ON THE FIRST OBSERVATION OF NATIONAL PRESS FREEDOM DAY

The Philippines observes its first National Press Freedom Day today, August 30, 2022, after former president Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11699 on April 13. However, we recognize that continued media repression, threats to free expression, and journalists’ poor work conditions inhibit genuine “press freedom” in the country. Read more here.

ON FIRST NATIONAL PRESS FREEDOM DAY, JOURNOS REITERATE CALL TO DEFEND FREE PRESS

In celebration of the first National Press Freedom Day, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) held an online forum to highlight the increasing attacks against the Filipino media community and how laws were being used to silence the independent press. Read more here.

PALACE SAYS ADMIN RESPECTS AND RECOGNIZES PRESS FREEDOM

As the Philippines observed the National Press Freedom Day for the first time on Tuesday, the Office of the Press Secretary gave assurance that the Marcos administration respects the freedom of the press guaranteed by the Constitution. Read more here.

‘WIN FOR PRESS FREEDOM’: BULATLAT SAYS WEBSITE NOW ACCESSIBLE

Bulatlat said it welcomes the “apparent unblocking” of its website following the filing of a petition for indirect contempt against the NTC after the regulatory body allegedly continued to implement its memorandum to block access to the website of the independent news outlet. Read more here.

WARRANTS ISSUED VS. FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE TO DISCLOSE INFO ON ONLINE ACCOUNT PROMOTING CHILD EXPLOITATION, SEXUAL ABUSE

The Philippine National Police (PNP) was granted two warrants ordering Facebook and YouTube to submit information on an online account which promotes the exploitation and sexual abuse of minors. Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 24 issued the warrants on Tuesday and ordered them to “disclose or submit within seventy-two hours relevant data in its possession or control” of Usapang Diskarte. Read more here.

HOUSE PROBE SOUGHT ON TV5 FRANCHISE, BLOCK TIME DEAL WITH ABS-CBN

In House Resolution No. 280, Zamboanga Sibugay Representative Wilter Palma directed the committee on legislative franchises to conduct an inquiry amid “published reports alleging that ABC Development Corporation, presently known as TV5 Network…is actually owned by an Indonesian national.” Read more here.

SEC, PCC SEE NO IRREGULARITY IN TV5, ABS-CBN JOINT VENTURE DEAL

During a joint House committee hearing on Wednesday, Aug. 24, SEC general counsel Romuald Padilla said the SEC does not view the agreement as a “merger” under the provisions of the Revised Corporation Code. Read more here.

GLOBE, SMART READY TO CONFRONT DITO IN PCC PROBE

Dominant telcos Globe Telecom and Smart Communications are ready battle it out against upstart rival Dito Telecommunity at the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) after the anti-trust agency said on Friday, Aug. 26, that it is opening an investigation based on the complaint filed by the Dennis Uy-owned operator. Read more here.

PBBM PRIORITY INTERNET TRANSACTION BILL HURDLES HOUSE PANEL APPROVAL

The House Committee on Trade and Industry on Wednesday approved the proposed Internet Transactions Act, which is a priority measure of the Marcos administration. The committee, chaired by Rep. Mario Vittorio Mariño, passed the unnumbered substitute bill, which consolidated 12 measures. Read more here.

PROPOSED P5.3-T BUDGET TO FACILITATE E-GOVERNANCE: DBM CHIEF

The proposed PHP5.268-trillion national budget for 2023 will facilitate the transformation and digitalization of government processes, records, and databases through e-governance, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said Wednesday. Read more here.

HOUSE BILL SEEKS CREATION OF BARANGAY MANAGEMENT INFO SYSTEM

In an interview on Tuesday, Albay 3rd District Representative Fernando Cabredo said House Bill 150 filed last July was already referred to the Committee on Information and Communications Technology and secondarily to the Committee on Local Government. The bill seeks the establishment of a centralized Barangay Management Information System (BaMIS). Read more here.

BSP AND SEC EYE REGULATIONS FOR USE OF CRYPTO AND DEFI

Over the last few years, the crypto industry has seen a rise in interest within the Philippines. Digital assets continue to attract Filipinos, with transactions back in the first half of 2021 experiencing a 362% increase. These developments are a priority for the country’s financial sector, which is exploring ways to embrace these new innovations, specifically on how best to regulate digital assets, including cryptocurrencies. Read more here.

GCASH SUPPORTS PENALTY ON E-WALLETS LOAN, SALE

Mobile wallet GCash supports a proposed law criminalizing the loan and sale of mobile wallet accounts.“Given the increasing incidents of online fraud, GCash supports measures to criminalize the lending and selling of e-wallet accounts to prevent scammers from using this modus,” according to Ingrid Rose Ann Beroña, GCash Chief Risk Officer. Read more here.

