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Bill banning sex offenders pushed

Manila, Philippines – Catholic-backed party-list congressmen have asked Congress to pass a bill banning sex offenders from school premises or activities.

Buhay party-list Reps. Michael M. Velarde Jr. and William Irwin Tieng filed last week House Bill (HB) No. 5439 or the Sex Offenders School Access Prohibition Act that seeks to bar persons listed as sex offenders from gaining entry in schools to protect the “safety, moral, and wellbeing of schoolchildren.“

No sex offender will be allowed to reside or get nearer within 500 feet radius of a schoolbuilding or grounds where minors under 18 are present.

Buhay is a party-list organization that was organized by Velarde’s father, Bro. Mike Velarde, leader of the Catholic charismatic group El Shaddai.

Citing data furnished by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Women’s and Children’s Protection Desk, Velarde and Tieng stressed the bill seeks the imposition of a ban against those convicted of committing sex-related crimes such as rape, white slavery, corruption of minors, and acts of lasciviousness.

“The PNP data indicated that in 2009 alone, a total of 9,787 child abuse cases were reported. This is higher than the 8,588 cases reported in 2008,“ said Velarde.

He said keeping convicted sex offenders away from schools will help protect schoolchildren. (Ben R. Rosario)