Sen. Grace Poe, who also chairs the Senate Public Information and Mass Media committee, said she supports banning of pornographic websites in the country.
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Senators back government order to block porn sites
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - January 18, 2017 - 3:13pm

MANILA, Philippines –  Sen. Grace Poe on Tuesday said she supports the government’s move to block websites that allegedly distribute child pornography.

Poe, who also chairs the Senate Public Information and Mass Media committee, said users in the Philippines should be prevented from viewing pornographic sites.

“All of the porn sites, especially those involving children, should really be banned from the Internet. It should be blocked and those behind it should be caught, penalized and thrown in jail,” Poe said in a chance interview.

“Hindi porke't may Internet, malaya tayong gawin ang gusto nating gawin,” she added.

Poe said that even social networking sites such as Facebook take down pornographic posts and those on terrorist activities.

In a video report on the Politiko website, Sen. Bam Aquino said that it was about time that a law against child pornography was fully implemented. 

"They chose sites, I think, that did include minors. So, if it's just implementing our law... tama lang yan," he said, referring to the National Telecommunications Commission, which issued the order for Internet Service Providers to block certain sites.
 
"Now, yung kanilang implementation, kailangan din bantayan," he said.
 
Aquino chairs the Senate committees on Science and Technology and on Education, Arts and Culture.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar has likewise said that pornographic websites should be banned because these are being used by pedophiles. He added that President Rodrigo Duterte also dislikes the proliferation of porn videos, hence the Department of Information and Communications Technology restricted access to them.

Poe said if the law on blocking of such websites reach her committee she will support it 100 percent.

RELATED: Porno websites blocked in Phl

Question of due process

Over the weekend, some netizens noticed that popular porn sites such as PornHub, Xvideos and Red Tube were blocked to subscribers of Smart and Sun Cellular mobile data. Users were told that the sites had been “ordered to be blocked under authority of the Philippine Government pursuant to Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Law.”

Globe users said they can still access the sites.

Under NTC Memorandum Circular No. 01-01-2014, the NTC can furnish ISPs with lists of "identified pornographic websites" that Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography provides.

The websites on the list are "for immediate blocking of access or filtering" and the ISPs are required to submit a list "of all websites carrying child pornography materials that were blocked" within the month.

Ramon Isberto, head of the public affairs group of Smart Communications, told Philstar.com that the NTC order was based on the memorandum and that the commission requires companies to submit a report on actions taken to block sites on the list.

"We receive orders from the NTC from time to time, depending on requests from the [Philippine National Police]," he also said.

But the NTC orders have raised concerns.

Pierre Tito Galla, an engineer and a member of online rights advocacy group Democracy.net.PH, said officials must look beyond the alleged content of the websites that were blocked and look at how they were blocked. 

"The Supreme Court said in Disini vs. Secretary of Justice that a court order was needed [to take down a website]; Was there a court order? It appears there was none," Galla said, referring to the court decision on the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, parts of which the Supreme Court ruled were unconstitutional.

Among those found unconstitutional was Section 19, which authorized the secretary of justice to block access to websites allegedly connected to cybercrime.

The court said that the provision operates as "a restriction on the freedom of expression over cyberspace."

It said "for an executive officer to seize content alleged to be unprotected without any judicial warrant, it is not enough for him to be of the opinion that such content violates some law, for to do so would make him judge, jury, and executioner all rolled into one."

Galla, who does not support child pornography, said that "if we are against shortcuts in judicial processes, we should be consistent against such shortcuts -- even if we do not like the content, that has to go through the proper processes."  —with Jonathan de Santos

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