Thursday, March 11, 2010

Consultations On The Draft IRR Of R. A. No. 9775

The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for Republic Act No. 9775 (RA 9775) otherwise known as Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 is now in process of preparation. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is tasked by the said law to head the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Prostitution (IACACP) so it is also taking the lead role in the preparation of the IRR of RA 9775. Prior to finalizing the IRR, regional consultations will be held in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The first Luzon consultation was held last Tuesday, March 9, 2010 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM at College of St. Benilde International Conference Center in the City of Manila. The Visayas and Mindanao consultation meetings are also scheduled within this month of March with the aim of meeting the deadline for submission of the IRR on May 22, 2010.

I-Café Pilipinas was invited to participate in the consultation and Arthur Gimena and myself joined the meeting participated by the representatives of concerned government agencies and non-government organizations (NGOs). Notably absent during the consultation meeting were the Internet service providers (ISPs), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) whose inputs are very important in the drafting of the IRR.

The participants in the consultation meeting were grouped into five (5) and each were assigned to discuss the provisions of RA 9775 that would concern or need their participation when the law is finally implemented. I-Café Pilipinas, being the national advocacy body of the Internet café industry that is specifically mentioned in some sections of the law, joined the group that will discuss the implementation of web filtering at ISP level and another one that tackled the composition of the IACACP where three (3) NGOs will be appointed by the President of the Philippines.

The discussions went well and by the time that the outputs of each group were reported, the following were noted to be missing or not included in the law. The Department of Education (DepEd) which has the mandate to educate the majority of the children that needs the protection of the law (with ages up up to 18) is not included among the government agencies that will form the IACACP. The law provides for three (3) representatives from "children NGOs" to be appointed by the President to the IACACP which shall be primarily tasked to coordinate, monitor and oversee the implementation of RA 9775. I-Café Pilipinas, despite the word  "children NGO" in the law, requested that it be considered to be one of the NGOs to be nominated to become member of the IACACP by virtue of its representation of the i-cafés which are suspected to be among the places where violations of the law may occur.

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