Senator Bato Dela Rosa says is not pushing for a ban of the social networking site Facebook in the country as he stressed the need for the social media giant to explain the reasons for the recent takedown of some pro-government accounts and pages, which he said is a definite national security concern.
In two recent radio interviews, Dela Rosa explained that he is not advocating for the closure of the social media giant in the Philippines as he recognized the importance of Facebook to at least 77 million Filipinos who rely on it as a source of information and income, and as a means of communicating with their loved ones.
“I call on Facebook to exercise fairness for all its users at all times instead of choosing to listen only to the lobbyists of the anti-government groups.”
The legislator called on Facebook to exercise fairness for all its users at all times instead of choosing to listen only to the lobbyists of the anti-government groups.
“Bakit puro pro-government puro anti-communist, anti-terrorism groups yung kanilang pinagte-take down? How about yung nakikita ng ating mga kababayan…mga pro-communist, mga anti-government? Are you sure hindi ito mga fake accounts, bakit hindi ito tine-take down?” the lawmaker asked.
“Ako naman, fair and square lang. Kung pabayaan nila yan, okay lang kasi kung halimbawa nag express ng dissent against government yang mga NPA (communist New People’s Army rebels) na yan, yung mga terorista na yan, okay lang basta fair tayo. Kung i-allow niyo sila na gumamit ng Facebook, i-allow niyo rin yung pro-government advocacy groups na gumamit ng Facebook. Huwag nyo silang i-take down. Magkabilang panig, pabayaan nila. Dapat hindi one-sided yung kanilang implementation sa batas nila,” the senator stressed.
“As I have said, ayaw kong mawala ang Facebook dahil ako mismo Facebook user ako, pero ang sa atin lang patas lang sana,” he further noted.
“Facebook must always adhere to the laws of the land.”
Albeit its crucial role in terms of communication, Dela Rosa said Facebook must always adhere to the laws of the land.
“Hindi ako mag-advocate na ipasara ang Facebook. Facebook has been very crucial dito sa ating communication, 77 million Filipinos rely on Facebook right now sa kanilang communication with their loved ones at doon din sila kumukuha ng news. Hindi na sila nakikinig sa mainstream media, hindi na nagbabasa ng newspaper, nago-open na lang ng Facebook accounts nila kaya very crucial yan, so hindi ko ina-advocate na ipasara natin,” he stressed.
Dela Rosa, who formerly led the Philippine National Police, explained that he is seeking an inquiry for Facebook to explain the reasons behind its recent censorship to ensure that the Filipinos’ right to freedom of speech and of expression will not be curtailed as well as to tackle the implication of the said censorship on the country’s national security.
“Malaking implication yan sa national security, yung ginawa nilang yan. Yung pag take down sa mga pro-government, anti-communism, anti-terrorist, anti-NPA na mga adovacy groups…ibig mo sabihin hindi na magiging patas ang laban, alam natin ang laban ngayon nasa social media…Pag namayagpag sila (leftist groups)… baka mamaya sabihin ng mga tao sila talaga ang totoong gobyerno ng ating bansa,” he said.
He emphasized the importance of clarifying the grounds for the censorship of Facebook, particularly what the social media giant considers as “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
“Kaya nga tayo magpapatawag ng Senate hearing. Hopefully ma-determine ng komite, ma-inform nila yung komite kung ano ang ibig sabihin nila sa ‘coordinated inauthentic behavior.’ Sabi nila tinaggal yan dahil fake accounts or spreading fake news, well napakalaking kabaliktaran sa ginawa nila dito sa account ng ‘Hands Off Our Children’ na isang advocacy group. Hindi naman ito fake, totoong mga parents ito na gustong protektahan ang kanilang mga anak laban sa pagre-recruit ng CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army),” Dela Rosa said.
He has recently filed Senate Resolution No. 531 urging the Senate to look into Facebook’s recent censorship on some pro-government and anti-communism accounts and pages. The proposed Senate inquiry, in aid of legislation, was referred to the Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Committee on Public Information and Mass Media.