The Presidential Proclamation No. 417, declares every second Tuesday of February every year as “Safer Internet Day for Children Philippines” which is celebrated as a call to action to promote better and safer internet use for everyone.

The Safer Internet Day was first introduced in 2004 in various countries in Europe and is currently being observed by more than 100 countries in the world- including the Philippines- to raise awareness on online issues faced by children.

Section 20 of the Republic Act No. 9775, otherwise known as the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, created the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography or the IACACP.

The IACACP aims to effectively lead in the fight against child pornography through holistic, coordinated, and timely development, delivery, and monitoring of policies, programs, and activities in furtherance of the law.

It also envisions a child-friendly society free from child pornography, where the rights of the children are protected and their well-being cared for.

As child pornography is classified as a Transnational Crime pursuant to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto (Adopted by the UN General Assembly on 15 November 2000), the Department of Justice/DOJ may execute the request of a foreign investigation or prosecution of any form of child pornography, provided that the principles of mutuality and reciprocity shall be recognized for this purpose.

According to the United Nations’ Committee on the Rights of the Child, “the digital environment is becoming increasingly important across most aspects of children’s lives, including during times of crisis, as societal functions, including education, government services and commerce, progressively come to rely upon digital technologies. It affords new opportunities for the realization of children’s rights, but also poses the risks of their violation or abuse.”

The UN body added that “crises, such as pandemics, may lead to an increased risk of harm online, given that children spend more time on virtual platforms in those circumstances.”

The changes brought about by the pandemic, particularly the shift from face-to-face classes to digital/online education increases the vulnerability of children to the dangers lurking online. Risks are exponential if the children are left unsupervised or without proper online safeguards.

Thus, this year’s month-long celebration will center on the theme, “Click, Respect, Connect – CRC Next Level: Ligtas na Ugnayan Online.

A forum with internet service providers (ISPs) discussed the available technologies to combat and address online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC) was conducted during the said kickoff activity.

The Department of Labor and Employment – being a member organization of the IACACP- advocates the protection of children from cyber pornography, which is considered as one of the worst forms of child labor.

 

END//Daryll Ponard