CHR urges swift passage of bill vs. online child abuse, exploitation

CHR urges swift passage of bill vs. online child abuse, exploitation

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights on Tuesday threw its support behind a Senate bill seeking to boost protections against online sexual abuse and the exploitation of children.

Senate Bill No. 2209 or the proposed Special Protections against Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (Anti-OSAEC) Law, was approved last Thursday on second reading, bringing it a step closer to enactment. It was sponsored by Sen. Risa Hontiveros who chairs the committee on women.

"The proposed anti-OSAEC Act strengthens our law enforcers’s capacity in pursuing perpetrators and lays down additional duties to media platforms and internet service providers to block and remove child sexual abuse or exploitation material within 24 hours from receipt of notice," CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said.

If the bill is enacted, internet service providers would be required to "notify the Philippine National Police (PNP) or the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) within forty eight (48) hours from receipt of information that any form of child sexual abuse or exploitation is being committed using its server or facility."

Meanwhile, social media companies would be obliged to "develop and adopt a set of systems and procedures for preventing, blocking, detecting, and reporting of OSAEC committed within their platforms."

"The bill’s progress is a step towards achieving better protection of our children, especially as technology equally presents threats to them even at home," she added while emphasizing that "[t]rafficking and online exploitation of children constitute grave violations of children’s rights."

Exactly 21 years ago on May 25, 2000, De Guia noted, the United Nations General Assembly adopted two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The first optional protocol increases the protection of children from involvement in armed conflict while the second guarantees protection against the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

"Today, we are reminded of our steadfast commitment for protection of the most vulnerable members of our society. Our call is for everyone to press on and not shrink from our duties in providing protection for children against exploitation," De Guia said.

"Approving Senate Bill No. 2209 on second reading moves the country closer to fulfilling part of its obligation in protection children, particularly to the 2nd Optional Protocol."

— Bella Perez-Rubio

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