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Progress towards passing the Anti child pornography bill

House Bill No. 6440, or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, was approved on second reading by the House of Representatives on Tuesday amid calls by children’s rights groups for its immediate passage.

Congressman Matias Defensor of Quezon City, Congresswoman Nikki Prieto-Teodoro of Tarlac and Congresswoman Darlene Antonino-Custodio of South Cotabato, citing child pornography as a violation of children’s rights, delivered sponsorship speeches which urged the immediate passage of the bill.

“Child pornography is a menace that hounds societies around the world, regardless of their political or economic state. It violates the right of our children in the most gruesome way.” Cong. Defensor said.

According to reports, there are an estimated one million pornographic images of children on the Internet at any one time, with 200 new images posted daily. It has also been reported that a single child pornography site receives a million hits a month, and that two-thirds of offenders who committed any of the types of internet sex crimes against minors possessed child pornography.

In the Philippines, new forms of child pornographic victimization such as internet and mobile phone pornography have been increasing. Internet sex dens around the country have been found to employ children who are often coerced or tricked into the exploitative situations. There is also evidence that child pornography in magazines sold abroad promote the Philippines as a destination for abuse.

“All of our children are vulnerable. Child pornography has hit our innermost sanctums, our families, our children. We congratulate the House on this progress and we now need to urgently pass this bill for the protection of children. I urge the legislators to continue to put priority on this issue and Pass the Anti-Child Pornography Act,” said Vanessa Tobin, UNICEF Representative.

UNICEF, together with its partners Anti-child Pornography Alliance (ACPA), Akap Bata Philippines, ECPAT Philippines, Stairway Foundation, Council for the Welfare of Children, PREDA Foundation, Share A Child Movement, and Kabataan Consortium banded together for the Action Speaks Louder Than Words campaign, following the initial Silence Is Acceptance campaign to push for passage of the bill. Various activities around the country are being held to foster awareness and urge local leaders to fight child pornography within their own locales.

“Each day that the bill sits in Congress is a window of opportunity for child pornographers. Time is running out for many children in the country who are being victimized. We call on the House to pass this bill immediately and put in place mechanisms for its strict and effective implementation,” Arlene Brosas, AKAP-BATA Executive Director says.

The bill could be approved by the House of Representatives on third reading in the coming weeks. With the previous approval of a similar bill in the Senate, the bills will then be consolidated in a bicameral conference committee of Congress prior to approval by the President.



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