Kapamilya star Liza Soberano expressed her frustration after news of online child exploitation surfaced on social media.
The actress quoted Senator Risa Hontiveros’ tweet regarding the matter. The lady senator called on the National Bureau of Investigation and Facebook to put an end to online groups that condone sexualization and exploitation of children.
“This pandemic has opened up so much online and domestic abuse. We need everyone’s cooperation and vigilance. Together, we must protect our children,” Hontiveros said.
Liza’s tweet called on immediate action for the issue.
Her tweet read: “I am ENRAGED. I saw so many videos online that absolutely broke my heart. An innocent man got shot, a teacher went to jail, and multiple street vendors. Is anyone doing anything about this???”
On Friday, she joined Hontiveros’ webinar, Not For Sale: Protecting our children from online sexual exploitation, with Atty. Rey Bicol from International Justice Mission and Nitz Dalde from Child Rights Network.
In the webinar, she expressed how she could not comprehend that such acts are happening on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
“I actually am also upset that I shouldn’t be surprised because given the advancement in technology and social media that we have nowadays, dapat naisip na natin yun na possible siyang mangyari through those outlets and it could be prevented, and we could have spread more awareness throughout people,” she said.
During the webinar, Atty. Bicol said that the Philippines has become as a “global hotspot” for online child sexual exploitation cases and the COVID-19 lockdowns could be increasing the incidence of abuse.
“Higit na nakakabahala ay yung tinatawag nating online sexual exploitation of children or OSEC. Ito yung livestreaming of sexual abuse of children for a customer who is in a foreign country in exchange for money and facilitated by Filipinos — normally, mga kamag-anak and sadly mga parents sa mga batang ito,” he said.
“(These are people) who are motivated by greed and easy money to sell their children during this lockdown (when) they have more access to their children and kids have no access to authorities to report the crime.”
“Our law enforcement partners are doing the best they can. As a matter of fact, we have supported three rescue operations in the past three weeks, 13 children, despite the lockdown,” he added.
Bicol noted that Liza added a “very powerful voice” to this movement against online sexual exploitation of children.
As for Liza, she decided to lend her support to the cause “because as a celebrity, due to my large social media following, I realize I should use my voice for social injustice.”
“And I realize that the role of an advocate is to offer independent support to those who feel that they are not being heard or to ensure that action is taken seriously upon these criminals? I feel like that, as an advocate, I can help spread awareness amongst everyone that is on social media nowadays.
“Especially now in the time of this crisis or this pandemic, I can really help in voicing out help for these children and guide people and spread awareness that there is something that we can do about this and it doesn’t stop by recording online what we see. It also starts with guiding children on how to use social media properly.”