The Commission on Human Rights on Wednesday cited the upcoming visit to the Philippines of the United Nations Special Rapporteur (UNSR) in connection with the alleged sale and sexual exploitation of children.
UNSR Mama Fatima Singhateh is scheduled to be in Manila on Nov. 28 to Dec. 8 upon invitation of the Philippine government.
She will inquire into the reported sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution, child pornography and other child sexual abuse materials in the country.
The UNSR has the mandate to analyze the root causes of the sale and sexual exploitation of children and identify new and emerging patterns of the phenomena, the CHR said.
She was also empowered to exchange good practices to combat the said problem, promote preventive measures and make recommendations for the rehabilitation of victims, the CHR added.
“The Commission is hopeful that the visit will help enhance the capacity of government agencies and actors to protect children from all forms of abuse, particularly those involving the use of information and communication technology, which have become rampant in recent years.”
“It will also be an opportunity for the government to showcase the measures and mechanisms it has implemented to uphold and protect the rights of child victims of sale and sexual exploitation. It is also expected that the Philippines will learn more about surrogacy, illegal adoption, and online child sexual exploitation, which are the UNSR’s areas of interest,” the agency said.
The CHR said it sees such development as a demonstration of the government’s openness and resolve to address the urgent situation of vulnerable children in the Philippines.
It also noted that Republic Act No. 11930 or the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children Law has lapsed into law on July 30.
The engagement with the UNSR is seen as an “opportune time to ensure that learnings and recommendations will be adopted in the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations of the law.”
“At the same time, we urge for the expeditious completion of the IRRs to immediately enforce the law and reduce risk for children,” it noted.
The CHR vowed to continue working with the government in upholding the rights and dignity of children.
“We also continue to remind all key stakeholders and the public of our collective duty to create a safe, enabling, and empowering society for all Filipino children, both online and offline,” it stressed.