by Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star), 9 Feb 2021
MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday said the department has asked President Duterte to certify as priority bills that would amend the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act to strengthen the government’s campaign against online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC).
As the country observes National Awareness Week for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, Guevarra said they have submitted recommendations to Duterte to support the government’s efforts against OSEC.
He said they have asked the President to certify as priority the passage of bills amending the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, “so that human trafficking, particularly sexual exploitation of children, will be exempt from the provisions of the Anti-Wiretapping Law.”
The Department of Justice will also draft an executive order to be signed by the President that will improve coordination between the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (IACACP).
The IACAT is chaired by the DOJ secretary, while the IACACP is chaired by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
“We will draft the EO and request other relevant agencies to comment. This may take at least two months… The EO aims to strengthen cooperation among the IACAT, the IACACP and other relevant agencies,” Guevarra said.
Another recommendation was to give additional personnel and funding for IACAT.
The DOJ also suggested to the President to direct the National Telecommunications Commission to impose sanctions on Internet Service Providers (ISP) for failure to fulfill their duties under Republic Act 9775 or The Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009.
Under Republic Act 9775, ISPs should notify the Philippine National Police or the National Bureau of Investigation within seven days from obtaining facts and circumstances that any form of child pornography is being committed using its server or facility.
The ISP should also preserve the evidence that can be used in the investigation and prosecution.