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Cybercrime Law and The Freedom of Speech

2 Oct

In less than an hour, the newest and the controversial law in the Philippines will take effect – the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. The new law, obviously aims to reprimand the “misuse” of the internet by the people in the country. So far I haven’t read every details about this new law yet. Although, it was published in a government website, I haven’t read every chapters and sections of it. Most of what I’ve read were only articles posted by journalists, fellow bloggers and some politicians who are apparently opposed to the new bill.

From what I’ve gathered so far, libel has been inserted in the bill, which was the very reason many people are not approved of it. With the insertion of libel, apparently, anyone who will post, tweet, comment something that criticizes someone, say a politician, can be charged. Maybe even “liking” a comment or reposting or retweeting them can get your ass in jail.

The law is also too vague on who is liable and what is libelous. A website or blog can be taken down if one finds it offensive and charge you under the newly-enacted law. Like one Senator said, maybe even Mark Zuckerberg can be found liable for being the owner of Facebook. (Click here). One article even cited that old blogs, social media posts, or articles can be also used to charged you with cyber libel even before the law is implemented. (Click here).

For me, while it is good that we finally have a law that can make the “abusive” internet users accountable (i.e. those who engage stealing identity, uploading explicit content, online fraud, etc.), silencing the citizens when they inserted “libel” is oppressive and against the freedom of speech.

Heck, what happened to our democracy now?

Haven’t we learned from Martial Law?

As a journalism graduate and an advocate of freedom of expression, I am making my stand against this new law particularly the incorporation of libel, that is not only is oppressive and dangerous, but also makes what our national heroes did for the freedom of this country, useless!

Posting this actually on the eve of enactment of the law is dangerous as it can be used against me, but I will make my stand.

No to Republic Act No. 10175.

Christmas and Typhoon Sendong

22 Dec

I want to write but I’m too tired. I’m too occupied. This holiday season is just too much for me. The Christmas gatherings, non-stop shopping, wrapping gifts, meeting relatives… it’s tiring.  I just want to sit down, relax, write, watch a movie  or lay down and just be lazy.

Oh I know , I shouldn’t be complaining at all. Especially when people in the Southern Philippines are going through a tough time. My heart goes to the victims of the traumatic typhoon Sendong. I cannot help but cry when I saw the tragic news on TV. While most people in Manila and other major cities were doing their Christmas shopping in air-conditioned malls or complaining about being stuck in the weekend traffic, people in the southern part of the country are grieving for the loss of their love ones and are crying for help as their house are being washed away.  And hearing the different stories of survival and grief of losing  family members and even their unwavering hope of reuniting with them, I can’t help but shed some tears for them.

Anyway, it is my prayer  that we recover as a nation, that the victims receive the much needed help to rebuild their shelters, that they find comfort for the lives that were lost  and that they get back to their lives soon.

This is the right time to show what Christmas really means. Give. Just like God gave his son Jesus to us.  We can help. Doesn’t matter if it’s in cash or in kind. Just contact the legitimate organizations (GMA Kapuso, ABS-CBN, LBC and OMFLiterature are some of them) for all your pledges and donations.

And your prayers will be much appreciated.

 

Miss Universe 2011 and the Question of the Day

13 Sep

So almost everyone, at least in my part of the world, is talking about the Ms. Universe 2011 result which happened this morning (930AM Manila Time) in Sao Paolo Brazil.

Almost all posts in Facebook and tweets that I read today were about the prestigious beauty pageant. And why not? When our very own Miss Philippines won! Yup! Philippines’ Shamcey Supsup  won, but not Miss Universe title, just the 3rd runner up. The beautiful Miss Angola bagged the title of the most beautiful woman in the universe.  But then again, I’m proud of Shamcey for placing 3rd.

