/ 6 August 2022

CHILD rights group Save the Children Philippines urged the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Justice to immediately formulate the Implementing Rules and Regulations for Republic Act 11930 or the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children and Anti-Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials law.

The group said that the new law is a step to a stronger advocacy for child protection.

“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.

“We also call on local government officials and other stakeholders to enact local ordinances on OSAEC so they can fulfill their 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,” it added.

According to the 2016 National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children, 1 in 2 Filipino children experience online abuse. The DoJ’s Office of Cybercrime recorded 418,422 cyber tips in 2019, which increased by 260 percent in 2020.

In April 2022, 20 percent of internet-using children aged 12-17 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.

Save the Children also encourage tech companies, experts, and organizations “to develop and implement effective ways to detect and prevent OSAEC in livestreams and online engagements.”

“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 Philippines CEO Albert Muyot said.