Immediate passage of anti-cyber bullying bill pushed by lawmakersBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines —Lawmakers on Tuesday called on their colleagues to push for the passage of an anti-cyber bullying bill once the House of Representatives resumes work this July.
Buhay Party-list Representatives Irwin Tieng and Mariano Michael Velarde are pushing for House Bill 6116, saying that existing laws in the country were inadequate in resolving issues on the new breed of bullies: cyber bullies.
The bill will be known as the “Anti Cyber Bullying Act of 2012″ and seeks to penalize violators with a fine of P50,000 to P100,000 and imprisonment six months to six years.
A cyber bully is described by the bill as a person who engages in social cruelty using the internet or other digital technologies by repeatedly sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages to a victim.
Velarde, who is the vice chairman of the House committee on welfare of children, said that cyber bullies also threaten or intimidate their victims online.
He said that the bill will also criminalize the distribution of information that is derogatory and untrue about the victim by posting it online or sending it to others through email or instant messaging.
“Breaking into an email or social networking account, using the victim’s online identity to send or post vicious or embarrassing material to or about others and posting online or sending digitally altered photos of the victim to others whether the images were taken with or without consent intended to humiliate and embarrass the victim are also considered criminal offenses of cyber-bullying,” said Velarde.
Tieng hoped that the bill would be passed into law since “cruelty has been amplified and shifted from the hallways to the internet—where a nasty, profanity-laced comment, complete with an embarrassing photo can be viewed by the public.”
He said that what made cyber bullying painful was that hurtful statements and photos cannot be easily erased from the internet and caused psychological harm, emotional distress, and even physical harm to the victim.
Once passed, the bill will assign the Commission on Information and
Communications Technology (CICT), Department of Justice (DOJ) and the
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to implement the law and formulate its rules and regulations.
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