Malacanang on Friday called 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.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the priority of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is to make individuals and groups involved in the trafficking of children for prostitution and other crimes fully answerable for their offenses.
“He wants these classes of crimes to be elevated to non-bailable offenses.”
“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 stressed.
The Cabinet Secretary added that “Trafficking of children destroys the future of our young citizens. It’s our duty to protect them through stronger laws.”
At the opening of the 18th Congress, several lawmakers also filed bills seeking urgent amendments to Republic Act 10364.
Senator Panfilo Lacson filed Senate Bill No. 27 which reinstates the death penalty and includes qualified trafficking among the crimes that merited the imposition of death. Senator Ramon Revilla, Jr. also filed Senate Bill No. 45, 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 matter 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.
“Trafficking of children destroys the future of our young citizens. It’s our duty to protect them through stronger laws.”
The proposals in both houses of Congress will be tackled first at the committee levels.
Under the present law, violators face 15 years of imprisonment plus fines amounting to a minimum of P500,000 to P1 million.
“The Palace sees the urgent need to increase the penalties, both jail time and fines to be paid, even further. Aside from the deterrent effect of these higher penalties, we need to get the message across that government is dead serious in addressing the human trafficking issue, particularly with respect to children and vulnerable groups,” Nograles explained.
“Legal safeguards to protect our children must be strengthened. We hope that the Senate and the House will see fit to prioritize these measures because no less than the President considers them top legislative priorities,” added the Cabinet Secretary.Share this article: