Tag Archives: United States Congress

[Statement] KAMP enjoins PNoy to listen to public demands vs. corrupt officials and pork barrel

KAMP enjoins PNoy to listen to public demands vs. corrupt officials and pork barrel
Our Money, Our Lives: Public Funds for Public Services

We, the women, youth, workers, informal settlers, farmers, farmworkers, differently abled, persons with genetic disorders and the elderly, from the multi-sectoral campaign network of the Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP) raise our voices in unison with the sound of people’s clamor for justice on the pork barrel and budget scams.

KAMP

Today we join our fellow Filipinos in launching the Kilusang Masa KONTRA TRAPO AT KONTRA PORK (KonTRAPOrk) and demand for the immediate removal of all discretionary funds from the clutches of all politicos and direct this to ensuring public well-being by providing for universal health care, quality education, living pensions for the elderly and differently abled, socialized and humane housing, access to safe drinking water, electricity, transportation and most importantly, jobs generation and livelihood opportunities.

We are the sectors who directly suffer from daily deprivation and social exclusion caused by prevalence of poverty and inequality. Yet, despite meager resources, we bear the brunt of paying taxes both on our income and on consumption of goods and services. Time and again we have questioned this condition, collectively came up with answers and brought these to the attention of the government. But time and again, many of those in public office miserably fail to grasp the essence of their being servants of the people and short-changed us with palliative and temporary solutions at the pretext of lack of funds. Now, these disgraceful TRAPOS engage in a blame game as they fight over what they did with our money as if this grand theft is a mere issue of figures in pesos, and even foreign currencies.

It is disgusting at how thick their skulls and skins have become to the extent of not knowing and not feeling that what they did with our money, they did with our lives. By denying us our own resources, they have robbed us of opportunities to get out of poverty, to address inequality, to live a life of dignity.

How the government handles these pork barrel and budget scams is equally revolting. Instead of reviewing its already questionable priorities, protecting our money from further misuse and instituting reforms in the budget process, the Aquino administration and allies in Congress have merely repackaged the pork barrel system. And it looks like they are using the tactic of misdirecting public attention by branding and exerting all efforts to prove Napoles as the scam mastermind as if she alone conceived and executed the grand theft. Meanwhile, Congress is railroading the passage of the General Appropriations Act, with the pork barrel and presidential special purpose funds remaining untouched.

Clearly, honor has become a big word for the TRAPOS who have proved themselves unworthy of public trust. It is unfortunate that we, the people, are made to pay the price for the failure of government officials to serve our interest.

We, the network of people from grassroots communities and various organizations united within KAMP, joining the KonTRAPOrk mass movement against corruption and the pork barrel system, refuse to remain victims of greed, deception and abuse of power of public officials. The power to change this situation lies in our hands. We have done this before, we can and we will do it again.

People’s money for people’s protection
against poverty and inequality!
Public funds for public services!
Makataong Pamumuhay para sa Lahat!

PRESS STATEMENT
1 October 2013

For Interviews: Ana Maria R. Nemenzo, Lead Convenor
For Correspondence: Don Pangan, Media Liaison Staff
Email: kamp.secretariat@gmail.com
Phone: 0927-3477205

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[People] Syria – choosing the lesser evil by Fr. Shay Cullen

Syria – choosing the lesser evil
by Fr. Shay Cullen

325-fr-shay-cullen

The attention of the international news media is focused on what the United States will do to prevent the Assad regime from using abhorrent chemical weapons again. The US Senate has given the go signal to President Obama. The alleged war crime and crimes against humanity that Assad and his followers are accused of committing by using poison gas to kill as many as 1,429 people, four hundred of them children, are shocking and must be condemned.

The evidence that has been presented so far by the Western governments, while still waiting for the report from the UN inspectors, gives a very strong case that the Assad government did indeed commit a heinous war crime against its own people, most of them civilians, women and children. We have to speak out and denounce such evil act if indeed true as it appears to be so.

