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Palace: Baguio’s cursing ban may not pass constitutional test

Updated

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said that Baguio City’s “Anti-Profanity Ordinance” may not pass the test of constitutionality if brought to the courts as cursing is part of a person’s right to freedom of expression.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo
(OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after the Baguio City Council passed the said ordinance in September which bans cursing in places frequented by children and students.

In his Thursday press briefing, Panelo said that this was his first time hearing such ordinance but said he would not oppose if it is implemented in schools.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of that. I have to see that. Is that an ordinance? Ordinance in Baguio? Exactly what profane words are they prohibiting?” Panelo asked.

“I will not oppose that kind of prohibition in schools,” he added.

However, the Palace official said the ordinance may not pass the test of constitutionality of brought before the courts as cursing is part of human nature.

“It may not pass the constitutional test when it is raised before the courts,” Panelo said.

Panelo, who works for President Duterte who is known for delivering curse-laden speeches, said he does not know of a person who does not curse.

“Profane words are uttered in a moment of anger. So, all of us does it. I have not heard of anyone not cursing when one is angry,” he said.

“Cursing is part of Freedom of speech for as long as you don’t injure the person that is the subject of your curse,” he added.

Baguio City sees the ordinance as a tool to help preserve the morals of the Filipino youth, and preserve the integrity of a decent and ethically upright people.

The ordinance bans any expression of profanity which includes blasphemous or obscene language; vulgar or irrelevant speech or action; expletive, oath, swearing, swearword, curse, curse word, cuss-profane, or obscene expression.

Students who will be caught violating the ordinance will be called out and their parents will be informed about their violations. The local government, however, left it to the schools to serve other forms of reprimands such as suspension or expulsion.

Schools, meanwhile, are mandates to post signs which states that cursing is not allowed there. These signs should also be posted on places frequented by children, including computer shops. Establishments without these signs shall be apprehended by the local government.

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