Letter of Secretary Soliman to Manny Pangilinan on the ordeal of Jan-Jan Estrada in Willing Willie

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During the March 12, 2011 episode of the TV5 prime-time gameshow Willing Willie, six-year old Jan-Jan Estrada was forced to dance under humiliating and abusive circumstances. The Aquino administration is of the belief that not everything is within the commerce of man, and for this reason we are publishing on the Official Gazette this letter by Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman. Addressed to ABC Development Corporation Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, the letter identifies Estrada as a victim of child abuse under Republic Act 7610.

28 March 2011
ABC Development Corporation
Dear Mr. Pangilinan:
This is with regard to the 12 March 2011 episode of your show “Willing Willie”, which was brought to my attention by several concerned citizens and groups. In the said episode, a six year-old boy named Jan-Jan Estrada was made to repeatedly perform dance moves usually done by adult dancers in indecent shows. The poor child was in tears and looked scared the entire time, as show host Willie Revillame poked fun at him and the audience laughed and cheered.
Under Republic Act No. 7610, also known as “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act”, 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.”
Given that definition, it is unmistakable that what happened last 12 March 2011 to Jan-Jan Estrada was child abuse.
Persuading a little child to dance sexy adult dances in exchange for a measly sum, while he is being laughed at and ridiculed will definitely traumatize the child. What kind of values are we teaching our children through these shows, especially after Willie Revillame pushed Jan-Jan to do something against his will and then told him that it’s alright because he will receive money in exchange for it?
Given the foregoing, I am requesting that:
(1)  Young children not be allowed to appear in Willing Willie and other similar shows in the network that cashes in on poverty;
(2)  Host Willie Revillame be rebuked for his insensitive and deplorable actions.
There are limits to children appearing on television, and clearly, your 12 March 2011 episode did not respect the rights of the child and traumatized the six year-old boy. I also wish to raise my concern that the show tends to cash in on the plight of the poor. There are other ways of helping the poor without having to degrade their dignity and earn money out of it.
I hope you can act on this swiftly and I would appreciate a response from your good office.
Thank you.
Very truly yours,
Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares,
Chairman, MTRCB