CLARK FREEPORT -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), together with other member-agencies of the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (ICACP), led the celebration of the Safer Internet Day Philippines (SIDPH) on February 13.

The SIDPH celebration, mandated through Presidential Proclamation 417, is one of the strategies of the government, through the ICACP, to create public awareness on the need to ensure the protection of children from risks and abuses brought by misuse of cyberspace, or lack of awareness on internet safety.

The celebration, which carried the theme "Bagong Normal: Ligtas na

Internet for all," entered on the recently signed Child Online Safe Guarding Policy under Republic Act 10929 or the Free Internet Access in Public Spaces.

The IACACP has recognized the celebration of Safer Internet Day as an advocacy strategy, and has reflected this in its National Response Plan (NRP) to address online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC).

The NRP serves as a guide for government agencies, local government units (LGUs), civil society organizations, private sector, and other stakeholders to address the gaps in prevention, responses, capacity building, policies and child protection mechanisms particular on OSAEC.

In order to attain this task, the NRP had devised five Key Result Areas on Advocacy and Prevention; Law Enforcement and Prosecution; Protection, Recovery and Reintegration; Research and Management Information System; and Resource Mobilization and Partnership.

The SIDPH celebration was in partnership with Stairways Foundation, Child's Rights Network, and Saferkidsph Project.

To further address OSAEC in the country, DSWD is closely working with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to track and apprehend the perpetrators and rescue the victims of this heinous act.

DSWD is also working with the LGUs, especially with the Local Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking and VAWC (LCAT-VAWC), Local Councils for the Protection of Children (LCPCs) and other local community-based coordinating mechanism, to increase awareness, prevention, and early detection of OSAEC cases.

Rescued OSAEC victims are placed in DSWD custody and provided with psychosocial interventions.

As the lead agency in social protection, DSWD also provides assistance to trafficked persons under the Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons (RRPTP).

In 2020, some 1,274 persons were provided with various services under the RRPTP.

In this time of pandemic, the DSWD emphasized that it is even more crucial to closely monitor the safety of children even inside their homes.