Palace orders NTC to go after ISPs amid rising cases of online child pornography
Malacanang has ordered the National Telecommunications Commission to go after internet service providers who have failed to stop the proliferation of online child pornography.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said this was discussed in the Cabinet meeting which President Rodrigo Duterte presided over on Monday night as ISPs were also warned they would be penalized or face closure if they failed to act on online sexual exploitation of minors in the country.
Citing the report of the Department of Justice Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, he said that the coronavirus disease pandemic "has contributed to or even been used or taken advantage of as we see the disturbing rise of online sexual exploitation cases in the country, the victims of which have a median age of only 11 years old."
"The numbers are disturbing," he said, citing that suspicious transaction reports related to online sexual exploitation during the pandemic more than double from about 19,000 in 2019 to 47,937 in 2020.
"I think the real message is for the ISPs, our internet service providers. You must be reminded and you are duly reminded right now of your obligations under Republic Act 9775, and Republic Act 9775 is actually our Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009," he said.
The official said the ISPs should have known their obligations since 2009 of their responsibilities, including blocking any child pornography sites.
He said that under the law, any ISP found guilty of willfully and knowingly fails to comply with the notice and installation of technology that will block child pornography in the country will suffer the penalty of fine of P500,000 to P1 million for the first offense and in case of subsequent office, the penalty shall be a fine of not less than P1 million to P2 million plus revocation of the license to operate.
"If you want to stamp out child pornography in the country, I think we have to start with our ISPs. So ISPs, you are hereby duly served with notice of your obligations under Republic Act 9775. And the NTC is hereby instructed to do your duty as far as any violations are concerned; NTC being part of the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography," Nograles stressed.
He said the Palace also calls on Congress to certify as priority the passage of bills to amend the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, exempts trafficking in persons from the Anti-Wiretapping Law, to broaden the membership of IACAT, and to impose obligations on ISPs and tourism establishments all in the effort to destroy child pornography in the country.
He also cited the need to strengthen the IACAT by providing plantilla positions and additional funding. Celerina Monte/DMS