Child online sexual abuse and cyber bullying are some of the dangers lurking in the worldwide web which threaten the safety of children. Because various types of information is now easily accessible, more and more young people are falling prey to online predators.

To counter this menace, the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (IACACP) chaired by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is pushing its anti- child pornography campaign through advocacy activities which aim to raise awareness on online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC).

Since November is National Children’s Month, IACACP, through the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is holding the Child Online Protection (COP) Summit on November 23-24 in Manila. This year’s theme is “Enabling Dynamic Partnerships: The role of everyone to protect children and young people safe and secure online”.

The theme reflects the Summit’s objectives to provide a platform to discuss challenges and identify solutions related to adopting various approaches on child online safety; strengthen the sharing knowledge and experience in raising awareness and education, which is generally recognized as a key policy tool; and encourage partnerships and collaborations      between the public and private sectors for a unified and strategic plan of action in fighting online abuses and exploitation of children and young people.

To be attended by more than 200 child protection advocates, parents, students and partners from various national government agencies (NGAs) and non-government organizations (NGOs), the two-day event also seeks to present policies and frameworks on children’s rights, online protection, safety measures; capacitate individuals and organizations on the different ways on how to prevent and address online sexual abuse and exploitation of children and young people; and develop a child online safeguarding standards and mechanisms, including child online safeguarding policy as mandated in Sec. 11 of Republic Act No. 10929, otherwise known as, “ Free Internet Access In Public Places Act.”

“Children are the hope of the future and among society’s most vulnerable members. The government and child protection advocates must ensure that their safety and well-being are prioritized,” stated DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel A. Leyco.

On the other hand, IACACP Chairperson DSWD Assistant Secretary Michelle Ortega emphasized, “Children must be protected from all forms of online abuse and exploitation, including cyber bullying, and it is the duty of the Council to advocate and inform parents, children and caregivers regarding online safety.”

The IACACP is an inter-agency body with DSWD as chair and DOJ as vice-chair, comprising of 11 NGAs and 3 NGOs mandated by RA 9775 also known as the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 to formulate policies and to conduct advocacy activities against child pornography. ###