By Filane Mikee Cervantes

(File photo of DOJ facade)

MANILA – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. intends to intervene to put an end to the illegal selling of babies through the Internet, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Thursday.

The department is in talks with the Office of the President to address the illicit sale of babies online, according to DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano during the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon briefing.

Si Presidente na mismo, gusto nang mag-intervene dito sa ating problemang ito. Sa tingin po niya, hindi daw tayo magkaka-progress, walang progression ang Pilipinas kung mayroon tayong mga problema na ganito (The President himself wants to intervene in this problem. He believes that we won’t be able to progress, there will be no progression in the Philippines if problems like this exist),” Clavano said.

He stressed the need for a whole-of-nation approach that includes the private sector, communities, civil society, and social media platforms to combat the sale and illegal adoption of children.

Mayroon din po tayong mga reporting mechanisms na talagang baba sa barangay level dahil alam naman po natin na itong krimen na ito ay laging itinatago. So iyong mga leaders po sa mga barangay, mga kagawad, mga community leaders and to those influentials sa kanilang mga komunidad ay puwede ring mag-report sa mga awtoridad (We have reporting mechanisms down to the barangay level, because we all know that this type of crime is kept secret. So, the barangay leaders, councilors, community leaders, and to those influentials in their communities can also report to authorities),” he said.

He further called on the public to report such illegal activities to the authorities.

“We need the support and help of all netizens out there na mayroon silang access sa Facebook, sa mga account na ganito na please i-report kaagad sa awtoridad (that have access to Facebook to report these accounts to proper authorities),” he added.

Clavano also urged Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms Inc., to provide more initiatives, programs, and mechanisms to protect children online.

The National Authority on Child Care (NACC) and the Women and Children Protection Center of the Philippine National Police (PNP) are already tracking the other groups engaged in the sale of babies.

The DOJ has already filed qualified trafficking and child exploitation charges against members of a criminal syndicate selling babies online.

In its five-page resolution, the DOJ Task Force on Women and Children and Against Trafficking in Persons said the charges were filed against Arjay Malabanan and Ma. Chariza Dizon before the Manila Regional Trial Court.

The charges stemmed from a complaint filed by the Philippine National Police-Women and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC) before the DOJ against Malabanan and Dizon, based on the information reported by the National Authority for Child Care regarding a “black market” in social media groups/communities where aspiring parents seek to illegally adopt children.

An entrapment operation conducted by the PNP-WCPC at the Immaculate Conception Church in Dasmariñas City, Cavite on May 15 yielded “Kuy’s Jay,” who later turned out to be Malabanan, offering to sell a newborn for PHP90,000 to undercover law enforcers.

Malabanan, a resident of Bacoor, Cavite, is an employee of the Dasmariñas local government.

Dizon, a resident of Tondo, Manila, is the mother of the rescued 8-day-old male.

DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla has assured that justice would be served.

“Children are the most precious treasures of society meant to be fully protected by law. They are the best investments of today for a better tomorrow. We will never allow anyone to exploit them in any way,” Remulla has said in a statement. (PNA)