The use of poison gas has been internationally outlawed since the First World War as a weapon of mass destruction, the evidence so far indicates that sarin, a deadly gas that brings an agonizing and painful death to its victims was used in the attack. There have been other reported incidents of smaller attacks with video evidence of dying and dead people and flocks of birds downed in rebel held areas due to a suspected gas attack.

According to the Wikipedia on-line encyclopedia it says: “Syria is one of five states that have not signed and one of seven that have not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the development, production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of chemical weapons. However, in 1968, Syria acceded to the 1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases. In the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Syria denied that it had chemical weapons, but admitted it possessed such weapons in 2012. The Syrian President had earlier alluded to a chemical weapon capability in public statements, in 1990 and 1997″.

In desperation and fear of a possible defeat and subsequent wipe out of his family and his tribe, Assad and his military are apparently resorting to chemical warfare. This is a horrendous crime and can cause terrible deaths among civilians. If the wind suddenly changes then it can be carried into the center of Damascus and kill many more including diplomats and the many Filipinos there who refuse to leave their well-paying jobs.

The British parliament has voted against any military strike to degrade the capability of Assad to use these terrible weapons. The French President is waiting to support the decision of the United States when the US congress finally decides whether to authorize a strike or not.

President Obama was caught between a rock and a hard place. He has implacable enemies among the fanatical members of the Republican Party who have blocked his many positive initiatives in other areas in the past.

If he ordered a limited strike against Syria he would be lambasted with criticism from his Republican Congressional enemies. When he did not strike they were already questioning his leadership ability and practically calling him a do-nothing President and would blame him if the Assad regime was to commit more war crimes.

Besides, if Obama had ordered a strike, the Assad regime would possibly retaliate by striking back against Israel with chemical weapons. Obama would be blamed for that too. The Israeli government has distributed thousands of gas masks to a panicky nation just in case. In a politically smart move, he wisely deferred to the US congress to make the decision.

The ball is now in their court. If they don’t approve a strike they can be accused of ignoring a horrendous war crime and giving encouragement to the enemy of the Syrian people allowing them to be gassed to death for their opposition to his oppressive regime. It will be seen as if the US Congress is condoning a modern day Nazi death chamber.

This is anathema to the Jewish race; millions of them were gassed to death under the Nazi genocide of WWII. They have enough gas chambers, one Scud missile into their territory and all hell will break loose. Israel could well strike against the palace and person of Assad and his mother who is the power behind the Assad throne. May all out war never happen.

There has to be a choice as to which is the greatest good, to strike or not to strike. And a choice as to which is the greatest evil, to allow Assad to tyrannically gas thousands more of his people or try to prevent it by destroying his delivery vehicles such as the scud and other missiles and their command and control centers. We are morally bound to choose the lesser evil in such situations. That is the choice facing the US Congress.

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[Press Release] Fight continues to #StopCyberMartialLaw -Dakila

Fight continues to #StopCyberMartialLaw 
as the World Celebrates #InternetFreedomDay

Dakila Logo_ coloredAs the world celebrates #InternetFreedomDay today in commemoration of the formation of the broadest coalition in history to stop PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) and SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) from being quickly and quietly passed by the US Congress, the Philippines Internet Community remains ablaze in fighting against the Cybercrime Law.

Last January 15, the Supreme Court of the Philippines has started with its oral arguments on RA 10175 or more known as the Cybercrime Law. Protesters have once again marched to Padre Faura to oppose the said law. The Cybercrime Law was passed on September 12, 2012 and has been said to address issues concerning crimes happening on the Internet such as cyber sex, child pornography, identity theft, and libel.

“Is it really there to protect women when even women’s groups have said that the law incriminates women more? Is it really for the good of the people or for their own, personal agendas? We believe that the Cybercrime Law does not answer the problems on the Internet but does more harm than good,” Ayeen Karunungan, spokesperson of the Dakila Artist Collective said.

Sections of the said law have been questioned on its constitutionality. Section 19, also known as the takedown clause, is one provision strongly opposed by the public. It empowers the Department of Justice to restrict and/or take down content without the need for a court order.

