Manila Takes Stand Against Porn

Tina Reilly
MANILA, Phillipines – The president of Manila has declared a war against porn and will use the department of justice to implement a sweeping action against the makers and distributors of porn, including the talent associated with various adult magazines, the Manila Times reported.

President Arroyo's firm stance comes as reaction to the abundance of pornographic material available in the city of Manila, which has caused an uproar among many advocacy and religious groups.

Anti-porn alliance 'The Philippine Alliance on Antipornography' has pledged its support of the department of justice's effort to eradicate porn from the city's magazine stands.

Arroyo has appointed Justice Undersecretary Jose Calida to carry out the task of filing charges against porn publishers, distributors, and producers.

"I have a standing order from the president to fight this menace of pornography in society," Calida told the Manila Times. "We will act on this in the soonest possible time."

Calida added that the department of justice already has enough incriminating evidence against many local pornographers, and that his department is merely "finalizing and filing the charges" against porn or soft core magazines like FHM (For Him Magazine) and Hot Stuff, which featured a spread by Viva Hot Babes involving frontal nudity.

In the Philippines pornography is penalized under Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code, according to the Manila Times. The department of justice also has the legal right to confiscate all porn-related materials from newsstands.

According to reports, there are more than 25 porn tabloids in Metropolitan Manila with a combined circulation of around 3.4 million. According to a study, more than half of Manila's 18 million population read these tabloids regularly.

For many years, pornography has been a topic of hot debate in Manila. Many critics believe that the excess of porn literature and X-rated movies are contributing factors to the rise in the number of rapes and other forms of violence against women committed in the Philippines.

In 1998, a newspaper publisher launched a city-wide campaign against porn and at one point police made a very public display of confiscating and burning thousands of copies of porn tabloids and arresting the newsboys selling the tabloids.