A House leader has refiled in the 19th Congress a measure that seeks to impose stiffer penalties against acts of child abuse, exploitation, and discrimination cases.
House Bill (HB) No.226, filed by Bataan 1st district Rep. Geraldine Roman, also seeks to amend Republic Act (RA) 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.
Under Roman's bill, fines and/or imprisonment will be imposed on any person who will hire, employ, use, persuade, induce, or coerce a child to perform in indecent shows or model in obscene publications or to sell or distribute the said materials.
Violators will face penalty from 14 years, eight months and one day up to 17 years and four months. If the child involved is below 12 years of age, the penalty becomes 30 years and one day up to 40 years.
Meanwhile, accompanying a minor, 12 years or under or who is 10 years or more his junior in any public or private place (hotel, motel, beer joint, discotheque, cabaret, among others) shall suffer the penalty of 14 years, eight months and one day up to 17 years and four months.
The violator shall also pay a fine of not less than P500,000. However, this does not cover any person who is related to the child within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity or any bond recognized by law.
The measure also has provisions covering those who coerce a street child to beg or use begging as a means of living or use them as middlemen in drug trafficking and other illegal activities.
Those who will be caught doing such shall be sentenced to 12 years and one day up to 30 years in prison, according to the bill.
On child labor, violators shall be penalized by imprisonment of one year and one day up to six years, and a fine of not less than P100,000 but not more than P400,000, or both at the discretion of the court.
Those who facilitate or employ children in hazardous work shall suffer a fine of not less than P200,000 but not more than P1,000,000, or imprisonment of not less than 12 years and one day up to 20 years, or both imprisonment and fine at the discretion of the court.
The measure also has provisions on discrimination, particularly covrering children of indigenous cultural communities.
The bill states that any person who discriminates against children of indigenous cultural communities shall suffer a penalty from two years, four months and one day up to four years and two months, and a fine of not less than P50,000 nor more than P100,000.
The offender will also undergo a reeducation and reorientation program on the indigenous peoples’ culture in the Philippines.
The precursor bill during the previous 18th Congress was approved on third and final reading in the House.