A few days before the start of the oral arguments in the Philippines, Aaron Swartz, an Internet freedom advocate, committed suicide in his New York apartment as he faced charges and 35 years on jail for for downloading academic journals from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His case against the government was highly criticized by the public, who believes the US government has not justified its case against Swartz.

Protesters in the Philippines have quoted and cited Aaron Swartz and his advocacy for free and open Internet. “Aaron Swartz is an inspiration for Internet freedom activists in the Philippines. Like him, we believe that information should be shared. Like other advocates, we believe that the Internet is a powerful tool in disseminating information and empowering the public. It has made democracy what its should be — participative rather than representative,” Karunungan said.

“The Internet is now threatened by a government that fears the power of its people. Internet freedom will be in our hands, but only if we fight for it. Dakila is one with the international internet community in this struggle, as we battle our own fight against the Cybercrime Law in the Philippines.” Karunungan added.

The solicitor general is to reply on January 22 and the temporary restraining order on the law will be lifted on February 6. Petitions have been made requesting for the extension of the TRO.

PRESS RELEASE
Dakila – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism
18 January 2013

DAKILA – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism
Unit 3A, VS1 Bldg., 34 Kalayaan Avenue, Quezon City
Cellular: +63917 8822176
Tel. No.:+632 4354309
E-mail: mabuhay@dakila.org.ph
Website: http://www.dakila.org.ph
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Follow us on Twitter: dakila_ph

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[From the web] Visionary internet activist Aaron Swartz found dead; was this brilliant internet revolutionary taken out?

Visionary internet activist Aaron Swartz found dead; was this brilliant internet revolutionary taken out?.
January 13, 2013
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com

Adding to the list of mysterious deaths that have happened over the last few days, internet visionary and brilliant internet activist Aaron Swartz was found dead yesterday. Swartz, only 26 years old, was the co-founder of Reddit.com, the co-creator of RSS technology, and the key activist who achieved a stunning defeat of the freedom-crushing SOPA / PIPA bills in the U.S. Congress.

Swartz was found dead yesterday, and the official story is that he committed suicide. But Swartz himself would have wanted us to question the official story and dig deeper.

After all, his own website, Demand Progress, questions the “PROTECT-IP” act, the insanity of George Bush’s Patriot Act, the censorship of free speech by Facebook, the financial scams of Goldman Sachs, the internet kill switch and much more.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/038650_Aaron_Swartz_suicide_assassination.html#ixzz2IDu5OZyo

Read full article @www.naturalnews.com

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[In the news]Supreme Court tackles online libel provision in debates over Cybercrime Law | Sun.Star

Supreme Court tackles online libel provision in debates over Cybercrime Law | Sun.Star.
January 15, 2013

sunstar-network copyMANILA (Updated) — Justices of the Supreme Court (SC) began entertaining arguments against the constitutionality of Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 on Tuesday, as a lawyer called on Congress to finally decriminalize libel.

In discussing the demerits of online libel and cybersex, University of the Philippines professor Harry Roque said these provisions should be struck down for infringing on freedom of expression. He said the provisions are not clear and prone to abuse.

He also pitched to the justices the call of the United Nations Human Rights Committee to lessen the gravity of penalty for those who will be found guilty of libel. Instead, the offender should be accountable for civil damages, he said.

Read full article @www.sunstar.com.ph

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[In the news] After campaign vs ‘epal’, group trains gun on ‘bopal’ -PhilStar.com

After campaign vs ‘epal’, group trains gun on ‘bopal’
By Jovan Cerda, PhilStar.com
September 28, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – A national political party representing the marginalized sector held on Friday a rally against “epal” politicians and “bopal” groups, urging the Commission on Elections to fulfill its mandate of ensuring genuine, clean and honest polls.

Partido Lakas ng Masa said its rally is meant to jumpstart its campaign against epals and bopals.

Epal is a term for credit-grabbing politicians while bopal stands for bogus party lists.

PLM said it supports the Comelec’s move to rid the elections of bopals which do not really represent the marginalized sectors.

