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AGENTS of the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) on Tuesday smashed a child pornography ring based in the Bicol region following a raid in a house in Camarines Sur which led to the rescue of four minors and the arrest of their mother, PNP-ACG Director, Senior Superintendent Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar announced today.

Eleazar said the suspect and her biological daughters of ages 7, 9 and 11and her 1 year old baby boy were found inside their house in Pagatpat Road in Barangay Salvacion, Calabanga, Camarines Sur which was raided by members of the PNP-ACG on the strength of a search warrant for violation of the Child Pornography Act issued by Judge Soliman Santos of the Naga City Regional Trial Court Branch 61.

The woman is now facing charges for violations of Section  4(c)2 or Child Pornography of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act;  RA 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act; and RA 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Person Act. Her children were turned over to the custody of the Calabanga Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office.

According to Eleazar, they conducted the operation in response to a report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) CyberTripline regarding the presence of a syndicate involved in the manufacture and distribution of child pornographic materials in Camarines Sur and other parts of Bicol region.

He said that a team from the Regional Anti Cybercrime Office 5  (RACO5) and the Women and Children Protection Section (WCPS) of the PNP-ACG conducted a thorough investigation into the complaint leading to the identification of the suspect following months of physical surveillance, online search and online engagement.

Eleazar said that the female adult suspect was found to be using the account name ‘m.mercedez71’ in her Yahoo Messenger account. The suspect was also using the chat room ‘asiancamsex.com’ and ‘momsflirt29’ to attract clients mostly from Australia, Europe, United Statesand other parts of Asia.

Raiders led by Senior Inspector Natalio Sanque, in coordination with the Calabangan MSWDO, the Calabangan Municipal Police Station of Camarines Sur Police Provincial Office and the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission launched the operation at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and found the suspect in the act of actual chatting with her customers.

Eleazar said that they have discovered that the suspect has been asking her young daughters to pose nude in front of a webcam where her clients can see them in exchange for money ranging from US$ 25 to 75 per session.

Recovered during the raid were electronic gadgets such as two laptop computers, six cellular phones, a router, a canopy antenna and a big volume of remittance receipts from the woman’s clients.

Eleazar said that NCMEC is a private US-based non-profit organization which operates the CyberTripline and Child Victim Identification Program to provide assistance to their partners from different law enforcement agencies across the globe to combat child pornography and child sexual expoitation.

NCMEC is a member of the Virtual Global Task Force,  an alliance of 13 international law enforcement agencies and 18 private sector partners formed solely to address online child sexual abuse and other forms of transnational child sexual exploitation. The PNP-ACG is the latest member of the VGT.

Eleazar said the arrest of the woman should prompt the public to be wary of online sex predators in the country including parents who allow their kids to become victims of online child pornography and other abuses. “We all have the power to protect our kids from sexual predators. We could help each other by simply reporting to us the presence of suspicious online activities in your neighborhood particularly when it involves suspected computer-sex offenders,” Eleazar said.

Eleazar said that the admission of the PNP-ACG into the VGT will greatly boost the unit’s effort to identify, arrest and prosecute online predators, majority of them Western and Asian pedophiles and their Filipino contacts who help them recruit young boys and girls to engage in real or virtual prostitution and other bestial acts.

In the past,the PNP-ACG had launched a number of major operations which netted foreign pedophiles and their domestic contacts who offer them Pinay teenagers for commercial sex. Other suspects are involved in a booming cybersex trade where child victims are asked to pose nude or perform sexual acts in front of webcams being viewed by paying customers abroad.

To help address the growing menace, they are also stepping up the implementation of their Project ‘Angelnet’ which specifically promotes internet safety and protects children from the danger of the internet. The program is being implemented by the PNP-ACG with the help of their different foreign and domestic partners.

In 2015, the PNP Special Task Force Project ‘Angelnet’ investigated 136 cases of online child abuse, 41 of them referred by their foreign counterparts. Twenty-one of the cases investigated have been referred before different prosecutor’s office, Eleazar said.

“We believe that every police officer in the country needs to be properly trained on the threats posed by cyber-criminals specifically online sex fiends,” Eleazar said.

He said that online child pornography and other obscene acts seem to be the norm nowadays, thus the need for the government to do something to counter the problem. “This is the reason why we at the PNP-ACG are unwavering in our view that online child protection issues should be thoroughly addressed by concerned authorities with the help of the community, most specifically parents, teachers and local government officials,” Eleazar said.