MANILA — Senators on Thursday approved on final reading a tougher measure against online sexual abuse and exploitation of minors.
Twenty three senators voted in favor of Senate Bill No. 2209 or Special Protection Against Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children Law, authored by Sen. Risa Hontiveros.
Under the bill, those found guilty of selling and/or distributing sexual materials involving minors could face a life sentence.
Internet service provider and online platforms, such as Facebook, would also be held accountable.
The proposed law would also see the creation of an "online sex offenders registry."
In a statement, Hontiveros said she is "overjoyed" that the bill was able to hurdle Senate scrutiny.
"It makes tech giants and social media networks accountable for crimes that happen in their own backyard. It bans convicted perpetrators of OSAEC in other countries from entering the Philippines. It even requires government to create an online sex offenders registry in the country," she said.
"Ito ay tagumpay para sa ating kabataan. Ito ay tagumpay para sa bawat ina, ama, at magulang." (This is a success for the youth, for every mother, father, parents.)
Transaction reports related to online sexual exploitation rose from 19,000 in 2019, to 47,937 in 2020, when the Philippines went on varying degrees of quarantine restrictions to halt the pandemic.
The United Nations Children's Fund said in February 2020 that the Philippines is one of the top global sources of child sex abuse materials, with 600,000 "sexualized" photos of Filipino children bartered and traded in 2018 alone.
— Report from Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News
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