Online matchmaking to be criminalized under proposed bill

Posted at 08/19/2013 3:48 PM

MANILA, Philippines - In an effort to protect the image of the Filipino women, a new bill (House Bill 222) seeking to amend the Anti-Mail Order Bride Law will criminalize matchmaking of Filipinas and foreign nationals on internet websites.

Under Republic Act 6955 or the Anti-Mail Order Bride Law of 1990, mail-order bride services are illegal in the Philippines.

But according to Citizens' Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list representative Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales, author of HB 222, mail-order bride services are now flourishing in different websites and have largely replaced traditional paper-cased classifieds.

“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,” said Cruz-Gonzales.

“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,” she added.

Under HB 222, violators will face an imprisonment of 20 years and will have to pay a fine of not more than P100,000.

“If the offender is a foreigner, he shall be immediately deported and barred forever from entering the country after serving his sentence and payment of fine,” warned Cruz-Gonzales.

The bill also penalizes persons who advertise, publish, print or distribute any brochure, flier or any propaganda material including those distributed and made available through the Internet.

Likewise, it shall be unlawful to use the postal service and the Internet to promote the mail order bride business according to the measure.

Filipino women who voluntarily engaged themselves in matchmaking activities and those who patronize the mail-order bride business as an accessory to the offense charged will also be penalized.

The manager, editor in chief, or advertising manager of any newspaper, magazine, television, radio station and other media including those of internet websites are likewise prohibited from allowing or consenting to the unlawful acts mentioned.

Under the RA 6955, any person found guilty of violating the law shall suffer an imprisonment of not less than six years and one day but not more than eight years, and a fine of not less than P8,000 but not more than P20,000.