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How far are you willing to go to buy a laptop for an online class?


With the education system shifting to an online setting, an 18-year-old high school graduate is struggling to raise funds for a laptop.

In a “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho” episode on Sunday, “Jay,” not his real name, said his family had always had a hard time making ends meet.

Their situation got worse with the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Because his father was sick and the government’s financial aid rarely came by, “Jay” was forced to find ways to earn.

“Jay” tried to look for a decent job, but because of the lack of opportunities, he went home empty-handed.

Bills began piling up. He also had to figure out how he could have a laptop in time for the opening of classes this August.

Out of desperation, “Jay” decided to sell intimate photos and videos of himself using an “alter” Twitter account.

“Jay” said he learned that some Twitter users sold explicit images of themselves. So he thought of doing the same.

With the education system shifting to an online setting, an 18-year-old high school graduate is struggling to raise funds for a laptop.

In a “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho” episode on Sunday, “Jay,” not his real name, said his family had always had a hard time making ends meet.

Their situation got worse with the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Because his father was sick and the government’s financial aid rarely came by, “Jay” was forced to find ways to earn.

“Jay” tried to look for a decent job, but because of the lack of opportunities, he went home empty-handed.

Bills began piling up. He also had to figure out how he could have a laptop in time for the opening of classes this August.

Out of desperation, “Jay” decided to sell intimate photos and videos of himself using an “alter” Twitter account.

“Jay” said he learned that some Twitter users sold explicit images of themselves. So he thought of doing the same.

No meetups

Because he feared for his safety, “Jay” only sent photos and videos.

“Akala ko nu’ng una madali lang siya kasi kakausap ka lang tapos simpleng transaction lang, gagawin mo lang ’yung gusto nila. Pero iba ang kalaban pag konsensiya mo ’yung kalaban po, parang ang hirap pa rin ituloy (At first I thought it was going to be easy because you’ll just talk to them. Give them what they want. But it’s difficult to fight with your own conscience. It’s hard to continue),” he added.

“Jay” shared that in a month, he would earn Php800 to Php1,000.

Usually, he would just ask for mobile phone load worth Php10 to Php200.

“Kung sa inyo po maliit na halaga lang po ’yun, pero sa akin po sobrang laking tulong na po kasi niya (To others, it’s a small amount. But for me, it’s a great help.),” he said.

Once he receives the load, he would convert it to mobile data so he can check his emails and process his enrollment.

When the pandemic hit, “Jay” said he began asking for cash instead of load. He said he would continue doing so until he could save up Php 30,000 to Php60,000 for a laptop.

“Dignidad at konsensiya ko po ‘yung kapalit ng mga ‘yun. Pero ang iniisip ko na lang po kung ano po ‘yung makakatulong para sa akin (It’s really shameful to think I have to resort to selling private photos and videos. But I just think of how this can help me),” he said.

Carrying on

“Jay” hopes of becoming a journalist.

Aside from passing entrance exams in several universities, he also qualified for a science scholarship. But he hasn’t received his stipend.

Because his parents separated a long time ago, “Jay” lived with his grandmother.

As the education system shifts to an online setting, “Jay” is just one of the thousands of students who are struggling to get by and adjust.

He and his grandmother hoped to rely on her monthly pension, but they hadn’t received anything yet because she just started her contributions.

“Parang feel ko nalulunod ako, feel ko mag-isa lang ako. Dapat meron namang pamilyang nagtatrabaho para sa akin kahit ipakita lang na protektado ako, na may care talaga sila sa akin (I feel so alone. There should be a family that supports me, to show that they care about me).”

Onto a better path

According to the National Bureau of Investigation, these online transactions have existed even before the pandemic, but the numbers are increasing especially nowadays.

According to the division, selling nude photos and videos online is illegal even if it’s between two consenting adults because it can be considered as violation of Republic Act No. 10175 or Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

“Jay” was scared to get caught but he saw it as a necessary means to survive every day. He promised to stop once he’s finally able to save up for a laptop.

The Commission on Higher Education has clarified that although the mode of learning will shift online, they’ve prepared different programs for students like Jay who had no access to a gadget or internet.

Proper guidance

The KMJS team got in touch with “Jay” and helped him get advice from a psychologist.

For young people going through the same challenges, Dr. Camille Garcia urged them to think of other alternative ways instead of doing what “Jay” did.

To help “Jay,” the KMJS team found someone who’s willing to donate a laptop to him.

In exchange, “Jay” promised he wouldn’t sell his private photos online again.

Because he feared for his safety, “Jay” only sent photos and videos.

“Akala ko nu’ng una madali lang siya kasi kakausap ka lang tapos simpleng transaction lang, gagawin mo lang ’yung gusto nila. Pero iba ang kalaban pag konsensiya mo ’yung kalaban po, parang ang hirap pa rin ituloy (At first I thought it was going to be easy because you’ll just talk to them. Give them what they want. But it’s difficult to fight with your own conscience. It’s hard to continue),” he added.

“Jay” shared that in a month, he would earn Php800 to Php1,000.

Usually, he would just ask for mobile phone load worth Php10 to Php200.

“Kung sa inyo po maliit na halaga lang po ’yun, pero sa akin po sobrang laking tulong na po kasi niya (To others, it’s a small amount. But for me, it’s a great help.),” he said.

Once he receives the load, he would convert it to mobile data so he can check his emails and process his enrollment.

When the pandemic hit, “Jay” said he began asking for cash instead of load. He said he would continue doing so until he could save up Php 30,000 to Php60,000 for a laptop.

“Dignidad at konsensiya ko po ‘yung kapalit ng mga ‘yun. Pero ang iniisip ko na lang po kung ano po ‘yung makakatulong para sa akin (It’s really shameful to think I have to resort to selling private photos and videos. But I just think of how this can help me),” he said.

Carrying on

“Jay” hopes of becoming a journalist.

Aside from passing entrance exams in several universities, he also qualified for a science scholarship. But he hasn’t received his stipend.

Because his parents separated a long time ago, “Jay” lived with his grandmother.

As the education system shifts to an online setting, “Jay” is just one of the thousands of students who are struggling to get by and adjust.

He and his grandmother hoped to rely on her monthly pension, but they hadn’t received anything yet because she just started her contributions.

“Parang feel ko nalulunod ako, feel ko mag-isa lang ako. Dapat meron namang pamilyang nagtatrabaho para sa akin kahit ipakita lang na protektado ako, na may care talaga sila sa akin (I feel so alone. There should be a family that supports me, to show that they care about me).”

Onto a better path

According to the National Bureau of Investigation, these online transactions have existed even before the pandemic, but the numbers are increasing especially nowadays.

According to the division, selling nude photos and videos online is illegal even if it’s between two consenting adults because it can be considered as violation of Republic Act No. 10175 or Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

“Jay” was scared to get caught but he saw it as a necessary means to survive every day. He promised to stop once he’s finally able to save up for a laptop.

The Commission on Higher Education has clarified that although the mode of learning will shift online, they’ve prepared different programs for students like Jay who had no access to a gadget or internet.

Proper guidance

The KMJS team got in touch with “Jay” and helped him get advice from a psychologist.

For young people going through the same challenges, Dr. Camille Garcia urged them to think of other alternative ways instead of doing what “Jay” did.

To help “Jay,” the KMJS team found someone who’s willing to donate a laptop to him.

In exchange, “Jay” promised he wouldn’t sell his private photos online again. — Kaela Malig/RC, GMA News

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