Anti-Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Law IRR signed

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Justice (DOJ), as the lead agencies of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), signed the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) 11930, also known as the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) and the Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials (CSAEM) Act, on Thursday, May 18.

RA 11930, which amended the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, ensures the protection of every child against all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation, especially those committed to the use of information and communications technology (ICT).

DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian said signing the IRR of RA 11930 is a “meaningful journey towards enhancing the protection of children against online abuse.”

“The DSWD, as one of the signatories of the IRR, will remain vigilant in making sure that the provisions will be strictly implemented and never abused. Likewise, the department will continue to craft relevant plans, policies, and programs to address the evolving need for better protection, recovery, and reintegration of victim-survivors,” he said in a statement.

(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Meanwhile, DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla pointed out that the Philippines remains a prime target for online sexual abuse and exploitation of children, owing to factors such as poverty, fluency in English and widespread internet access.

According to Child Rights Network convenor Romeo Dongeto, the IRR signing signals a groundbreaking milestone in the Philippine battle against OSAEC, citing an “alarming surge” in OSAEC-related reports, especially at the height of the pandemic.

The IRR of the Anti-OSAEC Law outlines comprehensive guidelines and mechanisms to combat OSAEC, ranging from effective reporting to robust international cooperation.

It also establishes the National Coordination Center against OSAEC and CSAEM under IACAT, which will be responsible for developing programs to address OSAEC and CSAEM.

The IRR also covers the duties and responsibilities of the private sector, especially internet intermediaries and internet service providers, down to internet hotspots, cafes, or kiosks.

Moreover, it lists key instrumentalities in fighting OSAEC, including financial investigation of perpetrators, blacklisting of aliens, and age verification protocols.

As provided in RA 11930, an OSAEC and CSAEM Offenders Registry for Filipino nationals and foreigners will also be created.

RA 11930 is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 2209, which was primarily authored by Senator Risa Hontiveros, and House Bill No. 10703, primarily authored by Rep. Cheryl Deloso-Montalla and sponsored by House on the Welfare of Children Chairperson Rep. Yedda Romualdez.

The bill lapsed into law on July 30, 2022.