The Quezon City government has passed an ordinance penalizing Internet shops that would expose the youth to pornography, gambling, smoking and alcohol.
The ordinance signed by Mayor Herbert Bautista on Aug. 29 also limits the number of hours minors could be allowed in these establishments.
On Monday to Friday they can be admitted only from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. The restrictions don’t apply on weekends.
The ordinance noted that the operations of computer rental or Internet shops in the city “have been unsatisfactorily regulated’’ and that letting students play computer games there for hours “can adversely affect their performance in school.”
The operators face criminal prosecution and fines if caught allowing minors to see pornographic content on the web or letting them perform lewd acts themselves in front of web cameras.
The ordinance also bans gambling and the sale of liquor and cigarettes inside these establishments.
The shop owners or managers are also required to check the IDs and class schedules of students before allowing them to enter.
They should also keep the shops well lit and observable from outside through windows or glass panels.
Shop owners face a P2,00 fine for the first violation; P3,000 and a month-long suspension of the business permit for a second offense; and P5,000 as well as the revocation of the business permit and license to operate for a third violation.
Persons who perform, transmit, or view prohibited sexual acts or surf the banned web sites face a P3,000 fine and prosecution in court.
Minors found in violation of restrictions will be reported to their schools for disciplinary action.
“When there is probable cause to believe that the mother, father or guardian induced the minor to engage in Internet pornography, the Department of Social Welfare and Development-Quezon City shall temporarily assume the custody and parental authority over the minor,” the ordinance added.