House bill defining online abuse vs women, children hurdles final reading
MANILA, Philippines — House Bill No. 8009, which defines online violence against women and children, passed its third and final reading on Monday with 272 yes votes
The bill will expand the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004 to include abuse using information and communications technology (ICT).
“It is high time that we amend this 19-year-old law to address the intensifying cases of violence against women and children today, especially in digital spaces,” Gabriela partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas, one of the authors of the bill, said.
She added that abusers should not be able to hide behind technology but should be held accountable.
According to House Speaker Martin Romualdez, technology has given rise to crimes not covered by current laws.
“We have to update and strengthen our laws to shield our people, especially our women and children, from criminally-minded individuals,” Romualdez said in a statement.
HB 8009 defines ICT-related violence as “any act or omission involving the use or exploitation of data or any form of ICT which causes or is likely to cause mental, emotional, or psychological distress or suffering to the woman and/or her children.”
“Protection measures were expanded to include the immediate blocking, blacklisting, removal, or shutdown of any upload, program, or application that causes or tends to cause violence against a woman and/or her children. Failure of an internet service provider to cooperate with law enforcement agencies shall constitute the crime of obstruction of justice,” Romualdez said.
The bill will also add to the Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and their Children the following agencies:
- Movie and Television Review and Classification Board
- Department of Science and Technology
- National Telecommunications Commission
- Department of Information and Communications Technology
- Department of Foreign Affairs
- Department of Migrant Workers
- Commission on Filipinos Overseas
- Overseas Workers and Welfare Administration
The bill also mandates the addition of two representatives from women’s rights groups.