Philippines reports more Covid-19 cases as online child sexual abuse cases triples


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MANILA: The Philippines on Tuesday (May 26) reported 350 new cases of Covid-19 (coronavirus), bringing the total number to 14,669 since the highly infectious disease emerged in the country in January.

The Department of Health (DOH) said in a daily bulletin that the number of recoveries climbed to 3,412 after 89 more patients recovered.

The death toll also increased to 886 after 13 more patients have succumbed to the viral disease.

At the same time, the Philippine justice department also reported a steep upswing in online child sexual abuse cases while the country was under lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Citing data by a private organization National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Cybercrime said 279,166 child sexual abuse cases have been reported from March 1 to May 24 this year, compared to 76,561 cases over the same period in 2019.

The cases of internet-based sexual exploitation of children this year was an increase of 264 percent, the DOJ added.

"The aforesaid increase is attributable to the fact that during the enhanced community quarantine, strict home quarantine is observed in all households, and internet usage surges as people stay home," the DOJ said in a statement.

The Philippines has been under lockdown since mid-March due to the rise of Covid-19 cases.

The DOJ blamed the increase in online sexual abuse on the failure of internet service providers (ISPs) or telecommunication companies to remove access to forms of online sexual exploitation of children.

Philippine Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete stressed the need for internet service providers to install available technology, program, or software to ensure that access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography will be blocked or filtered. - Xinhua/Asian News Network
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