TV5, Revillame apologize after DSWD condemns treatment of minor

Willing Willie” host Willie Revillame and stationTV5 have issued a statement apologizing over the TV show’s March 12 segment that offended some people and prompted condemnations from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DWSD).

According to DSWD’s official statement released on March 28, the segment showed 6-year-old contestant Jan-Jan Estrada gyrating in a distasteful manner mimicking adult sexy dances in exchange for a certain amount of money.

The agency added that the incident violates Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act and a blatant manifestation of child abuse.

For their part, TV5 and Revillame issued a statement saying there was never any intention to humiliate or abuse Estrada. The statement added that the young contestant was accompanied by his aunt and his performance in “Willing Willie” was completely voluntary and with the blessings of his parents.

It also clarified that Jan-Jan was in tears while dancing because he felt the dance was serious and he was also afraid of the presence of former basketball player Bonel Balingit. It added that the child did not want to smile because of his missing upper front teeth.

The head of DSWD Corazon Juliano Soliman wrote a letter to ABC Development Communication Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan in which she specified that Estrada was a victim of child abuse especially after Revillame told him that he will receive money in exchange for his performance.

Soliman added that young children should not be allowed to appear in “Willing Willie” and other similar shows in the network that cashes in on poverty. She also requested that Revillame be rebuked for his insensitive and deplorable actions.

Meanwhile, Jojo Estrada, the father of Jan-Jan, reportedly said his son used the P10, 000 consolation prize to buy a PSP and a bike. The elder Estrada purportedly added that he saw nothing wrong with what his son did during the show as even their relatives aboard were proud of it.