You could still feel the ripples of energy and excitement of the UP community, days after the UP Pep Squad won their 8th UAAP Cheerdance Competition a few Saturdays back. The win was also memorable as this is the 3rd straight year that UP won the title. I guess it is one of the most awaited UAAP competition, especially for the iskos and iskas, as this is where we know we can compete and have a bigger chance of winning as against that of their basketball counterparts. I have to admit that the fever got into me that day as I was also glued to the television, sharing the excitement and rooting for my alma matter. I was also one of those people who jumped for joy as UP was announced the winner.
I liked the theme of UP Pep Squad’s routine – freedom. It really spoke about the one value that is evident in the UP Community – the freedom to be yourself, no need for conformity, no fuss.
These thoughts have transported me back to my college days in UP Diliman. I guess the first month in UP can be quite a shocker for most, if not all, freshmen. You get to notice that you stand out because you are overdressed inside a campus where every upperclass men and women are dressed down. You get to meet smart individuals, and those even smarter than you, inside one room that will make you think that you are not as smart as you think you are. You can argue with your teacher without fear of being given a failing grade or being asked to proceed to the principal’s office. You can speak your mind out and still manage to get a high grade. I remember my Communication class, during my first semester when I was a freshman, where I “frankly” told my professor that I was not keen to answering his question. My professor just called for another student to answer the pending question. I got a final grade of 1.25 in that class. UP was a venue for learning and being free. I miss UP.
This kind of freedom is probably what prompted me to start this blog – a venue where I can air out my sentiments on current issues or what I recently discovered or understood. It is my way of being outspoken considering that the internet has given me that privilege to be heard by those who happen to stumble upon this blog. I even made sure that my raves and rants are shared. As I have shared from the start that this is my opionionated blog. I feel the need to be heard and for my opinions to be shared and, in some cases, I would like to invoke my readers to think. I do not intend to sway my readers to think my thoughts but I want them to make a stand on their own with the help of my shared opinions.
This is also my reason for standing against the libel provision of RA 10175, better known as the Cybercrime Law. It mandates that libel be put as one of the punishable acts under this new law. It also gives power to the Department of Justice to block the accessibility of websites that is in violation of the new law without any warrant. The Cybercrime Law will radically change the playing field of Filipino bloggers as some may be afraid to post their valued opinions because of fear, even if it is personal in nature.
It is quite understandable that there will be times when I would probably mention in my blog a politician, a celebrity, other public figures, and even somebody I know of where their point of views may align or disagree with my own. Again, this is my blog and this is my opinion. The ones mentioned may not view the blog the way I intend it and my point of view then can be taken against me. Worst, I can be punished for stating my opinion. In the same way, other individuals who read my blog and agree with my thoughts and decided to like or share it can be held accountable and punished. I do not think that this is the way to treat a common individual who writes down their thoughts on their blogs or on the walls of their preferred social networking site.
You see I look at my blog as my personal journal. It is my journal where I can share my thoughts, no matter how small or mundane these thoughts are. It is a venue where I can rant and I can rave. This is where I can speak my mind. The only difference is that by posting on the internet, I am giving my readers the chance to read my thoughts. It is no different to me writing it in a notebook and leaving it on the desk for everyone to read.
So what is my point?
Government officials would have to take another step by studying the new law and make the necessary revisions on the Cybercrime Law. I do agree that we need to have better controls in the wide spectrum of the internet but these controls should not curtail my freedom to express myself. I believe in responsible blogging. I believe in the power of social networking sites to influence people and to drive them into action. I believe that every freedom loving Filipino should have the opportunity to express their thoughts without fear of reprisal.
Social media is a very powerful tool. It can drive people to a wireless revolution. This is probably the reason why some politicians fear the rapid transmission of information in social media and blogging sites may mean their eventual downfall in their political careers. They fear that with the new technologies coming out, opinions will travel faster and Filipinos have more venues to give their point of views. I think they should do the opposite, to make sure that they put the Filipino’s interest first so that good news spreads through the internet. Case in point, the death of Secretary Robredo spread through the net faster than news channels. But we cannot deny the fact that the unending spirit of the late secretary to a life of public service also spread like wildfire which gained him more believers. He need not announce his credits through privilege speeches but his great service was relayed by the people known to him and shared to us through social media – no media hype, just the sharing of opinions.
Freedom comes with responsibility. It is what we have stood for in the past years. It is what UP taught me way back in college. I have the freedom not to attend my classes but it is my responsibility to study on my own to pass the exam for these subjects. We all need to have a venue where we can speak out openly our opinions on issues but we also need to be responsible for our words. My government should not put in measures that will make me stop sharing my thoughts. Again, I stand against the libel provision of the Cybercrime Law.
By the way, I have also shaved my head, like the UP Pep Squad, to emphasize my point on freedom and it is also my way of congratulating the UP Pep Squad.