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Bill seeks to criminalize online matchmaking

August 24, 2013 6:20pm
Online matchmaking may soon be a crime punishable by the Anti-Mail Order Bride Law, if a bill in the House of Representatives is passed into law.

House Bill 222 filed by Rep. Cinchona Gonzales (CIBAC) seeks to include an online component to Republic Act 6955, the Anti-Mail Order Bride Law of 1990.

"Filipino women are gravely abused by syndicates who conduct business and make women a commodity to be bought either through the Internet, websites or other written materials," Gonzales said.

Gonzales said her bill supports the campaign protecting women from mail-order bride syndicates now operating on the Internet

She pointed out mail-order bride services have taken on a new dimension via websites, and have largely replaced traditional paper-based classified ads.

"A new era of professional prostitution or high-end pornography through the web was born which downgrades the integrity not only of Filipino women, but of the country as a whole," she lamented.

Under the bill, violators may be jailed for 20 years and face a fine of up to P100,000.

Foreign offenders will be deported and permanently barred from entering the country after serving their sentence and paying fines.

Also liable are those who advertise, publish, print or distribute any brochure, flyer or propaganda material even through the Internet.

The bill also makes it unlawful to use the postal service and the Internet to promote the mail-order bride business.

On the other hand, the measure also penalizes Filipinas who voluntarily engage in matchmaking activities and those who patronize the mail-order bride business.

Similarly liable are the manager, editor-in-chief, or advertising manager of any newspaper, magazine, television, radio station, and other media including those of Internet websites.

Under RA 6955, violators face imprisonment of six to eight years, and a fine of P8,000 to P20,000. — VC, GMA News
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