Ms. Philippines Shamcey Supsup in her evening gown (c/o Google images)

Last year, Philippines (Venus Raj) was the 4th runner up and not so long ago, Miriam Quiambao as the 1st runner up. I think almost every year, the candidates that the Philippines send to the competition always (most of the time)have a place in the top 5 or  top 10, or wins some special awards, which just means, we are beautiful people. Hahaha…

Oh well congratulations to all the winners! I like Ms. Angola’s teeth. 🙂

Ms. Universe 2011 - Ms. Angola Leila Lopes (c/o Google Images)

But today, what I think captured the interest of the Filipinos more is not just Shamcey winning 3rd, but it’s the Q & A part of the competition. As usual, like every year, the Q & A portion is just interesting and intriguing. I remember the “major, major” answer of Venus Raj last year. 😛

Shamcey was asked by the judge  with this question:

“Would you change your religious beliefs to marry the person you love and why?’’

Shamcey’s answer was:

“If I have to change my religious belief, I will not marry the person I love because the first person that I love is God and He created me. And I have my faith, my principles and it what makes me who I am. And if that person loves me, he should love my God.’’

And this has been the topic of the day all over the metro and I bet it will be the topic for tomorrow and for the next few days. People talk about it… the radio stations like Magic89.9 (Boys Night Out) were encouraging listeners to answer the question themselves. It’s intriguing and interesting. Why? Because it’s about LOVE and RELIGION. It’s the two most interesting topics in the universe I have to say.

And I have to admit, I like Shamcey’s answer. I think if I was the one competing in the Ms. Universe (Yeah right! In my dreams! LOL), I’d answer the same thing.  I wouldn’t. Nope. I don’t know if the people from other cultures would understand, but if one is aware about the culture in the Philippines being deeply religious, then people will agree that Shamcey’s answer was perfect and  that she deserves the crown.

Actually, I’ve been asked this question before by a close friend of mine (who happened to belong to another faith) and I remember my answer was NO. And if asked again today, I will have the same answer.

And to be honest, my last relationship was with a man who is from a completely different religious background. He is a Sikh, although non-practicing and I am a practicing Christian (not catholic). And while we didn’t really talk about religion, it still affected us in many ways. But I didn’t even consider worshiping another god just for him. I love him so much (and still in love with him *sighs*) and I can do everything for him, except for giving up my faith in Jesus. He didn’t ask me though to change my religion for him, but there was one instance when he was sharing to me his conversation with his dad where he was convincing his father about our relationship and he said to him something like “don’t worry, she will convert and she’ll  be able adjust to it someday .” I couldn’t say a thing after that. It is hard. Oh well.

Right, it’s your turn, let’s say you are in a Ms./Mr. Universe Q & A portion and I’m the judge and I will ask you the same question….

“Would you change your religious beliefs to marry the person you love and why?’’

What would be your answer?

The Tragedy Will Not Define Who We Are

26 Aug

The hostage standoff that happened a few days ago in Manila should not define who the Filipinos are or should not be the basis of how safe it is in the Philippines. Tragedies happen, no one likes it. It happens not just in the Philippines but in all cities all over the world, like the school rampage in Virginia Tech that took the lives of 32 innocent college students and teachers in 2007, the 17-year old kid in Germany who killed 15 people, or the attack in a kindergarten school in China that killed 7 children and 2 others just a couple of months ago. We all feel the anguish over what happened and we sympathized to all the family of the victims. Mr. Mendoza may have done something wrong but he’s not the sole person to be blamed. The hostage crisis just showed us many realities – the injustices, lack of proper training, lack of funds, inadequacies, inhuman treatment, biases, unfair treatment given to Filipinos abroad and so many others. It could have been prevented like many of us say, and that is true.

Living in what the powerful nations called as a “Third World Country” like Philippines is hard and incidents like these that tainted our image as nation in the international community makes it even harder, especially for the Filipinos abroad trying to make a living. We are judged. We’ve already been branded. People in the some parts of the world seem to have forgotten the Filipinos’ contributions to make their lives easier. Our fellowmen, out of wanting to give their families back home a proper shelter to live, food on their table and education for their children, accept the jobs even if that means being away from their families.

