Duterte starts whipping telcos

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After numerous threats of closure, President Rodrigo Duterte finally started whipping multi-billion-peso companies engaged in the local telecommunications industry.

Duterte, who had repeatedly warned telecom giants Globe and Smart for their poor services, however, would not be imposing sanctions over their poor internet connectivity.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that the President blew his top after receiving reports on the failure of the internet service providers to stop flourishing online flesh trade and pornography involving children.

Government data hinted on an upward spike in the figures covering transaction reports related to online sexual exploitation of kids. The report revealed that the illicit activities embarking on porn and actual flesh trade rose from 19,000 in 2019 to 47,937 in 2020, when the Philippines went on varying degrees of quarantine restrictions to halt the pandemic. The median age of those involved in these transactions is 11.

Nograles said that Duterte has in fact convened the Cabinet on Monday, and ordered the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to impose sanctions on internet service providers “for failure to fulfill their duty” under Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, he said.

These duties include immediately notifying lawmakers within a week upon knowing that their services were being used for child pornography, providing authorities with details on users involved in the scheme, and intercepting or immediately blocking access to the materials, Nograles told reporters in an online briefing.

In a bid to fortify government efforts in tracking down groups and individuals behind the rapidly flourishing illicit trade, Nograles also urged Congress to prioritize passage of bills that would exempt trafficking in persons from the Anti-Wiretapping Law.

He also sought congressional nod on a bid to broaden membership of the inter-agency council on child pornography, and strengthen the body with additional plantilla positions and funding, and impose obligations on internet service providers and tourism establishments in the campaign towards “destroying child” pornography

Hindi hahayaan ng gobyerno na madagdagan pa ang biktima ng sexual exploitation sa gitna ng kinakaharap nating pandemya,” he said.

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