NEW YORK — The Philippine Forum, a not-for-profit community grassroots organization based in New York, encourages Filipinos in New York and all over the world, to take a stand against Republic Act (RA) No. 10175, otherwise known as the Cybercrime Act 2012, which was signed by Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III on September 12, 2012. The law took effect on October 3, 2012.
Rusty Fabunan, one of the Program Directors at Philippine Forum, said that “Filipino im/migrants are not spared from the unfavorable consequences that could arise from the implementation of the Cybercrime Law. Im/migrants rely a lot on online communication with their families back home. Implementing the Cybercrime Law will limit this. This might even put us and our families back home in danger of getting jailed or punished.”
He added that according to the law, “the unlawful or prohibited acts of libel as defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future” is a punishable act.”
“The law does not provide clear provisions on how ‘libel’ is carried out in ‘computer systems’ which can be interpreted in many ways. Even ‘liking’ a post in Facebook of a family member who is in a different country outside of the Philippines, which a reader or a government official might find ‘libelous’, can now be grounds for a punishable act,” Fabunan said.
Last year, 2011, Philippine Forum won the first ever award for the Community Service and Advocacy Category of The Outstanding Filipino Americans of New York (TOFA-NY) by getting the most ‘likes’ in Facebook among a set of nominees. Philippine Forum warns that “the likes of these creative and innovative forms of endeavors by our fellow Filipinos may be controlled by authorities and can cause our families back home to be penalized for ‘liking’ certain posts which may not cater to the likings of a reader or the government itself” as the Cybercrime Law took effect on October 3.
According to the Philippine Forum, “the law also allows the use of international instruments on international cooperation by the Philippine government to prosecute and impose punishment even on those outside of the country as stated in Chapter 6 of the RA No. 10175.”
“The Cybercrime Law is not what we need right now. This law is just reminiscent of the Martial Law era, which forced many of our kababayans out of the country in the 70’s and the decades after. It is absurd that PhP50 million is being spent on this law. This must be repealed or replaced with clearer and more concrete provisions and laws that will address the basic problems and needs of Filipino migrants and the Philippine society,” Philippine Forum said.
Philippine Forum encourages everyone to join actions opposing the Cybercrime Law and to sign the petition at: http://www.change.org/petitions/junk-the-cybercrime-prevention-law.
It will also be joinng the millions of netizens and freedom-loving people who changed their Facebook account profile to black.