They forgot to be grateful to the Filipino domestic helpers abroad who help make their lives easier by taking care of their children and looking after their houses. They forgot to be grateful to Filipino caregivers who assist their aged parents in nursing homes or to the Filipino nurses and doctors at the hospitals. They forgot to be grateful to the Filipino waiters and waitresses who prepare their family meals while these Filipinos wish they were having dinner with their families instead. They forgot how to be grateful to Filipino drivers and construction workers in the Middle East. They forgot how to be grateful to Filipino seafarers on the cruise ship that makes their luxury travel even more fun and entertaining.

They didn’t know the effects of having a love one work abroad taking care of other people’s children instead of their own. They miss a lot of opportunities to show their love for their offspring. For mothers and fathers who weren’t able to see how their infants grow up, to hear their babies utter their first words, to see them climb, to see them walk, to send them to school on their first day of classes, to see them received their first award in school. They didn’t know the effects of not being around. Their children grow distant, their own children not even knowing who they are.

These are the sacrifices that these brave Filipinos abroad endure, and yet they treat them in an inhuman way, physically torturing or sexually violating some of them and the most recent, firing them from their jobs just for being a Filipino. No one wishes for any of the hostages to die including Mr. Mendoza. What he did was wrong whatever reasons he may have, but this action is not enough to be ashamed of him as a fellow Filipino. He was a good Filipino citizen but he was a victim as well, a victim of injustices that is. The insensitive mob, including those officers smiling before the camera was a shame I have to admit, but I will not be ashamed of being a Filipino. This tragedy will not define who we are as people and as a nation. We are still a nation of God-fearing citizens, hardworking individuals, optimistic and hospitable people. As long as these traits remain, Philippines is still a safe place to be.

###

August 26, 2010

6pm

Why I grieve for the loss of President Corazon Aquino

5 Aug

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From my journal, dated July 26, 2009:

