AMONG the internet cafés and “pisonet” (coin-operated computers) machines operating in the city, only a handful of them have license to operate, said the Regulatory and Complaint Board (RCB).

Lawyer Beda Joy Elot, RCB chair, told Sun.Star-Cagayan de Oro that the information dissemination campaigns have been conducted by the Board, including inspection of internet shops after and during office hours to check on their compliance of the requirements to apply for a business permit.

Elot said in a radio interview that there are less than 10 which have permits to operate "pisonet."

According to Maricel Rivera, head of the City Information Office (CIO) and member of the Committee on Entertainment and Amusement Places and Anti-Pornography Committee of RCB, pisonet machines operating in the barangays are only left in the homes and can be used by anyone anytime.

It was also found that most of the pisonets do not have business permits. Usage of pisonets is in demand as classes have started.

The problem on internet cafés that do not have blocking programs against pornographic websites installed in their computers also persists, said Elot.

Rivera said that internet establishment must have a business permit, must have blocking programs against pornographic websites installed in their computers based on City Ordinance no. 2018-99.

Cyber café owners must also not allow minors 18 and below to play computer games from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. unless with letter of consent from parents or teachers to be presented to the internet operator based on City Ordinance no. 8099-2002.

Internet shops should not set private cubicles or rooms in the establishments based on City Ordinance no. 8953-2003.

They have also deputized barangay officials to help in monitoring and regulating internet cafés, she added.

“It’s basically our campaign against porn,” Rivera said.

To sanction

Elot said that they are now looking in the next phase: to sanction internet cafés who did not meet the requirements with closure, confiscation, or penalties.

“We’re still looking into legalities of confiscation. [We] have to operate on the bounds of the law.” Elot said. “The information and dissemination phase has already been exhausted.”

Elot also said that there are some requirements that they pardon at a certain extent like the establishments to operate at least 200 meters away from schools, churches, and hospitals, saying that most internet cafés will be closed if they will really be strict on that rule.

“We are just, instead, asking operators to help us monitor the usage of gaming websites,” she said.

Vaughn, clerk of an Internet Café, said he did not notice any checkers from the city inspecting their shop. They still however do not allow minors to use their computers during school hours but only after 5 p.m., and have blocking programs ready.

Ai-ai was watching over a health shop and a recently-opened pisonet shop near Julio Pacana street. By noon, there are kids playing video games in her shop, but she said that she lets them play because the kids said, "They do not have classes."

For every peso, users can surf and play for five minutes. She does not know if their computers have blocking sites, but she said that most of their customers only upload pictures.