte for a full pardon so he can run for mayor if there were not a culture of apathy and absolute respect for elders in the Philippines whereby any and all crimes no matter how horrific are passed over in silence. How else does one explain the election of Joseph Estrada as mayor of Manila? This man was ousted from the Presidency, convicted of plunder, and pardoned by Gloria Arroyo, the same woman who pardoned Romeo Jalosjos, and yet he managed to win the mayorship of Manila.

From these three cases it certainly seems, despite the busts and crackdowns that have been made, that  ending child sexual abuse is not a priority for the Philippines and it is a gross crime to which Filipino society is willing to turn a blind eye. Duterte has not mentioned child pornography in his crusade against crime and corruption. His focus is on drugs. Yet the problem of pedophilia in the Philippines has grown to the point that the Philippines is now the global epicentre of child pornography.

If people do not speak up about these horrific abuses they will only continue to worsen. 

Deakin’s arrest April 20 reveals one of the darkest corners of the internet, where pedophiles in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia pay facilitators on the other side of the world to sexually abuse children, even babies, directing their moves through online livestreaming services. 
The relatively new crime of webcam sex tourism is spreading rapidly, with new digital technologies sparking what the United Nations calls an “alarming growth of new forms of child sexual exploitation online.” The FBI says it’s epidemic, and that at any given moment, 750,000 child predators are online. 
Almost every case stems from the Philippines, where good English speakers, increased internet connections and widespread international cash transfer systems combine with widespread poverty and easy access to vulnerable kids. There have been as many as three busts a week there this spring. The youngest victim ever, rescued a few weeks ago, was an infant, two months old. Most are under 12.

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