Protesting against the cybercrime law is all the rage now. I found myself sympathizing to the protesters who had valid points. I even signed the petition at change.org since I believed that the law should be revised after having read it. However, this got me into thinking more carefully about all this hullabaloo. After growing tired from being bombarded by a barrage of announcements and what not, is there any worth to those posts at all? The crass language, lack of tact, and crudely written pieces (with grammatical errors all over the place) apparently seemed to be nothing more than fear mongering rather than statements that have valid, logical arguments.
Are all of these protests against the anti-cybercrime law just a phase or a fad? Obviously, it has become a fashion statement. The worst part about this is that should the protesters succeed in having the law changed, would it really improve the lives of Filipinos? Would poverty be finally eliminated? Would we see better job opportunities here in the Philippines as a result of all of these protests? Would we see OFWs finally going back to spend time with their families? Would the costs of utilities like water and electricity go down because of competition from a Foreign business owner. Shouldn’t we start focusing on things like getting the 1987 Constitution changed so that the economic policies of the Philippines would be competitive instead of protectionist? Are we really focusing too much attention of the Philippine government acting as the thought police? Somehow, this new wave of protests is starting to feel like EDSA 1, 2, and 3, and I am not saying this in a positive light.
I remember going to the said EDSA 2 revolution. People were all wearing black. The gullible sap in me told me to wear black and I tagged my wife and my sister along. Needless to say, I just found that EDSA 2 was nothing more than an excuse for a big street party. Did anything change by kicking out Erap? No. It’s the same thing with EDSA 1. The Philippines remained poor (and even got worse) after the Oligarchy-backed president assumed office. This anti-cybercrime law protest is becoming to feel the same way, except now it’s on what can be considered the EDSA of the Internet: Facebook.
I just realized that many Filipinos have a love-hate relationship with freedom of speech, a double standard even. Many Filipinos have a penchant for criticism and speaking out their minds aloud yet when they’re on the receiving end, their onion-skinned defenses couldn’t handle it well. Isn’t this what led to the insertion of the libel clause in the anti-cybercrime law? Given this particular cultural defect in Pinoy society, are the protests still worth the effort?
Perhaps there is still some worth into these protests. Laws are not perfect and should be subject to revision as we all live in a flawed society. However, perhaps it would be best if such attention should be focused to more pressing matters. For example, shouldn’t we rally for cultural upheaval instead? Shouldn’t we try to eliminate the collectivist mindset that is the root of the ills of Filipino society.? How much longer should we tolerate things the Padrino system, corruption, macho culture, “pwede na yan” mentatilty, mindless “pakikisama”? Why can’t we as Filipinos adapt the kind of discipline that have led to countries like Singapore, Japan and South Korea to change from barren wastelands to economic powerhouses. Perhaps these are the things we should fight for first rather than thoughtless protests against trivial matters that do not provide any immediate solution to the ills of Filipino culture.