“The party list system is designed to enable the marginalized and underrepresented sectors to secure a seat in Congress, which has long been monopolized by traditional parties and clans. Getting rid of the Bopal is a most welcome action by the Comelec,” PLM Chairman Sonny Melencio said.

“While we appreciate Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr’s recent moves against the Bopal, we ask that the process of disqualification be open and transparent to prevent the exclusion of the genuine party lists in the certification,” he added.

“Our campaign against Bopal is also our way of ensuring that the genuine partylists -those truly composed of the marginalized sectors- should have better chances of getting the Comelec certification,” Melencio said.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

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[Petition] Save the Internet from the US -AVAAZ.org

Save the Internet from the US

Dear friends,

Right now, over 100 Members of the US Congress are trying to sneak through a bill that would let them spy on every Internet user without a warrant. CISPA is their third attempt to rebrand their attack on global Internet freedom. Our massive outcry helped beat SOPA and PIPA, let’s save the Internet again:

Right now, the US Congress is sneaking in a new law that gives them big brother spy powers over the entire web — and they’re hoping the world won’t notice. We helped stop their Net attack last time, let’s do it again.

Over 100 Members of Congress are backing a bill (CISPA) that would give private companies and the US government the right to spy on any of us at any time for as long as they want without a warrant. This is the third time the US Congress has tried to attack our Internet freedom. But we helped beat SOPA, and PIPA — and now we can beat this new Big Brother law.

Our global outcry has played a leading role in protecting the Internet from governments eager to monitor and control what we do online. Let’s stand together once again — and beat this law for good. Sign the petition then forward to everyone who uses the Internet:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_cispa/?vl

Under the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), if a cyber threat is even suspected, companies we use to access the Internet will have the right to collect information on our activities, share that with the government, refuse to notify us that we are being watched and then use a blanket immunity clause to protect themselves from being sued for violation of privacy or any other illegal action. It’s a crazy destruction of the privacy we all rely on in our everyday emails, Skype chats, web searches and more.

But we know that the US Congress is afraid of the world’s response. This is the third time they have tried to rebrand their attempt to attack our Internet freedom and push it through under the radar, each time changing the law’s name and hoping citizens would be asleep at the wheel. Already, Internet rights groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation have condemned the bill for its interference with basic privacy rights — now it’s time for us to speak out.

Sign the petition to Congress opposing CISPA. When we reach 250,000 signers our call will be delivered to each of the 100 US Representatives backing the bill:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_cispa/?vl

Internet freedom faces threats everyday from governments around the world — but the US is best placed to attack the rights of Internet users because so much of the Net’s infrastructure is located there. Our movement has, time and time again, proven that global public opinion can help beat back US threats to our Net. Let’s do it again.

With hope,

Emma, Rewan, Ricken, Antonia, Lisa, Morgan, Mia, Pascal and the entire Avaaz team

More information

Move over SOPA & PIPA: Here comes CISPA — Internet censorship (Digital Journal)
http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/322396

CISPA: Congressional plan to censor Internet concerns critics (Examiner)
http://www.examiner.com/progressive-in-portland/cispa-congressional-plan-to-censor-internet-concerns-critics

Good freedom, bad freedom: Irony of cybersecurity (RT)
http://rt.com/usa/news/usa-internet-cybersecurity-cispa-299/

Internet SOPA/PIPA Revolt: Don’t Declare Victory Yet (Wired)
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/01/internet-revolt-follow/

H.R. 3523: Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr3523

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[In the news] Solons urged anew to pass RH bill amid increase in maternal deaths -InterAksyon.com

Solons urged anew to pass RH bill amid increase in maternal deaths
InterAksyon.com

MANILA, Philippines – Lawmakers were urged anew to pass the long-pending Reproductive Health (RH) bill following a report on the rise in maternal mortality in Metro Manila.

“The RH bill being ignored for years has only resulted in increasing deaths among pregnant women… It’s time for Congress to help save women’s lives by finishing the RH debate and pass the bill now,” Ramon San Pascual, executive director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, said on Sunday.

