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Philippine News Digest 11

December 19, 2001 · 

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Contents:

  • Curb growing child sex trade, meet told
  • Drug ring busted in Parañaque
  • Illegal OFWs down since 1996
  • Filipinos no better off today
  • 1 in 4 Filipinos had abortion
  • Darker holidays for blind workers

Curb growing child sex trade

Yokohama, Japan- Child prostitution and pornography involving minors is steadily rising, fueled by the expansion of the Internet, delegates at the opening session of the Second World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children heard Monday.

Trafficking of children for sexual exploitation “is on the increase on developing countries as well as developed nations, despite the efforts implemented by governments,” which attended the first such congress in Stockholm in 1996, said Japanese Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama in a keynote speech.

“The exploiters are increasingly cunning, and most worryingly, there is huge increase in pedophile sites in the Internet,” she said.

“Five years ago, we gathered in Stockholm to bring an end to these hateful criminal acts. Today, despite our efforts, the situation is getting worse,” Japanese Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka told the more than 3,300 participants at the congress in a prepared speech.

Carol Bellamy, executive director of UNICEF said every country was concerned about the problem of sexual exploitation of children and the congress would include a frank assessment of congress in the fight since the Stockholm conference.

“Each year, millions of children- boys as well as girls are bought as well as sold like fresh produce commodities in a global sex industry,” said Bellamy.

The opening of the congress was also attended by Queen Silvia of Sweden, the honorary president of the Stockholm Conference, who said she was troubled by the increase in the sexual exploitation of children.

According to police sources, even if hundred of pedophile websites were shut down everyday, others would replace them almost immediately. The four-day Congress is jointly organized by UNICEF, End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism International and the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Source AFP Report in Philippine Daily Inquirer, 19 December 2001.

Drug ring busted in Parañaque

Police anti-narcotics agents arrested three suspected drug traffickers and seized a kilo of shabu worth P2 million during a buy-bust operation in Parañaque City. Director Efren Fernandez, head of the National Police Narcotics Group, said his office and the Crime Laboratory Service under Chief Supt. Jose Marlowe Pedregoza have begun conducting drug test on at least three hundred members of various Drug Enforcement Units in Metro Manila. Source Fernan Marasigan, Today, 18 December 2001.

Illegal OFWs down since 1996

The number of undocumented overseas Filipino workers was down by at least 1.5 million after the government launched its documentation program in different countries in 1996. Records of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration show that there are seven million documented Filipinos working abroad. Of these, two million are in Canada and the United States while the rest are spread mostly in West Asia and Europe. Source Blanche S. Rivera, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 18 December 2001.

Filipinos no better off today

The country’s per capita income today is P12, 913, only slightly higher than the P12, 595 posted in 1980, Sen. Ralph Recto revealed on the Senate’s hearing on the proposed 2002 national budget. In today’s pesos, the P318 increase amounts to nothing at all. In value, per capita income has dropped considerably considering that the peso has depreciated by as much as 1,373 percent against the dollar since 1960. Source R. Nazareno, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 14 December 2001.

1 in 4 Filipinos had abortion

One in four women in the mainly Roman Catholic Philippines has had an induced abortion, mainly after being forced to have sex by their demanding partners, according to the Population Commission. The Commission also said that 36 out of every 1, 000 babies in the Philippines die as a result of the endangered health of mothers, while 172 per 100, 000 mothers die from pregnancy related complications. Contraceptive use in the country fell to 47% of Filipino women, compared to 49% in 1999. The Commission concludes that sexual relations, child bearing and child rearing are still dependent on men as the ultimate decision makers in Filipino households. Source AFP Report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 14 December 2001.

Darker holidays for blind workers

Several blind apprentices working for the Department of Social Welfare and Development livelihood projects in Barangay Escopa, Manila will have a bleak Christmas after still unidentified robbers stole their salaries. The robbers broke into the DSWD Main Office in Legarda, Manila and took away P100, 000. Police believe that the heist was an inside job since there were no signs of forcible entry; even the steel vault that contained the money was not damaged. Source Philip Tubeza, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 14 December 2001.

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