Miriam wants cellphones 'silent' in cinemas, theaters

Posted at 01/29/13 3:18 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill penalizing the use of cellular phones and other electronic devices in cinemas, concert halls, and other venues of public performances.

Senate Bill 3384 or the "Silent Mode Act" requires the public to turn their phones off or put them on silent mode when in theaters and a performance is ongoing. It also prohibits the use of other gadgets such as personal digital assistants, cameras, video game devices, computer tablets, and portable media players.

Under the bill, theater owners and employees will be responsible for reminding the audience to keep their phones silent, and to escort violators out of the venue.
People who can't help but answer calls must "leave the theater and move to an area where they cannot be heard," the bill states.

"It is time to establish a law with corresponding penalties to marshal rude gadget users and allow other patrons to fully appreciate and enjoy the performance," Santiago said in the bill's explanatory note.

"Jurisprudence has consistently upheld the government's right to impose restraints which regulate the time, place and manner of expression in public places."

The measure imposes fines on violators: P500 for the first offense, P1,000 for the second, and P3,000 for the third.

The bill has been referred to the committee on public information and mass media.