SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Matchmaking or offering marriage between foreign nationals and Filipino women on Internet websites will be declared a crime under a bill seeking to amend the Anti-Mail Order Bride Law.
Rep. Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales (Party-list, CIBAC), author of House Bill 222, said mail-order bride services are illegal in the Philippines under Republic Act 6955 or the Anti-Mail Order Bride Law of 1990.
Cruz-Gonzales said mail-order bride services are now flourishing in different websites and have largely replaced traditional paper-based 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," Cruz-Gonzales said.
"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," Cruz-Gonzales added.
Cruz-Gonzales said the bill supports the campaign protecting women from unscrupulous individuals engaged in match-making activities by way of recruitment or through emails or websites on the Internet.
Under the bill, violators face an imprisonment of 20 years and pay a fine of not more than P100,000. Foreign offenders will be deported and barred perpetually from entering the country after serving their sentence and payment of fines.
The measure 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.
The measure also penalizes 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.
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.
"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," Cruz-Gonzales said.