With the signing of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, President Noynoy Aquino has approved the creation of the Department of Tweets, a government agency tasked to “regulate and monitor” all activity on the social networking site, Twitter.
The President today appointed Sen. Tito Sotto as Secretary of the newly-created department. Sotto assumes the position immediately.
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” Sotto told media. “With this appointment, I think about all the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that Filipino creed: Yes we can.”
Under the Cybercrime Prevention Act, all Filipinos must have their tweets approved by the government before posting. Similar to the MTRCB, the Department of Tweets has a review board composed of representatives from the religious sector. Offensive tweets are censored, libelous tweets are forwarded to the NBI for criminal investigation, and posts with child pornography are sent to the CBCP.
“The review process is simple,” Sotto said. ”We call it ‘1-2-3.’ One, submit via mail or fax the application form, along with two valid ID’s, NBI clearance, and birth certificate. Two, pay the review fee of P2,000. Three, wait three weeks for approval.”
Sotto warned that users who post unauthorized tweets face jail time. He also urged the public to just accept the new procedures. “With great power comes great responsibility,” Sotto said.
Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte in a press briefing commended the appointment of Sotto, and defended the creation of the Department of Tweets.
“Freedom is never absolute. There are responsibilities that do accompany our freedoms, the freedoms that we do possess. And from the emergence of technology as another platform kasi dati TV, radyo, diyaryo lang tayo e. So, ngayon you have a new platform for people to engage in and that’s only fitting also that there should be regulation to some extent,” Valte said.
“Kasi siguro ‘yung i-parallel natin diyan ‘yung mga reporters nga, ‘yung mga journalists, they’re liable if they’re not responsible, and you have platforms kasi. Iba-iba tayo nang pinanghahawakang platform, and because of the emergence of that, then there should also be responsibility that is attached to people who make use of that particular platform,” Valte added.