Public hearing held with mixed reactions

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Saturday, July 12, 2014


THE public hearing on the Provincial Board’s proposed anti-child sex ordinance last July 11 was an eye-opener, according to Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale.

Magpale was referring to various reactions from prosecutors, law enforcers, civic organizations and the Children’s Legal Bureau Inc., among others.

However, they all agreed to add two sections to the proposed measure: CCTV camera records should be made available for review anytime and tourism establishments should report to police guests who bring in minors and they should inform the Provincial Women’s Council about the matter.

Changes

One section that raised questions was the definition of “sexy” and “skimpy attire,” which were defined as “… that nearly exposes the sensitive private parts of an individual and is calculated to be sexually provocative.”

The secretariat later deleted the phrase “and is calculated to be sexually provocative” when someone asked who decides what is sexually provocative.

The “whatever” in one of the prohibited acts, which states that “No person shall take a photo or video of a child in nudity or in sexy and skimpy attire for whatever purpose,” was also replaced with “pornographic.”

After the public hearing Dr. Naomi Poca, a child specialist, told Sun.Star Cebu about “grooming,” or the way in which a would-be child sex offender tries to be nice to his would-be victim so he can gain his or her trust and confidence.

She said taking pictures is one of them, and this is not a criminal act. “But we should discourage this (grooming),” she said.

Myrna Tan of Zonta Club Cebu asked if a copy of the ordinance can be stapled to the plane tickets of incoming tourists.

Donnie Roa, retired Department of Tourism 7 director, said she has apprehensions about “warnings.”

She cited an example written in English, in one of the fastcrafts, telling tourists to be careful of their valuables because of pickpockets.
“It doesn’t speak well of the country,” she said.

There were suggestions to place a sign at the airport lobby to warn tourists about child trafficking or inside hotel rooms.

Someone also proposed raising the penalty from the P5,000 provided in the ordinace.

Magpale, though, told the audience that the Local Government Code of 1991 maintains a ceiling of P5,000 for penalties of ordinances.

The vice governor said she hopes the ordinance will be passed before October, which celebrates the Anti-Child Sex Tourism Month during its first week. (OCP)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 13, 2014.

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