/ 29 May 2021

SENATORS Joel Villanueva and Sherwin Gatchalian hailed the approval of Senate Bill 2209 which will strengthen the government’s crackdown on online sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

The anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children measure was passed by the Senate on third and final reading on Thursday.

Villanueva said that cyberspace should be safe for children.

“It is my personal belief that every child deserves a childhood in its fullest form, free from any form of violence and harassment. I, myself, am a parent. In fact, many of us here are parents. I do not think anyone can disagree that this fight against sexual abuse and exploitation of children is personal to us all,” he stressed.

Gatchalian said that the anti-OSAEC bill is aligned with his Senate Bill 1794 which seeks to strengthen the Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act of 2003.

Both measures identify responsibilities of internet service providers such as reporting instances of child sexual abuse and exploitation, blocking child sexual abuse and exploitation materials, and preserving evidence for purposes of investigation.

Both bills also identify standards and guidelines in surveillance, interception, and recording of communications of suspects.

While Senate Bill 2209 mandates tourism enterprises to report OSAEC cases within their premises, Gatchalian’s measure identifies other responsibilities for tourism-oriented establishments such as the training of employees to recognize signs of human trafficking and preventing the possible conduct of child trafficking, child pornography, and sexual exploitation in their premises.

“Bago pa tumama ang pandemya sa ating bansa ay talamak na ang paggamit sa internet upang abusuhin ang ating kabataan, ngunit nakita nating mas tumindi ang panganib na kinakaharap ng ating mga kabataan dahil sa mga lockdown. Napapanahon na upang wakasan natin ang karumal-dumal na mga krimeng ito at itaguyod ang mas ligtas na internet para sa ating mga kabataan,” Gatchalian said.