House approves bill seeking to impose stiffer penalties for child abuse
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Monday unanimously approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to impose stiffer penalties for child abuse, exploitation, and discrimination.
Some 164 House members voted to approve House Bill No. 9024; no one opposed or abstained.
The proposed law seeks to amend several sections of Republic Act (RA) No. 7610, as amended by Republic Act No. 9231, also known as the “Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination.”
Once the bill is enacted into law, any person who would hire, employ, use, persuade, induce or coerce a child to perform in obscene exhibitions and indecent shows, whether live or in video, pose or model in obscene publications or pornographic materials or sell or distribute the said materials would face reclusion temporal in its medium period from the current prison mayor.
Under the bill, if the child used as a performer, subject or seller/distributor is below 12 years of age, the penalty would be reclusion perpetua (up to 40 years imprisonment).
Meanwhile, the bill seeks the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period (up to 20 years imprisonment) against “any ascendant, guardian, or person entrusted in any capacity with the care of the child who shall cause and/or allow such child to be employed or to participate in an obscene play, scene, act, movie or show or in any other acts covered by this section.”
Moreover, the penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period (from 14 years 8 months and 1 day to 17 years and 4 months) and a fine of not less than P500,000 would be slapped against any person who would “keep or have in his company a minor, 12 years or under or who is 10 years or more his junior, in any public or private place, hotel, motel, beer joint discotheque, cabaret, pension house, sauna or massage parlor, beach and/or other tourist resort or similar places.”
The penalty of imprisonment of one year and one day to six years or a fine from P100,000 to P400,00, or both, would be imposed on any employer who violates Section 12, 12-A, and Section 14 of the Act.
Section 12 of RA 7610 states that “children below 15 years of age may not be employed except when a child works directly under the sole responsibility of his parents or legal guardian and where only members of the employer’s family are employed.”
Section 12-A provides that the employer shall ensure the protection, health, safety, and morals of the child, while Section 14 states that “No person shall employ child models in all commercials or advertisements promoting alcoholic beverages, intoxicating drinks, tobacco, and its byproducts and violence.”
Lastly, the bill seeks to amend Section 20 of RA 7610, which provides that children of indigenous cultural communities shall not be subjected to any and all forms of discrimination.
HB 9024 substituted House Bill Nos. 5662 and 6295 authored by Bataan 1st District Rep. Geraldine Roman and 1-Pacman Rep. Michael Romero, respectively.
The other authors are Reps. Divina Yu, Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, Wilter Wee Palma II, John Marvin Nieto, Manuel Luis Lopez, Manuel Jose Dalipe, Ma. Lourdes Aggabao, Gus Tambunting, and Rene Relampagos. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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