A young lawmaker is advocating internet values education in this time of cyberbullying and fake news.
Aangat Tayo Party-list Rep. Harlin Neil J. Abayon, III has authored House Bill 4494, which seeks to require the teaching of Values Education on the Internet in all public and private elementary and high schools in the Philippines.
It would mandate the Department of Education (DepEd), in consultation with the concerned government agencies and institutions, to formulate courses in valued education on the internet and coordinate in the writing, printing, and publication of textbooks, manuals, and other reading materials to be used in the values education courses.
Section 3 of the proposed bill reads, "a comprehensive curriculum planning, identification of courses and teaching resources and preparations applied to values education program at the elementary and high school levels, involving as far as practicable, parents and teachers of the children and youth shall be observed."
Abayon said the main objective of his bill is to teach courtesy among the youth on how to properly use the internet, especially social media.
He noted that there are now around 47 million Filipino Facebook users, and a big portion of people's way of communicating is by use of social media.
"I really believe na it is time na turuan natin ng values education iyung youth as early as possible kasi yung mga gumagamit kasi nito minsan mga minors pa," he said.
"Parang when you're given the access to the internet, in my opinion, it's parang you have access basically to the whole world, you can research anything," he added.
Sometimes, he said, kids as young as 6, 7, or 8 years old are allowed to use the internet on their own, and he believes it is imperative to guide and teach them "that when we're in the internet were actually communicating with other people and it is an extension of personality."
The 28-year-old solon said he was not a victim of cyberbullying himself, but his experience online has taught him things.
"I'm only 28 years old. Ako, I played online games back when I was younger and now I still play every now and then. Yung Filipino community po sa online games specifically DOTA 2 sa Southeast Asian countries alam niyo po tawag sa Filipino ng mga counterparts natin? They call us 'Peenoise' or 'Pignoise' na maingay and the reason why they do that kasi tayong mga Pilipino, sa game po, di pa nag-start yung game sigawan na mumurahin na samantalang iyung Singaporeans, Malaysian, they don't have that reputation," he said.
"I believe the reason kung bakit ganiyan yung reputation natin kasi karamihan dito mga bata pa and they're not being taught values on how to properly deal with our countrymen and our other people throughout the world. Walang manners. Nakakalungkot po eh. Minsan kapwa Pilipino nagmumurahan eh."
Abayon said his bill does not cover penal provisions because his main purpose is to "to teach the kids values education when we are dealing in social media." He said lawmakers can discuss it at the committee level.
Abayon believes bloggers and supporters of politicians should be subjected to internet values education.
A similar bill, House Bill 4248, was authored by Rep. Salvador Belaro Jr., who proposes to integrate lessons on social media ethics in the curriculum of formal education.
The proposed social media ethics education act of 2016 would mandate the DepEd, Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to include appropriate subjects on lessons on social media ethics and appropriate behavior in social media.
House Bill 3519 filed by Laguna Rep. Arlene Arcillas similarly seeks to mandate the DepEd to include in the curriculum of primary and secondary schools the responsible use of the internet, video/photo equipment, smart phones and the likes.
Her bill mandates the production of age appropriate modules to teach respecting and protecting privacy, understanding computer security systems, online gender sensitivity, the proper use of social networking, as well as the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
Manila Teachers Party-list Rep. Virgilio Lacson supported the move to boost values education.
He said that apart from the responsible use of the internet, Abayon's bill would also help in inculcating good manners and right conduct among today's generation.
Lacson emphasized that making sure the youth know what is right from wrong will allow them to be critical thinkers and protect them from any form of historical revisionism.
Lacson also emphasized that any use of foul language in public is unacceptable.
"Walang katanggap-tanggap na pagmumura especially in public. Kung siguro kung sa bahay niyo, pinagagalitan mo yung anak mo or what, maaari siguro--just to express yung intensity ng feelings mo."
Another bill pending in Congress is House Bill 827 authored by Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya, seeking to define and penalize the crime of cyberbullying.
The bill defines cyberbullying as "acts of cruelty committed using the internet or any form of electronic media or technology that has the effect of stripping one's dignity or causing reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm such as but not limited to the following:
- repeatedly sending offensive, rude and insulting messages;
- distributing derogatory information about the victim;
- posting or sending offensive photos of the victim, whether these were digitally altered or not, or were taken with or without consent with the intention to humiliate or embarrass the victim;
- breaking into an email, social networking or any electronic account and using the victim's virtual identity to send, upload or distribute embarrassing materials to or about others;
- sharing the victim's personal information or any embarrassing information or tricking the victim into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sharing it to others and repeatedly sending messages that include threats of harm or engaging in online activities that cause fear on the victim's safety."
The bill seeks to impose penalties ranging from P50,000 to P100,000 and jail time of 6 months to 6 years.