Measures vs. online child exploitation get Duterte nod

By Benjamin Pulta

February 8, 2021, 6:27 pm

<p>Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra (File photo)

MANILA – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Monday said several measures recommended by his department on how to go about the government’s crackdown on online sexual child exploration received approval from President Rodrigo Duterte.

Guevarra said one of the recommendations is to direct the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to impose sanctions on internet service providers for failure to fulfill their duties under Republic Act 9775 or Anti-Child Pornography Act.

He said the Department of Justice (DOJ) also recommended to Duterte to issue an executive order (EO) “strengthening cooperation” among the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (IACACP) and other relevant agencies.

Guevarra also recommended to the President to certify as priority the passage of bills “amending the anti-trafficking in persons act, so that human trafficking, particularly sexual exploitation of children, will be exempt from the provisions of the anti-wire tapping law.”

Duterte, he said, also approved the proposal to provide more personnel and funding to the IACAT.

“We’ll draft the EO and request other relevant agencies to comment. This may take at least two months,” Guevarra told reporters.

Guevarra earlier said the DOJ would ask for a copy of the Anti-Money Laundering Council's (AMLC) report on remittances from online child pornography in the country that it said reached PHP113 million.

He said IACAT), co-chaired by the DOJ, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, have been continuously trailing perpetrators in the last few years and many cases have been filed in court and convictions secured.

"The IACAT is very much aware of the geographical areas usually poverty-stricken areas where victims abound and in what countries the predators are usually based. It just so happened that the numbers have gone up in recent months, clearly because of the economic hardship, as well as the dark opportunities, engendered by this pandemic. I will request the AMLC for a copy of the report and refer the matter to the IACAT for appropriate action," Guevarra said. (PNA)