The Australian government has donated $2 million (AUD) for a programme that will protect children from online abuse and exploitation in the Philippines.
Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop announced the start of the implementation of the programme at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila.
The donation will be used in a partnership agreement with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, as well as the Department of Justice and the Asia Foundation.
In the ceremony, Bishop signed a deceleration of commitment in support of the programme. The signing also included those from the groups who will be directly involved in the programme.
“It’s a serious social issue and it’s not only confined to the Philippines. All countries are affected by it, including Australia,” Bishop said.
“We must act and in partnership with the Philippine government and the Asia Foundation… for a programme to ensure that we can protect children from this kind of criminal activity,” she said.
Bishop said the programme sought to assist the Philippines in drawing up and enacting legislation to set up of a registry of sexual offenders.
“We want to advocate for changes in the wiretapping laws so that there can be electronic surveillance of potential offenders,” she added.
The Australian Embassy in Manila noted that the program would also support an advocacy for child-friendly rules in family courts within the Philippines.
The programme would also establish a community-based multi-sectoral and local task forces in selected pilot areas where it will be launched.
The programme also hopes to inform the public on the rights of children against online sexual abuse and exploitation.
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