To strengthen the campaign to eradicate child pornography in the Philippines, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will host today the launch of the first ever Safer Internet Day at the Central office, Batasan Hills, Quezon City.

On February 5, 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation No. 417 declaring the second Tuesday of February every year as ‘Safer Internet Day for Children Philippines.’   The approval of the proclamation is provided in the 1987 Constitution which says the government shall “promote and protect” the physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being of the youth.

The ‘Safer Internet Day’ was first introduced in various countries in Europe in 2004 and is currently being observed by more than 100 countries to raise awareness on online issues faced by children.

Under Republic Act No. 9775, otherwise known as the “Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009”, the government is tasked to guarantee the protection of every child from all forms of neglect, cruelty and other conditions prejudicial to his/her development.

The Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (IACACAP), chaired by DSWD and Vice-chaired by the Department of Justice (DOJ) had favorably endorsed the approval and issuance of a proclamation declaring second Tuesday of every year as Safer Internet Day for Children Philippines.

IACACP is an inter-agency body created in 2010 by virtue of Republic Act 9775 that is primarily tasked to coordinate, monitor, and oversee the implementation of the Act. It is composed of 12 line agency members and three non-government organizations.

DSWD Officer-In-Charge Emmanuel S. Leyco lauded the issuance of Presidential Proclamation No. 417 stating, “We welcome this development because it further shows the seriousness of the government’s campaign to help protect children from abuse and child pornography. From this year henceforward, the DSWD and its units focused on the protection of children’s welfare will mark Safer Internet Day with activities to make the public more aware against the dangers of child pornography and the necessity to protect children from the evils that lurk in the internet,” he said.

“We hope that children and their parents everywhere will take to heart the warnings against the dangers of letting children use the internet without being monitored. We also hope to send a message to unscrupulous individuals and groups that the government will exert its full authority to stop child pornography.”

Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary for Special Women’s and Children’s Concerns and Alternate chair of IACACP, Michelle R. Ortega – Pimentel said that the council is “deeply grateful, very happy and thankful personally  the beloved President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for signing this proclamation which will enhance the awareness of the general public on the need to protect children and youth against online predators.”

The members of IACACP are Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Science and Technology, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Philippine National Police (PNP), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), Philippine Center for Transnational Crimes (PCTC), Optical Media Board (OMB), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI); and two non-government organizations,  and International Justice Mission (IJM), a non-government organization.

The intensified advocacy against child pornography is being undertaken with the support of Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and Philippine Information Agency (PIA). ##