MANILA, Philippines -- Children's rights group Akap Bata party-list conducted a surprise visit to motels in Sta. Mesa, Manila on Valentine's Day to remind management to strictly enforce existing policies banning minors from entering these establishments.
The activity was held during one of the busiest days for motels and during the culmination of the National Consciousness Week for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, which started in February 8.
"Alam naman nating fully booked ang mga motel kapag araw ng mga puso. Gusto lang namin tignan kung nai-implement R.A. 7610, na nagbabawal sa mga minors sa ganitong mga establishments," said Love Carlos, national spokesperson of Akap Bata party-list.
Carlos said management is required to turn away minors who will attempt to enter motels. They are also instructed to put up a signage that indicate this policy.
"Ngayong araw, dalawa sa apat na pinuntahan natin walang signage. Araw-araw may mga minors na naga-attempt pumasok sa motels. Nakakatakot kasi mukhang hindi naman strict ang pag-check sa edad ng mga customers," Carlos said.
Motel managers, however, appeased the group by claiming that they turn away minors from their establishments all the time.
"Obvious naman kung minor eh, bawal talaga 'yon. Lalo na 'yung mga nagpupunta dito na naka-uniform," said Chris Diaz of Halina Hotel and Restaurant.
"Judgment call namin yon, based sa itsura nila. Kung di kami sigurado hinihingan namin ng ID," added
Luigi Valdez, manager of Prince Court hotel and restaurant.
Akap Bata insists that motel owners should be pressured to be stricter in enforcing the law because their establishments can be exploited for pornography, sexual abuse, prostitution of children.