A bill seeking to give further protection to children against online sexual abuse was one step closer to becoming a law after the Senate approved it on final reading on Thursday.
Twenty-three senators voted to pass Senate Bill 2209 of Senator Risa Hontiveros. It outlines the duties and responsibilities of Internet service providers, social media platforms, financial institutions and intermediaries in preventing cases of online sexual abuse.
For one, Hontiveros said social media sites like Facebook should be duty-bound to block and remove materials involving online sexual abuse of children within 24 hours from receiving a notice. It also requires them to preserve such evidence, devise procedures to prevent, detect, block and report similar materials.
The measure also further empowers law enforcers to investigate and prosecute Filipino and foreign perpetrators of online sexual abuse on children, especially those who are hiding behind the screen.
"It is time that we put an end to the rampant online sexual abuse and exploitation of children in the country. Let's make sure that there will be no more predators and abusers who will be able to avoid our laws, and that there will be no more child victims subjected to such horrible acts," Hontiveros said.
The senator earlier said cases of online sexual abuse on children increased by 246.6% during the enhanced community quarantine period from March to May 2020. The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking also said online child sexual abuse cases rose to 1.2 million in 2020, she added.