Soliman had appealed to the network not to allow children to endure ridicule and embarrassment on national television after its early evening program allowed a six-year-old boy named Jan-Jan Estrada to perform dance moves akin to male erotic dancing. During the routine, Jan-Jan was crying amid laughs from the audience and strikingly from Revillame himself.
In an e-mail to Yahoo! OMG! Philippines, Soliman said: "I will write a letter of protest to Channel 5 (and) to Mr. Manny Pangilinan regarding the case and we should all write him and demand that children should not be part of the show. They should not be used as instrument for enjoyment and to be laughed at. I will send the communication today."
At one point during Jan-Jan's performance, Revillame said: "Umiiyak pa yan…Ngayon pa sa hirap ng buhay ng tao…si Jan Jan siyempre sasayaw bilang macho dancer sa edad na yan para sa kanyang mahal na pamilya…pinahanga mo ako Jan Jan."
"Lumuluha yan…parang sa pelikulang 'Burlesk Queen'…umiiyak na ganoon…ginagawa para sa pamilya. Masama ang loob pero kailangan kong gawin para sa mahal sa buhay," he added.
The show's spinner then repeated the song the child had danced to five times after, apparently forcing the sobbing child to repeat his "macho dancing," even in his final appearance on a rising platform on stage.
A few hours after her e-mail, Soliman sent the protest letter to TV5 which was addressed to Pangilinan. In this regard, the DSWD sent Yahoo! OMG! Philippines its official statement:
"The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) condemns the emotional abuse and humiliation bestowed on a six-year-old child contestant, during the March 12, 2011 episode of the Willing Willie show aired on TV5.
The sequence shows the boy gyrating in a distasteful manner with the audience, including the host (Willie Revillame), manifesting no evidence of concern or alarm for the child. This incident is clearly a violation of Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act and a blatant manifestation of child abuse. The term “child abuse” includes the following acts: “psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment,” and “any act by deeds or words which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of the child as a human being.”
Putting pressure on children to do acts such as mimicking adult sexy dances, in exchange for a certain amount of money, and at the expense of being laughed at and ridiculed by hundreds of people, clearly traumatizes the child. This is a clear form of child abuse and will not be tolerated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The Department has already communicated to ABC Development Communication Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan asking that children should not be allowed to appear in TV shows like Willing Willie, especially those capitalizing on poverty as a source of immediate entertainment. In the formal communication with Mr. Pangilinan, the Department has also rebuked the insensitive actions and remarks of Mr. Revillame.
On a final note, the Department is also conducting its own investigation on the said incident and if warranted under the circumstances, legal action will be taken against the TV 5 management and other concerned parties in violation of RA 7610. The necessary counseling will also be awarded to the child and his parents, to prevent further trauma and abuse due to the media hype brought about by this saddening incident."
For its part, the Movies and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has begun to act on complaints regarding the "Willing Willie" episode. In a brief published on its website, the MTRCB said, "The Board received numerous complaints about the 12 March 2011 episode of “Willing Willie” aired over Kapatid Network TV5 where a six-year old boy contestant was shown to be gyrating and impersonating the body movements of a macho dancer.
In accordance with the Board’s duty to enforce the Constitutional mandate that the State shall defend the rights of children from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development, the Board has referred the matter to the Hearing and Adjudication Committee for appropriate disposition.
The Board further emphasizes that whenever children are featured in television programs, producers are mandated to observe legal standards stipulated in R.A. 7160 to avoid “psychological abuse xxx cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment” and “any act by deeds and words which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of the child.”
Reposted From Gerry Plaza of OMG! Philippine News Blog