Santiago seeks penalty vs use of gadgets in shows, theatersBy Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill seeking to penalize the use of mobile phones, two-way radios and other electronic visual devices inside movie theaters, concert halls and other similar places.
Under Senate Bill 3384 known as “The Silent Mode Act,” mobile telephones two-way radios and audio visual electronic devices should be turned off or placed on vibrate or silent mode at all times inside movie theaters, concert halls and auditoriums and “any other indoor venue in which theatrical, musical, dance cinema, lecture or other similar public performances are exhibited.”
“Patrons must leave the theater or move to an area where they cannot be heard, in order to make or answer a call or otherwise use the device,” it said.
Any person who will violate the proposed bill will be escorted out of the venue immediately.
“Before every performance, the establishment shall issue a reminder to the audience to turn off their gadgets or put them on silent mode. It shall also be their obligation to post copies of this Act at the entrance of the venue in plain view of patrons,” the bill added.
A person caught violating this proposed bill would be slapped with a P500 fine for the first offense; P1,000 for second offense and P3,000 for third offense.
In filing the measure , Santiago noted how difficult it was to discourage people from carrying their gadges into movie theaters, concert halls and other areas where performances are held.
“In such places, noises made from the use of phones and other gadgets are a nuisance to the rest of the audience, who have paid to see the performance.
Unfortunately, despite repeated reminders from theater operators to turn off cel phones or complaints from other members of the audience who are bothered by the noise, many patrons continue using these devices in the midst of a show,” she said.
“The bright light from screens and the noise generated from people who answer calls, play
games, surf the Internet and access other media on their electronic gadgets are highly disruptive in closed spaces; their conduct distracts others from their purpose for being in the theatre,” said he senator.
But without the prospect of facing any consequences for such disruptive behavior, Santiago said, it would be easy to disregard polite requests to stop using these devices.
“Hence, it is time to establish a aw with corresponding penalties to marshal rude gadget users and allow other patrons to fully appreciate and enjoy the performance,” she said.
“Jurisprudence has consistently upheld the government’s right to impose restraints which regulate the time, place and manner of expression in public places,” she further said.
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