Margaux Justiniano Uson, more popularly known as Duterte supporter Mocha Uson, has been a constant personality in news stories concerning the President’s social media following. She has been making the headlines in her straightforward comments for and against Duterte critics and big media organizations. By straightforward, I mean no holds barred. Her major influence has landed the question: How do Filipino millenials behave on social media?
It might not be that great. One time, I checked on her Facebook page with almost four million followers. While there are a lot of good comments about the President, also present were shaming and threats to the critics not only of the top diplomat, but also of his own government. I cannot take in what I saw on the string of posts on her page. It seems as though the Filipino values of respect and honor has been forgotten by the very generation we are in. With the deaths of drug lords in Oplan Tokhang, there also comes the death of sensibility and respect for strangers. Filipinos, known for their hospitality and humility, have grown ignorant of their native values with the sudden rise of technology and social media.
Filipinos, known for their hospitality and humility, have grown ignorant of their native values with the sudden rise of technology and social media.
The stigma that is belittling others anonymously online is an unfair way and is against the democratic system we have. Laws have been created to combat cyber bullying and online discrimination, with some having a sentence from six months to six years. In August last year, Nestor Punzalan, a private individual, filed an online libel complaint against the editorial board of Top Gear Philippines for wrongly tagging his name in a road rage incident. Punzalan received death threats due to misinformation.
If the case of Nestor Punzalan were not cleared earlier, it would have been a different story. It might happen that he would be blamed for something that he had not done, letting the real culprit get away with the crime. His story is one of many others that do not see justice. The lack of urge to verify information and discern fact from opinion has been inculturated in Filipinos, and, thus, it leads us to the present generation on the rise: Mocha Uson, and Duterte’s Facebook supporters.
Freedom of expression is not an excuse to demean or mock others.
Freedom of expression is a right given to all citizens of the Republic. But this freedom does not grant them the right to demean or mock others. This freedom must be used to string public participation in social issues affecting them. As Filipino millenials, we must serve to follow a legacy set straight before us: democracy of right to freedom of expression and upholding of human rights.
Let us rid the world of misinformation and mockery.
Let us rid the world of misinformation and mockery. Our degrading decorum would only contribute to divisions in the society and in the community. Together, let us work for peace and progress that we all desire.
This article was first published on my column on the Canossian Gazette, “Mind Over Matter,” Vol. XLIX Issn. 3.
Mocha Uson photo grabbed from http://www.goodfilipino.com