CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 25 March 2017

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Cybersex fortress of The Philippines

A photograph of the who’s who of Philippine commerce is in itself a kind of pornography, as they represent the 0.0001 per cent of the population that determine how much can be spared for the support of the other 103 million people in the country.

The Philippines has 21 billionaires, according to Forbes Magazine, with 2016 creating a record for that number And the daddy of them all, retail and property mogul, Henry Sy, can boast a net worth of US$13.7 billion ($106.18 billion).

They take their place among the world’s richest people, eight of whom, according to an Oxfam report, own more wealth that half the people in the world.

The tycoons stood alongside Rodrigo Duterte for a photograph in the Malacañang on January 17, capturing their moment in the sun for posterity. They feasted and talked business for three hours over a sumptuous meal that could have fed 200 people for a week.

The irony of the occasion is that these are the very people that the president vowed to bring down during his election campaign and the ones not being fed are the very ones that he promised to support.

Or was he just fattening up the grossly rich before bringing them in for the kill?

“The only way for the deliverance of this country is to remove it from the clutches of the few people who hold the power and money,” the president said on November last year.

The president had previously warned the telecom corporations, like Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and Globe Telecom, to change their monopolistic ways.

They are the leading Internet server providers and are allegedly in violation of the Anti-Child Pornography Law of 2009 for failing to block child pornography on their servers.

On August 2 last year, Duterte promised he would destroy the Philippine oligarchs. On another occasion, he said he would destroy the corrupt business tycoons and moguls.

“I am fighting a monster... Believe me, I will destroy their clutches on our nation,” Duterte said at an environment summit in southern Davao City.

Now to the relief of the business elite, moguls and tycoons, a more compassionate, understanding, forgiving and business-friendly president emerged during the night of feasting, as he welcomed the monsters into the warmth of his dining hall.

We can only hope that his message to them was not to continue with more of the same, but to share their vast wealth by investing in the poorer regions of The Philippines and to do something about paying just wages.

The poor are so poor some trade in small amounts of drugs, but it is the drug barons that benefit and they are the untouchable ones, some of whom no doubt feasted at the banquet hall in Malacañang and smiled for the camera.

Other poor people sell their children to the cybersex operators connected to the Internet through the PLDT, which is the biggest provider in the country, as well as Sun, Smart and Globe.

The criminals of these companies allow live images of children being sexually abused to be sent to foreign customers around the world and then pick up their reward at Western Union or some other money transfer station.

Child pornography and cyber-sex involving minors is a heinous crime against the person and dignity of the child.

The Philippines is one of the leading countries in the world in providing these illegal images and children are being abused in order both to make and distribute them.

The child porn images are spread around the world through the Internet by service providers in every country that does not have filters and blocking technology. The provider companies are aiding and abetting these crimes against children.

If Duterte is true to his word he will challenge the tycoons and force the ruling elite to invest in the development of the country.

He could begin with Manny V. Pangilinan, the chairperson, president and chief executive officer of PLDT, Suncellular and Smart.

He and his company are bound by law to filter and block every web site that carries child pornography. The 2009 anti-child porn law is quite clear and explicit on this.

In 2014, the National Telecommunications Commission, through Memorandum Circular No. 01-01-2014, ordered the providers to “install available technology, programme or software that will block access or filter all websites carrying child pornography materials” within 120 days from the submission of a list of these solutions to the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography.

They have not complied. It was announced in the media in January that only three pornography websites containing child images are currently blocked.

This is an insult to the law, the government National Telecommunications Commission and the secretary of the cabinet, Leoncio Evasco, the representative of the president and the one to whom the commissioners must report.

There are hundreds of child pornography websites in cyberspace. The law requires the installation of blocking software, but they are defiant and refuse to do it in the interests of profit-making and expanding their vast wealth at the expense of the abuse of children.

In The Philippines the telephone companies have seemingly placed themselves above the law and put a few government officials in their pockets.

But in addition to the anti-child pornography law, they also appear to be violating the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of 1995 and Executive Order No. 546 issued in 1979.

The tycoons are now cheek by jowl with the president, dining with him in his home and hoping that he will overlook their crimes of ignoring the law and exploitation, and aiding and abetting the abuse of vulnerable children.

However, it is to be hoped that the president and his cabinet secretary, Evasco, will hold them to account and protect children from this horrific and heinous cybercrime of child sexual abuse.

 

 

Father Shay Cullen
www.preda.org