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ADNU OSA, PAPSAS Advocate Responsible Digital Citizenship

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27 August 2020, Naga City – The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) of Ateneneo de Naga University organized the third of its “New Normal”, in cooperation with the Philippine Association of Practitioners of Student Affairs and Services (PAPSAS) – Region V.

The webinar, “Fostering Responsible Digital Citizenship in the New Normal”, was livestreamed in Adnu Osa Facebook account. Students and student affairs practitioners from Bicol, other parts of the country, and even overseas such as India and United Arab Emirates, attended the webinar. As of writing, the webinar has garnered more than 3,300 views – and still counting.

The activity was conducted in response to the more pronounced and current trends and realities in the cyber world affecting the students, especially during the pandemic. The offering aims at empowering students to become responsible digital citizens, through proper knowledge of relevant laws, and etiquette and practical safety tips in using social media and other information and communication technologies.

In his opening remarks, Rodolfo SB. Virtus Jr., the OSA director, stressed on the crucial role of schools in teaching the youth on how to be ethical, critical, and productive technology users, and, ultimately, in ensuring the online environment’ conduciveness to learning. He challenged his fellow student affairs practitioners to be proactive in protecting the students from the threats in using digital technology.

Atty. April Joy B. Guiang, the first resource speaker, talked about the relevant provisions of the Safe Spaces Act or ‘Bawal Bastos’ Law. She underscored that this new law addresses the gaps in the legal framework by recognizing that sexual harassment can be committed by any person. She explained that in the original law, the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 or Republic Act 7877, sexual harassment can only be perpetrated by persons who have the authority, influence or moral ascendancy over another. She added that in the old law, the safe spaces legally described refers to work, educational, and training facilities. The new law expands them even further, to public spaces like streets and malls, and even in cyberspace.

Atty. Guiang pointed out that under the Safe Spaces Act, any person can be an offender or victim of the gender-based online sexual harassment (GOSH) which includes acts that use information and communications technology to frighten or intimate victims though, for instance, unwanted sexual misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic, and sexist remarks and comments online whether on public posts or through private messages. With this, she said that it is important to know the responsibilities and rights of every person as consumer of social media, to be discerning on what to post or comment, and to cultivate the culture of respect.

The second speaker, Atty. Dion Lorenz L. Romano started his presentation by sharing the landscape of the digital world, particularly during this new normal. He shared that based on the Digital 2020 Report by We Are Social as of July 2020, 3.96 billion people use social media today. He explained that the increase in the use of social media or digital technology creates an upsurge of cybercrime, and makes peoples’ data or information more vulnerable to abuse or violation.

Atty. Romano discussed the salient points of the Cybercrime Prevention Act (RA 10175), and Data Privacy Act (RA 10173). He said that the Cybercrime Act protects everyone form the misuse, abuse and illegal access of the information and communication technologies (ICT). He enumerated and explained the punishable acts under RA 10175 such as offenses against confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and system, computer-related offenses, content-related offenses, and other offenses He stressed that all crimes in the Revised Penal Code and special laws, if committed through ICT shall have the penalty one degree higher or higher penalty. He cautioned the participants to be more careful and vigilant in sharing their data in cyber space.

For the second part, Atty. Romano talked about the Data Privacy Act. He said that this law is a comprehensive and strict privacy legislation “to protect the fundamental human right of privacy of communication while ensuring free flow of information to promote innovation and growth.”

Atty. Dion pointed out that the organizations which deal with the details, whereabouts, and preferences of individuals are duty bound to observe and respect their data privacy rights such as the right to be informed, right to access, right to object, right to file complaint, right to erasure, right to damages, right to rectify, and the right to data portability. He clarified, however, that these rights will not apply if the processed personal data are used only for the needs of scientific and statistical research, and for investigations in relation to any criminal, administrative or tax liabilities of a data subject. He urged the participants to be mindful of the data or information they are sharing and reminded them that per provision of the law, the collection of personal data must be specified, reasonable and for legitimate purpose.

The final speaker, Dr. Ma. Filipinas Bana with her data based on research, presented her talk on Digital Etiquette in the New Normal. She shared that the COVID-19 has changed the ways of people such as the “shift to video conferencing for communication, change in the school and work culture resorting to online learning, and work-from-home arrangement, and that the social media is louder than ever” with the heightened presence and activities of people on social media platforms. With these, she highlighted the importance of netiquette in dealing or interacting with people online.

Dr. Bana advised the participants to be careful with their behavior online given that the interaction is now more on non-verbal cues, and “people disclose or act out more frequently, at times more intensely, when they are online” which can lead to a misunderstanding. She further shared tips on how the students can safely and responsibly engaged in digital/online platforms by presenting the ten core rules of netiquette in relation to the 4Cs of the Atenean’s Profile of the University Graduate (competence, conscience, compassionate commitment to change, and Christ-centeredness). Some of these include not to share fake news, avoid using offensive language and cyberbullying, respect others’ privacy, and be mindful and respectful in civil disagreements.

After the talks, Clyd Rex C. Jesalva, the host/moderator facilitated the open forum. PAPSAS national officers, and student leaders from other higher education institutions shared their reactions to the talks.

The webinar is part of the OSAS’s continuing efforts to promote student rights, responsibilities, and safety/security in the University. OSA shall sustain the responsible digital citizenship advocacy in the coming semesters through varied activities and development of informative materials.