The Department of Health (DOH) recorded 50 maternal deaths in eight of 16 Metro Manila cities last January.

San Pascual said the deaths could further increase if data from rural areas, which lack awareness and education on reproductive health, would be included.

“What are being reported now are only the cases in Metro Manila. What more in provinces or smaller local government units (LGUs)?” he said.

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com

[In the news] Aquino sees passage of all 13 priority bills by 2013-INQUIRER.net

Aquino sees passage of all 13 priority bills by 2013
By Norman Bordadora, Philippine Daily Inquirer
February 2, 2012

MANILA, Philippines — President Aquino expressed optimism on Thursday that his administration’s 13 priority bills will be passed by both chambers of Congress before the end of the current Congress by 2013.

Mr. Aquino made the remarks amid the seeming preoccupation of both the Senate and the House of Representatives in the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

“Our expectations are that priority measures will still be passed before the current Congress ends,” President Aquino said in a text message relayed through Undersecretary Abigail Valte, his deputy spokesperson.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

[In the news] Groups, bloggers ask PNoy to veto cybercrime bill – InterAksyon.com

Groups, bloggers ask PNoy to veto cybercrime bill
J. M. Tuazon, InterAksyon.com
February 1, 2012

 MANILA, Philippines — Various groups and Internet users have called on President Benigno Aquino III not to sign the proposed Cybercrime Prevention Act, saying that some provisions in the bill could only do more harm than good.

The uproar against the proposed measure came just a day after the upper chamber of Congress passed Senate Bill 2796 on third reading, with majority of Senators voting to pass the bill.

The lower house, on the other hand, has yet to take up its version of the bill on second reading.

Consumer group TXTPower, in a statement, said the bill looks less about preventing cybercrimes than an “orchestrated attempt to control and limit Internet use.”

“Under the bills, government would have the power to take down, sans a court order, websites at anytime and anywhere if authorities find alleged prima facie evidence of offenses,” the group said.

The group added that the bills have “serious and grave threats” to the privacy of Filipino Internet users, especially with provisions allowing government to take and preserve traffic data for a period of time.

“For example, under the Senate version, the government would have the power to retain all user-identifiable data for a period of six months, from as many individuals it could possibly tag as suspected cybercriminals,” said TXTPower.

UP College of Law’s Internet and Society Program Director Atty. JJ Disini pointed out that as written, the proposed legislation puts too much power under the Department of Justice (DOJ), which would act as the coordinating agency for the government’s anti-cybercrime efforts.

“Under the bill, the DOJ can issue an order [to take and restrict access to data] should it be found as prima facie evidence for a violation,” Disini said. “In effect, the DOJ’s power is even greater than the court’s power.”

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com

[In the news] PHL bloggers group: SOPA, PIPA to hurt promotion of human rights – GMAnews

PHL bloggers group: SOPA, PIPA to hurt promotion of human rights.

 Saying the Internet has become a vital tool in the free sharing of ideas, a human rights group on Sunday said the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) bills of the US pose a threat to the exercise of the right to freedom of speech.

A group of Filipino human rights defenders and bloggers also said the SOPA and the PIPA, if approved by the US Congress, could jeopardize the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines.

Earlier reports said that due to inernational pressure, the US backed down on the two anti-piracy bills.

In a statement, the Human Rights Online Philippines (HROnlinePH) said, “we use Internet as a platform in the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines. Limitations on this vital tool would jeopardize our work.”

A report on GMA News Online said “These two pieces of legislation, both of which supposedly aim to protect intellectual property rights, have far-reaching implications on the Internet as we know it —potentially affecting the Philippines’ 30 million web users, or one out of every five Pinoys.”

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

[In the news] Freedom of info bill gets new look, new name – INQUIRER.net

Freedom of info bill gets new look, new name
By Christian V. Esguerra, Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 9, 2012

It’s loking good.

The Freedom of Information (FOI) bill pending in Congress will get a “new look” now that Malacañang has finally come out with its version of the measure.

