Statement on the First Joint Public Hearing of the Senate Committees on Science and Technology on MCPIF

Statement on the First Joint Public Hearing of the Senate Committees on Science and Technology, Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, Civil Service and Government Reorganization, and Finance, on the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom (#MCPIF)

Democracy.Net.PH thanks the Senate, and the Senate committee chairs, for the chance to present the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom (#MCPIF) to the Filipino people, both online and offline. We are gratified by the trust you have in us.

We are particularly inspired by the comments made on the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom by the various attendees in the hearing. We thank Angel Averia of the Philippine Computer Emergency Response Team (PH-CERT) and blogger Anthony Ian Cruz for their endorsements of the #MCPIF. We thank Undersecretary Louis Casambre of the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO), Secretary Bon Moya of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and DigitalFilipino.com blogger Janette Toral for recognizing the need for an oversight agency to uphold the Philippine’s ICT framework. We thank Atty. Krunimar Escudero of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and Benny Antiporda of the National Press Club (NPC) for their valuable suggestions on the #MCPIF. We commend Atty. Marnie Tonson and Nica Dumlao of the Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA) for promoting the idea of a rights-anchored bill for Philippine cyberspace and ICT.

Of even greater moment, we are humbled by the positive acceptance of the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom by the Senate. We thank Senator Chiz Escudero for recognizing the need to uphold rights equally online and offline. We thank Senator JV Ejercito for promoting the idea for a Department of Information and Communications Technology. We are grateful for Senator Bam Aquino’s proposal for government officials to review the #MCPIF and ensure that there will be a meeting of the minds among all stakeholders. We thank Senator Pia Cayetano for proposing that the #MCPIF will be the basis for the ICT law that will be the result of this hearing and the hearings yet to come. Finally, we thank Senator Ralph Recto, who, apart from ably leading the proceedings, immediately after the hearing began considering and consulting on how the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom can be better digested and deliberated upon.

There is much yet to be done. Fellow advocates, we seek your participation, as you did during its drafting, in the discussions and promotion of the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom. We must educate Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy of the Department of Justice that, instead of eight or more laws on cyberspace whose enforcement needs to be harmonized, it makes better sense to build a holistic framework on Philippine ICT, one that is anchored on rights, governance, development, and security. Thereby, enforcement will no longer be an issue, and instead will be guided by clear provisions of such a law, as the #MCPIF does. We call on those such as Sarah Elago of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) and other members of the youth sector and other ICT-savvy sectors to help explain the Philippines’ need for a holistic ICT framework, anchored on rights, governance, development, and security.

Once more, Democracy.Net.PH expresses our gratitude to all of you. Let’s do this! Let’s go #MCPIF!