Roman files bill seeking severe punishment for child abuse

Bataan 1st District Rep. Geraldine Roman recently filed a House Bill that aims to impose severe penalties on anyone who exploits, abuses, and discriminates against children.

Congresswoman Roman told newsmen that House Bill 226 also aims to amend Republic Act 7610 or the “Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act”.

The proposal states that a fine or imprisonment of 14 to 17 years will be imposed on any individual who exploits, uses, encourages, or forces a child to engage in obscene acts or to model in an obscene newspaper and its sale or distribution.

If the child victim is under the age of 12, the offender is imprisoned for 30 years and one day to 40 years.

Any individual caught with a minor, 12 years old and below or 10 years and younger than him in a public or private place (hotel, motel, beer joint, discotheque, cabaret, etc.) will be punished with 14 years, 8 months, and one day to 17 years and 4 months, plus a fine of not less than P500,000.

However, the proposal does not cover any individual relative of the child up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity or any evidence recognized by law.

The bill also has a provision against any individual who forces a street child to beg or uses them as a middleman in drug trafficking and other illegal activities. Based on the proposal, those who will be caught could face prison terms ranging from 12 years and a day to 30 years.

Regarding child labor, the violator will be punished for one to six years and a fine of not less than P100,000 to P400,000 at the discretion of the court. (MHIKE CIGARAL)

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