[From the web] Voting 227-0-0, the House of Representatives approved on 3rd reading House Bill (HB) No. 5869 on Tuesday, February 4

The measure would expand the coverage of Republic Act (RA) No. 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act and define electronic violence or information and communications technology (ICT)-related violence as any act that involves the “use or exploitation of data or any form of information and communications technology which causes or is likely to cause mental, emotional, or psychological distress or suffering to the woman and her children.”

HB No. 5869 proposes stiff penalties on different forms of electronic abuse, with violators possibly facing 6 years up to 12 years in prison and a monetary fine ranging from P300,000 up to P500,000.

They may also undergo mandatory psychological counseling or psychiatric treatment.

HB No. 5869 considers as electronic abuse the unauthorized recording, sharing, and uploading of photos, videos, audio, and other forms of electronic or artistic presentation depicting the following:

  • Private parts of women and children
  • Scenes portraying sexual intercourse, masturbation, kissing, caressing, hugging, and petting
  • Scenes showing sexually-related verbal or non-verbal expression of the woman and her children “which may be construed as lewd, indecent, or obscene”
  • Scenes depicting any “errant” behavior, including the use of illegal drugs
  • Scenes “suggestive” of a wrongdoing or act that “tends to besmirch” the reputation of women and children
  • The bill also counts as emotional abuse the use of text messages and other forms of cyber communication to harass, intimidate, coerce, threaten, or vilify women and children.

Those who would resort to online stalking, including the hacking of personal social media accounts and using location data from electronic devices, would also be penalized under the bill.

HB No. 5869 would consider spreading fake information about women and children using electronic devices and creating fake social media accounts to “sow intrigue or inflict harm” as electronic violence punishable by law.

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