Australia offers grant for child protection program
Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - November 18, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Australian government has donated Aus$ 2 million for a program that will protect children from online abuse and exploitation.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who is attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, announced the start of the implementation of the program in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Justice and the Asia Foundation in ceremonies held at the Peninsula Manila in Makati yesterday.

Bishop signed a declaration of commitment in support of the program together with Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman; Justice Secretary Benjamin Caguioa; Asia Foundation country representative Steve Rood; Mark Woolfrey, managing director of ANZ Global Services and Operations; Roseanne Suarez, president of Telstra Foundation Philippines; Karen Batungbacal, QBE executive general manager and David Dutton, Australian embassy minister and deputy head of mission.

“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 program to ensure that we can protect children from this kind of criminal activity,” she said.

Bishop said the program seeks 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 said the program would also support an advocacy for child-friendly rules in family courts, the establishment of community-based multi-sectoral and local task forces in selected pilot areas, an audit of cases involving online child sexual abuse, and a public information and education campaign on the rights of children against online sexual abuse and exploitation.          

ACIRC ASIA FOUNDATION ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER JULIE BISHOP DAVID DUTTON DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND THE ASIA FOUNDATION DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT GLOBAL SERVICES AND OPERATIONS JUSTICE SECRETARY BENJAMIN CAGUIOA KAREN BATUNGBACAL NBSP
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