Cebu City, Philippines – Stakeholders from different sectors gathered last October 19, 2015 at the Harolds Hotel in Cebu City for the offline Consultation of the Philippine Declaration on Internet Rights and Principles. This consultation was organized by the Foundation for Media Alternatives, in partnership with the Fellowship for Organizing Endeavors, Inc. (FORGE) and the Cebu Blogging Community.
This small group consultation was attended by 25 participants composed of bloggers, community organizers, children’s rights advocates, youth leaders, local media, and representatives from the academe and private sector.
To share the context of the Internet and ICT landscape in Cebu, the participants were divided into three (3) groups and tasked to do a skit portraying how they use the internet and what are the challenges that they face.
For the participants, the Internet is most commonly used for communication, research, connecting with friends, and sometimes for business purposes. They also shared a common problem that everyone faces with the Philippine internet which is its slow speed, high cost, and lack of protection and regulation online. They also shared experiences of online harassment, cyberbullying, bashing, hacking, and other spams and viruses online. Some suggested solutions (recommendations) to the problems stated were securing accounts through privacy settings, using encryption technologies, reporting such cases to proper authorities. They also suggest that laws related to the Internet should be revisited.
The 10 Principles were discussed by Nica Dumlao, Internet Rights Coordinator of FMA, and Rosa Sanchez of FORGE Inc. The participants also shared how the declaration can be further developed through the open forum session.