Gabriela belittles Marcos' statement on OSAEC

This article is available in Pilipino

Gabriela ridiculed Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s statement regarding the high number of cases of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC) in the Philippines. In a speech he made on April 25, Marcos said he “condemns” these crimes and ordered the police and government agencies to carry out a “crackdown” on the matter.

“If you are truly concerned about the high cases of sexual abuse against children, why did you consent to the entry of historically abusive US troops into the country?” Gabriela asked in a statement on April 27.

The list of crimes by American troops against children and women during the long history of its stay in the country is long. At its bases in Angeles and Olongapo, the prostitution of women and children became rampant in what was called “military prostitution.” Up to 60,000 women were then prostituted, of which 20,000 were children or minors. During the existence of these large US military bases, 3,274 cases of violence against women involving American soldiers were recorded. Fifteen of the abuses were of minors, and all charges were dismissed.

In 1983, eighteen minors contracted AIDS from prostitution. In 1990, an 18-month-old baby contracted gonorrhea (a sexually transmitted disease) after she and her mother were abused by three American soldiers in an apartment in Subic.

In 1987, in Subic, Rosario Baluyot, a 12-year-old girl died after her genitals became infected after a part of the “vibrator” inserted by Heinrich Stefan Ritter was left inside. Ritter was imprisoned for several years but was released after a court acquittal.

Even after the US military bases were expelled, the abuse of Filipino women by American soldiers continued.

“We have to remember Vanessa, Nicole, Jennifer, and the countless other victims of sexual abuse and exploitation by Americans,” the group says. “We women should lead in holding the Marcos government accountable for its agreement with the American government and military, which has a bloody history of abusing women and children!”

They call for the expulsion of American troops from Philippine territory. There are currently 11,000 US troops in the country for Balikatan, one of the 500 war games and military activities the US will conduct in the Philippines by 2024.

Gabriela further condemned the decades-long criminal negligence and inaction of the Philippine government regarding the increasing violence against women and children, including cases of sexual abuse committed by American soldiers.

AB: Gabriela belittles Marcos' statement on OSAEC