In the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines Bill of Acts – Article III Section 4 states, “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.“
Today, the Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Law takes into effect amidst protestations and it is a sad day for us Filipinos. I feel really bad. I must admit that I really felt so frustrated and I think I may have ranted a lot to my friends.
Looking at it, it has good intentions in terms of protecting intellectual property and privacy but what irks me most especially is the “libel” clause. If, for example, I paid good money for a service from a certain business entity and I don’t get the value of my money and gets me frustrated, can I not express my opinion about their bad service? Is it not my right to call their attention? You may reason that I may complain to them. But I have already done that and my complaints went into deaf ears. Should I not forewarn my fellow consumers of the bad customer service they provided and think twice before subscribing to their service? Can I not give them other options if I got a better service from another provider? Usually, online is our outlet because I doubt that their CEO or whatever would take time to listen to one customer. Or let us say, a government figure (regardless if he/she is from the barangay to the highest governing position) and I saw them do something that should not be done or something that should be called into attention, if I go straight to them will they change their ways? Unfortunately, for a lot of us, our voices can only be heard from the Internet. Are we not supposed to voice out our dissatisfaction in those cases? Are we supposed to turn a blind eye and write only good things?
Yes, we can write good things, but only if you’ve done good things. You cannot expect a positive response for an act that we feel is wrong or unjustifiable. If you’ve made a mistake, of course, you can expect a criticism, right? Not ALL comments in the internet is meant to bully or degrade. Sometimes, it may sound a negative criticism. But the wherther it s a negative or positive criticism is up to the person. If that person takes it constructively, a negative comment can actually be a positive motivator to become a better person or to prove your detractors wrong.
I understand the clauses that will protect intellectual property and privacy but the clause about suppressing our freedom of expression is also a violation of our human rights. And if I am not mistaken, even the Human Rights Resolution of the United Nations, has declared a resolution that states, “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice. Here is an article I read about UN’s resolution regarding Internet Access.
You may notice my profile picture as a black square. This is in protest of the Cybercrime Law, which I think is not well thought out. Oh, wait. That is an opinion. Is that libel already? I tried to read the law in its entirety and it is quite vague and the scope too broad. Oops. That is another opinion, right? And 50M/year will be set aside as a budget? Don’t we have better use of that 50M for countless people in suffering poverty? Public schools that lacks classrooms and books? Streets that become flooded every time it rains? I can only sigh.
If there is indeed reincarnation, I wish not to be a Filipino. For the first time, and I am not proud to admit this, I feel bad about being one right now. I don’t feel like being patriotic anymore.