MANILA – Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on Sunday urged the Department of Justice and Philippine National Police to strengthen their efforts against students who are allegedly selling obscene photos of themselves to raise funds to support their education.
Gatchalian cited a story by the Philippine Online Student Tambayan (POST), a news portal focused on the student sector, which reported that students held an online “Christmas sale” of their “sensual” photos and videos so they could buy gadgets and pay internet bills in support of distance learning.
“Pinagsasamantalahan ng mga masasamang-loob ang pangangailangan ng ating mga mag-aaral at dapat itong labanan ng ating pamahalaan,” said Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
(Crooks are exploiting the needs of our students and the government should fight them.)
The students reportedly used the hashtags #AlterPH, #AlterPinay, and #AlterPhilippines to sell their photos and videos on Twitter. Some of the obscene materials were supposedly sold for as low as P150, according to the report.
Gatchalian called on the Department of Education to boost its child protection program, noting that child protection committees (CPC) in schools are mandated to identify students who may be experiencing abuse and exploitation.
“CPCs are also expected to report cases to government agencies and non-government organizations,” he said.
In May, the Department of Justice said reports of online sexual exploitation of children in the Philippines spiked by over 260 percent during the coronavirus lockdown.
DepEd Undersecretary Jesus Mateo earlier said the prevention of online child sexual exploitation is an inter-agency effort.
Mateo advised parents to monitor their children’s activities online, which may lead to abuse incidents.