Group pushes for passage of law vs online sexual abuse
Save the Children Philippines has lauded the enactment of Republic Act 11930 or “Anti-Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) and Anti-Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials (CSAEM) Act” which strengthens the protection of children against OSAEC.
According to the 2016 National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children, one in two Filipino children experience online abuse. The Department of Justice-Office of Cybercrime recorded 418,422 cyber tips in 2019, that increased by 260 percent in 2020 since the start of the pandemic.
In April 2022, 20 percent of Internet-using children aged 12 to 17 years in the Philippines were reported as victims of grave instances of online sexual exploitation and abuse. This includes being blackmailed to engage in sexual activities, sharing their sexual images without permission, or being coerced to engage in sexual activities in exchange of money or gifts.
With the passage of the law, the Philippines as State party complies with the recommendations of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child to protect children from all forms of abuse and exploitation – both offline and online.
Save the Children, however, recognizes the enactment of the law is just a step towards a stronger advocacy for child protection from all forms of violence.
“We need all hands on deck if we are to achieve this goal. Hence, we call on the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the DOJ to immediately formulate the implementing rules and regulations, clarifying the obligations and accountabilities of Internet service providers, social media networks, and other platforms. There must also be a stronger push to disseminate safe and inclusive reporting and referral mechanisms,” the group said.
It also calls on local government officials and other stakeholders to enact ordinances on OSAEC so it can fulfill its obligations to protect all children in their communities every day and in times of crisis, and concretize the policies into actual child protection related programs, projects, and activities that are included in local development plans and budgets.
The group also encourages tech companies, experts, and organizations to develop and implement effective ways to detect and prevent OSAEC in livestreams and online engagements.
Save the Children has committed to continue upholding the rights of every child and by working together with organizations and stakeholders who believe that children deserve to live in a safe and humane society, this can be turned into a shared vision into reality. “As much as this is a huge win for us, much work also remains as we continue to live in a time where we are increasingly reliant on digital technology. We must continue to safeguard our children at all times in our homes, schools, communities, and online. Save the Children remains committed to working with the government, our civil society and community partners, including children, in raising awareness on OSAEC, educating children and adults on safe online practices, and ensuring that this law will be fully implemented,” Save the Children Philippines Chief Executive Officer, Atty. Albert Muyot, said. – Press release