A neophyte lawmaker wants to strengthen the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 (Republic Act 9775) by addressing conflicting provisions that have hampered information and communications technology service providers from effectively monitoring online traffickers of child pornography.

Rizal 2nd District Rep. Fidel Nograles recently filed the Anti-Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children Act of 2020, to amend Section 9 of RA 9775, which according to the Philippine Chamber of Telecom Operators, is preventing them from blocking child pornography websites.

“We need to do more to protect our children from abuse.”

“This is an urgent issue that Congress must immediately address and comes on the heels of reports of an unprecedented number of abuse cases during the ongoing pandemic,” Nograles said.

Using data from the U.S.-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said that 279,166 cases of online child sex abuse had been tallied in the Philippines from March 1 to May 24, 2020, compared to 76,561 cases during the same period in 2019.

Section 9 of RA 9775 allows internet service providers to install software that could block access to and transmittal of child pornography and notify authorities within seven days of detection of any internet address that may contain child pornography.

However, the same provision also states that “nothing in this section may be construed to require an ISP to engage in the monitoring of any user, subscriber or customer or the content of any communication of any such person.”

A section barring foreign nationals who have committed any sex-related offenses from entering the Philippines was also added.

“Naniniwala tayong this simple amendment would go a long way in empowering our ICTSPs who are key partners in our anti-child pornography campaign so that they can nip instances of abuse at the bud,” Nograles, a Harvard-trained lawyer, said.

Under the proposed bill, the first two paragraphs of Section 9 would read:

“Section 9. Duties of Information and Communication Technology Service Providers (ICTSP). – All Information and Communication Technology Service Providers (ICTSP) shall install available technology, program or software to ensure that access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography will be blocked or filtered.

All ICTSP shall notify the Philippine National Police (PNP) or the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) within seven (7) days from obtaining facts and circumstances that any form of child pornography is being committed or has been committed using its server or facility or platform. All ICTSP shall maintain the privacy of the data captured relevant to this section while complying with the notification requirements of this section. Provided, That no ISP shall be held civilly liable for damages on account of any notice given in good faith in compliance with this section. Provided further that the data captured solely for complying to this Section shall be exempt from the application of the Data Privacy Act.”

A section that bars foreign nationals who have committed any sex-related offenses from entering the Philippines has also been added to the proposed measure.

“Nananawagan ako sa mga kapwa kong mambabatas na i-prioritize natin ang pagpasa ng panukalang-batas na ito. We need to do more to protect our children from abuse,” the lawmaker said.


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