BIR, BOC RAMPING UP DIGITALIZATION TO CURB CORRUPTION

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) are ramping up their respective anti-corruption campaigns by modernizing their operations through digitalization. Department of Finance (DOF) secretary Benjamin Diokno identified digitalization as the key in transforming and eradicating corruption within the government’s two main revenue agencies. Read more here.

HELP WANTED AT BIR: DATA SCIENTISTS, CYBERSECURITY EXPERTS

As it pushes forward with a digital shift to shore up collections, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is looking for data scientists and cybersecurity experts to join the country’s biggest tax agency, Commissioner Lilia Guillermo said on August 19. Read more here.

DIGITAL FRAUD IN PH DECREASES

Digital fraud originating from the Philippines has decreased by 11 percent in April to June 2022 compared to the same period last year, a study from global information and insights firm TransUnion showed. Read more here.

DICT STILL CLUELESS ON UNDISTRIBUTED LAPTOPS, SEEKS ADVICE FROM COA

The Department of Information and Communications and Technology (DICT) said it is seeking the advice of the Commission on Audit (COA) on what to do over the 866 laptops and 12,482 tablets currently being held in its stockroom. The gadgets were intended for the DICT’s Cybersafe Learning for Education (CLE) program but remained undistributed 17 months after their purchase. Read more here.

PUBLIC WARNED AGAINST UNREGISTERED OR OVERSEAS-BASED CRYPTO FIRMS

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has cautioned the public against dealing with virtual asset service providers (VASPs) that are unregistered or those that are based overseas, citing the challenges and risks they may face. Read more here.

PHILIPPINES WARNS OF SCAM WEBSITES TARGETING INCOMING TRAVELLERS

Several inbound travellers to the Philippines have fallen victim to digital fraud attempts over entry requirements to the country, losing hundreds of dollars for fake health documents. For that reason, the Philippines Department of Health (DOH) has put out a call advising all foreign visitors to the country to exercise caution while using any websites that claim to provide information about entry requirements. Read more here.

PNP NABS SEVEN WOMEN IN SCAM OFFERING FAKE EMPLOYMENT TO JOB SEEKERS

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has arrested seven cybercrime suspects allegedly involved in a scam offering fake employment online, a menace that appears to persist even after the government has taken measures to combat it. Read more here.

2ND CASE VS NO-CONTACT APPREHENSION POLICY FILED WITH SC; TRO ALSO SOUGHT

In a petition, lawyer Juman B. Paa asked the SC to issue temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop immediately NCAP’s implementation in the City of Manila. He told the SC he was one of those fined for committing an alleged traffic violation. Read more here.

SATELLITE INTERNET TO ANSWER RURAL RESIDENTS’ LACK OF BANK ACCOUNTS

Out of 1,634 municipalities in the country, 33 percent, or 533 municipalities, still do not have bank accounts or access to financial inclusion services. This situation has led the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA), the Department of Science and Technology’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to turn to satellite Internet in order to provide rural banks financial inclusivity. Read more here.

PHILIPPINE MEDIA UNDER PRESSURE AS MARCOS JR COURTS INFLUENCERS

Journalists warn the new administration of Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr is set to take the same hard line against media critics as his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte, after attacks on press freedom grew during the transition of presidential power. Read more here.

PAID TROLLS, DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGNS IN PHILIPPINES: ‘ALL YOU NEED IS A SIM CARD’

Paid trolls have been hired to spread disinformation as early as 2016, according to “Internet Trolls: The Unseen Force Behind Philippines’ Politics”, which aired on August 6 as part of CNA Insider’s Undercover Asia documentary series. Read more here.

SARTINE VOWS TO FIGHT FAKE NEWS, URGES PUBLIC TO DO SAME

The steady rise in the usage of social media has indeed changed the landscape in the past elections and evidently how Filipinos receive the news. With roughly 89 million active social media users in the Philippines, the online platform has spread the news more rapidly than in recent years. This phenomenon has also brought about the rise in unfiltered and unverified news that has become the source of debate for many social media users. Read more here.

PHILIPPINES DECLARES ‘WAR’ AGAINST ONLINE CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

In a joint press conference on Tuesday (Aug 23), members of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s Cabinet said they would crack down with tougher measures on those behind child pornography material involving Filipino minors. Read more here.

FMA’S STATEMENT ON THE FIRST NATIONAL PRESS FREEDOM DAY

Under the previous presidency, numerous media workers were killed and jailed. The government also deprived the giant media outlet ABS-CBN of their franchise despite the lack of evidence to prove the baseless accusation against the company. It was also during Duterte’s term that the internet saw the proliferation of disinformation through fake news, and the vilification of standard journalism as biased. Read more here.

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