Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns denounces the sexist and lewd remarks made by some netizens about the 16-year-old former child star Xyriel Manabat after she posted photos of herself on her social media accounts.

It is very alarming that cases of online sexual abuse and harassment in the country have tremendously increased in the recent months while the country suffers from the onslaught of the pandemic. Children tend to become very much vulnerable to such abominable behavior of sexual predators and we cannot fully underscore its harmful impact to them.

Online sexual harassment and bullying of children clearly violates existing laws pertaining to children’s rights including RA 7877 or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, the RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and the RA 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act of 1995. However, despite persistent campaigns of victims and advocates in promoting children’s rights, there’s still a need to establish and develop a comprehensive and coordinated national response to address the alarming cases of sexual harassment and assaults in various forms and settings. Worse, even the government officials who are duty-bound to protect children are involved in the perpetuation and normalization of sexism, misogyny, sexual violence and objectification of women and children.

Thus, we commend Xyriel for her bravery and for being vocal against such inappropriate and sexist behaviors that she considers disrespectful and unflattering. We urge Xyriel to file a formal complaint in order to hold the perpetrators accountable and to set an example that we do not tolerate any form of sexual harassment and to give courage to other children victims in seeking justice and asserting their rights. ####