Safer internet day for kids institutionalized in Baguio

Following the approval of an ordinance on the third and final reading, the City Government of Baguio will soon conduct programs that seek to foster a safe digital environment for children in the city.

The implementation of the ordinance is in celebration of Safer Internet Day for Children which was first introduced in 2004 in European countries and is currently being observed by more than 100 countries.

An amount of P100, 000.00 is appropriated from the City Youth Development Office (CYDO) under the the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) for the purpose. The CYDO is tasked to ensure success in the implementation of the ordinance.

Under the ordinance, a consultation with the children and youth leaders, representatives, and organizations on the Association of SouthEast Asian Nation (ASEAN) Declaration will be conducted focusing on the protection of children against online abuses and exploitation.

Furthermore, through the ordinance, orientations on preventing child pornography will be provided. Also, intensive information-education campaigns to schools and the barangays will be done.

The ordinance also enjoins the city government to coordinate with other government agencies and civic groups to help in the awareness campaign for the protection of children against the risks of the world wide web.

In 2020, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued Memorandum Circular No. 2020-013 enjoining all government units to support and institutionalize in each locality measures to promote better and safer internet use for everyone and to raise awareness on online issues faced by children.

The DILG memorandum and the ordinance are anchored in the Presidential Proclamation No. 417 which declares every second Tuesday of February as “Safer Internet Day for Chidren Philippines”.

Authored by Councilors Levy Lloyd Orcales and Lilia Fariñas, the ordinance aims to establish new programs and strengthen existing measures such as the Children’s Welfare and Protection Code of the City of Baguio, as amended, in order to protect children both in a physical and digital environment. 

“In order to promote and maximize the proper growth of the youth, regulation as early as in their juvenile and fragile years must be conducted considering that all local government units have a legal mandate to protect them from all forms of harm and abuse,” the ordinance stated. 

According to Orcales and Fariñas, the city government should act aggressively in devising mechanisms to support and nurture the holistic development of the youth and to protect children. 

“With the curiosity and innocence of children, they are easy prey of the undue and improper influence sourcing from any reliable information and misuse of various digital platforms accessible in the large world of the internet,” Orcales said. -Jordan G. Habbiling