Politics

PHL gov’t, Meta to adopt more stringent measures to combat online child abuse and exploitation  

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SENATOR RISA HONTIVEROS FACEBOOK PAGE

PHILIPPINE authorities and Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook, will adopt more stringent measures to mitigate the proliferation of online abuse and exploitation of children in the country, a senator said on Wednesday.   

The new procedures include an immediate takedown of any exploitative content, the preservation of evidence on the side of Meta, and the transmittal of these evidence to law enforcement, according to Senator Ana Theresia “Risa” N. Hontiveros-Baraquel. 

Ms. Hontiveros met on Wednesday with representatives from Meta, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to discuss what she described as an alarming spread of child sexual abuse and exploitation materials online.  

The senator said they also talked about the possible passage of the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) bill, which was transmitted to the Office of the President on June 28.  

“Both Facebook and our law enforcement authorities have pledged to continue working with my office and the Senate Committee on Women and Children to implement the best interest of the child,” said Ms. Hontiveros, who chairs the committee.  

NBI-Cyber Crime Division Chief Christopher M. Paz confirmed that OSAEC cases rose amid the coronavirus pandemic, along with other online crimes.  

He said should the bill awaiting the President’s signature lapse into law on Thursday, suppression of these types of crimes will be intensified.  

Meta said they are ready to participate in the formulation of the Anti-OSAEC bill’s implementing rules and regulations once it becomes a law.   

On the side of prevention, PNP Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, Women and Children Protection Center Chief Marygrace Madayag said they discussed the role of local governments and the community in reporting violations.   

“On the part of the PNP, we have women and children protection desk officers in all police stations that you can go to for help. We also have an anti-cybercrime group that you can go to and… women and children protection centers here at Camp Crame,” she said. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan