Sherwin Gatchalian

Stepped-up drive to stop crimes vs children pressed

September 20, 2023 PS Jun M. Sarmiento 165 views

FOLLOWING a report by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) that the Philippines ranks second globally in online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC), Senator Win Gatchalian urged the government to intensify its efforts to combat this heinous crime.

During a briefing on the proposed budget of the DICT and its attached agencies, Gatchalian expressed his shock at the Philippines’ alarming position as the world’s second largest hotspot for OSAEC.

In addition to poverty, DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy attributed the continuing prevalence of OSAEC in the country to the lack of necessary tools to identify and track down perpetrators.

“We should really try very hard to get us out of that rank of being number two in the world on OSAEC, and even get us out of that list,” said Gatchalian.

The legislator also emphasized the importance of cultivating bilateral relationships with other countries to combat OSAEC effectively. He recalled an incident in which a tip from another country led to the discovery of an OSAEC incident in Metro Manila.

“Aside from the hardware and tools that we need, there are things we can enact quickly to improve communication and coordination to share information as quickly as possible,” Gatchalian said.

The DICT, for its part, assured that there are 100 bilateral partnerships with its counterpart agencies. DICT Assistant Secretary Mary Rose Magsaysay also pointed out that the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) is working with the University of the Philippines to translate materials that would raise awareness, especially in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAS). The DICT is also working with telecommunication companies to block child sexual abuse and exploitation materials (CSAEM).