“I am personally saddened about learning that the former president Aquino is in the hospital fighting for her life. I pray that she gets better soon.”

~~~~   ~~~~   ~~~~

This is what I wrote in my journal while we were on our way home from the church where our head pastor lead a prayer for the former President Aquino. Indeed I was personally saddened upon learning her condition while she was still Makati Medical Center, but now my heart grieves for her loss.

I was born in the 80’s. I was 4 years old  when she became the president. All I could remember was the election, seeing her rival, Marcos’ face on the television and hearing my parents and some adult relatives and neighbors talking about them. I even remember saying, “kawawa naman si Marcos” , but I was corrected by my aunt, telling me that he deserves it. Of course, I really have no idea what was happening that time, I don’t understand what was going on, all I know is that the dictator Marcos looks pitiful on television. But the people around me were all rejoicing over Aquino’s victory.

Few years after that, I was in my mother’s hometown which is a 2-hour drive from Manila, I remember  while playing “baril-barilan” (toy guns) with my childhood friends (yes I used to play a lot of boys’ games) an elderly neighbor shouted at us and told us to stop playing. She said, there is already a chaos happening in Manila and playing a game like that is not good. She was talking about the coup d’é·tat in Manila during Aquino’s administration.

Then I also remember seeing advertisements on TV with some of the military men’s faces whom the government called as state enemies for staging the coup. I particularly recalled Honasan’s head shot. I also remember the massive power interruptions. Other than those I have mentioned, I don’t remember anything anymore during her term. I guess I was too young to remember.

About 1-2 decades after, I have some good memories about Mrs. Aquino. I don’t personally know her and haven’t even seen her in flesh but with her participation in fighting for truth, justice and righteousness during the past few years, she had earned my utmost respect. She bravely went out to the street and made her stand on political issues. Even after being diagnosed for cancer, she still didn’t stop supporting the fight for the righteous government. Truly she is an icon of democracy. We were encouraged when she joined forces with the  Filipinos who never lose hope for the Philippines.

I was saddened by her illness and grieves for her death. I felt like we have lost someone so significant, someone so vital for the fight we are fighting for the future of the nation. That I think is the very reason I grieve.

For the past few days, reports were showing the whole Philippines in grief. We are all mourning. They also showed how her death unifies the Filipinos. It is indeed good to see my fellowmen show concern and not being apathetic on what is going on. It is a good news from the bad news. But I hope it will not end here. I pray and hope that President Aquino’s legacy will always be remembered. I pray it will continue to live on in every hearts and minds of each Filipino citizen.

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Thank you President Corazon Aquino. Thank you, you made us proud to be Filipinos.

“Ako’y nagpapasalamat sa Panginoong Diyos na ginawa niya akong isang Pilipino”
— Cory Aquino, September 2008

Imagine a World without Filipinos

20 Jun

Just thought I’d post this inspiring article here. Proud to be Pinoy!

—–

Imagine a World without Filipinos

by: Abdullah Al-Maghlooth | Al-Watan, almaghlooth@alwatan.com.sa

Muhammad Al-Maghrabi became handicapped and shut down his flower and gifts shop business in Jeddah after his Filipino workers insisted on leaving and returning home. He says: “When they left, I felt as if I had lost my arms. I was so sad that I lost my appetite.”

Al-Maghrabi then flew to Manila to look for two other Filipino workers to replace the ones who had left. Previously, he had tried workers of different nationalities but they did not impress him. “There is no comparison between Filipinos and others,” he says. Whenever I see Filipinos working in the Kingdom, I wonder what our life would be without them.

Saudi Arabia has the largest number of Filipino workers — 1,019,577 — outside the Philippines. In 2006 alone, the Kingdom recruited more than 223,000 workers from the Philippines and their numbers are still increasing. Filipinos not only play an important and effective role in the Kingdom, they also perform different jobs in countries across the world, including working as sailors. They are known for their professionalism and the quality of their work.

Nobody here can think of a life without Filipinos, who make up around 20 percent of the world’s seafarers. There are 1.2 million Filipino sailors.

So if Filipinos decided one day to stop working or go on strike for any reason, who would transport oil, food and heavy equipment across the world? We can only imagine the disaster that would happen.

What makes Filipinos unique is their ability to speak very good English and the technical training they receive in the early stages of their education. There are several specialized training institutes in the Philippines, including those specializing in engineering and road maintenance. This training background makes them highly competent in these vital areas.

When speaking about the Philippines, we should not forget Filipino nurses. They are some 23 percent of the world’s total number of nurses. The Philippines is home to over 190 accredited nursing colleges and institutes, from which some 9,000 nurses graduate each year. Many of them work abroad in countries such as the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Singapore.

