Press Release
March 1, 2011


In an interview following yesterday's hearing of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, Senator Edgardo J. Angara explained that establishing a comprehensive law against using the internet for illegal acts should be done as soon as possible to protect Filipinos worldwide.

Angara, chairman of the committee and author of Senate Bill No. 52 known as the Anti-Cybercrime Bill, said that the pervasiveness of internet use in the country makes us susceptible to new types of crimes.

"Almost a third of all Filipinos have access to the internet--while this is a good indicator of the people's ability to adapt to modern technologies, it also exposes the users to cybercrimes such as phishing, online fraud and illegal access," he said.

According to Angara, the tricky territoriality of internet-based crimes hinder the investigation and prosecution of the cases reported to the authorities.

"These criminals are protected by the very nature of the World Wide Web--giving them anonymity and remote access which is hard to trace. These characteristics of cyberspace coupled with the lack of stringent laws make the Philippines a haven for internet-based crimes,"

Angara told reporters that a proposal to register and keep track of devices which can access the internet, including mobile phones and laptops was being considered by the committee.

"Nowadays we see this gadgets being used to perpetrate crimes--for example, throwaway cellphones with prepaid SIM cards used as bomb detonators, so perhaps regulating these devices might be a good first step," said Angara.

The veteran lawmaker said that it was necessary to create legislation specific to the fight against cybercrimes, with stricter regulations and harsher punishments for offenders.

"The key here is for the authorities to keep pace with the rapid developments in technology. We must also provide equipment to enable them to anticipate, investigate and prevent cybercrimes in the future," said Angara.

Having reached the Third Reading in the 14th Congress, S.B. No. 52 is entitled to an expedited process and no longer needs extended discussion in the committee. The Anti-Cybercrime Bill of 2010 has now been referred to the Plenary.

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