‘Sufficient funds, support programs’ needed on proposed OSAEC Law — CRN

Published May 23, 2021, 12:07 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Child Rights Network

Lawmakers were urged on Sunday, May 23, to provide sufficient funds and support programs on the proposed Special Protections against Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) Law.

The Child Rights Network (CRN), the country’s largest alliance for child protection, made the call after the Senate has approved on second reading the proposed OSAEC Law under Senate Bill (SB) No. 2209.

“As the anti-OSAEC Bill moves a step closer to becoming law, we call on our legislators to ensure that ample support programs and measures for children, families and communities most vulnerable to OSAEC be soundly established through the proposed bill, and supported by providing said programs with sufficient funding,” the CRN said in a statement.

It underscored that cyber tip reports on OSAEC activities “significantly spiked during the lockdown imposed due to the pandemic.”

“The US-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported a 209 percent increase in the cyber tip reports for the Philippines, from January to December 2020 (1,294,750 cyber tips) compared to 2019 (418,422 cyber tips),” it cited.

“Senate’s swift action on SB 2209 proves that our senators have indeed received the message that child rights organizations have been warning our authorities for the past months: that when it comes to OSAEC, we are already in an emergency,” CRN stressed.

Thus, it urged “our child rights champion legislators in the House of Representatives to swiftly pass its version of the proposed legislation” as the pending counterpart bills are slated for a hearing at the House on May 27.

Citing the importance of SB 2209, CRN said:

“SB 2209 expands the protection for Filipino children in the increasingly perilous online world. It grants potent tools to our law enforcement authorities to swiftly pursue perpetrators of OSAEC and effectively tear the veil of anonymity that hides their nefarious acts in cyberspace. It lays down the responsibilities of Internet intermediaries, including Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Internet Content Hosts, Social Networking Sites, and banking and financial institutions, enabling the government to work in tandem with the private sector not only to block child sexual abuse or exploitation materials but also to ensure that technological or other practical safeguards are in place to prevent or detect recruitment and trafficking.

“SB 2209 also plugs fundamental loopholes in existing laws and regulations concerning OSAEC by providing clear definitions that succinctly consider the often-ephemeral quality of OSAEC committed through the viewing or “live streaming” of online content that does not need the offender to do any act of downloading or retaining any form of child sexual abuse materials.”