OLONGAPO City, Zambales, May 2, 2015—An Irish missionary priest and human rights advocate lambasted existing child protection laws in the country, noting that their weak implementation causes the worsening cases of injustice against Filipino children.
“The culture of ignoring the individual personality and rights of children is part of this injustice. The children can grow up with a grudge, a desire for justice, anger at being denied it, turning to revenge-seeking and even violence,” said Fr. Shay Cullen, founding president of Preda Foundation.
Cullen said despite the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, child-protection laws suffer from poor enforcement.
“In the Philippines, experience shows that mostly [the laws are not properly implemented]. Police, prosecutors, judges are more favorable to the abusers than to the children. More accused child abusers and rapists are allowed to go free than are convicted,” he said.
According to him, “corruption, bribery, favoritism, lack of belief in the law, and the incompetence of police, prosecutors, and judges” are reasons behind ineffective child protection laws.
“For all these, there are good, honest, hardworking judges for the most part that take pride in carrying out justice. The good judges restore people’s trust and respect in the judicial process, but they are all too few,” Cullen said.
The Preda Foundation has advocated the protection of women and children since 1969. It also promotes human rights, peace, and non-violence in the Philippines.
The priest also chided the seeming “connivance” of big business and government officials, resulting to the unabated increase of child pornography cases in the country.
“We see the likely result of this connivance and colluding between big business and government officials. Horrific crimes against children are being done and continue daily over the internet,” he said.
RA 9775 explicitly orders the Internet Server Providers (ISPs) to install software to block the transmission of child porn images and cyber-sex where children are forced to do sexual acts live on camera sent through the internet to paying customers in other cities or countries, according to Cullen.
Despite the existing anti-child pornography laws, sexual and pornographic crimes against children are still being committed as filters that could block the transmission of pornography online have not been installed as the law says, he noted.
“The horrific videos were sold in the USA and EU countries. Is this a civilized country, is Christianity dead? Is the Philippines a morally failed state? Why can this happen openly and uncontrolled?” Cullen said.
“The answer is insatiable greed and the lust for money, pleasure and power. The authorities have vital questions to answer and all of us must challenge politicians and corporations everywhere and act to end such crimes and do justice for the children,” he added. (Jennifer M. Orillaza/CBCP News)