The Department of Education is now examining reports of students selling nude photos of themselves as a means to pay their tuition fees.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones in a statement said that DepEd is gathering information from its field offices after reports said “that students resorted in selling their private videos and photos to have sufficient funding for online learning.”
While Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said the DepEd child protection unit has been notified about the issue.
“We are treating this as a serious but very sensitive matter,” he told ABS-CBN News.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian recently expressed concern after Philippine Online Student Tambayan (POST) reported that students participated in an online “Christmas sale” of their “sensual” photos and videos.
The POST report had the department so “deeply alarmed” that it promised to work with various government agencies in preventing pornographic media among students.
It already ordered schools to have child protection committees (CPC) put in more effort. CPCs are mainly there to identify and report cases of child abuse and exploitation to the right offices.
DepEd continues to remind that distance learning doesn’t require students gadgets and internet connection since schools utilize printed modules, television, and radio to deliver lessons.
The National Bureau of Investigation has since been asked by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to launch a probe into students selling obscene graphics of themselves.
Last year in May, the Department of Justice emphasized that online sexual exploitation of children increased up to 260 percent during strict lockdown measures in the country.