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Cebu
Sunday, November 28, 2021
CEBU

Utzurrum: Zonta Club of Cebu 2’s webinar, drive against violence, abuse

The Scene

BASKING in national pride is the Zonta Club of Cebu 2, after being cited by prominent family lawyer, and advocate of women’s and children’s rights, lawyer Katrina Legarda, for its efforts in protecting children from online sexual abuse and trafficking.

“Cebu has the political will and NGOs such as the Zonta Club of Cebu 2, are involved in the fight against this ongoing national curse. Most of the conviction cases on online child trafficking and sexual exploitation come from here,” lamented Legarda, in a webinar culminating Zonta Club of Cebu 2’s ”18 Days of Activism against Violence,” an annual club project.

Legarda also praised the Cebu’s Provincial Women’s Commission as a “Champion of Child Protection,“ as it coordinates programs among law enforcement agencies especially during surveillance.

However, despite these protective measures, there are still gaps to be filled in Child Online Protection. In her very disturbing presentation entitled “The Perils of Technology: Easy Access and Target of Human Trafficking,” Legarda mentions that community-level involvement is deficient.

This lack of vigilance at the community level is due to factors such as: Lack of awareness; hesitance to get involved, as these are mostly family issues; inadequate number of experts trained to pursue Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (Osec) cases; shortfall in funds and skills etc.

Legarda further warned to be aware of certain “red flags” when Osec is committed. For instance, children are usually recruited by a family member or someone they know.

Look out for the presence of “padala” shops in a remote barangay, where senior citizens hang out daily. Money is remitted to the same person, same address, same barangay but a different sender each time. Be aware of huge satellite discs in a ”poor” community, where they pay exorbitant internet fees!

Normally, Osec perpetrators have no means of livelihood, and stay in a place full of children, who are provided with cell phones, laptops, gadgets etc. Studies also show that Osec is performed in the children’s own houses, and payments are facilitated through bank/money transfers.

In the case of Cyber Violence situations, victims don’t even report their experience, as this is their only means of income: Easy to commit, hard to detect, low-cost overhead, etc.

More surveys showed that children with boyfriends/girlfriends were more likely to pursue Cyber Violence (CV), than those with none. Alcohol drinking and access to the internet somehow increased the odds of CV and if parents were gamblers, more so.

In conclusion, Legarda offered these suggestions: Girls should finish college and limit internet use. Parents should avoid buying smartphones, gadgets etc. for their offspring and if not possible, they should monitor what their kids watch online.

Brilliant advice from a brilliant lawyer!

***

The Zonta Club of Cebu 2 prayerfully condoles with the Chiongbian-Young family on the return of Elena Chiongbian-Young, to eternal life last March 8.

Club president Nena was best-loved by her fellow members and colleagues, for her generosity, kindness and trustworthiness, while giving drive and dedication to the club.

Nena passed away on March 8, International Women’s Day, and is best remembered as a Woman for Others. Truthfully, the brightest jewel in the Zonta Crown.

Rest in the bosom of the Lord, Nens. You are in our hearts!

***

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We have been a part of almost all concoctions that The Chocolate Chamber produces and its latest are: Tablea-flavored Pandesal regular, Ube and Malunggay flavors.

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