By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

MOTHER’S LOVE. Three mothers sunbathe their babies early morning along a sidewalk in Barangay Old Capitol Site in Quezon City on March 8, 2023. The National Authority for Child Care on Tuesday (June 18, 2024) said five of Facebook pages being used to sell babies are still active and two new accounts were created. (PNA photo by Ben Briones)

MANILA – Only five out of the 23 Facebook pages being used to sell babies are still active, the National Authority for Child Care (NACC) on Tuesday said.

NACC-Domestic Administrative Adoption Division chief Imelda Ronda said the illegal social media pages were identified through the Philippine National Police (PNP) Women and Children Protection Center.

“Only five are remaining active, three resurfaced, they have been gone before, but now they have come back and there are two new accounts,” Ronda said in a Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon interview.

The pages have been taken down with the help of the PNP and the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

The agency is strengthening monitoring efforts, Ronda said, as it is easy for persons to create new Facebook accounts which may not pertain to adoption or babies to escape being immediately identified by the authorities.

Earlier, the NACC confirmed that two babies –a two-month-old baby boy and a two-year-old girl– up for selling were intercepted in Catarman, Northern Samar on June 1.

The mother was selling them for PHP30,000 each. She is now under police custody while the children are under care of the Lingap Care Center in Catarman.

Ronda said the NACC does not have any information where children being sold online will go —whether for exploitation or adoption by couples who are unable to have children.

To better protect the rights and welfare of the Filipino children in Central Luzon and the Visayas Region, Ronda said the NACC will hold the final two stops of the 1st National Congress on Adoption and Alternative Child Care in Clark on June 19 to 20; and June 26 to 27.

The NACC has signed a memorandum of agreement with 29 local government units (LGUs) for the Philippine Foster Care prrogram.

About 216 LGUs with some 34 mayors participated in the Mindanao, Metro Manila, and South Luzon clusters.

From January to December 2023, the NACC has served some 1,618 foster children. (PNA)