Angst over Ph anti-Cybercrime law traces roots to Filipino love-hate relationship with ‘freedom of speech’

At the core of the brouhaha surrounding the recently-enacted Republic Act 10175, a.k.a. the Philippine Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, is the Filipino’s love-hate relationship with “freedom of expression” of which “free speech” is a subset. On one hand, Filipinos love their “freedom of speech” and venerate the notion practically alongside their Santo Niños. On the other hand, Filipinos are renowned for being onion-skinned crybabies, consistently unable to handle obvious truths staring them in the face and, as such, quick to take violent offense over perceived slights against their fragile self-esteem…

There seems to be something wrong with a psyche that makes us so vulnerable to getting upset or offended so easily. Most Filipinos get offended so easily from a perceived indiscretion and are often unable to move on to something bigger or higher than such trivial pursuits. We tend to be consumed with words that should mean nothing to us if they were untrue. This demonstrates a real sign of having an unhealthy ego and insecurity. As someone aptly put it, Filipinos can be onion skinned cry-babies.

In this sense, perhaps there is a disconnect between the way Filipinos regard true freedom of expression in the way Western societies originally intended the concept to be applied. Freedom of speech seems to be a square peg being hammered into the round slot carved for it in Philippine society by so-called Filipino “thought leaders”. The outcome of this is the vacuous “debate” we are seeing surrounding the concept today exacerbated by the hasty and underhanded enactment of RA 10175 by officers of the law who Filipinos had voted to be their representatives.

Filipinos, in reality, are not intellectually equipped to handle the complex of privilege and responsibility that underlies “freedom of speech”. Facing one way, Filipinos discretely gossip, slander, and backstab one another with malicious gusto then, facing the other way, banter with one another while exhibiting a chillingly congenial demeanour marked by our renowned caninesque smiles. When one begs to differ to the popular tagline, one is branded walang pakisama (unwilling to to go with the flow) and considered to be full of “negativity”. Despite the abundance and accessibility of information and having one of the most global populations on the planet (owing to our OFW “heroes”), Filipinos continue to be insular in the perspective they take to facing their most pressing issues and challenges.

Freedom of (and, presumably, access to) information, many say, will bring Filipinos into the 21st Century. But does that necessarily follow? Consider that most basic class of information upon which much of modern human civilisation runs — time. Practically every Filipino has access to the time — whether it be via a timepiece strapped to their wrists or via clocks that are all but omnipresent: hanging on walls and displayed on mobile phones and car dashboards among others places convenient for quick checks. Yet Filipinos continue to epically fail at being on time. “Filipino time” (synonymous with having no concept of time) continues to be the bane of efforts to make Filipinos more collectively productive and behave like modern human beings. In short, Filipinos fail to make productive use of essential information on the time of the day available at the twist of a wrist.

It begs the obvious question:

Is the assumption that Filipinos will benefit from more information a valid one?

This is an important point to consider as it raises disturbing questions about entire historical and philosophical movements that Filipinos have come to hold dear — ideas around access to choice, the sense of entitlement we feel to democratic governance, and our veneration of various “freedoms” we would like to think we enjoy.

The 1983 assassination of opposition leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr was where the heroic aura surrounding self-appointed champions of “free speech” in the Philippines first gained a foothold in the hearts and minds of the majority of otherwise politically-oblivious Filipinos. The tumultuous lead up from 1983 to the 1986 Edsa “revolution” saw a proliferation of what under the regime of then President Ferdinand Marcos were regarded as subversive and seditious material — information including opinion pieces, news reports, slogans, and symbols that delivered messages critical of the Marcos government. Back then, to the average 1980s Filipino mind, all the hush-hush reading and distribution of what were then material that could land you in jail if found in your posssession made us feel a sense of privilege to be “involved” in a greater “fight”. Then it all became normal — since 1986, every Pinoy and his askal could voice an “opinion” on anything.

It’s all been good. But did it all actually do good?

That is where it all becomes debatable — and where the whole point seems to have been lost in all the hysterics surrounding how RA 10175 supposedly heralds the advent of “cyber martial law” in the Philippines. It’s all become quaintly amusing at best.

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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23 Comments on "Angst over Ph anti-Cybercrime law traces roots to Filipino love-hate relationship with ‘freedom of speech’"

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philippaopao
Guest

Here’s an article made by the other non-ABS-CBN network regarding Cybercrime law. What do you guys think? http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/276434/scitech/socialmedia/digital-martial-law-10-scary-things-about-the-cybercrime-

philippaopao
Guest

For the first time ever, at least with my own eyes, the psyche and the reasoning of the typical Filipino netizen has never been so derailed due to rage, that I feel so entertained and compelled to show that “beautiful ugliness” of massive paradoxical proportions. I think we should remember Friedrich Nietzsche’s quote again and again in times of controversies like this:

“Battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes into you.”

Thomas Jefferson
Guest

Here is an idea worth sharing:

Senate Bill 14344. An act creating AN ANTI-DICTATORSHIP LAW in the Republic of the Philippines that punishes all acts and/or omissions that totally or partially diminishes, restricts or controls freedoms, democracy, rights and all other acts or omissions that allows deliberate or subtle control of the branches of government, their functions, duties and responsibilities, media, propaganda, the use and abuse of the machinery of state and all other acts of governance in relation thereof. Trash the cyber-crime law!

