The Bishops of the Philippine Catholic Church:
These past few days, there has been an ongoing stir in the news that started when people of the social media started to voice out their opinion on an episode of Willieng Willie aired March 12 (The video clip is posted in YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=2YRCxh9q64w. In the said episode, a six-year old boy named Jan-Jan was shown repeatedly dancing in a sensual manner as to what a male stripper would do, while the audience and the host are obviously entertained with this display of "talent" egging him on while the boy was already in tears. What caused the unrest in the social media is that the boy was clearly humiliated, consciously or not, in front of hundreds of live audience and of thousands of families in their home watching on their televisions.
Because of this disturbing clip, a group of concerned citizens drafted a letter (Read full letter here :http://dementedlittleboy.
blogspot.com/2011/03/final- complaint-letter-re-child- abuse.html) which was sent to several government agencies like DSWD, MTRCB, etc.
The letter quoted a provision from Republic Act 7610, otherwise known as which states that:
Article V, Section 9: “Obscene Publications and Indecent Shows. – Any person who shall hire, employ, use, persuade, induce or coerce a child to perform in obscene exhibitions and indecent shows, whether live or in video, or model in obscene publications or pornographic materials or to sell or distribute the said materials shall suffer the penalty of prison mayor in its medium period.
If the child used as a performer, subject or seller/distributor is below twelve (12) years of age, the penalty shall be imposed in its maximum period"
Clearly, the said episode broke the law with regards the quoted provisions.
It is admirable that the DSWD and the MTRCB to reply immediately. Sec Dinky Soliman of DSWD has condemned the abuse evident on the video clip and "wish[es] to raise [her] concern that the show tends to cash in on the plight of the poor. There are other ways of helping the poor without having to degrade their dignity and earn money out of it."
Also, Chairman Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares of the MTRCB has looked into the situation and a complaint filed by the MTRCB Legal Counsel is set for a Preliminary Conference on April 4, 3PM. The letter also received numerous replies from other organizations, all condemning the host, Mr. Willie Revillame; the show, Willieng Willie; and the network, TV5.
While the network has issued a public apology immediately, Mr. Revillame ‘s public apology exhibits no sincerity, no recognition of the abuse that was done, and has tried to rationalize everything, including our outrage as a personal issue against him. A few days later, the network issued an addendum to the public apology and even created an "Internal Ombudsman" to supervise the content of the show so as to prevent future repetition of what happened. While we welcome this latter development, there still has been no indication that the prime instigator of this outrageous deed, Mr. Revillame, will be facing consequences of his actions.
In this regard, we ask the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to make a statement regarding the situation. Clearly, it is vital for the CBCP as a representative of the Philippine Catholic Church to take a strong stand on this issue as this involves questions of morality on the most basic level. I believe that the Church has the duty to keep Her members' moral standards. The indecency and the bad taste of the said show challenges the Church's moral standards as it exploits the marginalized sector, especially the minors, by making fun of themselves in exchange for a meager amount in order to produce a very low form of entertainment for the public.
We are expecting the CBCP's immediate reply and action on this subject. We will be continuously monitoring this issue and will be continue to gather support from the general public to the Facebook Group (http://www.facebook.com/
pages/Para-kay-Jan-jan-Shame- on-you-Willie-Revillame/ 102087546543288) we have started, as well as the mainstream media.