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Gov’t to sanction internet service providers for failing to stop spread of child porn

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over the 50th Cabinet Meeting at the Malacañang Palace on January 11, 2021. ALBERTO ALCAIN/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte and his Cabinet discussed the issue of online child pornography during a meeting on Monday, January 11.

Cabinet Sec. Karlo Nograles said on Tuesday, January 12, that reports of online sexual exploitation ‘ballooned’ from 19,000 in 2019 to 47,937 during the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“It has been discovered, however, that the pandemic has contributed to or even been used and taken advantage of as we see the disturbing rise of online sexual exploitation cases in the country,” Nograles said during an online press briefing.

The victims of which have a median age of over only 11 years old,” he added.

Nograles said that the national government has adopted the recommendation of the Department of Justice to direct the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to impose sanctions on internet service providers (ISPs).

Nograles said that ISPs failed to fulfill their duties under Republic Act 9775, also known as the Anti-Child Pornography Act.

Under RA 9775, ISPs should:

  • Notify the Philippine National Police (PNP) or the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) within seven days from obtaining facts and circumstances that any form of child pornography is being committed using its server or facility;
  • Preserve such evidence for purpose of investigation and prosecution by relevant authorities;
  • Upon the request of proper authorities, furnish the particulars of users who gained or attempted to gain access to an internet address which contains any form of child pornography; and
  • Install available technology, program or software to ensure that access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography will be blocked or filtered.

 The national government also adopted the recommendation to issue an executive order for the strengthened cooperation between the the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography, and other relevant agencies; the formulation of a case management protocol; and the streamlining of online sexual exploitation information dissemination efforts to be headed by the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

Nograles also urged Congress to prioritize the passage of bills to amend the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, also known as Republic Act 9208.

The proposed amendments include exempting trafficking in persons from the Anti-Wiretapping Law; broadening the membership of the IACAT; and imposing obligations on ISPs and tourism establishments as part of the effort to destroy child pornography in the country.

Nograles assured that the government will not allow the further rise of child pornography cases in the Philippines.

Nograles also reminded the ISPs that they could face a fine of Php 500,000 to Php 1 million on the first offense if they fail to install technology, program, or software that will block child pornography in the Philippines.

For subsequent offenses, ISP will face a fine of Php 1 million to Php 2 million and revocation of its license to operate.

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