CORDOVA town Vice Mayor Adelino Sitoy considered the recent arrest of a 22-year-old mother in Barangay Buagsong for cyber pornography as an isolated case. The woman took nude photos of her five-year-old and two-year-old daughters, and possibly other children, and sold the pictures to foreigners online.
Sitoy has to consider, though, that something must be lacking in the town's campaign against cyberporn. Cordova figured in the news as early as in 2011 for cases similar to what the 22-year-old mother is being arrested for. The difference is that the practice took the form of a cottage industry before but now is “isolated.” But that this is still happening in Cordova should not be dismissed.
Sitoy is no longer the town mayor. His daughter Theresa Sitoy-Cho is. But as the patriarch of the Sitoy clan in Cordova, the vice mayor still has influence over whatever moves her daughter would make against a crime that is putting the town in a bad light not only in the Philippines but also globally. Perhaps both of them can come up with more creative means to counter cyberporn.
This battle is, admittedly, difficult because it is rooted on the economic situation in the town. While government officials and law enforcers insist that poverty is not the reason cases like this exist, the truth is, it is one of the reasons. That is precisely why those arrested live in shacks and not in mansions.
It would be wrong to consider the campaign against cyberporn in Cordova as a purely law enforcement matter. One can blame, for example, money remittance firms for not reporting suspicious transactions. But the local government has no control over that. What Cordova officials can control is the effort to reach out to the poor constituents who are vulnerable to the lure of cyberporn money.
Cordova is better off economically now than in 2011. The Municipal Government is therefore in a good position to help its poorer constituents using various creative means. The effort, though, should be conscious, determined and sustained.