Sen. Risa Hontiveros once again sought for the public’s help to report social media pages that are involved in exploiting children online.
“Kung may nakikita pa kayong mga groups or pages tulad nito, i-report agad! Makilahok tayong lahat para maproteksyunan ang ating kabataan,” she said in a Facebook post.
The senator made the appeal as the Senate holds hearing into the online sexual abuse and exploitation of children on Tuesday morning. A link to the YouTube livestream of the Senate hearing was also attached in her post.
She attached a screenshot of posts of a Facebook page called “Mahilig Sa Bata” that she asked to report last year. The posts were dated Feb. 9, 2020 and are now unavailable.
“Last year, pinanawagan natin sa NBI na ma-take down na ang mga pages dito sa Facebook na nangaabuso sa ating mga kabataan,” Hontiveros said.
Aside from the old Facebook page, Hontiveros also re-posted her previous open letter to the National Bureau of Investigation initially posted May 14, 2020.
In the letter, she asked for the agency’s help to take down the controversial Facebook pages and other similar accounts that contains lewd photos of young girls.
“Nananawagan ako sa Bureau na imbistigahan at agarang i-take down ang mga Facebook pages na ito. Kailangan malaman din ng NBI kung sino-sino ang mga taong nagpapatakbo nito. Kailangang panagutin at ipakulong ang mga kriminal na nasa likod ng mga Facebook pages at online content na ito,” Hontiveros said back then.
She also raised reports of alleged online exploitation of children during the strict lockdown period, wherein Filipinos are ordered to stay at home.
In a separate post on Monday, the senator announced that she filed Senate Bill No. 2068 also known as the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children law or Anti-OSAEC Law before the Senate “to strengthen the protection of children against online sexual abuse and exploitation.”
“Panahon na para wakasan ang online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC). Dahil sa maraming kapabayaan, naging global hotspot na tuloy ng OSEC ang Pilipinas,” she said.
The senator also noted that she filed the bill in line with the start of Women’s Month this March.
“Ngayong #WomensMonth, munting handog natin itong panukalang batas para sa mga batang babae na patuloy na nagiging biktima ng karahasan at pangaabuso,” she said.
Child Rights Network Philippines, a child rights organization, welcomed the senator’s initiative and re-shared her post on their own page.
Early February, the group said the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Council reported a 156% increase in suspicious transactions linked to child sexual abuse and exploitation from 2019 to the first half of 2020.
These transactions were supposedly valued at P113 million.
Meanwhile, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also reported an alarming 209% surge in cyber tip reports for the Philippines from 2019 to 2020.
Philippine laws that cover online sexual exploitation of children include Cybercrime Prevention Act, Anti-Child Pornography Act and Anti-Child Abuse Law.