Filipino Lawmaker Proposes ‘Anti-Cybersex Act’

Q Boyer
MANILA — Arguing that cybersex activities “create havoc in the moral, spiritual and psychological make-up of Filipino children,” Rep. Marcelino Teodoro has proposed the Anti-Cybersex Act of 2007, which would impose imprisonment and hefty fines upon its violators.

Teodoro said that the Internet has fostered the growth of a multibillion-dollar worldwide market for sex chat rooms and sexually explicit content founded upon the exploitation of women and children.

“With the explosive growth of trendy chat rooms and social networking websites, thousands more are expected to be victimized in the coming years,” Teodoro said in a statement issued this week.

Teodoro’s bill would reinforce provisions of the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, also known as Republic Act No. 7160. According to Teodoro, that act does not currently provide sufficient protection to victims of child pornography, and no law on the books in the Philippines does enough to restrict online access to sexually explicit content.

“Unlike in other countries, Internet service in the Philippines is loosely, if at all, regulated, providing anyone with a computer or mobile phone access to illicit material,” Teodoro said.

To emphasize the need for the new law, Teodoro cited findings made by the U.S. Justice Department that stated at least one hundred “cyber sex website providers” have relocated to the Philippines because it is easier for them to operate there.

“It is unfortunate that many social networking websites emanate from the Philippines, using mostly trafficked women and children as cyber sex objects,” Teodoro said.

While the text of Teodoro’s bill is not yet available through the website for the Philippine House of Representatives , according to a press release issued by the Public Relations and Information Dept. of the Philippine government, violators of the proposed law could be punished with imprisonment and fines ranging from approximately $1100 to $11000.

Teodoro’s proposal is one of several recent proposals to establish strict regulations on sexually explicit websites in the Philippines. Sen. Loren Legarda recently proposed a similar measure to the Philippine Senate.