Thursday, January 28, 2010

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE PHILIPPINES' SEX INDUSTRY

Prostitution in the Philippines is not just a festering moral problem, but is now a grave social crisis which might spiral out of control with far-reaching health, criminal and other negative repercussions if unchecked. As our politicos thoughtlessly imperil our economic development with their massive corruption and vicious wars, more and more impoverished young people are falling prey to the dangerous lure of the sex-for-pay trade and possible exploitation by criminals.


Prostituted persons, according to a 1998 International Labor Organization study in 1998, numbered about 400,000 to 500,000. Most of them were adult women, but there were also male, transvestite and child prostitutes, both girls and boys. The number of child prostitutes then was estimated to be around 75,000. Child prostitutes often live perilously and are exploited by crime gangs, pimps and even drug pushers. That 1998 study quoted a former labor undersecretary, Rene Ofreneo, who revealed that the number of prostituted persons in the Philippines was then actually about the size of the country's manufacturing workforce. With the weakening of the Philippine economy in recent years, how much have these numbers increased?

In 1998, a study claimed that 150,000 Filipino women were trafficked into prostitution in Japan. It is tragic that this was allowed to happen, even as the modern-day Japanese government has refused to officially pay reparations to the estimated 80,000 to 200,000 so-called "comfort women" who were kidnapped  and sexually exploited by Japanese soldiers' during World War II from Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, China and Malaysia.

The Philippines ranked fourth among nine nations with the most number of children trafficked for prostitution, according to a report by the Consortium Against Trafficking of Children and Women for Sexual Exploitation (Catch-Wise). The Catch-Wise report was presented this year during the international conference on sexual exploitations and it stated that the Philippines is not only the source of 60,000 to 100,000 children for prostitution, but we are now also a transit and destination country for internationally trafficked persons.

Data provided by the International Labor Organization also showed that two to 14 percent of the gross domestic product of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand comes from sex tourism.
Instead of addressing the huge social injustice and other problems of widespread prostitution, or safeguarding the rights and welfare of less fortunate citizens, it is tragic that not a few of our politicians, police or military officers have a dubious track record of sexually exploiting or assaulting girls.

Who was that politician who tried to molest or insult a sexy starlet? Rep. Romeo Jalosjos raped a 12-year-old girl. Bian Mayor Bayani Alonte was accused of raping a 16-year-old girl. Former Quezon Rep. Manolet Lavides was involved in the prostituting of four high school students from Novaliches High School. Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan was involved in the case of a 16-year-old model being prostituted by talent manager Jojo Veloso.

Past reports recorded that five policemen in San Fabian, Pangasinan were accused of raping an 11-year-old girl inside police barracks, while four policemen on duty were implicated in the rape of a 17-year-old girl inside the police station in Luneta. SPO2 Roel Waga and police investigator in Barangay Puerto, Cagayan de Oro City was involved in the sexual harassment of a 13-year-old girl.

Last Oct. 5, which was "International Day of No Prostitution," this writer researched and went to a huge palatial "spa" in the south of the metropolis to seek out an exclusive interview with a prostitute. After choosing a "masseuse" from an "aquarium" of girls seated inside a well-lit room with a one-way mirror separating them from customers, I paid the afternoon "promo" room rate of P2,000. The regular night room rate is P2,500.
"Anna," in her early 20s, was at first ill at ease when I said I only needed to interview her for a research study. I never mentioned that it was for a newspaper column, but I told her I wouldn�t mention her name and would obscure some facts. She only relaxed and laughed when I assured her I�d pay her usual fee. This was the first time that I had to pay for an interview. Here are excerpts:

PHILIPPINE STAR: In your own assessment, has the number of prostitutes in the Philippines increased or decreased? Why?

ANNA: Of course, the number of prostitutes has increased by threefold. Here in our establishment, many girls coming here every day to apply for work. Times are hard. You know, the government of Japan even stopped the entry of Filipina entertainers there, so lots of women are jobless and end up as prostitutes. I'm not ashamed of my work, at least I'm not stealing.

Have you worked in Japan, too?
Yes, I used to work in Japan. I was there only six months. We enter as entertainers, but most of us have to earn through prostitution. I worked in Nagoya, that's four hours away from Tokyo.

How was it like working in Japan?
Except for the high pay, I didn't like it much. It was boring. The roads are too quiet, unlike our noisy streets in Metro Manila.

Did your Japanese clients mistreat you?
There were good and bad customers, but in general, the Japanese were OK.

What did you do with your earnings from Japan?
I have some savings. I know the dangers of giving all earnings to relatives. I'm just a simple girl, not very intelligent, but I'm not dumb either. I'm not like other girls who give all their money to family members who do not work. My relatives don't know I have a time deposit account. On men who are bums, I know of two girls who work here in this spa, they have live-in guys who just stay in their homes and are jobless.

Do you have a boyfriend? What is his work?
I used to have a boyfriend. He was my neighbor. He's now working for a band in Japan. I don't know if we'll get back together. I don't know if it's a good idea to have a boyfriend, especially with my kind of work. I'm still helping out my siblings in their schooling, but they don't know I work here.

Why did you enter prostitution?
For the money, of course. If you're poor, you have few choices in life. People go into prostitution due to poverty.

Why do you think the Philippines has become such a poor nation?
I'm not an intelligent person, I didn't go to college. But isn't it obvious that too much corruption by our politicians is one big reason why the Philippines is economically so poor? I think our many corrupt leaders are terrible hypocrite. At least prostitutes like me are not hypocrites; we are trying to work honestly.

