Ensure child protection amid reported online sale of students’ lewd pics and videos, schools urged
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday urged schools to ensure the protection of all children from all forms of violence, including sexual abuse, amid reports that some students have been selling lewd photos and videos online to support their distance education.
In a statement, DepEd expressed alarm by the rise of cases of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children during the pandemic, including the reported students’ online sex “Christmas sale” activity recently cited by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.
Gatchalian called for an investigation into the report.
“We enjoin all public and private elementary and secondary schools to establish and strengthen their respective Child Protection Committees (CPC),” the education department said.
“These CPCs must proactively initiate information dissemination programs and organize activities for the protection of children, as mandated by DepEd Order No. 40, s. 2012 or the Child Protection Policy,” it added.
According to Gatchalian, some students have resorted to selling lewd photos and videos online to buy gadgets needed for their distance learning—a combination of online and modular learning that is now being used by the education sector as campuses stay closed and physical classes remain suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
DepEd said it has implemented “flexible distance learning and academic ease measures” to ensure that education will not be costly for parents and learners.
“We are continuously reminding our direct stakeholders that gadgets or internet connections are not requirements for distance learning,” DepEd said.
“Depending on the available resources, public schools are also implementing other alternative distance learning modalities such as modular, radio, and TV-based instruction,” it added.
The Department of Justice has already ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct an investigation into the matter and file charges against individuals involved in any unlawful acts connected with the reported sale of indecent photos and videos by students.
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