November 1-15, 2021

The Digital Rights Roundup, published by the Foundation for Media Alternatives, contains regular updates on what Filipinos need to know about their digital rights.

Comelec’s Jimenez: Integrity pledge bars deep fakes in Eleksyon 2022

The Commission on Elections is expected to hold candidates accountable if they use deep fakes in their respective campaigns. Deep fakes are videos that have been doctored or spliced to make it appear that a personality is saying or doing something that he or she didn’t actually say or do. Read more here

SEC stops registration of online lending platforms

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a moratorium on new online lending platforms (OLPs). The move comes ahead of the release of new rules that will govern the licensing and registration of financing and lending companies. Read more here

CHEd chair, UP execs clash over library ‘purge’

The chair of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), officials, and teachers of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman are engaged in a sharp exchange over the removal of reading materials deemed “subversive” from the libraries of certain state universities and colleges. CHEd Chair Prospero de Vera III called for SUCs’ actions to be respected. Read more here

Repa Paluwagan scam: 8 victims lost P2 million to online investment fraud

Eight individuals lost an estimated P2 million to an online money scam called Repa Paluwagan. The eight individuals communicated online and decided to visit the CIDG-7 office in Cebu City to file a complaint against the suspected administrator of the online scam. Read more here

PHL on top 10 sources of cyber attacks list

The Philippines is now included among the top 10 countries in the world where digital threats originate. It ranked 6th in terms of volume of human-initiated cyber attacks during the period. The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, UK, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Japan and Russia were top contributors. Read more here

PH gov’t still ‘very far’ from achieving wider internet access: dev’t study agency

The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) urged the government to strengthen its policies and infrastructure to boost internet access across the country. Urban barangays, he said, have 61 percent of telecom towers, three times higher than rural barangay’s 19 percent. Read more here

Mobile Number Portability ‘roadblocks’ being addressed, says TCI

Telecommunications Connectivity Inc. (TCI) assured the country’s telecom industry regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), that it is actively working on addressing the MNP “roadblocks”. PLDT and Smart Communications president and CEO Al Panlilio last week urged the NTC to look into ‘roadblocks’ that are impeding implementation of mobile number portability. Read more here

BSP tells banks: Accept PhilSys ID — in physical and mobile versions — as proof of identity

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reminded all government and private entities to accept the Philippine Identification (PhilID) card as sufficient proof of identity. This is in line with Republic Act No. 11055 or the PhilSys Act. The PhilSys is considered a major infrastructure component in the BSP’s Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap, which was launched in October 2020. Read more here

Report: PH now fastest growing Internet economy in SE Asia

The region’s digital economy is estimated to reach $174 billion in GMV (gross merchandise value) by the end of 2021. The Philippines recorded the region’s highest growth rate of 93%, predicted to grow from $9 billion to $17 billion, and $40 billion by 2025. Read more here

PUV drivers partylist representative files P1 billion cyberlibel lawsuit against Enchong Dee

Claudine Diana Bautista-Lim filed a cyberlibel case with P1-billion worth of damages against actor Enchong Dee. The partylist representative accused Dee of making “malicious” and “defamatory” statements against her after photos of her wedding were leaked online. Read more here

Hackers attack Office of Civil Defense’s Twitter account

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said its Twitter account was hacked but assured that unauthorized access to its social media account did not hamper any of its disaster management-related services. Screenshots of the OCD Twitter page showed the account making posts about currency trading. Read more here

AFP holds cyber defense exercises

Cyberspace adopted as the fourth domain of military operations for its initial activity in the major service commands’ joint exercise. Cydex was chosen to start the AFP’s 2021 joint exercise “Dagit-PA,” which stands for Dagat (Sea), Langit (Sky)-Lupa (Land). Read more here

Philippines gov takes down passport application website amid privacy leak fears

The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs has disabled its online passport application tracker. Agency cites a “data privacy issue” and hints that information could have leaked. Privacy issues stemmed from applicants’ personal information being “hard coded” into the tracker’s program, developers say. Read more here

SC to courts: Don’t show photos, recordings of sexual abuse in online hearings

The Supreme Court has reminded first and second-level courts not to present evidence showing photographs and recordings of sexual abuse during videoconference hearings. The High Court has been very particular in protecting the identities of parties in sensitive cases like rape, child abuse and human trafficking. Read more here

DepEd launches mental health hotlines for teachers, students

The Department of Education (DepEd) has launched several hotlines for the mental health concerns of teachers and students. DepEd has included the hotlines of Circle of Hope Community Services, Inc., COVID-19 Mental Health Responders from the Masters Psychological Services, Hopeline PH, and The 700 Club Asia. Read more here

Duterte allows more schools to hold face-to-face classes

The Department of Education (DepEd) said on Friday, November 12, that more schools will join the pilot run of face-to-face classes. President Rodrigo Duterte approved the proposal. The initial 100 public schools identified would proceed  on November 15, while 20 private schools would start on November 22. Read more here

Social media surveys not designed to represent entire PH – analyst

Social media surveys are unreliable in studying voters’ sentiment, Dr. Jose Ramon “Toots” Albert of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies said. Albert said the public should instead trust probability surveys such as Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia. Read more here

Displaced workers contributed to surge of online sexual exploitation —NBI

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has acknowledged a surge in cases of online sexual abuse among people displaced from work and forced to stay home due to coronavirus restrictions. NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin said the surge started at the time the government imposed quarantine restrictions. Read more here

Ano’ng Konek? The Podcast Episode 2 is here!

In this Episode, FMA partnered with Plan International Philippines and UP Journalism Professor Diosa Labiste to discuss about Gendered Disinformation, its manifestations, and the harm it causes to victims. Jessica and Dorothy, both advocates of gender equality from Plan International, bravely shared their own encounters with disinformation and its effects to young girls like them. 

You can also watch the official jingle for Plan International’s #GirlsGetEqual campaign in the Philippines. Young advocates at Plan International were directly involved in every step of making the music video.

Sign the petition led by Plan International in solidarity with girls who are speaking up about the spread of false information online here.

You may also read their report entitled ‘The Truth Gap: How misinformation and disinformation online affect the lives, learning and leadership of girls and young women’ here.

Listen FREE on Spotify here

Don’t forget to follow us on Spotify so you can stay updated on digital rights issues that we will discuss in the next episodes! Stay tuned! 

NEW RELEASE: ID Watch October 2021 Issue

Mobile PhilID to launch next year, City of Manila initiates creation of digital IDs: ID Watch October 2021

ID Watch is a monthly digest of news and updates about identification systems in the Philippines.  

View or download the current issue of ID Watch here

Subscribe to UP Internet’s telegram channel for latest news and updates at your fingertips.

The UP Internet Freedom Network (UP INTERNET) is an alliance of students and volunteers advocating for internet freedom. You may e-mail them at for inquiries.

DOWNLOAD: On deep fake campaigning, internet economy, and digitalization roadblocks: The FMA Digital Rights Roundup (1-15 November 2021)

All resources here are linked to the original websites. If any of the resources will be used otherwise, please do credit the source.



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