UNICEF lauds signing of Anti-Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Law IRR

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 18) — The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) welcomed on Thursday the signing of the implementing rules and regulations of the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) and Anti-Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials (CSAEM) Act.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Justice launched the IRR of Republic Act (RA) 11930 on Wednesday and signed it on Thursday. The measure lapsed into law last July 30, 2022.

"This marks an important step in helping implement a law that will allow children to be safer online…It stands as a testament to our unwavering commitment to create a safer and more secure future for every Filipino child, be it in online or offline spaces" UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov said.

The newly-signed IRR states the actions needed to be taken by the government to address OSAEC in the Philippines.

It directs relevant agencies to develop social behavior change programs to address low reporting of OSAEC and enhances the role of internet intermediaries in combating the issue.

The measure also sees the creation of a registry for both Filipinos and foreigners who violate provisions of the law. This also delineates how the country can exercise jurisdiction over OSAEC offenses committed outside of the Philippines through international legal cooperation.

UNICEF highlighted that the law’s IRR was signed amid rising cases of OSAEC in the Philippines, particularly over the COVID-19 pandemic.

"According to the 2022 Disrupting Harm Study conducted by UNICEF, ECPAT International, and Interpol, 20% of Internet-using Filipino children aged 12-17 were subjected to OSAEC," it said.

"This represents an estimated two million children who have been victimized. Additionally, 23-38% of children who are victims do not tell anyone of the harm they experienced, while a very low 0-3% report to the police or to a helpline."

Mama Fatima Singhateh, UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children, and Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said last December that the Philippines was a hotspot for child sexual exploitation.

READ: PH remains hotspot for child sexual exploitation - UN rapporteur, DOJ chief