PLDT-Smart deepen partnership with Unicef in fight vs online child abuse
MANILA, Philippines — The PLDT Group strengthened its partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) as they combat the online exploitation of children.
PLDT and subsidiary Smart Communications joined Unicef as a regional pioneer in adopting assessment tools that will align the goals of protecting children with business expansion.
Known as the Mobile Operators Child Rights Impact Self-Assessment (MO-CRIA), the tool strengthens company practices while “making it possible for children globally to safely explore and enjoy the best of what the information and communication technology industry has to offer.”
“The MO-CRIA guided us in identifying our impact to children across disciplines—noting potential risks, and also opportunities to create more value,” Cathy Yap-Yang, first vice president and group head of corporate communications at PLDT and Smart, said in a statement.
Before implementing the new MO-CRIA, PLDT and Smart joined forces with Unicef to advancing children’s welfare.
Such partnerships are crucial because children comprise 35 percent of the world’s population, said Andrew Mawson, chief of child rights and business at Unicef.
“If one doesn’t investigate their impact on children, one will never know what that impact actually is. And that is a vulnerable place for any business to be in the contemporary world,” he said in the same statement.
PLDT said it was the first Philippine company to integrate child rights into its business. Moreover, company executives attended training and consultations with Unicef.
PLDT and Smart have launched separate programs to crack down on online sexual abuse and exploitation of children, cases of which have risen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group earlier formalized its membership into the United Kingdom-based Internet Watch Foundation, joining technology giants like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook.
“The IWF membership now gives PLDT and Smart broader surveillance powers, as they secure access to thousands of sites identified by IWF as harmful to children,” PLDT said in its statement.
The group has since blocked over 3,000 domains linked to the online sexual abuse of children.
“Children are key citizens of the digital world. And we recognize that we are in a unique position to make a noble difference, keeping in mind the timeless guidance of the late former U.S. Secretary General Kofi Annan when he said that there is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children,” Yap-Yang said.
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