Life in the Fast Lane


Dear Freedom

By 2:29 PM , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dear Freedom,

Growing up, I knew and experienced you in many ways. I was able to form my own thoughts and opinions and voice them out. And at home, my parents gave you to my siblings and me so we could express ourselves and even to respectfully disagree with them. As I grew older, experienced more things, and gained more awareness, I also experienced you in the way I could choose my God and faith, worship Him and pray in public, and talk about Him openly.

In fact, I had to memorize what you were all about in school in the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines. Now, I'm no lawyer or law student, but from what I understood, I lived in a society operating under a democracy. You were with us, thus, we could speak up, write, peacefully assemble, choose our religion/faith, be educated and informed, and more.

Today, however, Freedom, I feel you are slipping away from me. Not entirely, but slowly and surely. With every letter I type, with every sentence I struggle to compose in my head.

You are being threatened to escape from my grasp by people in power whom, I feel, don't fully grasp what you're all about. People who might read this entry, find something libelous about it, and send me to jail or slap me with a huge fine.

These last few weeks, everyone's been talking about Republic Act 10175, the Cybercrime Law. It started off with good intentions: to fight online pornography, hacking, identity theft and spamming.

However, recently, a libel clause has been added. One that was rumored to have been added by Senator Sotto (remember him from this post?) after the whole plagiarism fiasco. He claims that this libel clause was inserted in order to prevent cyber-bullying.

This libel clause, however, encroaches on one of our basic rights: which is you, dear Freedom. We will no longer have control of the extent in which we can exercise our right to express our thoughts online for fear of being slapped with a libel charge.

This is what could happen to us as as a result of your suppression (at least in the cyberworld), thanks to the libel clause.

Taken from this Facebook page.

There's more. And it's scary.

RA 10175 is, by many counts, unconstitutional. Many people also agree that it is still faulty and questionable — especially the libel clause. And even if today is the RA 10175's first day of implementation, I pray that it will be revised and even put on hold until the libel provision is fine-tuned (or maybe even omitted).

But the fact that our President signed it, and that it took just weeks to pass and implement, scares the living daylights out of me.

I wasn't around during what my parents call the "Dark Ages" of Martial Law. But they remember clearly how it felt to be suppressed, to be held liable for your thoughts and actions, to fear the possibility of being arrested for something that may not even be in your control.

Today, my generation and I (even the one after me) likewise feel angered, disappointed, discouraged, enraged, frustrated, anxious, and alarmed.

We didn't grow up surrounded by all forms of you, Freedom, only to stop now.

In this day and age of what we thought to be progress, growth, and development.

In this day and age of faster-than-instant, more-real-than-realtime access to information.

In this day and age of apps and softwares, of viral sensations, of various social media platforms.

In this day and age of innovation, of wars among computer, tablet, and mobile phone brands.

Dear Freedom, my generation and I will fight for you. In whatever way we can.

Taken from

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