Only under foreign pressure: Ph gov’t cracks down on sexual abuse of children over the Internet

Child abuse in the Philippines has been going on for the longest time. It is in plain sight. Some of it is relatively benign abuse, like allowing children to grow fat on a diet of soft drinks and junk food or making them perform in exploitative television variety shows. Others are horrid, using kids to beg or sell sticks of cigarettes on busy road intersections and raising them on a diet of pagpag (a Filipino native dish cooked using scraps picked up from garbage bins). Filipinos, quite simply, form a society that is all but desensitised to the banal abuse of children woven into its very fabric.

Garbage-fed generation: The welfare of children in the Philippines is low in the list of priorities.

Garbage-fed generation: The welfare of children in the Philippines is low in the list of priorities.

So it comes across as amusing that Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III, after more than three years in power would only now exhibit his crocodile indignation over the rampant subjection of Filipino children to the perverted eyes of pedophiles over the internet.

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“We will not countenance any syndicates that will (prey) on our minors and that they will be used… as sexual instruments. That is something that we will really pound the hammer on,” President Benigno Aquino’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda told reporters.

“Certainly, actions will be taken to address the situation. This is really a concern for us because we’ve always said that the youth is (the) future of the nation,” he added.

Spoken like a true politician.

This sudden “focus” on the plight of Filipino children abused before a Webcam for broadcast to the world’s perverts is not surprising considering it was crackdowns on this crime initiated by foreign law enforcement agencies that provided the “motivation” for their “counterparts” in the Philippines to act.

Yet, abuse of children over mass communication channels has a long tradition in the Philippines. Back in 2011, when President BS Aquino had not even spent a year in power, reality TV mega-star Willie Revillame attracted a social media storm after he allegedly abused a six-year-old boy on the popular TV5 game show Willing Willie. Aside from advertisers pulling out of the show en masse, there were no consequences felt by Revillame who went into “semi-retirement” presumably to enjoy the vast fortune he accumulated doing these shows.

Going even further back to 1982 were the reports of how Vicente “Tito” Sotto (now a Philippine senator and, back then, a huge media celebrity) figured in the case of the alleged rape of fifteen-year-old starlet Pepsi Paloma by comedians Joey de Leon, Richie d’Horsey, and the Senator’s brother Vic Sotto. Paloma later committed suicide after Tito Sotto “intervened” in the case and the accused celebrities issued a public apology.

There was speculation at the time that the fallout from the episode severely impacted Paloma’s career after producers would no longer touch the starlet with a ten-foot pole following the incident. Amazingly, the careers in the entertainment industry of the accused continued to flourish despite the scandal (and, of course, Tito Sotto went on to become a powerful Philippine Senator) — a testament to the deeply ingrained culture of impunity in the Philippines. Paloma reportedly went on to hang herself under circumstances which, like most of her life, were presumably “shrouded in mystery”.

The lack of real consequences felt by rich and well-connected celebrities and politicians is telling of the sort of society the Philippines is. What is more disturbing is that there is likely to be a vast number of cases of abuse, criminal neglect, and exploitation in which children are the primary victims that happen under the media’s radar in the country. Lacierda himself conceded that child pornography in the Philippines has long remained “under the radar” and that the government is only now “placing greater emphasis on fighting the crime”.

The head of the national police anti-cybercrime unit said Friday that the Philippines had become a key hub of the billion-dollar global child cybersex industry, with operators aided by widespread poverty and legal loopholes that allow them to remain anonymous.

The unit’s head, Senior Superintendent Gilbert Sosa, said the crime had spread through the help of wireless technology where users cannot be effectively tracked by law enforcers.

But without the prompting of British and Australian authorities, the problem would have likely remained just another one of what are considered mere annoyances in the Philippines. Had it not been for a routine investigation conducted on a registered sex offender in the UK, the road to Philippine child porn would not have been brought to the media fore…

The investigation began after Northamptonshire Police carried out a routine visit at the home of registered sex offender Timothy Ford and found a number of indecent videos on computers in the property. The force then contacted CEOP and, after working together, a number of ‘customers’ and associates were identified and a global law enforcement investigation commenced.

