Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday welcomed the House of Representatives’ move to finally pass their own version of the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (anti-OSAEC) bill.
The Senate approved its version of the measure, Senate Bill No. 2209, in May 2021. The House Committee on Appropriations last January 24, approved the budgetary provisions of the bill for its seamless implementation once it becomes a law.
“I am overjoyed that the House of Representatives has moved their version of the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children Bill forward,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“Hindi narin ako nagulat kasi pare-pareho naman kaming mga magulang na gusto lang protektahan ang ating mga anak (I’m not surprised about this since all of us are parents who wants to protect our children),” she said.
The senator said passage of the measure into law is crucial especailly since OSAEC-related activities have become rampant during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Philippines has been branded a global hotspot for online sexual abuse involving children.
“While we shouldn’t be defined by this label, we should take this as a challenge to craft laws and policies that address not only OSAEC but also the main drivers of OSAEC, such as the lack of jobs, prevailing social and gender norms, and poverty,” she said.
Hontiveros, principal author of the measure in the Senate, expressed her gratitude to Rep. Cheryl Deloso-Montalla “or making sure the bill inches toward final legislation.”
“It is always encouraging when, because of the common advocacies among us legislators, we prioritize what is best for our children, for our citizens, for our country,” she said.
The Senate version of the bill defines and penalizes OSAEC as a specific crime, distinct from offenses under Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act and RA 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.
The bill also seeks to complement the provisions under RA 9775 or the Anti Child Pornography Act of 2009.
It also provides additional tools for law enforcers to pursue perpetrators of OSAEC, especially those who are on various online platforms anonymously.
The bill also seeks to prohibit the entry of all convicted perpetrators of OSAEC or similar, equivalent crimes in other states to the country.