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Pateros keeps students off Net shop porn

Tiny Pateros seeks to address a big parental concern: Internet cafes that lure minors with games and pornography.

Students in the last remaining municipality in Metro Manila should now think twice before cutting classes to go to their favorite cyber arcades, as the local government ordered all Internet shop operators to strictly enforce a Department of Education (DepEd) order banning students in such places during school hours.

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“Earlier this month, we summoned all Internet shop owners for a dialogue so we can lay ground rules,” Pateros Mayor Joey Medina told the Inquirer in an interview yesterday.

Medina said the Internet cafe owners agreed to form an industry group to police themselves and ban students at their establishments during school hours.

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“It will be easy for them to implement this because students studying in Pateros schools have their class schedules printed on the back of their IDs,” the mayor explained.

By their own initiative, the owners also agreed to install a standard Internet firewall software on their computers which “will prevent access to websites with pornographic or other illicit content,” he said.

“The good thing is, the firewall works with every customer who uses the Internet cafe’s computers, not just with students or minors,” Medina said.

The shops are currently testing the standardized firewall software, he added.

The municipal government also reminded the owners to strictly observe the 10 p.m. curfew for minors.  “They should tell their young customers to leave the shop and go straight home by 10 p.m.,” he added.

To monitor compliance, a group composed of municipal DepEd officers, the local police, and the local Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO) will conduct inspections. “If a shop has been reported to us violating any of these guidelines, their business permit will be revoked,” Medina said.

There are about 60 Internet cafes in Pateros, most of which have at least 10 workstations each, Medina said.

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There are seven public elementary schools, three public high schools, a college, and six private schools inside the municipality.

DepEd Order No. 86 series of 2010 prohibits students from cutting classes and going to Internet cafes, malls, theaters, and other establishments during class hours.

To further deter crime, the shop owners were also ordered to install security cameras inside or in the vicinity of their establishments, the mayor said.

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TAGS: cyberporn, Internet cafes, Metro, News, Pateros, Students
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