In 2012, ongoing analysis of the digital media associated with the investigation led to the identification of additional suspects and numerous children in the Philippines who were believed to have been sexually exploited. In August of that year, CEOP contacted ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) office in Manila, the Australia Federal Police and the International Justice Mission (a non-governmental organisation) to request support for the investigation. Together, the agencies presented the case to the Philippine National Police (PNP) for possible enforcement action and between August and October 2012 all were involved in efforts to identify the offenders and victims in the Philippines.

In October 2012, three search warrants were executed and with the assistance of CEOP, ICE and the AFP, the Philippine National Police arrested 11 Filipino nationals and rescued 15 victims. All of the victims rescued were placed in the custody of the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development.

So all of a sudden it is a “war against kiddie porn” in the Philippines (though a “czar” to head it is yet to be named). Just like that. Only because the world is now watching.

Will this focus on crime be sustained? Or will the Filipino’s renowned ningas cogon mentality kick in midway? As always: Abangan ang susunod na kabanata.

[Photo courtesy]

39 Replies to “Only under foreign pressure: Ph gov’t cracks down on sexual abuse of children over the Internet”

  1. All eyes on the Philippines to the right thing…like always. The PH is like that ADHD child at school who doesn’t pay attention to the things around him. Thank you Philippines for being very attentive to your surroundings.

    1. Growing up, we never knew that there are husbands who beat their wives, or bi-sexual men who marry women, etc.. because we have parents who never talk about these things, hence a happy childhood. This explains the ADHD child of the world. Now, I’m married to a man who is wired to every issue under the sun and an internet that opens my eyes everyday to the reality of living. I am involved!

  2. If a society allows/turns a blind eye to wholesale abuse in any form, but especially child abuse/exploitation, then it reflects something sick and barbaric in the very fabric and cultural foundations.
    There is no excuse. Period.

    Foreigners regard the philippines, alongside cambodia, as the child sex capital of asia, and a pedophile’s paradise.

    Now pnoy aquino talks platitudes. Pathetic. Nothing has been done sofar, and nothing substantive will be done to stem the tide. Never expect a caring response from an uncaring government.
    Even pnoy’s PSG raped a 15 year old in the grounds of malacanan, and no action taken!
    Congressmen/mayors see young meat as one of the perks of the job

    Whether its comfort women or children, filipinos are easy victims and subserviently accept abuse with no outrage, except from the international community.

    This topic, along with the millions of child laborers has been raised repeatedly.

    Since it is bad news and critical of pnoy aquino then clearly he will not listen, or act.

  3. I just don’t know how people in power or influence in the Philippines can sleep knowing there are children in the street hungry, sick and being abused. I hate this kind of news. This is so close to my heart as I was a victim of child abuse also. I am glad that there was no internet then. Our abuser is a relative. Again, the root of all evil is poverty. I would not elaborate on my abuse but I kept it hidden for 19 years until I came here in the US. I finally found the strength and courage to share my experience because of the culture here. Here, they encourage the victim to speak up. The victim is empowered. There is no stigma on being a victim of sexual abuse. I am encouraging the Philippine government to really take child abuse serously as it has a long term consequences on our country’s future. It takes a village to raise a child. Every child is our child.

    1. I am truly sorry to hear about your past. I have not been victimized myself but I was around teachers who later jailed because of inflicting abuse upon the vulnerable. Good luck waiting for results from this showbusiness government. As in all all show and no dough. The president’s priorities are blaming everybody else, attending screenings of pedestrian movies, claiming all associates are innocent and all acquaintances guilty. Expecting results from a government that looks up to a guy like that is like expecting Kris Aquino to join a convent.

  4. As a US retiree in the Phils, we get scapegoated for the evils that you dirty brownies perpetrate. You try to set us up with underage bargirls in bars, then send your copper buddies along to get a big payout. I have a friend named Drew Shobbrook, who took CONSENSUAL PHOTOS AND VIDEOS Filipina ladies, yet because he paid no bribe, you set the IJM on his arse.
    We at the philippines addicts forums used to have all drews media on a trusted member level, but given the current media circus we have to restrict our adult content to people we have met only on a personal interview, lest we suffer the same fate as bender.