Are you in favor of deposing the present government?
We should do more than just change political leaders. We keep changing the politicians, but all of them just end up stealing. Most of our political leaders are thieves. You know, I might be a prostitute and am looked down upon by society, but I think I have a more honorable job than our politicians who steal and make the country poor. We prostitutes work hard for our money. We do not steal.

Do you have any suggestions on how to solve the massive corruption by our politicians?
That's very easy. Increase the punishment for corruption and be sure to jail the powerful big shots in politics. If we are serious about fighting corruption, show us the highest punishment for these corrupt people. But I doubt they are really serious about this.

Where are you from? How long have you been working here?
I was born in a province in northern Luzon. I am the eldest of seven kids from a poor family. I was a child when our father left us. I've been here only three months. I studied only up to high school. I used to work as a saleslady in a department store. I wanted to become a nurse but I guess it's impossible now.


How many hours do you work here?
I work eight hours daily. Yes, management told us that if we are studying, they can adjust our work hours to even four hours daily.

You will not always be young and I don't think you want to be working here forever. You can save and study to be a caregiver. Look at movie stars, they are not always popular, and if they don�t plan the future, they suffer.
I agree. Yes, I will study to become a caregiver. I hear it's easier to enter Japan as a caregiver now than an entertainer. I wish all my customers are as nice as you. Are you sure you don't want even just a massage?

Groundbreaking Ceremonies of the Angeles City Sports Stadium



Mayor Francis “Blueboy” Nepomuceno will lead groundbreaking ceremonies of the Angeles City Sports Stadium on February 22 to coincide with the opening of the Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association (CLRAA) Meet to be hosted by this city.

City Administrator Mark Allen Sison said that the ground breaking will help foster better sports programs and activities. The sports complex facility will be located along Barangay Mining here. The facility would include swimming pools, courts for basketball, volleyball and structures to house sporting events.
The project, which is expected to be financed through a multi-million peso loan from the Veterans Bank of the Philippines, was opposed by many Nepomuceno critics. But Nepomuceno and Sison said that like other needs of the city in terms of health, livelihood and poverty alleviation, sports should also be given the same priority.

“The services we give to our people will not, in anyway, be affected by the establishment of the sports facility. This is merely a part of the well-rounded governance of Mayor Nepomuceno,” Sison said.
The groundbreaking will be attended by local government officials, Angeles City athletes and CLRAA officials.
Sison said that the project, once realized, will also be an income generating facility for the city as it will be able to host sporting events and social functions of the city and other groups.

“The facility will also serve as the training ground of many of our athletes in order that we can develop more students to become competent athletes. We can now also strengthen the sports program of the city to include out-of-school youths that could be admitted through the sports programs,” he said.

Mayor Nepomuceno, for his part, said that the facility will also serve as a focal point to develop the western lands of the city; Nepomuceno said that the facility would be able to generate both human traffic and local tourism through hosting of national and regional sporting competitions.

“We would like to be known also as a city that has a deep love for sports. We want to see boxing competitions held here and our residents in the city to take advantage of the facilities of the soon-to-rise facility,” Nepomuceno said.

Nepomuceno said that Angeles City aims to rival Tarlac City in hosting even the Palarong Pambansa once the facility is completed here.

“This impact project will be a legacy that Angeles City would be able to benefit from for a very long time,” Nepomuceno said.



RELATED POST

Monday, January 4, 2010

Priest, Fr. Cris Cadiang and girlie bar owner Tony Mamac form tandem for 2010 polls

Another priest, Fr. Cris Cadiang is seeking political office as vice mayor of the city, pairing up with a former cop known for operating girlie bars.

Fr. Cris Cadiang claimed he has already “resigned” from his priestly duties since 2003 to prepare for his bid to run as vice mayor of Angeles City in the May 2010 elections.

The 48-year-old Cadiang will run in tandem with Tony Mamac, a retired police officer and owner of the locally famous “Club Fairway” in this city’s red light district of Barangay Balibago.

Mamac also owns and operates several nightspots and girlie bars in Tarlac and Pangasinan.

“Mamac has not denied that,” Cadiang said, referring to Mamac’s operating girlie bars and nightclubs.

“But that (moral issue) hasn’t cropped up between us yet. Our bond has been focused on governance and other issues such as poverty and garbage in the city,” he said.

Asked whether he is merely being used to sanitize Mamac’s reputation as a bar owner, Cadiang said he would be ready to confront the former cop on such moral issues should both of them emerge winners in next year’s local elections.

Cadiang said he was given a “verbal blessing” by Aniceto to work on his dispensation from the priesthood.

Angeles Bishop Virgilio Pablo David confirmed that Cadiang had earlier expressed his “desire to be dispensed from priesthood” but stressed it would not be an easy task.

Father Ed Panlilio took a leave from his priestly duties when he ran and won as governor of Pampanga in 2007.

It was not an easy task for Panlilio, since opinions had been divided on whether he could take leave of his priestly duties while trying to run the affairs of the provincial government.

Other sectors said there is no such thing as “priest on leave,” since a priest could be relieved or dispensed of his religious duties by the Catholic Church even without his consent.

Aniceto earlier stated that there would be no turning back if a priest seeks dispensation of his duties from the Catholic Church, pointing out the original covenant of a priest is with God.

Cadiang said his priestly powers were suspended after he “resigned” from priesthood in 2003.

He recalled sending Aniceto three letters of resignation before the archbishop allowed him to resign.

But without formal dispensation from the Church’s tribunal, Cadiang admitted he could still be legally considered a priest.

Cadiang also admitted that he got married and has two children by that marriage.

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