By Leonel Abasola
MANILA – Senator Robinhood “Robin” Padilla is calling on social media managers and other administrators in the internet community to help the government stop online abuses and the delivery of misleading and immoral content on the internet.
Padilla’s statement came after the Senate conducted a hearing on Tuesday regarding the high rise of teenage pregnancies in the country, which the senator attributed to social media as one of the contributing factors.
While respecting the freedom of speech and expression provided by the Constitution, Padilla said no one should allow the abuse of such freedom as he expressed alarm over the misleading information on social media platforms and the situation requires that the government take action.
“Hindi po porke’t sinabi na kalayaan ay free-for-all. Ang kalayaan, ang definition niyan, una sa lahat proteksyunan ang karapatan ng bawa’t isa. Yan po ang ibig sabihin ng kalayaan at ang una nating dapat proteksyunan dito bago ang lahat ay ang ating kabataan (Freedom is not a free-for-all thing. Freedom must include the protection of people’s rights and foremost to be protected should be our youths),” Padilla said.
The senator is also considering delivering a privilege speech on the matter, saying it is time the state adopts a hard stance on the issue. “We cannot afford to just give aid to teens who get pregnant, we must also defend our morality,” he said.
He added that the issue is no joke. “If we want true progress, if we want to see our youths have a bright future, we need to ensure freedom that is pro-God, pro-people, and pro-country,” he added.
Padilla said the state is a “parens patriae” with the duty to protect the youth from abuses — and it cannot be remiss in such duty.
He said wide consultations with stakeholders are needed in studying the government’s response.
The lawmaker noted that this is not curtailing the freedom of speech but a proper care for the youths by the state. “”While the social media expands its influence on society, the government must ensure its responsible use and stop any abuse. Regulations, if any, must be fair and will not violate the basic rights of anyone.”
Padilla said social media networks should send representatives to Senate hearings so lawmakers can craft laws not just to stop scammers on social media but also to protect youths from inappropriate content.
“At sana po, ang gusto natin ipaliwanag dito sa mga social media sites, ang Pilipinas una sa lahat ay very religious country. Tayo ay pinamumugaran ng iba’t ibang relihiyon. Ito dapat ay kino-consider ng social media sites na tayo po ay hindi tayo ganun ka-liberal. Tayo po ay may mataas na moralidad. Yan po sana at maproteksyunan natin ang kulturang Pilipino na tayo ay konserbatibo (We want social media sites to know the Philippines is a very religious country, home to various faiths. Social media sites should consider that we are not too liberal. We have a high degree of morality and social media platforms should respect our culture, that we are conservative),” he added. (PNA)