New bill to fight 'e-violence' against school girls

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed concern over the rising incidents of electronic violence against female students through unauthorized recording and distribution of obscene photos and videos in various online platforms.

De Lima lamented how the President's crass leadership style epitomized by his fondness for vulgar language, sexist remarks and even rape jokes has promoted the culture of misogyny and distorted the Filipino youth's sense of morality.

"Due to unregulated nature of social media platforms and other online spaces, young people are now allowed incontrollable freedom to share abusive content, if not become the victim of online oversharing themselves," she said.

"Kung ang mismong pinakamataas na pinuno sa bansa ay walang modo, walang respeto sa kababaihan, at ginagawa lamang katatawanan ang mga sensitibong usapin gaya ng rape, at nagagawa pang ipagtanggol ng kanyang mga tagasunod, ano pa nga ba ang aasahan nating magiging impluwensya nila sa ating kultura, lalo na sa kaisipan ng mga kabataan?" she added.

Six senior high students from of Philippine Science High School (PSHS) were reportedly barred from marching in the graduation rites last month after they allegedly spread nude photos of their underaged female classmates.

The University of Santo Tomas is also investigating the alleged involvement of several students and a professor in a group chat circulating on Twitter containing private photos and videos of girls, some of whom are minors, from various schools in Manila. "These incidents are a clear case of electronic violence involving female students, and if left unchecked and unaddressed, could lead more children and teenagers to do the unthinkable and endanger more young females," said De Lima.

In the 17th Congress, De Lima has co-authored Senate Bill No. 1251 which defines the crime of electronic violence through the unauthorized recording and distribution of explicit videos and photos through various online platforms.

Under the proposed measure, inflicting electronic violence and threatening to cause electronic violence against women and children are punishable by imprisonment of 5 to 10 years and a fine not less than PhP100,000 but not more than PhP500.000.

The lady Senator from Bicol said Filipinos should continue to fight against the prevailing culture of misogyny in the country and not relent in calling out Mr. Duterte whenever he uses foul languages and cracks sexist jokes in public.

"Kung naghahangad tayong madisiplina o mapatawan ng kaukulang parusa ang mga kabataang nasasangkot sa paglabag sa karapatan ng mga kababaihan, lalong dapat tayong manawagan ng panagagutan mula kay Duterte na nuknukan ng kabastusan," she added.

In November 2018, De Lima also filed Senate Resolution No. 945 seeking a Senate inquiry into the increasing cases of child cybersex abuses in the country despite the existence of at least five laws to protect children from abuses, exploitation and violence.

SOURCE: Senate (2019). De Lima alarmed over rising e-violence vs female students. Senate Press Release June 8, 2019.