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Congress asked to fast-track cyber crime bills

Participants of the two-day “legislators and experts workshop on cyber crime” held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati City yesterday asked the House of Representatives to fast-track the passage of the anti-cyber crime bills pending at the House committee on information and communications technology.

In a joint declaration and statement of support read by Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua, chairman of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), the participants said there is a need for an effective framework for the prosecution of cyber crime in the country.

“We hereby declare our support for Philippine accession to the Budapest Convention on cyber crime and the expeditious passage of an implementing anti-cyber crime law to prevent, mitigate and deter the commission of ICT related crimes and to foster cooperation within the ICT community, government, private sector and civil society in promoting an atmosphere of safe computing,” the joint declaration read.

In his closing remarks, Chua also urged Congress to include child pornography in the list of heinous crimes and implement the maximum penalty against the violators.

“As a father, (I believe) child pornography has to be considered as a heinous crime,” Chua said.

Rep. Joseph Santiago, chairman of the House committee on information and communication technology, admitted that Congress has not made much effort to pass into law the two cyber crime bills filed by Representatives Marcelino Teodoro and Luis Sison in the past two congress.

“There are two anti-cyber crime bills pending in Congress today because not much effort was made for the passage of the law. We cannot deny the fact that some of the congressmen will propose amendments on the regulatory framework so that the committee will have an easier time to report these bills on the floor,” Santiago said.

He added he had already coordinated with Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, who agreed with him to have a common agenda for the cyber crime bills.

“There are so many bills and so many opportunities that have lapsed for the passage of this bills. The country has no regulatory network to prevent cyber crimes. We (congressmen) are also in a quandary whether to regulate the Internet. Internet has grown so big because of lack of government intervention. We really have to legislate. We have to fast-track the passage of the anti-cyber crime bills,” Santiago said.

“It is of prime importance because it is the engine of growth. The economy is dependent upon information technology. The problem is it is placed on the back burner. There are only few dedicated congressmen for information and technology,” he said.

Rafael “Pepeng” Rullan, managing director of Microsoft Philippines, said the mission of Microsoft is to enable the people to achieve their full potential through technology.

“We now live in a world that operates on the Internet as technology has become an indispensable part of our lives. Apart from ensuring that our tools and technology are able to give users a secure computing experience, we are working with partners, both locally and internationally, to raise awareness on the importance of security and address issues such as cyber crime,” Rullan said.

Joanna Rodriguez, national technology officer of Microsoft Philippines, said the workshop aims to pool various experts, stakeholders and sectors most affected by security issues and discuss guidelines on how to enforce and implement measures against cyber crime perpetrators.

“The workshop will also help to address efficient investigation methods and implementation of due process to be included in the version of the anti-cyber crime bill. If adopted, the Philippines will take the lead in Asia in battling cyber crime,” Rodriguez said.

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