Gov't eyes new strategies vs. online child sexual abuse, exploitation

By Benjamin Pulta

February 13, 2024, 10:20 pm

<p>DOJ spokesperson Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano <em>(PNA photo by Benjamin Pulta)</em></p>

DOJ spokesperson Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano (PNA photo by Benjamin Pulta)

MANILA – The government is eyeing a number of fresh approaches to stop online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSEAC).

In a media briefing Tuesday on the occasion of Safer Internet Day 2024, Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesperson Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano said among the measures being studied is working with money services businesses (MSBs) to flag amounts used to transfer subscription and purchase online footage and still photos of abused minors.

Department of Social Welfare and Development Undersecretary Emmeline Villar said they are also working closely with social media platforms to tweak their systems via artificial platforms to curb access to potentially harmful sites and content.

The officials said social media platforms, including Meta and TikTok, are taking part in the ongoing discussions to stamp out such contents.

Clavano said the adjustments are needed as the threshold amounts in the Anti-Money Laundering Act are substantially higher than the amounts usually transacted in OSEAC-related online transactions, which can go as low as PHP50 per photo.

According to studies, consumers of the forbidden content are mostly males from the United States, Europe and Australia.

“There are also CSAEM (child sexual abuse or exploitation materials) platforms na PHP300 pa lang, makakapag-subscribe ka na sa mga video. ‘Yung sa Telegram naman it can go as low as PHP50 (There are platforms where you can get CSAEM videos for a subscription fee of PHP300. In the online messaging application Telegram, you can go as low as PHP50),” Clavano said.

Clavano also said talks are being held with remittance and virtual wallet platforms.

“Meron na tayong ginagawang consultation and dialogue with money service businesses na hindi pa covered sa (We are already conducting consultations and dialogue with the money service businesses which are not yet covered by the) Anti-Money Laundering Act,” he said.

DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said the government is waging an all-out war against online abusers.

Remulla commended the National Coordination Center Against Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children and Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials (NCC-OSAEC-CSAEM) and other public and private partners for spearheading the successful commemoration of the Safer Internet Day this year.

“Your dedication and unwavering commitment to this noble cause truly deserve deepest appreciation,” Remulla said.

He then renewed the department’s commitment to go after “cyber predators” and protect Filipinos in the digital sphere.

“We are watching your every move,” he added.

Proclamation 417, signed by former president Rodrigo Duterte in 2018, declared the second Tuesday of February of every year as Safer Internet Day for Children Philippines to serve as a living reminder that each and everyone must take part and protect children from all forms of abuse and exploitation and create a safer cyberspace.

The NCC-OSAEC-CSAEM is a sub-structure of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, which is chaired by Remulla and with DOJ Undersecretary Nicholas Felix Ty as Undersecretary-in-Charge. (PNA)