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PIA Press Release

ASEAN Children's Forum participants urge governments for tougher laws vs child pornography

San Fernando, Pampanga (26 October) -- Pass tougher measures against child pornography.

This is what the participants in the recently concluded 1st ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Children's forum in Clark, Pampanga is asking their governments to do.

According to them, not all countries in the region have laws that directly address this issue that is why pedophiles and child pornographic website operators and video distributors only get minimal penalties.

The Philippines is one of the nations in ASEAN that has an anti-child pornography law.

Signed by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2009, Republic Act 9775 defines child pornography as "any representation, be in visual, audio or written, combination thereof, by electronic, mechanical, digital, optical, magnetic or other means, of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities."

Under the law, the child victim of these acts is recognized as a victim of a violent crime and may claim compensation and protection.

It also provides mandatory services for victims such as emery shelter, counseling, free legal, medical and psychological services and educational assistance.

Perpetrators may be penalized with fines ranging from P50,000 to P5 million and reclusion perpetua as the highest penalty.

Aside from this, the youth-participants also want their governments to think of more ways to protect and eventually integrate as normal individuals children who are differently-abled.

They had vowed to help their respective countries achieve the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the year 2015 namely: a) eradicate extreme hunger and poverty, b) achieve universal primary education, c) promote gender equality and empower women, d) reduce child mortality, e) improve maternal health, f) combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, g) ensure environmental sustainability and h) develop a global partnership for development.

They intend to use the internet in raising funds and tapping more youth volunteers for their respective advocacies.

A total of 30 delegates attended the five day forum wherein every country had three representatives: a male, a female and a differently-abled child.

Council for the Welfare of Children director Maria Elena Caraballo said that the outputs of the participants shall be discussed and acted upon in the upcoming ASEAN Ministers' Meeting on Social Welfare and Development this November in Brunei.

Aside from the Philippines and Brunei, other ASEAN member-states are: Vietnam, Singapore, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia. (PIA 3) [top]

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