The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has urged the public to remain vigilant and immediately report to the authorities all forms of exploitation and abuses against children.
DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said the active involvement of the public is needed to ensure the safety of the Filipino children online and offline.
‘Hinihimok ng kagawaran na manatiling mapagmatyag at agad na iulat sa autoridad ang lahat ng uri ng pang-aabuso laban sa mga bata,” he said. (The Department is urging the public to remain vigilant and immediately report to the authorities all forms of abuses against children.)
He specifically asked the public to join and cooperate with the enforcement authorities in running after the online sexual predators who victimize children.
“Ngayong panahon ng pandemya, higit na mahalaga na maging mapagmatyag upang agarang maireport ang mga kaso ng online sexual exploitation of children o OSEC,” Bautista said. (During this time of pandemic, it is important that we become vigilant so that we can immediately report the case of online sexual exploitation of children or OSEC.)
He said the DSWD, as chairman of the the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (IACACP), is closely working with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to keep an eye on OSEC cases, and to track and apprehend the perpetrators and rescue the victims.
The DSWD Chief said they are also working with the local government units (LGUs), especially with the Local Councils for the Protection of Children (LCPCs), “to increase awareness, prevention, and early detection of OSEC cases.”
Bautista said rescued OSEC victims are placed in DSWD custody and provided with psychosocial interventions.
“Ang ahensya ay nagpapatupad rin ng tulong sa biktima ng trafficking sa ilalim ng Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons (RRPTP),” he said.
(The agency is also extending assistance to the victims of trafficking under the Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons.)
In 2019, the DSWD has served over 1,600 victims of trafficking of whom 1,297 were females and 395 were males.
In a virtual press briefing last week, Bautista reminded the parents to keep an eye on their children to ensure that they will not be exposed to online predators, and for family members to be careful in posting their family members’ personal information in various social media platforms, after the Save the Children Philippines (SCP) warned the public against participating in trending online challenges such as #dropyourbeautifuldaughterchallenge and other related hashtags because such act “may put children in danger” of online sexual abuse and exploitation.
SCP Chief Executive Officer Atty. Alberto Muyot called on parents and guardians “to be at the forefront of fulfilling the right of children to be protected from online sexual abuse and exploitation by using social media responsibly and teaching children the proper and safe use of the internet.”