Incentives eyed for firms helping in fight vs online sexual abuse of children

Robie de Guzman   •   March 9, 2021   •   460

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros is mulling the possibility of providing incentives to private companies assisting law enforcement agencies in clamping down on online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC).

In a statement on Tuesday, Hontiveros said there is a need for companies “to be proactive in the fight against OSAEC.”

“Providing incentives may be the most effective way to ensure this. May karampatang parusa pa rin kung hindi sila susunod sa batas,” Hontiveros said.

The senator earlier filed Senate Bill 2068, or the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Law, which seeks to impose penalties on private companies that do not comply with their obligations specified under the bill.

“Both incentives and penalties can encourage more synergy between private companies and government agencies. Pwedeng mapaigting ang partisipasyon ng mga pribadong kumpanya kung hindi lang parusa ang prinepresenta sa kanila,” Hontiveros said.

Under the bill, Internet Service Providers that do not give notice of exploitation on their services will suffer a penalty of P2 million but not more than P5 million.

Social media networks that are not compliant with the requirements will suffer a penalty of P10 million, while banks, money services, and other financial intermediaries not fulfilling their reportorial obligation shall suffer the penalty as provided under the law.

“The private sectors’ products are the main channels through which exploitation occurs. Kung magkakaroon ng mas take-charge attitude ang mga kumpanya dahil sa incentives, then we should study this possibility,” she said.

“Laking tulong ito sa mga opisyal natin. When it comes to a crime as stealthy and as technical as OSAEC, our law enforcement agencies need all the help they can get,” she added.

The bill also seeks to penalize those who willfully subscribe to, join or support an internet address that hosts OSAEC content; those who hire, employ, or pay a facilitator to stream sexual abuse of children; and those who knowingly benefit from the commission of OSAEC.

Senate seeks probe on alleged DOH mismanagement of P67-B COVID-19 fund

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate wants to look into the alleged mismanagement of funds of the Department of Health (DOH) allotted for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response.

After the recent assessment of the Commission on Audit (COA), senators are seeking to investigate the deficiencies on the DOH’s P67.32 billion COVID-19 budget.

COA attributed the said deficiencies to the health department’s non-compliance with pertinent laws and regulations, including the use of funds not for the intended purpose.

Senator Grace Poe said this proves to be counter-beneficial to the government’s efforts to curb the spread of the disease at a crucial time.

“These funds were provided to strengthen the agency’s health resources in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the implementation deficiencies denied our countrymen their right to health at a time when it is most needed,” she said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the Senate should “particularly look into the P3.97 billion worth of contracts and projects with procedural deficiencies in the procurement process and lacking documentation.”

“It is imperative that we examine closely the DOH’s use of billions of pesos in COVID-19 response funds given the findings of the COA and the corruption allegations that hounded the agency’s procurement of various COVID-19 equipment and supplies,” Drilon said.

Drilon said DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III’s ineptitude is sabotaging the government’s response to the pandemic.

“While we see a shortage of beds, PPEs, ventilators, oxygen tanks, the DOH incurred P24.64 billion in unobligated funds that could have augmented our medical resources and paid on time the risk allowance of our medical frontliners,” Drilon said.

Meanwhile, Senator Risa Hontiveros said the country needs commitment and competence from the DOH leadership to ensure every peso budgeted and allocated would save lives.

“Given the COA findings, the DOH seems to be depriving thousands of Filipinos of healthcare services in the face of national emergency and it is nothing short of criminal,” she said. AAC

Hontiveros urges COMELEC to extend voter registration period in areas under ECQ

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros has called on the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to extend the voter registration period in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

“It is only logical to extend the voter registration period by at least two more weeks. It’s two more weeks that may prove critical for our country’s future,” she said.

COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez has earlier expressed concern about moving the target schedule, adding the poll body is not likely to extend the voter registration period because there are other things to prepare aside from the official voter’s list.

However, the senator says the challenges brought on by the pandemic must be considered as “extraordinary circumstances”.

“I agree that deadlines should be observed. But, hopefully, in this case, COMELEC can make one last necessary extension,” said Hontiveros.

“COVID-19’s Delta variant has already disrupted our communities. Let it not get in the way of our citizens’ desire to participate in the May 2022 elections,” she added.

COMELEC already suspended voter registration in areas under ECQ from August 6 to 20. AAC

Hontiveros urges DOLE to address labor abuses reported by food delivery drivers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Risa Hontiveros is urging the Department of Labor and Employment to address the issue of labor abuses reported by food delivery drivers.

The senator made the call after food delivery app Food Panda suspended at least 500 accredited riders in Davao City after participating in a unity ride in support of other riders who were suspended and denied access to the mobile app for 10 years.

The group is also complaining about the recent fare adjustment which significantly decreased their earnings to as low as P20.00 per ride.

Nananawagan ako sa DOLE na aksyunan agad ang hinaing ng ating delivery riders na nakararanas ng panggigipit sa mobile app operators,” she said.

(I am urging DOLE to address the complaints of our delivery riders who are experiencing problems with mobile app operators.)

Hontiveros called on DOLE to look into the plight of food delivery riders in Davao. She said there should also be guidelines and labor standards to protect the welfare of the riders.

“Failure to act on such grievances is negligence on the part of the government,” she said.

The senator also filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the working conditions of the so-called ‘gig economy’, which includes delivery riders, to address labor issues surrounding the emerging sector. AAC

 

 

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