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Miscellaneous

DSWD chief says poverty not an excuse for mothers to sell their babies online

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian said on Monday (May 20) that poverty is never an excuse for mothers to engage in the illegal selling of their babies online since the agency has many programs that help poor households and provide aid to those undergoing crisis.

“Alam natin na totoo ang kahirapan. Alam natin na maraming mga nanay ang nahihirapan day to day in rearing their children. Pero again, marami ring nanay ang nagtatagumpay sa hirap at tiyaga napapa-aral nila ng maayos ang kanilang mga anak at marami tayong stories of success na mula sa kahirapan ay naaahon sa kahirapan. Kaya nga patuloy ang DSWD sa implementasyon ng mga programa para matulungan ang ating mga mahihirap na pamilya,” Secretary Gatchalian told reporters during a press conference in the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City.

The DSWD chief cited the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) as the agency’s anti-poverty flagship program which poor households under the Listahanan can avail of.

Secretary Gatchalian said there is also the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) which can be availed by those undergoing crisis and in dire need of various financial aid for medicines, hospitalization, transportation as well as for education.

“Hindi rason ang kahirapan para ibenta mo ang iyong anak kasi yung Facebook, marketplace para sa produkto, hindi para sa indibidwal. Common sense yon o basic moral yon. Value natin na ang pamilya ay importante. Ang anak ay importante. So hindi pa rin rason ang kahirapan para you resort to illegal acts,” the DSWD chief pointed out.

Secretary Gatchalian said the selling of babies, like what happened to 8-day old baby boy who was rescued last May 15, is very bothersome since the illegal selling of babies has become sophisticated through Facebook and other social media providers.

“Worrisome siya kasi lumalaganap na ito and this is a cruel form of child exploitation and at the same time cruel form of human trafficking. Remember doon sa Expanded Anti-Human Trafficking Act, this act is already covered by the unauthorized adoption or child laundering,” the DSWD secretary pointed out.

The DSWD chief explained that any form of adoption conducted outside the National Authority on Child Care’s (NACC) guidelines and rules are considered a form of human trafficking and child laundering, which is a clear violation of the law against exploitation of children.

“Ang aming panawagan, huwag ng subukan! dahil mahuhuli’t mahuhuli kayo at sisiguraduhin na paparusahan kayo kahit na ikaw pa yung nanay. In this case yung nanay ang nakasuhan. It goes both ways dahiil mayroong mga magulang na gustong ipa-ampon yung mga anak nila, ipo-post na parang commodity sa Facebook at sasabihin mayroon ako ganitong klaseng bata at mayroon bang gustong umampon for a particular price. Then meron din naman nagpo-post na naghahanap sila, so magpo-post sila na mayroon ba kayong kakilala na gustong magpa-adopt ng bata sa ganitong halaga,” Secretary Gatchalian said.

During the press conference, NACC executive director Undersecretary Janella Estrada thanked the DSWD chief for his full support for the NACC and to Police Colonel Renato Mercado of the PNP’s Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC)-Anti-Trafficking in Person Division.

Usec. Estrada said the NACC’s current priority is the monitoring of 20 to 40 Facebook accounts which are being used in the illegal adoption of babies for a fee.

“So ang atin pong priority ay matigil ang paglaganap ng mga social media sites na nagbebenta ng bata in the guise of adoption. Masugid po nating tinututukan yung pagbebenta po ng baby online, simula po last year at ngayon pong February ay nakipag tulungan po kami sa PNP para po mahuli ang mga taong involved po dito sa mga facebook pages na to,” Usec Estrada said.

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