/ 15 December 2022

SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go stressed anew the importance of developing stronger children protection programs, saying that it is the government’s job to ensure that Filipino children are protected at all times.

“Unahin natin ang mga mahihirap, mga hopeless at helpless, mga walang laban tulad ng mga kabataan. Proteksyunan natin ang kanilang kapakanan,” Go said.

United Nations special rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children Mama Fatima Singhateh said that the Philippines remains to be a primary source of child trafficking, sale, sexual abuse, and forced marriage and labor, among others.

Go also echoed President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s appeal to have stronger government interventions against child exploitation and violence.

“Nakakabahala at nakakalungkot po kung mga kabataan pa po ang nagiging biktima dito. It is the State’s duty, like the parent of the nation, to protect its citizen, especially those who are not able to protect themselves, such as children who are vulnerable po and helpless,” he said.

The senator refiled a measure to amend Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act in a bid to enhance the country’s protective measures for children.

Senate Bill 1188 seeks to amend Section 5b of the Anti-Child Abuse Law regarding the penalty for persons engaging in lascivious conduct or sexual activity with minors under 12 years of age.

Under the present law, lascivious acts against a minor below 12 years old are penalized with reclusion temporal in its medium period while the same act committed against a child above 12 years but below 18 years of age is penalized with reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua.

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 said provision.a