Proposed Philippine Law Targets Porn Producers and Consumers

Christopher Karwowski
MANILA, Philippines – Proposed legislation in the Philippine House of Representatives seeks to penalize both end-users and distributors of adult content.

Representative Roque Ablan, Jr.'s bill attempts to discourage the posting of lewd photographs and pornographic materials citing the "protection of youths." Under the proposed act, a penalty of five years imprisonment or a fine of up to $10,800 can be levied against a performer, actor or exhibitor who engages in the prohibited practices. If a performer is a minor, they would be considered a victim of child abuse.

Producers and website operators engaged in adult content face a 20-year jail term. Webmasters also could be penalized with 15 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $43,300, and ISPs also would face penalties.

"The use of [the] Internet and other computer technologies has positive effects but it also brings about negative effects." Ablan said in an article on the House of Representatives website. "Unregulated and uncontrolled use will harm the morality of society — particularly the minors who are the usual unprotected users of the Internet,"

He added that the "unprecedented" amount of information and lack of boundaries in the Internet require a "great degree of control" over the information available on the web.

The measure defines unlawful or prohibited acts broadly. Potentially, the portrayal, performance or exhibition of indecent acts are targeted the legislation. Use of coercion, intimidation or fraud to induce another into performing indecent acts for exhibition in the Internet also would become illegal.

The bill reaches beyond similar measures in Southeast Asia and would make it illegal to "maintain a website which is used to advertise sex services, distribute pornographic materials and exchange sex-related information."

No date has been set for voting on the bill.

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