Tingog party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez on Friday called for the swift implementation of a new law against online sexual abuse of children.
The Congress-approved Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children bill lapsed into law last July 29.
The measure, with Romualdez as a co-author, was docketed as Republic Act (RA) No. 11930.
Romualdez batted for the immediate formulation of the implementing rules and regulations of the law so these could be promulgated and published, and enforcement could start soon.
The sooner the concerned state agencies begin enforcing the law, the fewer the children who would be at risk of abuse and exploitation, Romualdez said.
“We owe it to every Filipino child to ensure their safety and protection both online and offline – in their schools and their homes – and to make the internet an enabling and empowering space for growth and learning. The true strength of our nation is seen in the smiles of children. The well-being, integrity and safety of our children are the most precious gift we can give them,” Romualdez said.
Romualdez added that the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened online maltreatment of children because the health crisis has caused joblessness, loss of income and livelihood, and untold suffering among the people.
“As a mother and as a legislator, my commitment is to ensure online safety for all our children,” Romualdez stressed.
She pointed out that Tingog party-list has always advocated the protection of children against all forms of abuse and exploitation.
RA 11930 penalizes the acts of producing, willingly accessing, and knowingly sharing any form of child sexual abuse and exploitative material.
It highlights the responsibilities of social media websites and electronic service providers in the treatment, handling, posting, and distribution of such stuff, and in preserving evidence of violations of the law.
The statute creates the National Coordinating Center Against Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children. It guarantees protection of victims and support for their requirements, especially their psychosocial needs.
The implementing agencies were mandated to establish and foster cooperation with their foreign counterparts for the exchange of information, adoption of best practices and conduct of joint investigations.
Violators face jail terms and a fine of up to P2 million.
In case of syndicated and large-scale offenses, the maximum penalties are life imprisonment and a fine of P5 million to P20 million.