To be called the People’s Ownership of Government Information bill, Sen. Gregorio Honasan, chairman of the committee on public information and mass media, said: “What will now emerge from our committee is the ‘Pogi’ bill.”

“We are coining a new acronym in reference to one core component I would like to push,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview.

Honasan said the new name, which is Filipino slang for handsome, would promote the idea that in a democratic setting “all government information actually belongs to the people.”

The new measure “reverses” the main requirement of the FOI bill which is that a private entity would have to show in court why he or she needs a particular piece of information from a government agency in the event that that agency denies their request, the senator said.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

[Petition] Let’s take the fight global, and mobilize to defeat the most powerful censorship threat that the Internet has ever seen- www.avaaz.org

Right now, the US Congress is debating a law that would give them the power to censor the world’s Internet — creating a blacklist that could target YouTube, WikiLeaks and even Avaaz! Now if we stand with key members of the US Congress, we can defeat this attempt at global Internet censorship. Click here and help build an unprecedented global petition for a free and open Internet:

Under the new law, the US could force Internet providers to block any website on suspicion of violating copyright or trademark legislation, or even failing to sufficiently police their users’ activities. And, because so much of the Internet’s hosts and hardware are located in the US, their blacklist would clamp down on the free web for all of us.

The vote could happen any day now, but we can help stop this — champions in Congress want to preserve free speech and tell us that an international outcry would strengthen their hand. Let’s urgently raise our voices from every corner of the world and build an unprecedented global petition calling on US decision makers to reject the bill and stop Internet censorship. Click below to sign and then forward as widely as possible — our message will be delivered directly to key members of the US Congress ahead of the crucial vote:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_the_internet/?vl

For years, the US government has condemned countries like China and Iran for their clampdown on Internet use. But now, the impact of America’s new censorship laws could be far worse — effectively blocking sites to every Internet user across the globe.

Last year, a similar Internet censorship bill was killed before reaching the US Senate floor, but it’s now back in a different form. Copyright laws already exist and are enforced by courts. But this new law goes much further — granting the government and big corporations enormous powers to force service providers and search engines to block websites based just on allegations of violations — without a trial or being found guilty of any crime!

US free speech advocates have already raised the alarm, and some key Senators are trying to gather enough support to stop this dangerous bill. We have no time to lose. Let’s stand with them to ensure American lawmakers preserve the right to a free and open Internet as an essential way for people around the world to exchange ideas, share communication and work collectively to build the world we want. Sign below to stop US censorship, and save the Internet as we know it:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_the_internet/?vl

In the past months, from the Arab Spring to the global Occupy Movement, we’ve seen first hand how the Internet can galvanize, unify and change the world. Now, if we stand together, we can stop this new attack on Internet freedom. We’ve done it before — in Brazil and Italy, Avaaz members have won major victories in the fight for a free Internet. Let’s take the fight global, and mobilize to defeat the most powerful censorship threat that the Internet has ever seen.

With hope,

Luis, Dalia, Diego, Emma, Ricken, Aaron, Antonia, Benjamin and the rest of the Avaaz team

More information:

Op-Ed: Blacklist Bill allows Feds to remove websites from Internet (Digital Journal)
http://digitaljournal.com/article/313463

Disastrous IP Legislation Is Back – And It’s Worse than Ever (EFF)
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/10/disastrous-ip-legislation-back-%E2%80%93-and-it%E2%80%99s-worse-ever

Silicon Valley legislators oppose online piracy act (SFGate)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/15/BUO81LV0KI.DTL

House Hearing on Stop Online Piracy Act Scheduled (PC World)
http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/243659/house_hearing_on_stop_online_piracy_act_scheduled.html

Growing Chorus of Opposition to “Stop Online Piracy Act”
https://www.cdt.org/report/growing-chorus-opposition-stop-online-piracy-act

The stop online piracy act: summary, problems, and implications
https://www.cdt.org/files/pdfs/SOPA%202-pager%20final.pdf

Why Is Justin Bieber So Pissed Off?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/timothy-karr/why-is-justin-bieber-so-p_b_1071055.html

[In the news] Congress urged to suspend P8-B payment for ‘illegitimate’ debts – www.gmanews.tv

Congress urged to suspend P8-B payment for ‘illegitimate’ debts
ANDREO CALONZO, GMA News

A budget watchdog on Monday called on Congress to suspend payment for P8-billion worth of debts, which it described as “illegitimate.”

