As the country celebrates the Safer Internet Day Philippines (SIDPH), the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (ICACP) expressed Tuesday, Feb.9 its unwavering commitment to protect all Filipino children against all forms of violence, particularly online abuse and exploitation.
“On behalf of the the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (ICACP), we are committed to uphold the best interest and welfare of all Filipino children against all forms of violence. We must protect them from the harm brought by online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC), especially during these challenging times,” said Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Undersecretary for Operations Aimee S. Torrefranca-Neri during a virtual kick-off activity as part of the agency’s SIDPH celebration.
The DSWD serves as the ICACP lead.
Presidential Proclamation No. 417, which was issued by President Duterte in 2018, mandates the SIDPH celebration. It declares the second Tuesday of February every year as “Safer Internet Day for Children Philippines.”
Neri lamented that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic fired up an increase in OSAEC cases in the country, as “children and their families are forced to such activities because of lack of economic opportunities during the lockdown and the increased vulnerability of children due to their increased online activities.”
Quoting the reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), a 264. 63-percent increase of cybertips report was recorded from March to June 2020 compared to the same period of last year.
She also noted that the Anti-Money Laundering Council report showed an increase in suspicious transactions linked to OSAEC amounting to P113.1 million.
“With these challenges, the public and private sector continue to be vigilant , persistent and well-income in mitigating the occurrence of OSAEC,” Neri said.
“We encourage everyone to join us in our advocacy towards a better and safer online community for Filipino children, a community free of OSAEC.”
She expressed ICACP’s commitment to continue to champion innovation and initiatives to prevent OSAEC cases.
In a statement, the DSWD said it is “closely working” with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to run after and arrest the perpetrators and rescue the OSAEC victims.
It also cited its close partnership with the local government units (LGUs), especially with the Local Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking and VAWC (LCAT-VAWC), Local Councils for the Protection of Children (LCPCs) and other local community-based coordinating mechanism, to increase awareness, prevention, and early detection of OSAEC cases.
The DSWD also underscored the need to closely monitor the safety of children even inside their homes, even as it urged the public to be vigilant and immediately report to the authorities all forms of abuses against children.