Senate ratifies bicam report on bill battling online child sexual abuse

Published May 24, 2022, 9:20 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Senate has ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the bill that seeks to protect children against online sexual abuse and exploitation.

The Upper Chamber ratified the committee report on Senate Bill No. 2209 and House Bill No. 10703 or the proposed Anti-Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) and Anti-Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials (CSAEM) Act, at the resumption of the Senate’s session on Monday, May 23.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality said she is extremely grateful to the 18th Congress, under the leadership of Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Majority Leader Migz Zubiri for the passage of this important measure.

She also thanked senators Pia Cayetano, Sherwin Gatchalian, Manny Pacquiao, and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan for their important interventions.

“Truly, the 18th Congress will be remembered for many things, and one of these will be the good it has done for Filipino children. Kinararangal kong maging bahagi ng Kongresong ito (I am honored to be part of this Congress),” said Hontiveros, who won a reelection bid for the 19th Congress.

The measure seeks the creation of a specific offense of Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) and imposes penalties for the same.

The measure also increases the responsibilities of the private sector, with emphasis on electronic service providers, internet intermediaries, financial intermediaries, specifically with respect to the blocking and preserving of OSAEC materials found on their platforms, and cooperation with law enforcement agents.

It also seeks to create the National Coordinating Center against OSAEC and CSAEM under the Inter Agency Council against Trafficking (IACAT).

She also said the measure also establishes protections and guarantees for child victims of OSAEC, particularly with respect to their psycho-social needs and also grants additional investigation and surveillance tools to law enforcement agents, taking into account the complexities of the internet and the dark web.