PayMaya, GCash vow to help police crackdown on online sexual abuses, human trafficking

Published March 10, 2021, 11:01 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

At least two prominent mobile financial services app—PayMaya and GCash—have vowed to help police intercept and report transactions that are suspected to be involved in online sexual abuses and human trafficking of children and women.


Basilio Visaya, Jr. head of PayMaya Philippines’ legal and corporate team, said part of their platform’s commitment is to work with other financial services and institutions and government regulators in responding to reports of online sexual abuse and exploitations and human trafficking.

“Part of our efforts is to temporarily suspend at the onset any account reported to us or found by our in-house monitoring systems, investigate these accounts and when we find that these accounts are involved in trafficking, then we will immediately file a suspicious transaction report to our regulator which is the BSP (Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas),” Visaya said during the hearing conducted by the Senate women and children’s panel on online sexual abuse and exploitation cases or OSAEC on Tuesday, March 9.

“And after that we will block the account or terminate the account involved and preserve the data,” he further said.

While they have already been doing this, Visaya said PayMaya is supporting the crafting of a law that would make them comply with the reporting of OSAEC and suspected prostitution of women.

“As the internet and digital platforms evolve and access to internet technologies become more widespread, we understand the need for a more proactive and expeditious response from all sectors of society, from the government, to law enforcement agencies, including us, definitely, as part of the private sector in the crucial detection, prevention and prosecution of perpetrators of osaec and human trafficking,” he said.

“Having a law that makes us comply with this obligation as well as the specific rules and regulations that would guide us would certainly help us in enhancing our capabilities towards protecting children from online predators,” he said.

Ceferina Sison, chief legal counsel for GCash, said they strongly abhor the use of GCash and the use of their platform for criminal transactions and are committed to proactively detect any activity “that is related to or analogous to prostitution or child pornography.” GCash, she said, has also activated its anti-money laundering monitoring group to monitor, review and report transactions that deviate from the usual protocols of their financial service app.

She also said they have also established technological tools where they can look into social media sites, and even ‘dark websites’, where the word “GCash” would be mentioned.

“Through this method, we do suspend the account right away, and then we comply with the other requirements of law to file the necessary cases,” Sison said.

Sison also assured senators that GCash has established a close working relationship with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to facilitate and expedite the filing of criminal cases related to child pornography and online sexual abuse and exploitation.

The Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, chaired by Sen. Risa Hontiveros is mulling granting incentives to firm engaged in money remittance, internet and social media services that will assist law enforcement agencies in cracking down on OSAEC.

Hontiveros had earlier filed Senate Bill No. 2068 or the proposed Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation (OSAEC) law and included a provision imposing penalties on private companies that would not comply with their obligations under the measure.

The senator said she believes granting incentives, and also penalties, would make it easier for authorities to clamp down on perpetrators of child abuse and human trafficking conducted through online platforms.