The year was 2018, one afternoon in March, a number of people gathered for the CyberSafePh Ecosystem Activation Workshop. It was just another workshop on cyber safety until DOJ-Office of Cybercrime Special Agent Christian Ibasco spoke about the number of reports received by their office coming from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) on suspected Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) from electronic service providers and the public. As he narrated the statistics from 45,000+ in 2017 to 600,000+ in 2018, the atmosphere in the room changed and Christian himself broke into tears. Everyone grew quiet as each one listened and was shocked by the reality of this growing evil in our society. Suddenly, it wasn’t just another workshop. One by one, law enforcement agents, government agencies and social workers started sharing story after story about their fight against this cybercrime. It didn’t take long before it became clear that OSAEC has been around but has not been given due attention which most likely contributed to the growing number of cases. After the situational awareness, there was no need for anyone to say “We need to act now.” The activities which followed saw the active engagement of everyone present in the workshop. Plans and programs were presented. Commitments were given by organizations and individuals. It was then that CyberGuardiansPh was born. The core members then were the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Pacific Online Services Corporation (POSC), National
Council for Solo Parents (NCSP), Global Alliance of Peace Builders (GAPB), SEAMEO Innotech and ECPAT Philippines. The momentous event was followed by a Strategic Planning Workshop which laid out the roadmap
for the CyberGuardiansPh plans and programs: CyberCare – an awareness campaign and education program for parents/teachers/guidance counselors on digital parenting, cybercrime situation, basic cybersecurity, values enhancement given through the barangays and church-based organizations;
CyberSaveOurChildren – a renewal and reintegration program for OSAEC and cyberbullying victims, care providers and parents/relatives of victims/survivors to provide psychosocial support;
CyberBeing – an awareness campaign and education program for children/youth on cybersecurity measures, mindfulness, belongingness, and values enhancement.
The CyberGuardiansPh’ Communication Plan is to integrate a common message for a nationwide campaign while creating specific messages for each targeted audience. Its goal is not to outshine similar organizations but to amplify the strengths of each one. It does not want to duplicate existing
initiatives but to fill in identified gaps. Its desire is not to compete but to unify. It believes that no single person, government agency or NGO can do the job alone. It takes all of us to fight this menace in our society and protect our future. It will not be easy but no worthy cause ever is. It will not be a
popular fight but it will be applauded by heaven as the word of God clearly says in Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of the orphans.”