News Release

PBBM intensifies campaign against sexual abuse, child exploitation

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. called on government agencies, in cooperation with other stakeholders, to adopt a holistic approach to combat online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC) and child sexual abuse and exploitation materials (CSAEM).

Alarmed by the rising number of cases related to OSAEC and CSAEM which had become a lucrative business in the Philippines, President Marcos ordered the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to intensify the monitoring in the country and abroad.

He also called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the PNP to go after child pornography perpetrators.

The President likewise directed the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other agencies to streamline and improve the process of investigation to ensure the protection of children and proper family reintegration.

Further, President Marcos wanted enhanced collaboration between the government, private sector and internet service providers on a local and global scale, and an awareness campaign in schools and communities.

“These things are very alarming. Yesterday, at the meeting, the President was visibly distressed, very bothered and clearly stressed with the information that was relayed to him which is why he gave the directive, a very strong directive to the DOJ, to the PNP and other law enforcement agencies to further intensify the efforts,” Justice Assistant Secretary Jose Dominic Clavano IV said during a press briefing in Malacañang.

“Not to say that we have not yet put any effort into this, there are a lot of key result areas which we are monitoring, which have been mentioned, but his directive is to further intensify these efforts, to further look into how we can come up with a holistic solution,” he added.

Because a whole-of-government approach can’t solve the problem, the government has to collaborate with the private sector, non-government organizations (NGOs), and social media platforms to fight such crimes, said Clavano.

He said the President asked the DOJ to intensify talks with Facebook and other social media to remind them of their obligations under the law.

The DOJ, he said, issued Department Circular 20 which requires prosecutors to work together with police officers to build quality cases in the prosecution of offenders.

“So this, obviously, puts a lot of pressure on our law enforcement agencies to get the right evidence, to get the right statements, to get the right witnesses to testify to be able to come up with a very strong case,” said Clavano.

“And I think this is one of the things that will help us in this endeavor, to prevent finally or to finally put an end to OSAEC and CSAEM,” he noted.

Based on the government’s key findings, the average victim age at the time of referral or rescue is 11 years old, with less than one year old being the youngest. OSAEC victims are predominantly female at 86 percent while there are 14 percent male victims.

Usually a family-based crime, the biological parents facilitate the abuse of 41 percent of the victims. Other relatives facilitate abuse for 42 percent of the victims.

Atty. Margarita Magsaysay, Executive Director, DOJ Center for Anti-Online Child Sexual Abuse, said during the briefing that OSAEC and CSAEM hot spots are Cagayan De Oro, Iligan and Taguig.

Citing Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), there was 68,214 STR volume in 2021 with a total value of P996.7 million. For 2022, the STR volume was 92,200 valued at P478.2 million. |PND