The Philippines has asked for a strong cooperation among Asean member states to fight online pornography and prostitution in the region, saying the complexities of these cyber crimes transcend national territories.

The country made the appeal during the “Asean Conference on Working Toward a Cyber Pornography and Cyber Prostitution Free Southeast Asia”, which was recently hosted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The three-day conference at the Diamond Hotel in Manila sought to enhance the competency of Asean member-states in addressing the gaps to ensure responsive and comprehensive programs for victims of cyber pornography and cyber prostitution.

Philippine officials said there was need to raise the issue of cyber pornography and cyber prostitution at the regional level in order to come up with a holistic approach in addressing the problems.

The DSWD noted that cyber pornography and cyber prostitution have become troublesome and ever-growing crimes. It noted that advancements in ICT have also invited villains to take advantage of the technology to expose people, especially children and women, to violence and exploitation.

Representatives from nine Asean countries including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam shared their country’s experience and initiatives in fighting cyber porn and cyber prostitution.

“The complexities of cyber pornography and cyber prostitution transcend national boundaries. One solution to this problem is a strong regional cooperation among Asean member-states through sharing of best practices, joint sourcing and technology transfer towards a more child and woman-friendly Southeast Asia,” DSWD secretary Dinky Soliman said.

The DSWD said it also pushing for the immediate signing into law of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 which penalizes cybersex, child pornography on the Web, spamming, and other crimes on the Web.

A consolidated version of the bill was recently approved by a bicam panel, which then transmitted the measure to Malacanang for Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s signature.

The legislation specifies the imposition of penalties to those engaging in cybersex including wilful engagement, maintenance, control or operation, directly or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition or sexual organs or sexual activities, with the aid of a computer system.

The penalties are imprisonment of 6 to 12 years or a fine of P200,000 to P1 million. –Melvn G. Calimag, Manila Standard Today