PHL touts better system vs online child exploitation after US partnership

PHILSTAR FILE PHOTO

THE COUNTRY now has a more organized and responsive system for addressing online child exploitation following a four-year partnership with the United States, Philippine Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said.

“Through the CPC (Child Protection Compact Partnership), the Philippine government has been able to carve out a more targeted and focused response to OSEC (online sexual exploitation of children) by identifying key objectives and adjusting critical resources in order to address priority responses in the prevention and prosecution of OSEC cases as well as the protection of victim survivors,” Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said during the recent final high-level dialogue on the partnership.

The partnership, wherein the US pledged P237 million while the Philippine Department of Justice spent about P44.6 million, was a four-year program that concluded on April 11.

The Philippine Justice department reported that over the last four years, 312 child victims of online sexual exploitation were identified while 97 perpetrators of trafficking crimes were arrested.

US Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires John Law said, “Our strong partnership with the Philippine government and civil society organizations has built a solid foundation reflected in various efforts aimed at eliminating all forms of exploitation against children. I remain confident that this Partnership will become even more effective at combating many forms of abuse against children in the years to come.”

Mr. Guevarra said in a mobile message on Wednesday that the Philippines and the US would “have to conclude a new agreement” if the CPC were to be renewed. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago