Statement on DOJ ASec Geronimo Sy’s Amendments to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (RA 10175)

Democracy.Net.PH believes that the ill-informed and piece-meal approach to cyberspace governance cannot persist.

The move of Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy of the Department of Justice to propose to Congress the deletion of online libel, as part of his proposed amendments to Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, is yet another shortsighted approach to the promotion and growth of a vibrant Filipino netizen community. We call on Malacanang to deliberate carefully as Atty. Sy’s proposal is inconsistent with the legacy that the Aquino administration wishes to leave for posterity.

How online libel is treated is just one of the many fundamental flaws of RA 10175. Thus, any half-baked proposal that does not address the fundamentals of information and communications technology should be rejected outright, as it can and will put people’s property and lives at risk.

The recent spate of cyberattacks have shown the vulnerability of our cyber-infrastructure. They have raised, and rightly so, doubts on the readiness of our defenses to protect our critical infrastructure. Of even graver concern is the lack of police or military capability to respond to such attacks to preserve our cyber-security. RA 10175 does not adequately provide for a more robust police in dealing with cybercrimes, nor does it equip our military with the technology and skills to provide security against acts of cyberwarfare.

Democracy.Net.PH reiterates the call to Congress to repeal RA 10175 and in favor of a law providing a holistic approach to information and communications technology (ICT): one that upholds the people’s civil and political rights online while addressing how ICT can be harnessed to improve governance, promote economic development, and preserve national security.

The Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, crafted by netizens and filed by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago as SBN 3327 in the 15th Congress, provides this neeeded holistic approach. Democracy.Net.PH hopes that the MCPIF is discussed thoroughly in the 16th Congress, and is willing to work with Congress and the Executive towards its immediate passage.