The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) identified nine national government debts which were allegedly “fraudulent, wasteful and useless.”

The FDC said the financial obligations for these projects should be suspended:
Austrian Medical Waste Project
Social Expenditure Management Program 2
Secondary Education Development and Improvement Project
Philippine Merchant Marine Academy Modernization Project
Power Sector Restructuring Program
Power Sector Development Program
Angat Water Supply Optimization Project
Procurement of Search and Rescue Vessel from Tenix Defense Property Ltd. and
Pampanga Delta Development Project

“Kailangan suspendihin habang iniimbestigahan ‘yung kaso para malaman natin kung may anomalya talaga riyan, kung mayroon talagang panloloko o panlilinlang na nangyari. Kapag napatunayan iyon, dapat ipanawagan natin na huwag nang bayaran,” FDC project coordinator Jofti Villena said on Monday.

Villena said the allocations for the interest payments of these debts should instead be used to fund social services for next year.

She added that her group has already talked with some lawmakers to raise the matter during plenary discussions on the proposed 2012 budget.

The national government allocated P723 billion from the P1.816-trillion budget for next year for debt servicing.

“Pwede kasi na ang perang ito ay mapunta sa edukasyon, sa state colleges and universities na alam naman natin na sobrang binabaan na ang budget, or sa health or subsidy for agriculture,” she said.

Around 30 members of the FDC and other labor groups staged a protest in front of the Batasang Pambansa gates in Quezon City on Monday— a day before the lower chamber starts plenary debates on the national budget on Tuesday.

Read full article @ www.gmanews.tv

[In the news] No coercion on parenthood bill, Palace assures CBCP – philstar.com

No coercion on parenthood bill, Palace assures CBCP
By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, PhilippinesCatholic bishops have no reason to worry about the Responsible Parenthood bill that President Aquino wants Congress to pass as one of his priority measures, because the government would not force couples to adopt any particular family planning method.

“From the end of the President, we do not see how this can affect morality because precisely, the President’s view has always been to leave the decision with the parents,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte clarified yesterday over state-run radio dzRB.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[In the news] 13 measures tackled in 2nd Ledac meeting – www.sunstar.com.ph

13 measures tackled in 2nd Ledac meeting

MANILA (Updated 4:05 p.m.) — President Benigno Aquino III presented 13 priority measures before the members of Congress during the second Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) meeting Tuesday.
One of the measures Aquino wanted to be prioritized by Congress is the highly-debated Responsible Parenthood (RP) bill.

In a press briefing after the four-hour meeting, the President said the executive made several amendments to the measure and will make it acceptable to all sectors, particularly to the Church.

Some of the changes he cited were the provision of setting the ideal size of a family, appropriate age for sex education, and the access to artificial contraception methods.

“We try to remove certain issues that can be contentious. We had at least 10 amendments to the measure,” he said.

He added that they agreed to fund the natural family planning and the values formation should be sensitive to the religious affiliation.

Aside from the RP bill, among the measures tackled at the Ledac were:
* Human Security Act of 2007
* An Act Amending the People’s Television Network Rural Electrification Program
* An Act Restructuring the Excise Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco Products
* An Act Providing for the Delineation of the Specific Forest Limits to Public Domain
* An Act Granting Broader Protection for Consumers
* Bills on Protecting Individual Personal Data in Information and Communications Systems in the Government and in the Private Sector
* An Act Reorganizing the Philippine Statistical System
* An Act Imposing Stiffer Penalties for Stealing or Tampering Government Risk Reduction and Preparedness Equipment, Accessories and other Facility Items
* An Act Providing for Additional Benefits and Protection to the Househelpers
* An Act Expanding the Coverage of the Science and Technology Scholarship
* Twenty Percent Balanced Housing

President Aquino said he expects “expeditious” passage of the bills he prioritized in Congress.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, meanwhile, declined to promise for the “smooth sailing” passage of Aquino’s priority measures, particularly the RP bill.

