‘Wi-Fi’ schools urged to fight child pornography

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 22 February)–A group of child advocates has urged schools in the city with Wi-Fi internet access to be watchdogs against child pornography.

This developed after 83 private and public schools here, represented by their principals and guidance counselors, joined the Anti-Child Pornography Alliance (ACPA) that was formed locally Thursday.

The local ACPA is composed of 104 member-organizations from the academe, government agencies, church-based and non-government organizations (NGOs).

Led by member-organizations of the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) and the Akap Bata Sectoral Party, the alliance advocates against the proliferation of child pornography, especially cases involving the use of internet.

Arlene Brosas, ACPA executive director and first nominee of AKAP-Bata partylist, said in a phone interview Friday that ACPA can help develop or provide safety nets and mechanism to prevent child pornography in schools.

“We would like to encourage the academe, NGOs, people’s organizations, and church people to campaign actively against child pornography,” she added.

There were 68 cases of child pornography across the country recorded since 2009, according to ACPA, noting that many cases have remained unreported.

ACPA, which was formed in 2006, lobbied for the enactment of Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, Brosas said.

Jenielito Atillo, spokesperson of the Department of Education (DepEd)-Region 11, said in a phone interview Friday that the campaign against child pornography is covered by the agency’s Child Protection Policy.

Regarding the internet connectivity in schools, Atillo said all the schools have agreed with the DepEd to ensure that obscene and pornographic sites will be blocked.

He said that “almost all schools in the region have access to internet even in rural areas, except those situated in the hinterlands where there is no access to electricity.”

In a statement, Councilor Leah Librado, CWC action officer, said the creation of the ACPA “is a way of the city to show its continued effort to end pornography and protect the children against all forms of abuse and violence.”

She said the CWC, which is chaired by Mayor Sara Duterte, will continue to assist distressed children, adding that they will collaborate on programs and initiatives for the advancement of the children’s welfare. (Lorie Ann Cascaro/MindaNews)