    It’s not us foreigners to blame for you filos selling the tits and bums of your children, the fault lies with the seller first, and unless you address the problem at its source (greed & poverty) blaming us foreigners and setting us up with the cops with your boobytrapped fake id underage freelancers and bargirls ia akin to squealing with your heads still in the sand.

    Love the life here in Angeles City despite the risks and dangers, the phils is still the place to be fpr retirees!

    1. Two-way street. If there were no “buyers” looking to purchase goods and services in Asia that are illegal in their country of origin, there’d be no sellers of those illegal items. Just as there’d be no slavers or drug pushers in the US if there weren’t a vast market for depravity.

      1. I agree. If you know it’s morally and legally wrong in your country then why do you think it’s ok to do it in another location. Don’t blame the seller 100% and absolve yourself. That’s hipocrisy.

    2. Your post is offensive and racist. With an attitude like that it’s truly a wonder you’ve managed to survive in AC. Then again it’s easy to have nuts at a keyboard.

      It’s true that foreigners are targeted for police set-ups and scams, but if you fall victim to it,you’re almost begging for it.

      In a sense I share your outrage. The media in PI does seem to prefer to lay the blame for a lot of things at the feet of foreigners while conveniently ignoring the fact that Filipinos do the same shit. I once read in a daily newspaper forget the guys name) that he had never met nor heard of a Filipino peadaphile, and doubted that such a thing existed. His whole article was a rant about “little girls attached to the wallets of foreigners”. Without a doubt a small percentage of foreigners who come to PI are peadaphiles. But until Filipinos face up to the fact that they have plenty of their own walking amongst them nothing much is going to change. At least some foreign governments (mine included)are trying to police their own citizens even while in places like PI.

    3. Consensual or not nude photos are illegal in the Philippines. Mr. Shobbrook was caught with overwhelming evidence of his actions in Cebu.

      If you know him that you must be a sexpat that hangs out in either PiAtNight or the Philippine Addicts sex tourist forums.

      Mr. Shabbrook was well known there as Bender01. A very arrogant forum member that flaunted his activities with these girls.

      His arrogant and above the law attitude finally caught up with him and now he sits in jail. The perfect place for a person like him.

  5. Demand fuels supply.

    And the demand from dirty old men and the perverts who trawl the bars and internet for victims, especially in angeles/subic warrant the baseball bat treatment. Easy to spot, – fat, bald, ugly, and badly dressed.

    Regrettably every country has its low-life and losers. Unfortunately a lot of the american ones end up in philippines – 60 year olds trying to impress 16 year olds in ktv bars, and who need to pay for any ‘companionship’ from their pensions! Sad

    And to have some internet forum/group to trade/show pictures! Sick. Sounds more like a paedophiles lair. No wonder these people had to leave the US. They would not be tolerated.

    1. You seem like an intelligent person from most things I read libertas but sorry to say you are no different to most Filipinos when it comes to this subject. It’s too obvious in your words. As long as you allow your sense of outrage and feelings to rule you’ll never see the real truth nor the whole picture. True demand fuels supply. To a point. When the supplier has a product that they can supply at a higher profit or at lower cost then they will no longer supply that product. Tell me that if every foreigner left Phil and never came back would there no longer be prostitutes? You know that’s ridiculous. Fat, bald, ugly and badly dressed. You mean like the pinoy that frequent KTV bars for prostitutes. or the same look but better dressed pinoy that frequents the upscale bars in Manila?

      I know plenty of old, fat , ugly Americans and other ex pats who live in PI. Married, children, loving and respectful. And with plenty of money and assets. There are probably far more like that than you want to believe. Most of these guys wouldn’t hesitate to take action against one of their own that’s a peadaphile. What’s really sad is that you who have a brain yet seem to stereotype foreigners like the worst of pinoy.

      1. David puts Libertas in his place in one comment, that’s crazy, David you should be a writer for this website! Would love to read your writings on the situation in the Philippines because you have a strong character and mind.

        1. Thanks for your kind words. Would have plenty to say but as I have a family and am only to aware of many Filipinos (particularly government)inability to take criticism, let alone from a foreigner, I have no desire to be escorted to NAIA by BI officials. I’d be f@cked…I won’t pay bribes!

      2. I would apply my comments to anyone from any country/philippines who abuses children, but the article was primarily relating to foreigners using internet/cybersex.