Cathy Ann, a 35-year-old Filipino nurse who has been working in the Kingdom for the last five years and before that in Singapore, said she does not feel homesick abroad because “I am surrounded by my compatriots everywhere.” Ann thinks that early training allows Filipinos to excel in nursing and other vocations. She started learning this profession at the age of four as her aunt, a nurse, used to take her to hospital and ask her to watch the work. “She used to kiss me whenever I learned a new thing. At the age of 11, I could do a lot. I began doing things like measuring my grandfather’s blood pressure and giving my mother her insulin injections,” she said.

This type of early education system is lacking in the Kingdom. Many of our children reach the university stage without learning anything except boredom.

The Philippines, which you can barely see on the map, is a very effective country thanks to its people. It has the ability to influence the entire world economy.

We should pay respect to Filipino workers, not only by employing them but also by learning from their valuable experiences.

We should learn and educate our children on how to operate and maintain ships and oil tankers, as well as planning and nursing and how to achieve perfection in our work. This is a must so that we do not become like Muhammad Al-Maghrabi who lost his interest and appetite when Filipino workers left his flower shop.

We have to remember that we are very much dependent on the Filipinos around us. We could die a slow death if they chose to leave us.

Holy Week

19 Mar

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It’s holy week or lenten season as other’s know it. In the Philippines, we have a 2-day holiday which are mostly used for vacation or family reunions. For some people it’s time to hit the beaches or visit relatives in their respective provinces. And for those who will stay at home, it means DVD-Marathon days. Thank God for DVDs or else it’s going to a boring week. hehe… Actually, it is better now because most television stations now show movies or some special programs other than Bible-related ones, which I also like (well just some of it since some are way too old, lol ) compared before when you will be bored to death because there were almost no programs being aired. For others this means reuniting with family members, oh did I already say family reunions? For some, it means out of town trip! I remember also going on a 3-day vacation with my sister and some of our church friends in some provinces in Luzon. I managed to join them in two of their trips which is in Isla Verde in Batangas and Baguio City. Oh well, for Catholic devotees (especially for the older people) this means praying or going to church or something similar to that. They have this procession to parade their statues of saints. Others even have themselves literally nailed on the cross as their expression of penance while others would walk miles going to Grottos or even hike a mountain as a form of sacrifice I guess (I don’t really know, I am not catholic so I don’t know what they do exactly.) Also, most of them forbid themselves from eating meat such as chicken, pork or beef but not fish (it is also meat) that is why the price of fish and veggies always increase at least by threefolds in this time of the year. Even bathing on a Thursday (or is it Friday) is prohibited. Talk about superstitions.

I grew up in a Christian family and ever since I was young we were thought about Jesus dying to save us, His birth and other teachings about God. But we never really celebrate holy week. I don’t know what others’ beliefs are about this week that whenever Lenten comes you are expected to behave well, meditate, keep quite or in short you aren’t allowed to party. LOL. Just kidding. But yeah you are not allowed to be so happy or goof around. Any kind of noise is discouraged. Well, at least that is not the case in our house, unless we are at some relatives’ house. I remember when I was young, that the elders from our neighborhood would shout on me and my playmates if we play outside and started laughing. They’ll say be quiet because Jesus is dead. I don’t know but I was taught that Jesus died only once and that He rose from the dead on the third day and ascended to heaven in the presence of His apostles. So how come every year in this season they say Jesus is dead? The cross is empty. The Savior is alive and is in heaven watching over us.

Yes we should remember greatest sacrifice – the death of Jesus because if not for Him, we wouldn’t have the gift of salvation. But we should remember it always, not only this time of the year but all the time. We also must remember that He died only but once, rose again and now in heaven with the Father.

~0 ~0 ~0

I just want to post this song revived by Jars of Clay:

O COME AND MOURN WITH ME AWHILE (Our Lord Is Crucified)
traditional words traditional words by Frederick W. Faber (alt. by Eric Ashley)

music by Eric Ashley O come and mourn with me awhile
O come near to the Savior’s side
O come together, let us mourn
Jesus our Lord is crucified Seven times He spoke
Seven words of love
And all three hours His silence cried
For mercy on the souls of men
Jesus our Lord is crucified O love of God, O sin of man
In this dread act your strength is tried
And victory remains with love
Jesus our Lord is crucified

O break, O break hard heart of mine
My weak self-love and guilty pride
His Pilate and His Judas were
Jesus our Lord is Crucified

O love of God, O sin of man
In this dread act your strength is tried
And victory remains with Love
Jesus our Lord is crucified

O come and mourn with awhile

A broken heart, a fount of tears
Ask and they will not be denied
A broken heart love’s cradle is
Jesus our Lord is crucified
Jesus our Lord is crucified
Jesus our Lord is crucified
Our Lord is crucified And victory remains with love
Jesus our Lord is crucified

O love of God, O sin of man
In this dread act your strength is tried
And victory remains with love
Jesus our Lord is crucified


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