The Senate has approved a bill that strengthens the government’s measures against online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC).

Senate Bill No. 2209, also known as the Anti-OSAEC Law, went past final reading without any senators voting against it or abstaining.

The bill’s author, Senator Risa Hontiveros, said the new bill aims to modernize existing child protection laws so the government and law enforcement agencies can have better tools against emerging forms of OSAEC.

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Per statistics cited by Hontiveros, the Philippines is unfortunately among the top ten countries that produce OSEAC content. She also revealed that OSAEC cases in the Philippines increased by 264.6 percent when the COVID-19 pandemic happened.

With the new bill, Internet intermediaries such as Internet service providers, social media networks and online payment systems, are beholden to protecting children online.

These intermediaries are obliged to take down offensive content within 24 hours from receipt of notice and to preserve evidence to help catch perpetrators.

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