PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte wants offenses related to child trafficking classified as non-bailable, a senior Palace official said yesterday.
In a statement, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles also pushed for the immediate passage of amendments to Republic Act 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 which would increase penalties for those found guilty of child trafficking.
“The President wants to increase and tighten the penalties to offenses related to child trafficking. He wants these classes of crimes to be elevated to non-bailable offenses,” Nograles said.
Under the present law, violators may face fifteen years of imprisonment plus fines amounting to a minimum of P500,000 to P1 million.
Several lawmakers have filed bills seeking amendments to RA 10364.
In the Senate, Senator Panfilo Lacson filed a bill which reinstates the death penalty and includes qualified trafficking among the crimes that merited the imposition of death.
Senator Ramon Revilla, Jr. also filed a measure proposing stiffer penalties for child abuse, exploitation, and discrimination, amending Republic Act No. 7610.
At the House of Representatives, among similar bills on the subject include House Bill No. 137 by Rep. Geraldine Roman, House Bill No. 3020 by Rep. Wilter Wee Palma II, House Bill No. 1239 by Rep. Micaela Violago and House Bill No. 3632 by Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales, Jr.
Nograles, a former lawmaker, said imposing stiffer penalties will not only serve as a deterrent factor but will also “get the message across that government is dead serious in addressing the human trafficking issue, particularly with respect to children and vulnerable groups.”
Duterte recently ordered the creation of the National Council Against Child Labor to strengthen government efforts for the protection of the children’s rights.