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Philippine News Digest 68

February 16, 2004 · 

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Contents:
-PREDA admits first child to its new home

-More stringent penalties for ‘traffickers’

-Teenager survived attack by death squad

PREDA welcomes first minor to new home
After several visits to the jails in the Philippines where the PREDA social workers found and interviewed children imprisoned in awful subhuman conditions, PREDA decided that the best way to give those minors hope in life again is to release them from the jails and get them transferred to a caring rehabilitation center such as the PREDA Home for Children in Conflict with the Law. On February 16, PREDA welcomed a 17-year old boy released from Malabon City Jail to the rehabilitation center. He is starting to recover slowly from all the abuses he endured during the last nine months he spent in jail. PREDA expects to care for more children in the near future as more judges order the transfer of children from adult jails to the center. Already, Judge Philip A. Aguinaldo of the Regional Trial Court in Muntinlupa has directed the court social workers under his authority to visit the PREDA Center to discuss the possibility of collaborating with PREDA in upholding the rights and interests of children in conflict with the law.

Teenager survived attack by death squad

A 13-year old boy survived an attack by a suspected member of the Davao Death Squad on Saturday evening, January 24. The boy was standing in a dimly-lit alley when the suspect shot him twice in the head and body. In a separate incident two days later, a 34-year old man was shot to death at around 9:20 am when two motorcycle-riding gunmen arrived and immediately shot him. The incident happened after Mayor Rodrigo Duterte asked criminals to leave the city before vigilante hit-men catch up with them. Source: Anthony S. Allada, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 29 January 2004.

More stringent penalties for ‘traffickers’

After many years of lobbying by women’s and children’s rights groups, the president signed into law the “Anti-trafficking in Persons Act of 2003” that imposes stiff penalties and sanctions on any person found guilty of violating its provisions. Anyone who is convicted of acts that lead to the sexual exploitation of persons, including children under any pretext of domestic or overseas employment or training will get 20 years in prison and two million pesos fine. Likewise, arranging marriages of Filipinos to foreigners for money or organizing sex tours will get the same. Even those who lease or rent houses that are used in any act of trafficking or publish anything on the internet or elsewhere that promotes trafficking of a person or faking travel documents will suffer the penalty of imprisonment of 15 years and one million pesos. If the trafficked person is a child, then the penalty is life imprisonment and five million pesos fine. Sex tourists who use trafficked women or children as prostitutes are also subject to six months community service and a P50,000 for the first offense and double that for the second. To hasten the prosecution of cases, the anti-trafficking law allows any person who has personal knowledge of the commission of any offense under the law to file a complaint for trafficking.

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