        I was ‘sterotyping’ those americans/expats who frequent angeles bars as typified by happy kano’s posting, but which presumably does not include the happily married americans to which you refer.

        Even ex ambassador harry thomas referred to the problem of americans visiting philippines in large numbers as sex tourists.

        And if foreign demand was stopped in all its guises then it would obviously make a difference, to a large number of children.

        Am not even sure who or what you are defending/complaining about and being so sensitive.

        the big picture is
        all sex offenders should be punished and the philippine government should be far more active in finding ways to stop it in all its forms. is that simple enough for you..

        1. libertas….It is not simple, at all. Human sexuality is incredibly complex and there are few examples of black and white (good vs. evil) behavior; only shades of gray. Your so called “big picture” is a knee jerk response and a dangerous one at that.
          Starting a witch hunt against foreigners will not solve anything.

        2. “I would apply my comments to anyone from any country/philippines who abuses children” ( note the word philippines ) – how on earth does that translate into – “Witch hunt against foreigners” – in your mind!

          And since you don’t see much difference between eat bulaga dancers and cybersex porn, as discussed in the article, then join the pro-porn movement, and “dont throw the baby out with the bath water” – just abuse it.

          I think it is you who is having a knee jerk off reaction at the thought of porn, and i bow to your clearly greater experience on the subject.

          Personally, i would not tolerate 30 plus cybersex rings operating in the country, which equates to thousands of children being abused daily.

          The technology/means is available to track/find, but clearly the will isn’t

        3. Libertas…Personally, I am too old for porn and sex. I am not crazy about someone attacking me with a baseball bat because I am a bald, badly dressed, foreigner sitting at a bar. (those are your words and if they are not inciting violence and bigotry; I don’t know what is.)

        4. SeaBee,

          The complexity of human sexuality aside, do you agree that sexual predators and paedophiles should be prosecuted?

        5. Excuse me Sea Bee,

          To be more precise, and to avoid any misunderstanding, do you agree that (child) sexual abuse offenders should be prosecuted?

        6. I will make allowances for senility but random unprovoked attacks were hardly advocated.

          Do i dislike pedophiles and ephebophiles.- yes ( and if you consider that bigotry so be it. I can live with that perverse interpretation)

          You certainly sound defensive. Focus on the issues and the victims.

          Your starter for 10. Read it slowly

          There is a wide range of sexual offence categories and it is important to distinguish between them rather than become confused by them ( although some are obviously interlinked), since approaches , strategies, involved agencies, social/individual impacts, and prioritisation will vary, and scarce resources need to be applied to maximum effect and targetted primarily at high level demand side providers in order to achieve optimum results/benefits.
          It is also important to differentiate between offenders, enablers, and victims

          The goal must always be zero abused/exploited children/adults, and to spend time overcoming obstacles to success, not finding excuses for inaction, or say it happens everywhere, or turn a blind eye/head in sand, or miss the point/issues.

          And i would add that old men of any nationality going out with barely legal young girls ( pubescents) with a build and emotional age younger than their years, a simple outlook/limited education, and financially needy, are pedophiles in attitude and actions, although strictly speaking are classified as ephebophiliacs, which may be more ‘acceptable’ in parts of asia/philippines, hence the attraction for some people.

          Am curious if these people take their young ‘charges’ back to meet family and friends, or just play the field.

          As a barfly share your insights

          Sex trafficking
          Sexual harrassment

          Sex trafficking

          (Teenage pregnancies)

          (Child labour)

      3. There’a a mixture of good and bad in every culture and it’s wrong to generalize a whole people with actions of a few. Let’s just be glad that we are finally opening our eyes to the flight of these young people who are peddled with impunity by opportunists (sellers and buyers) who have no conscience.

    2. Sorry sir, but sterotyping older “foreigners” by being in a bar and advocating violence is very offensive,

      Granted there are deviants like Happy Kano in PI, but the vast majority of American tourists that come here commit no crime. It’s a very base form of hatred to incite violence on people based on age and their current location.

      I am very touched by the hospitality of PI and the countries raw beauty, I retired here because itt is more sustainable for me to do so than the ever rising costs of the US. I’ve never sought a sex worker, ever.

