FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Filipino Organization in NY Says Cybercrime Law in the Philippines Will Affect Filipino Im/migrants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02 October 2012

Reference: Jonna Baldres, Community Action Coordinator, Philippine Forum
Contact Info: jbaldres, 6465787390

Filipino Organization in NY Says Cybercrime Law

in the Philippines Will Affect Filipino Im/migrants

NEW YORK — The Philippine Forum, a not-for-profit community grassroots organization based in New York, encourages fellow Filipinos, not just in New York but all over the world, to take a stand against the Cybercrime Prevention Act 2012, or Republic Act (RA) No. 10175. The said law was signed by Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III last September 12, 2012.

Rusty Fabunan, one of the Program Directors at Philippine Forum, said “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.”

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 continues.

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 once the Cybercrime Law takes effect on October 3 (Philippine time).

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,” Fabunan ends.

Philippine Forum encourages everyone to join actions opposing the Cybercrime Law and sign the petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/junk-the-cybercrime-prevention-law

Philippine Forum will also join the millions of netizens and freedom-loving people who will change their Facebook profile to black as the freedom of speech of the Filipino nation is once more attacked and silenced by its own government.

NO TO E-MARTIAL LAW!
JUNK THE CYBERCRIME LAW!
PASS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT!

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