Press Release
January 26, 2010


SENATOR Bong Revilla today appealed to the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography to provide safety measures that will protect human rights in connection to the newly-enacted Republic Act 9775 or Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009.

The senator made this appeal after scholars at the De La Salle University's Institute of Governance (LSIG) expressed apprehension on the implementation of the law, stating that the same could be misused or even abused to curb Filipinos' right to use the Internet and deprive them of other civil liberties.

"While I recognized the fact that there is urgency in implementing the law to protect our children from all forms of exploitation and abuse, and to protect them from exposing pornographic materials, including through the Internet, I do hope this law will not be abused," Revilla, co-author of the RA 9775.

The Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography - composed of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Philippine National Police (PNP), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Commission on Information and Communication Technology (CICT), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), Philippine Center on Transnational Crime, Optical Media Board and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and representatives from child-focused non-government organizations - is tasked to promulgate the implementing rules and regulations upon the effectivity of the RA 9775.

Under RA 9775, it outlaws any access or attempt to access any child pornography website. It also requires the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to report to the authorities the identity of any individual who gained or tried to access child pornography websites using their servers. LSIG's study, "Patrolling the Internet: Mapping the Policy Terrain", stated a possible scenario in which government agents will have a valid reason to do a surveillance to a person reported by the ISP, when in fact, the person in question only visited the porn website by accident or by clicking the wrong button.

"There are apprehensions that RA 9775 can be used to violate an individual's right to privacy. We must ensure that the provisions will not be used for any purpose other than violations of the anti-child pornography law. " Revilla pointed out.

The senator commended the LSIG's initiative to conduct a deeper insight of the law. He proposed that the inter-agency council should consider the recommendations of the scholars. Among the recommendations of LSIG is the participation of all sectors of the society in a dialogue with regards to filtering websites.

Revilla earlier expressed alarm on the extent of obscenity in cyberspace considering that the internet surfing is the new pastime of children and internet cafes serve as their playground. He warned that children are susceptible to online pornography even if there are so-called computer programs that refuse access to pornographic websites. "It is not only about the children accessing pornography, but also about children depicted as engaging in sexual activity with adults and other children. They are the first and foremost victims of child sexual abuse," he added.

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