MANILA - Sen. Imee Marcos has filed a resolution urging the Senate to investigate reports of minors selling sexual photos and videos online to allegedly buy gadgets for their online classes.
News reports showed that some minors have been selling their lewd photos for P150 to "raise money... to buy gadgets and pay internet bills," Marcos said in her Senate Resolution No. 604, filed on Thursday.
"The actions taken and progress achieved, or lack thereof, by the government and telecommunications firms to solve this growing problem must be made public," she said in a statement.
"The problem may have already grown to involve not only individual perverts but organized crime syndicates," she said.
About 27,000 suspicious transaction reports linked to child pornography were recorded from January to June 2020, the senator said, citing data from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
The figure is 156 percent higher than child pornography transactions in the first half of 2019, according to data from the AMLC.
Marcos noted that "the number of local recipients of suspicious remittances via banks, money issuers and electronic wallets was highest in Pampanga, Cebu, Bulacan, Cavite and Quezon City."
"The delay in face-to-face classes will continue to expose grade school and high school children to these local and foreign sexual predators lurking on the internet," she said.
Marcos has been pushing for the resumption of face-to-face classes in areas with zero or low COVID-19 cases, saying students in rural areas have limited capacities to adapt to a distance-learning scheme.
President Rodrigo Duterte initially allowed the resumption of face-to-face classes this year, but withdrew the directive after a new COVID-19 strain surfaced in the United Kingdom.
The Department of Education earlier said it is looking into reports that some students have been selling obscene photos and videos of themselves online to support their studies.