After the RH Law: Magna Carta for Internet Freedom is Miriam’s new pet bill

After working for the passage of the RH Bill into law, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom (MCPIF) is her new pet bill.

Senate Bill No. 53, or the MCPIF, was the first bill Santiago filed in the new 16th Congress.

“I consider the RH Bill as the biggest triumph of the 15th Congress,” the feisty senator said. “Let’s do the same for the Magna Carta for Internet Freedom this new Congress.”

If passed, Santiago’s bill will repeal the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act, or Republic Act No. 10175.

“R.A. 10175 confines the Philippines to 20th century capabilities in this 21st century information society. Clearly, laws that have an impact on cyberspace must address the realities of the present and the challenges of the future,” she said.

According to Santiago, her bill will protect the rights and freedoms of Filipinos in cyberspace, while defining and penalizing cybercrimes.

“While it is important to crackdown on criminal activities on the internet, protecting constitutional rights like free expression, privacy, and due process should hold a higher place in crafting laws,” she said.

Santiago said that the MCPIF upholds the right to free speech of Filipinos in cyberspace, unlike the much-criticized Cybercrime Prevention Act.

“The MCPIF treats libel as a civil liability rather than a criminal act. It is not overbroad or vague in its provisions on libel, unlike the cybercrime law,” she explained.

If passed into law, the MCPIF will be the first law to be created through “crowdsourcing.” Crowdsourcing is an online process of getting work done by tapping people on the Internet who volunteer their talent and skills.

According to Santiago, a group of concerned netizens—composed of software designers, IT specialists, academics, bloggers, engineers, lawyers, human rights advocates—approached her office with a draft of the MCPIF. The group formulated the MCPIF through discussions in an open Facebook group, email, Google Hangout teleconferences, and social media channels like Twitter.

“I call on all our young people to voice their support for this bill through social media. You are our new opinion-leaders. After the RH Bill, we saw how powerful social media can be in advancing our causes,” Santiago said.

Democracy.Net.Ph, a network of Filipino bloggers and ICT experts involved crowdsourcing the bill, earlier released a statement supporting the MCPIF (http://democracy.net.ph/statement-on-the-filing-of-the-magna-carta-for-philippine-internet-freedom-senate-bill-no-53/).

“Miriam Defensor Santiago wins the Internet. This is the consensus of netizens reacting to Senator Santiago’s filing of the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom or the #MCPIF. Senate Bill No. 53 was greeted with a flurry of likes, retweets, and shares on social networking sites. Netizens lauded Senator Santiago, saying that the #MCPIF, when passed, will be her legacy to the Filipino people,” the group said.

 

(Editor’s note. This was a press release sent by the Office of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. You may contact her staff here):

Atty. Jeanie Bacong

Tom M. Tolibas

Aika Thelmo

Public Affairs and Media Relations Officers

0918-9142297

411-4680 / 3724573

371-9156 / 552-6693