MANILA, Philippines - A Bicol lawmaker on Wednesday proposed House Bill 5718 to define and penalize the crime of cyber-bullying.
Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya authored the bill entitled "An act of defining and penalizing the crime of cyber-bullying" otherwise known as "Anti-Cyber-Bullying Act of 2015" with the hope of encouraging people to become responsible netizens and making them accountable for their "cyber-actions."
"Cyber-bullying is one such problem that the advancement in technology and social media has generated. It can potentially affect not only school-aged children, but also any individual who has access to a mobile phone or the internet," said Andaya, who is also a former budget secretary.
Andaya defined cyber-bullying as acts of cruelty committed using the internet or any form of electronic media or technology that has the effect of stripping one's dignity or causing reasonable fear or physical or emotional harm.
The congressman also considered repeated sending of offensive, rude and insulting message, distributing of belittling information about the victim, as a form of cyber-bullying.
Even posting or sending of offensive photos of the victim, whether digitally altered or not or were taken with or without consent, as long as it has intention to humiliate and embarrass the victim is also cyber-bullying according to Andaya.
Andaya also cited breaking into an email, social networking or any electronic account and using the victim's virtual identity to send, upload or distribute embarrassing materials to or about others, sharing the victim's personal information or any embarrassing information, or tricking the victim into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sharing it to others and repeated sending of messages such as threats or harm or engaging in online activities causing fear on victim's safety as cyber-bullying.
Under the measure, those who will be found guilty of cyber-bullying shall be fined penalty of P50,000 but not more than P100,000 and imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than six years, or both.
"Because of the anonymity that the internet gives, social and moral norms are easily switched off and users are emboldened to just say or post anything online without accountability," Andaya said.
Andaya said that Internet bashing has become a culture among internet users and even initiate problems that involve hostility and aggression.
Under HB 5718, the Commission of Information and Communications Technology (CICT), Department of Justice, and the Department of Interior and Local Government shall jointly create necessary rules and regulations within 90 days upon approval of the act for its effective implementation.
The bill was submitted to CICT chaired by First District Rizal Rep. Joel Roy Duavit for proper consideration and action.
For more proposed acts in the House of Representatives, visit our Bill Tracker.