Sun, 03 Jul 2022

MANILA - The House of Representatives on Monday ratified a bicameral conference committee report on a bill seeking to prohibit all forms of sexual abuse or exploitation of children, either online or offline.

During the plenary session, the chamber approved the final version that reconciles the disagreeing provisions of House Bill 10703 and Senate Bill 2209, or the "Anti-Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children."

Under the measure, internet intermediaries and other internet or payment service providers are required to block, take down or remove websites that stream illegal content of abuse of minors.

Tingog Party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez, who is an author of the measure, said the pandemic has made occurrences of online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) worse with the loss of sources of livelihood and the surge of online activities of minors, among others.

"A study by the United Nations Children's Fund showed that one in five Filipino children are vulnerable to OSEC, with boys found to be as vulnerable to sexual exploitation as girls," she said. "One in five children is one child too many."

She cited the Department of Justice Office of Cybercrime stating that she received at least 600,000 child sexual abuse materials involving Filipino children in 2018.

"The true strength of our nation is seen in the smiles of children. The well-being, integrity, and safety of our children is the most precious gift that we can give them," she said. (PNA)

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