      Please understand, most of us get old, bald and ugly in our due time. I would like to visit a bar now and then with friends without the fear of people with views such as yours putting a bat to my person because I have a filipina wife younger than me and therefore am presumed to be a filthy lecher who sits with the devil.

      … In America people with similiar views as yours we would call racist rednecks…. Advocating violence toward any stereotype is not the right way and only begets more hatred.

      1. ok. no baseball bats!
        now do you have anything interesting or relevant to say about the article/issues raised.
        ptesumably you and sea bee are friends/twins!

        1. /David I see. I just admired your cut and thrust objectivity in dealing with the issue & commenteds. GRP should consider having people that live in the PI write as well though, to promote multiculturalism.

          Having mostly or all filipino contributors does lead to stereotyping / closet bigotry among a few thinking that they can get away with it.

          It was so funny to read how you hang happy Kano and Libertas out to dry, the guy stirred up a few other guys here as well and now he is saying the people he offended are not interesting or relevant. A bit rude, but Is wounded pride for sure!

          Love reading here. Mostly the other contributor and comments is very informative and refreshing. Please keep up the good things.

        2. Saint….I consider sex with children to be repulsive and those that engage in should be prosecuted. However, I do not think people should be sent to prison for looking at an image on the internet. To me, that is thought crime.

  6. The Philippine government should not only crack down on sexual abuse on children but child abuse as a whole in this country.

    I believe that letting street children to beg or even worse, loot in the streets is a part of child abuse and the effect of neglecting to address this ongoing problem for so long.

  7. The cause of this uproar is cyber sex. Surely there are technical ways to fix the black market on the internet; without creating a new layer of the PNP that sits on their asses watching TV screens and trying to sting internet users.

    How different is cyber sex than watching the gyrating skantily clad young ladies on Eat Bulaga? …or the much coveted Bikini Opens one can see in every barangay? The difference of a few years and a couple of centimeters of cloth?

    I pity the young ladies and children who have experienced guilt and discomfort after being raped by a camera lens; but let’s not “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Hysterical over reach in the form of police surveillance of EVERYONE is a typical phony political solution to a cultural problem.

  8. That YellowTard Lacierda is acting up again. No lip service or release of such statements can solve this child pornography of Filipino children. What did that YellowTard, Lacieda, Aquino and the rest of the YellowTards have done to solve this problem? Nothing , except to give Press Releases…

    1. Blaming dirty old foreigners for abuse of children is just not born out by the facts. !5 children and young ladies were rescued from cyber dens by police. Compare that to the thousands of underage women that give birth in this country every year. The paternity DNA evidence is there. Why not go after the fathers? They would be easy convictions.

      1. Channel News Asia called the Philippines teenage pregnancy capital of Asia. 100,000 births a year and growing rapidly and the average age of the teenager is just 14.

        When the pedophiles are caught they just pay off the lawyers, police and judges.
        Then they are free to hit the streets again and carry on abusing children.
        In my eyes the lawyers, police and judges are as guilty as the pedophiles.

        1. Without a doubt it is a positive thing that foreign resources are helping to stop online child abuse. In terms of the numbers involved what you point out is by far and away the bigger issue.

          Not that action against cyber porn shouldn’t continue but that this seems an all to familiar “see what we are doing” when the real issues are ignored.

          When the numbers are considered, by any measure, child abuse is rampant in Phillipines, yet what is really being done? My only observation about your post is that it is unlikely that in most cases any action is taken by police, let alone it getting to a court. It may not even be considered an abuse where the victim is a 14 year old Filipina and the perpetrator is a 19 year old Filipino. That’s culture!

        2. Yawn….Paying off judges and lawyers may be the case in a few of those offenses; but it doesn’t explain the vast number of cases. It is more likely that most people do not consider teenage sex to be bad; unless there is coercion involved. I have personally had several villagers in the countryside try to introduce me to their underaged daughters. This is a culture that considers children a resource to be exploited. Erotic behavior is a minor issue, when there is hunger at the door.

  9. PS. And so the next generation of bar girls who are “exploited” and “victimized” by fat old ugly poor foreigners are produced. Continue cycle. Hope my sarcasm is obvious enough.

  10. If we prosecute and give stiff punishment and long jailtime to the people who sell these children I bet you the market would soon dwindle down.

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