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Senate panel to review anti-child abuse laws amid ‘macho dancing’ boy incident

MANILA, Apr 12 (Mabuhay) – The Senate committee on youth, women, and family relations will review existing laws that are supposed to ensure the protection of children’s rights following a public outrage over a television show featuring a six-year-old boy gyrating on the set in exchange for P10,000.

“The (committee) will review existing laws to ensure that the rights of the child are observed and protected,” Senate committee on youth, women, and family relations chairman Senator Pia Cayetano said in statement released Tuesday.

Her statement came after a boy named Jan-Jan gyrated to a Dr. Dre song on the set of TV5 show “Willing Willie” last March 12. The show’s host Willie Revillame gave him P10,000 for the suggestive dance performance.

In a March 28 letter to TV5 chairman Manny Pangilinan, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman wrote: “It is unmistakable that what happened last 12 March 2011 to Jan-Jan Estrada was child abuse.”

On March 19, the Commission on Human Rights also issued a press release condemning the Willing Willie show for the episode. It began its inquiry on the incident earlier Tuesday.

Senator Cayetano said that there are laws that guarantee the rights of a child, such as Republic Act No. 7610 or the “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act” and Republic Act No. 9262 or the “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004.”

She noted, however, that Congress must make sure that these laws remain applicable to various circumstances and remain relevant to the times.

“We have so many talent shows and contests where kids are made to dress and gyrate like sexy dancers thinking that it’s ‘cute’ or ‘funny.’ But in gender-sensitive cities like Davao, the mayor has long banned the swimsuit portion in their annual Mutya ng Dabaw search,” she said.

“There’s no reason why we can’t adopt this example across the country and show the same respect for both women and children, not only in talent shows but also on TV, advertisements and all forms of media,” she added.

On the other hand, Revillame announced last Friday that Willing Willie will voluntarily go off-air for two weeks while he contemplates whether or not to stay in show business.(MNS)

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