Philippines Senate to deliberate bill to enhance child protection online

A bill that aims to enhance protection of children against online sexual abuse and exploitation (Senate Bill No. 2209 or the proposed Special Protections against Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) Law) is now up for plenary deliberations in the Philippines Senate.

The proposed bill defines and penalizes OSAEC as a specific crime which is distinct from other offenses against children;  provides additional tools to law enforcers to pursue perpetrators of OSAEC; imposes duties on internet intermediaries such as the blocking and removal of child sexual abuse or exploitation material, preserving evidence of crime in their possession, creating systems to  prevent, block, detect and report of OSAEC cases; ban entry into the Philippines of all convicted perpetrators of OSAEC or similar or equivalent crimes; and establish a  National Coordination Center Against OSAEC  (NCC-OSAEC) under the Department of Justice’s Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking.

Cases of OSAEC has increased significantly in Philippines during the pandemic and the data from the Department of Justice, points that OSAEC cases in the country rose by 264.6 percent during March to May 2020.

According to Senator Risa Hontiveros this anti-OSAEC bill is a product of several rounds of consultations with different stakeholders and aims to aims to form a “gender-responsive, age-appropriate, child-friendly, victim-centered and trauma-informed set of protocols for reporting, detecting, investigating, prosecuting and providing aftercare assistance and support in OSAEC cases.”