Senator Risa Hontiveros has filed a bill seeking to strengthen the protection of children against online sexual abuse and exploitation.
In filing Senate Bill (SB) 2068 otherwise known as the Special Protection against Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) Law or
Anti-OSAEC Law, Hontiveros wants to arrest the proliferation of OSAEC through the Internet and social media by amending the existing laws against it.
“It is high time that we end online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC). Due to our negligence, the Philippines has become a global hotspot for OSEC. We are continuously fighting for the rights of youth and children because the world needs to know that they should not be corrupted,” she said.
“Even before the rise of technological advances, our country has been a destination for sexual offenders, who would target or manipulate women and children, especially those from impoverished areas. Children and women have long been victimized. It was just aggravated by social media and the Internet,” she added.
The measure will amend the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 and the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009 as these laws, according to the senator is already outdated.
“Our existing laws that cover OSAEC do not capture the extraordinary features of online sexual violence against children as they are already outdated and are not responsive to the protection needed by children using the internet,” the bill’s explanatory note reads.
“Moreover, our current legal framework requires stronger measures for regulation of relevant entities and stakeholders, and better organizational structure and referral pathway for all related government agencies involved in handling OSAEC cases,” it added.
SBN 2068 seeks to penalize: those who willfully subscribe to, join or support an Internet address that hosts OSAEC content; those who hire, employ, or pay a facilitator to stream sexual abuse of children; and those who knowingly benefit from the commission of OSAEC.
Duties and responsibilities are also introduced for Internet Service Providers, social media networks, financial institutions and intermediaries, and establishments or facilities used for OSAEC.
“Each one of us has a responsibility to stop this. It takes an entire community to help put an end to OSAEC. Successful OSAEC-related operations by our law enforcement would not have been possible without the cooperation of community members. We should all take part in protecting the youth,” she said.