SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House Committee on Welfare of Children chaired by Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Divina Grace Yu on Monday began its initial deliberation on House Bill 6257, seeking to protect children by banning the entry of child sex offenders into the country.
The proposed Ingress Prohibition of Alien Sex Offenders of Children Act (IPASOCA) aims to better serve and safeguard public interest, more particularly the interest of children, by prohibiting the issuance of passport and visa documents and/or the ingress of child sex offenders, whether undergoing law enforcement or prosecutorial investigation or judicial trial.
As defined by Oxford Dictionary, ingress is the action or fact of going in or entering.
The bill intends to engage the consulates, embassies or foreign affairs divisions of other states in inter-state and inter-agency cooperation and coordination in using their respective national databases and providing relevant information and data therein towards the prohibition of such child sex offenders from ingress into the Philippines and vice versa.
The bill also aims to establish new operational rules and guidelines for the Consular Offices of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in the interest of public safety, public health, and/or national interest.
Likewise, it seeks to encourage the protection of children and society by instituting gatekeeping mechanisms at the DFA and the BI in checking the background and derogatory criminal records through shared relevant information and data on child sex offenders and preventing their ingress.
Rep. Eric Olivarez (1st District, Paranaque City), author of the bill, said the measure is precisely intended for the protection of children from all other conditions prejudicial to their development, among which is the potential danger posed by foreign sex predators in conflict with child-oriented laws, and by indicted or convicted sex offenders who enter Philippine territorial jurisdiction and reside within local communities.
“Our present system does not treat prohibition of ingress of, and travel by, foreign citizens within our country as a priority concern over the protection of our own citizens and children,” he explained.
Olivarez said there is a moral and legal necessity to prevent further humiliation to the foreign national who has derogatory criminal, civil and administrative records on any sexual misconduct involving minors, as well as the equally moral and legal necessity to protect minors under the jurisdiction of the Philippines. | MVI Palomar