The Philippines are considered 4th in the world for cyber bullying incidents. There is speculation that this may be due to the anti-bullying act of 2013 that was recently signed in the Philippines and strongly criminalizes acts of bullying in schools. It is said now that the problem is in the spotlight with strict laws in the country, statistics have begun to reflect occurrences more frequently.
The anti-bullying act dictates that elementary and secondary schools are expected to come-up with their own strategies, policies and procedures in accordance with the anti-bullying act. It also dictated that the Department of Education in the Philippines must come up with implementation of rules and regulations related to preventing all types of bullying defined as: severe or repeated use of physical acts or gestures, written and electronic expressions that instigate fear, emotional harm, damage to property, creation of a hostile environment and infringement of rights of other students. The extensive law lumped together acts of physical bullying, social bullying, verbal bullying and cyber bullying.
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said that this new piece of legislation will help protect children from this early form of violence, “The school is our children’s second home. I call on school authorities to be proactive and responsive to the law in order to ensure the safety of the students. That is their primary responsibility and promise to parents.”
On a broader scope, the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, is a law in the Philippines approved on September 12, 2012. It aimed to address legal issues concerning general online interactions and the internet with offenses including: cybersex, child pornography, identity theft, illegal access to data and libel. Although this law was initially applauded for its attempt to quell the growing cyber harassment problem in the country, it soon began attracting much criticism especially concerning the issue of criminalizing libel cases which was argued to be encroaching on freedom of expression. On October 9, 2012, the Supreme Court of the Philippines issued a temporary restraining order, stopping implementation of the Act for 120 days. As of February 2014, the Court ruled that the libel provision was indeed constitutional.