• 'Pastor Hokage' Members May Soon Face Jail Time
    IMAGE Christa I. De La Cruz
  • Facebook Groups are often used as discussion platforms for like-minded individuals, whether they share the same interest in something as general as travel or something as specific as cute photos of dogs. Unfortunately, perverse online users have also taken advantage of this online space to exchange lewd and illicit photos of women and children.

    These "secret groups" bear the name "Pastor Hokage Bible Study" and other permutations, a number of which have been taken down since Esquire Philippines' article entitled "The Dark Side of Filipino Facebook" and Catcalled in the Philippines exposed them. More actually cropped up after that story from Esquire Philippines. (Here's the latest list).

    “'Pastor'” is now a name used by several Facebook pages and closed groups that distribute pornography and engage in sexually explicit group chats," wrote Esquire. "These pages and groups are relatively easy to find: just search 'pastor' on Facebook and it should turn up a long list of results, which are usually just different permutations of the words 'Bible Study ni Pastor Hokage.'" 

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    Sen. Risa Hontiveros on July 6 also took a more legislative action by filing Senate Bill No. 1251 or the Anti-Gender-Based Electronic Violence Bill, which "seeks to penalize those responsible for misogynistic and homophobic attacks on social media." These attacks include "acts involving use of any form of information and communications technology which causes or is likely to cause mental, emotional, or psychological distress, or suffering to the female victim or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) victim, and tending to disparage the dignity and personhood of the same on account of his or her gender."

    The lawmaker seeks to penalize violators with "imprisonment of not less than five years but not more than 10 years and a fine of not less than P100,000 but not more than P500,000."

    In an online post, Sen. Hontiveros said, "We must put an end to this online locker room talk, which is a manifestation of the culture of misogyny and commodification of women prevalent in our country right now."

    You can report these abusive Facebook Groups, Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts, and websites, to Catcalled in the Philippines Facebook Page. You can also report them to the NBI by e-mailing the Cyber Crime Division of the NBI at ccd@nbi.gov.ph.

    This story originally appeared on Spot.ph.

    * Minor edits have been made by the Smartparenting.com.ph editors.

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