A new People Power in the Philippines could be expected to rise if the new Cybercrime Law implemented will not be removed or amended.
As President Benigno Aquino III signed the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 last September 12, lots of people having access to the web, from bloggers to Facebook and Twitter users, expressed their protest against the law.
This law, which is also known as Republic Act No. 10175, aims to stop hacking, online pornography, spamming, identity thefts, and other cybercrimes. This also gives permission for authorities to get data from personal social media accounts or spy on video and voice applications, like Skype, even without the issue of a warrant.
However, what made this Cybercrime Law toughly controversial is its inclusion of online libel in the sections 4, 5, and 6. Facebook or Twitter users can then be locked up in jail for 12 years just for posting defamatory comments. Petitions for a temporary restraining order (TRO) for this law has been filed as a result since people believe it takes away the freedom of expression.
How this will affect OFWs
Being outside the Philippines does not guarantee that a Filipino cannot be affected by this new law. Personally, as an OFW blogger, I depend so much on the web not only for the postings of my blogs but also to connect to the people in the Philippines.
Since we are outside the country, no doubt, we OFWs rely much on social media to communicate with our loved ones left behind and even air our grievances to the government. It is only through the web that we can express ourselves as Filipinos so if we will be limited in this area, we become completely shut out from being part of our nation.
Philippines is a democratic country and the freedom of expression and speech has been implemented way before. Yes, it is good to have laws against cybercrimes—real cybercrimes—but it should not be at the expense of the freedom of individuality.