Solons press passage of anti-cyber bullying bill

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[/caption] Buhay party-list represenattives Irwin C. Tieng and Mariano Michael Velarde stressed the need for the immediate passage of House Bill 6116, saying existing laws in the country are not adequate to properly address the emerging problem of cyber bullying. With the rapid development of information and communication technologies, a new form of social disease known as cyber bullying has emerged, Tieng said. “With the use of cell phones and social networking sites, cruelty has been amplified and shifted from the hallways to the internet, where a nasty, profanity-laced comment, complete with an embarrassing photo can be viewed by the public,” Tieng stressed. According to Tieng, “cyber bullying attacks are especially painful because they are not easily erased from the internet and can trouble the victim for months and years.” “In addition to causing substantial psychological harm and emotional distress, cyber bullying can sometimes even lead to physical harm,” Tieng said. The measure, to be known as the “Anti Cyber Bullying Act of 2012,” will penalize a person who will be found guilty of cyber bullying with not less than P50,000 but not more than P100,000, and imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than six years. Velarde, vice chairman of House Committee on Welfare of Children said, the measure defines a cyber bully as someone who engages in social cruelty using the Internet or other digital technologies by repeatedly sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages to the victim, including threats of harm or are highly intimidating, or engaging in other online activities tending to cause fear on a victim’s safety. [caption id="attachment_3199" align="alignright" width="129" caption="Velarde"][/caption] Velarde said the bill also criminalizes the distribution of information that is derogatory and untrue about the victim by posting it on the Web page or sending it to others through email or instant messaging, and sharing victim’s secrets or embarrassing information. “Breaking into an email or social networking account, using the victim’s online identity to send or post vicious or embarrassing material to or about others and posting online or sending digitally altered photos of the victim to others whether the images were taken with or without consent intended to humiliate and embarrass the victim are also considered criminal offenses of cyber-bullying,” Velarde said. For effective implementation, the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) shall jointly formulate the necessary rules and regulations. “The measure shall give bullies a concrete reason to quit their online antics and provide victim’s protection against these new breed of bullies,” Velarde said. ]]>

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