Thomas Jefferson
Guest

My apologies Benigno. There must have been a glitch. Please delete the second post.

MidwayHaven
Guest
All day on Facebook my status update wall has been bombarded with paranoia and messages of “defiance” of the law. It’s one of those days when I got really annoyed I want to bitch about everyone; one of them even asked me why I didn’t black out my face as a sign of “protest.” I told him that I find no need to black out my face to join the fad. In fact, no one has to if they bothered to read their basic human rights and knew their responsibilities. The only thing that a person has to do right… Read more »
libertas
Guest
a black day With the cybercrime bill now law, the country has lost any pretence of being a democracy -even a ‘flawed democracy’ as stated/categorised by the UN,- and also any hope of real economic progress and meaningful job opportunities for 90%+ of the population.(what happened to the p-noy promise of more jobs at home!) (the other 10% – ” i’m alright, juan”, will keep their heads down and their mouths shut, as intended and expected), and of course the media, and now the supreme court, will do as they are told. Money talks – it’s just the citizens that… Read more »
Thomas Jefferson
Guest

@libertas

You are not alone…

t_ray
Guest

is there any basis for guingona’s statement regarding liking and sharing on fb? i’m no legal expert, but i read the law and it doesn’t say anything about it.

jo-nas
Guest
In a way the cyberspace law on libel has brought out the hypocrisy in all of us. People who are in control of venues of discussion such as blogs, forums, etc. have been, for years, exercising wanton censorship and control of free expression. And these is happening all over the web. Members who do not share or present opposing view are either censored or sanctioned if not completely banished. People who can get away with murder by maliciously defaming others because they can is the staple in cyberspace. We all do it. Wild accusations and allegations of wrongdoing are passed… Read more »
JoshuaR
Guest
I share your exact sentiments. WE may have lost moral ground but I guess someone has to make a stand for the future users of cyberspace. This law is definitely NOT it but its a start. Making this mistake early in our country’s attempt to pave things for the future is normal. What the purpose of discussion and debate should be right now is to make the internet better for its future users. We cannot let the abuse, lack of responsibility and accountability spill to the next generation of users. Its sad to think that 10175 was thought up by… Read more »
Mr.Keig
Guest
This is funny.Does anyone here think Benigno is really HIS name? SERIOUSLY folks,go on-line using a non-traceable usb stick,using a fake personality,and FINALLY using VPN ENCRYPTION.OPEN,PPTP it is all good,technology and no one will know who you are anyway.I come from a place where you NEVER volunteer information,so all these people going on ‘FACEBOOK’ to ‘tell the world’ who they are,what they like(as if anyone cares,ha!) look like real IDIOTS to me.When the internet came along people were warned not to put their identity on-line,and now because Zuckerborg puts out his ‘social networking’ site everyone thinks it is OK to… Read more »
Gogs
Member

With this dumb administration I have no idea what rights we have. Well we voted in dumb. We get dumb. Who is surprised? Is that libel?

t_ray
Guest

proud to say i did not vote during the last election. as they say, you the government you deserve.

jona-s
Guest

I don’t think so. Those who voted for P-Noy and those who abstain from voting like you deserves him. That is so because your silence means acceptance of what the outcome of the election would be. Only those who voted for candidates other than P-Noy are qualified to assert that they do not deserve him.

ahehe
Guest

Did you just assume Gogs voted for Aquino?

Mr.Keig
Guest
When someone hits send/enter…NO ONE KNOWS WHO ACTUALLY DID IT….chill….proving you actually did something is a lot harder than saying “Hey,look it is on his facebook page,he must have said it’,DUH!!!! BUT,keeping your business to yourself and not ever putting your identity ‘on-line’ is a valuable commodity.Anyone who does not fall victim to Zuckerborg’s ‘tell me’ machine is very smart (thank you,thank you very much!) and a virtual genius.THINK ABOUT IT,are you going to be hired by a secret organization if you have a FACEBOOK account?Please dont make me laugh!!!!! btw,you really think anyone on this site is who they… Read more »
Sphynx
Guest
well, there is an opt out option there. and even if you choose to be part of the system, you can limit the exposure. such as when you login thru your smart phone, you can choose not to sync in as it copies contacts to and from the system. the amount of info you put there such as your birthday (i have deleted or hidden mine long ago after finding out how) and my info box is virtually empty. i basically just keep the account to keep in touch with friends who have devaalued mediums such as emails and messengers.… Read more »
Hyden Toro
Guest

The Senators claimed they signed the CyberCrime Law, without reading it. It is a stupid law.
We will see, if they can implement it. And jail all the Bloggers, who Blog against them…Nahawa na ata, ang pagka sira sa ulo, ang mga Senators…

jona-s
Guest

Guys, don’t waste your time thinking of how to escape or get past technology, it will surely catch up with you eventually.

anonymous
Guest

There will be more to come, come visit us here

monk
Guest

It is traced to the true nature of a democracy.

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