When Senator Risa Hontiveros voiced her concern and outrage over online sexual exploitation of children on Twitter last May 14, Liza Soberano decided to speak up on the issue and other social injustices, saying she was enraged on the matter.
“I am ENRAGED. I saw so many videos online that absolutely broke my heart,” the actress said in response to Hontiveros’ tweet. “An innocent man got shot, a teacher went to jail, and multiple street vendors. Is anyone doing anything about this???”
A week later, May 22, Liza joined the senator, lawyer Ray Bicol of the International Justice Mission (IJM), and Nitz Dalde from the Child Rights Network in a live online discussion, titled Not For Sale: Protecting our Children from Online Sexual Exploitation, to talk about the internet-based minor abuses happening in the country.
The Make It With You star wished she could have used her platform at an earlier time to raise awareness and said how she became vocal on the matter because of her role as an older sister to 7 younger siblings.
“[I]sa po akong ate, panganay po ako sa seven na kapatid ko. Hindi ko ma-comprehend na nagagawa po ng mga tao ’yon,” Liza said on the matter. “Because I’m aware that it’s happening on the dark web pero hindi po ako aware na nangyayari din po siya sa mga social media platforms [katulad ng] 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.”
“And I could have done something earlier to prevent those from happening by using my platform,” she added.
Liza then spoke of the use of technology in the present times, saying that with all of such being used right now, she should have known that abuses like that 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,” she said.
When Hontiveros shared the screenshots on her abovementioned tweet, Liza said she immediately reported it to proper authorities. However, she wondered if what she had done was enough.
IJM’s Bicol, however, said Liza voicing her concern added a “powerful voice” in the battle against online sexual exploitation of children.
“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,” the lawyer told Liza, adding that the government and non-government organizations (NGOs) are doing the best that they can to catch the people behind the exploitations.
Bicol added that an involved community is significant in fighting the sexual exploitation of children.
Liza went on, saying how she felt the need to need to speak out against the matter and how her tweets have been influential to netizens.
"As a celebrity due to my large following, I realized I should use my voice for social injustice,” the actress reflected. “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 added that she will continue speaking out against the matter discussed because it has motivated others to have their own forums about it.
"I was told the other day when I was invited to this webinar, that me voicing out my opinion about the 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 (online sexual exploitation against children), as well,” she said. "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."
The actress, then, said that she is hopeful that with more platforms and means of communication, the youth will be more mindful of social media usage.
"I'm hopeful the younger generation, the youth will be more aware, will be more educated on how they use social media and the internet properly," Liza said.
Watch the full discussion between Liza, Sen. Hontiveros, Atty. Bicol, and Ms. Nitz by watching the video below!
Not For Sale: Protecting our children from online sexual exploitation
Ngayong naka-lockdown tayo, mas nagiging bulnerable ang ating kabataan, ang ating mga anak sa online sexual exploitation.Posted by Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday, May 21, 2020
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