BY LESLIE ANN AQUINO
A CATHOLIC priest said the sins and crimes committed against children are crimes that cry out to heavens for justice.
Father Melvin Castro of the Diocese of Tarlac said this on the heels of a study by the International Justice Mission stating that the Philippines has become the world’s largest known source of online child sexual exploitation with parents and relatives the ones responsible for facilitating the abuse in nearly all cases.
“This is condemnable in the strongest possible way,” he said in an interview.
“Some may view that the Church is being hypocritical in its condemnation as some of her leaders and members are guilty of worse crimes against women and children. But clearly and objectively, we have to condemn and root-out all causes of these very grave sins and crimes against children. Clearly these crimes cry out to heavens for justice,” added Castro.
The former official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (CBCP-ECFL) said the government should address material poverty especially during this time of public health crisis due to COVID-19, if it wants to weed-out such crime.
“One of the critical aspects of this particular crime is the material poverty of the family that drives them to resort to easy money schemes which are criminal in nature, at times and exploitative, most of the time,” said Castro.
“Government has to address this material poverty but most specially during this time of crisis,” he added.
Although it is the primary duty of the government to weed out such crime and address material poverty, Castro said the Church and entire society should also help.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) earlier also reported that online sexual exploitation of children during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period has increased by 264 percent compared to the same period last year.