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DSWD and DOJ sign the IRR of the statute against online child sex abuse.

On Thursday, the “Anti-Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) and Anti-Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials (CSAEM)” Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Republic Act (RA) 11930 were signed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian and Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla.

Every child is protected against all types of sexual abuse and exploitation by R.A. 11930, which revised the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, particularly those involving information and communications technology (ICT).

Wendell Bendoval, executive director of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), and Margarita Magsaysay, executive director of the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (IACACP), both officers-in-charge (OIC) to the National Coordinating Center Against OSAEC and CSAEM, were present for the event.

The signing of the IRR for RA 11930 aims to unite Filipinos in defending children from online sexual exploitation and abuse.

Gatchalian described the signing as a significant step in increasing children’s protection from online abuse.

“The DSWD, as one of the IRR’s signatories, will continue to watch out to ensure that the terms are rigorously followed and never exploited. The Department will also keep developing pertinent plans, policies, and programs to fulfill the changing demand for greater victim-survivor protection, recovery, and reintegration, Gatchalian stated in his statement.

For his part, Remulla emphasized that the Philippines continues to be a top location for the sexual exploitation and abuse of children online due to issues including poverty, English proficiency, and broad internet access.

The innocence and welfare of our futureโ€”the Filipino childrenโ€”are the responsibility of everyone, from the government to regular people, Remulla remarked.

The Child Rights Network claims the IRR’s debut marks a significant turning point in the Philippines’ fight against OSAEC.

“Data indicate an alarming increase in OSAEC-related reports, particularly during the pandemic’s peak. The Anti-Money Laundering Council’s results, which showed a sharp increase in shady money transactions connected to online sexual abuse, support this disturbing trend, according to Mr. Romeo Dongeto, convenor of the Child Rights Network.

“We are glad to see that the Philippine administration has given this important issue a top priority. Even the children have been actively involved in designing how the rule will be enforced, according to Dongeto.

The Anti-OSAEC law’s IRR provides detailed instructions on combatting OSAEC, from strong international collaboration to efficient reporting.

The IRR also established the National Coordination Center against OSAEC and CSAEM (NCC-OSAEC-CSAEM), which the IACAT governs. This center will be responsible for creating programs that address OSAEC and CSAEM.

For today’s crisis, a modern legislation

In contrast, Senator Risa Hontiveros, the primary author and sponsor of the Anti-OSAEC Law in the Senate, claimed that the Philippines had produced comprehensive legislation and an IRR that reflected the priceless input obtained through a nationwide consultation, making it “a true landmark in our legal framework.”

“We can state with pride that we have produced a comprehensive piece of legislation that assigns accountability to every sector, including the private sector and law enforcement. The complexity of our contemporary environment is directly addressed by this modern law and its associated IRR, according to Hontiveros.

The private sector’s obligations and liabilities are covered under the IRR, particularly those of internet intermediaries and service providers, right down to internet hotspots, cafes, and kiosks.

The IRR also includes important tools for combating OSAEC, such as age verification procedures, blacklisting of aliens, and financial investigations of offenders.

An OSAEC and CSAEM Offenders Registry for Filipino nationals and foreigners will also be established in accordance with RA 11930.

According to Rule III of the IRR, the Philippines may exercise jurisdiction over OSAEC offenses, even if they were committed outside of the Philippines. It also clarifies how OSAEC cases can benefit from international legal collaboration.

Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov, the UNICEF representative in the Philippines, also praised the recently released IRR, calling it a “reflection of our aspirations for the Filipino children.”

The UNICEF spokesperson stated, “It is a tribute to our unwavering commitment to creating a better and more secure future for every Filipino child, be it in online or offline environments.

Senate Bill No. 2209, which was written mainly by Hontiveros, and House Bill No. 10703, which was primarily written by Representative Cheryl Deloso-Montalla and supported by Rep. Yedda Romualdez, chair of the House Committee on the Welfare of Children, were combined into RA 11930.

empowering young people

In the meantime, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) declared that it favors the OSAEC and CSAEM Act’s IRR being issued.

According to a statement from the organization, “This legislation signifies a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to combat child sexual abuse and exploitation online, as well as the spread of child sexual abuse or exploitation materials.”

According to NPC, the Anti-OSAEC and CSAEM Act’s IRR was drafted using a commendably rigorous and inclusive approach.

“It involved multi-sectoral engagements with various stakeholders, including children’s organizations, the private sector, the general public, and other organizations fighting child exploitation and sexual abuse online. The IRR’s comprehensiveness and efficacy were enhanced by the collaborative approach that enabled invaluable dialogue and discoveries, it continues.

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