“With regards to the RP bill, I cannot assure that we passed the version. It will take a full-blown debate in the Senate. But with regards to the proposals of the President we will have to look at them very closely,” Enrile said.

For House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, he said the Congress will give “the same attention” to the new sets of bills regarded as priority by the President.

In relation to the non-inclusion of the Freedom of Information, Aquino said the technical working group he tasked to study the bill still needs to discuss certain matters to both chambers of Congress and various stakeholders. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)

[In the news] No FOI bill in today’s LEDAC – www.philstar.com

No FOI bill in today’s LEDAC
By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, PhilippinesMalacañang said yesterday it would need more time to study the freedom of information (FOI) bill and thus it would not be included in the list of priority bills that President Aquino would present to Congress leaders in today’s Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meeting.

In a press briefing at the Palace, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda also said the responsible parenthood (reproductive health) bill was still being studied. He did not give any categorical answer as to whether or not it would be among the 22 or 23 bills that the President would press Congress to pass at the soonest time possible.

“We’re expecting a healthy discussion again, it was a very fruitful discussion in the first LEDAC,” Lacierda said.

He said the decision to study further the FOI bill should not be interpreted to mean the Palace was not bent on having such a measure passed.

“The FOI is being studied, we have certain concerns, valid concerns, which we are going to raise, which have been raised by the President himself, and it’s not dead in the water. There’s a vigorous debate on the FOI, and just to give you an example, in our meeting (yesterday) morning with the President, we were precisely discussing the FOI. The President agrees with the FOI in principle but there are certain concerns which have to be addressed,” Lacierda said.

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[In the news] Group says EPIRA makes ‘Voltage Five’ even richer – Business – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News

Group says EPIRA makes ‘Voltage Five’ even richer – Business – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News.

A decade after its passage, the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) has failed to lower electricity rates and has only enriched the so-called “Voltage Five,” the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) said.

“In contrast to our electricity-starved citizenry and economy, five super-rich families have become much, much richer, having cornered the fruits of EPIRA privatization which in practice has dropped all pretensions of opening up the electric power industry to as many competitive players as possible,” said FDC president Ricardo Reyes in a statement.

Describing these personalities as the “Voltage Five,” Reyes identified them as the Lopezes, Aboitizes, Manuel V. Pangilinan, Danding Cojuangco, and Henry Sy.

“Ten years of a failed privatization scheme under EPIRA should convince the Philippine government, especially Congress, to overhaul it. Our people need and deserve a new electric power reform law that will really provide affordable, accessible and clean electricity to all,” the FDC president said.

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of EPIRA last Wednesday, militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) also said the law has done the opposite of its promise to lower electricity rates, among other things.

“The promise then was that EPIRA would bring down power rates and ease the financial burdens of the cash-strapped Napocor. Neither of these happened and consumers are worse off now than they were 10 years ago,” Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr. said on Bayan’s website. — Paterno Esmaquel II, with Jerbert Briola/LBG, GMA News

[In the news] Binay position on RH: Neither here nor there – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos

Binay position on RH: Neither here nor there – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos.

VP Jejomar Binay File Photo source: allvoices.com

VP Jejomar Binay File Photo source: allvoices.com

By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Filed Under: Abortion, Health, Legislation, Jejomar Binay

MANILA, Philippines—As one wiseacre puts it, it’s like advocating for the wearing of a condom but with a hole in it.

On an issue on which no Filipino these days can afford to be neither hot nor cold, Vice President Jejomar Binay would like to equivocate both sides of the reproductive health bill controversy.

Binay said he is both prolife and prochoice in the great debate over the RH bill, or the proposed Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development, now pending in Congress.

Read full article at Inquirer.net