Liza Soberano uses platform to speak up against internet-based child abuse
MANILA. Philippines – A tweet by Senator Risa Hontiveros on online sexual exploitation against children made actress Liza Soberano speak up on the issue and she wished she knew about the issue earlier.
I am ENRAGED. I saw so many videos online that absolutely broke my heart. An innocent man got shot, a teacher went to jail, and multiple street vendors. Is anyone doing anything about this??? https://t.co/qW9knmcSIE— Liza Soberano (@lizasoberano) May 14, 2020
In an online discussion with Hontiveros, lawyer Rey Bicol of the International Justice Mission (IJM) and Nitz Dalde from the Child Rights Network on Friday, May 22, the Make it With You actress admitted she was aware that sexual exploitation was happening against children and wished she could have used her platform earlier to create awareness.
"I was very vocal about being upset about the matter. Dahil po iyon ay isa po akong ate… panganay po ako sa seven na kapatid ko. Hindi ko ma-comprehend na nagagawa po ng mga tao yun. Because I’m aware that it’s happening on the dark web pero hind po ako aware na nangyayari din po siya sa mga social media platforms, sa Facebook, Twitter. It was my first (time) seeing people actually selling these photos, videos, graphic images of our children and I’m upset on my part na hindi ko alam na nangyayari siya,” said Soberano, who is one of the most followed Filipino celebrities on social media.
(I was very vocal about being upset about the matter. Because I am a big sister… I am the eldest and I have 7 other siblings. I cannot comprehend how people can do such things. Because I’m aware that it’s happening on the dark web but I am not aware that it was happening on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter. It was my fist time, first hand seeing people actually selling these photos, videos, graphic images of our children and I’m upset on my part na I did not know it was happening.)
“And I could have done something earlier to prevent those from happening by using my platform.”
She added that given the technology, she should have known it could happen. “Dapat naisip na natin na posible siyang mangyari through those outlets and it could be prevented and we could’ve spread more awareness to our people.”
(We should think that it can happen through those outlets and it could be prevented and we could’ve spread more awareness to our people.)
Soberano sais that upon seeing the screenshots Hontiveros shared, she immediately reported it to authorities, but wondered if she had done enough. Bicol however said that the actress added a "powerful voice" in the fight against online sexual exploitation against children (OSEC).
"This actually caught the attention of the public and as this catches the attention of the public, of course the attention of our government will be called,” Bicol said, adding that the country's law enforcers and non-government organizations are doing their best to catch the criminals and the perpetrators behind it.
Bicol also highlighted the importance of the community's involvement in fighting OSEC.
"Malaki po ang role ng community in this fight. Meron po kaming mga kaso na talaga na nalaman ng mga pulis because people in the community, like one of our church partners, reported about the issue and the police did something about it,” he said.
(The community plays a big role in this fight. We have cases that the police discovered because people in the community, like one of our church partners reported about the issue and the police did something about it.)
The International Justice Mission (IJM) recently released a study, saying that OSEC has tripled in the Philippines in the last 3 years.
For Soberano, she felt she needed to speak out because of the injustice that was happening. She also said that she saw how her tweets have influenced people.
" As a celebrity due to my large following, I realized I should use my voice for social injustice. And I realized that the role of an advocate is to offer independent support to who feel they are not being heard or to ensure that action is taken seriously upon these criminals. And I feel that as an advocate, I can spread awareness among who is on social media nowadays, especially now in this time of crisis, this time of the pandemic, I can really help in voicing out help for these children and guide people and spread awareness."
She also said that she would continue speaking about the issue considering how it had motivated others to discuss and to be vigilant about the issue.
"I was told the other day when I was invited to this webminar, that me voicing out my opinion about matter has helped in many ways because a lot of people who saw my tweets reacted to it and started reporting other pages that are responsible for OSEC as well.
"I find that us humans, when put in darkness and pain, we're able to reuse that as motivation to strive for something better, to achieve something out of that. And that gives me hope."
Soberano added that with more platforms and ways of communication, the youth will be more aware of using social media.
"I'm hopeful the younger generation, the youth will be more aware, wil be more educated on how they use social media and the internet properly." – Rappler.com