December 2010

NTC says Broadband cap is against illegal use of Internet

GMANews published:

NTC Common Carriers Authorization Department Director Edgardo Cabarios told GMANews.TV that local telcos are considering a daily per user limit of 5GB.

“There were apprehensions raised [by telcos] over abusive users. This [data cap] is meant to discourage unfair use, to give everyone a chance. The idea is to protect the majority of consumers,” Cabarios said.

He explained that “abusive users” — including software and movie pirates — account for one to two percent of Filipino broadband consumers. Unfortunately, according to Cabarios, such heavy users prevent the rest of the public from fully utilizing broadband connections.

Pardon my language but: Bullshit.

There are perfectly legitimate uses of Bandwidth that isn’t illegal. For example, I beta tested DC Universe Online recently. I had to download 12.3GB of the game. The weeks after required additional download to patch the game. In once instance, 8GB.

Watching a Steve Jobs keynote would set you back some 1GB downloaded from iTunes.

I download from iTunes. I have an account and buying TV shows and movies from it will also set you back several GBs in bandwidth and disk space.

Instead of preventing users from getting content, why don’t you let people get content legitimately? iTunes has a gift check, prepaid card for example, but there is no local iTunes store. My account is US, so i can get legitimate content.

Encourage users to acquire content from Amazon. The biggest problem is getting Amazon to do business here. Hulu too.

Do you know how much a Mac OS X update can sometimes reach? 300MB to 800MB.

Caps are so archaic. Caps when Internet in the Philippines is so crappy is even more so idiotic.

This kind of thinking from NTC is archaic, and moronic.

You want to stop people from downloading illegal content?

Make Legitimate Content Available, at reasonable prices and that people can easily get to them. Like you know, prepaid cards or debit cards. The iTunes model has perfected it.

There are others too like Amazon.


But you know what? Users can’t get to it.

See also my article on “An open letter to President Aquino and the 15th Congress on the NTC Broadband Cap draft memorandum.”

An open letter to President Aquino, and to the 15th Congress on NTC Broadband cap draft memorandum

I write today because the NTC announced a draft memorandum imposing a cap on broadband Internet usage in the Philippines. I believe such a move is a mistake, and it is a myth that putting a cap on the broadband experience helps telecom companies improve the service. Read more

Dumpster diving

“Communism to me is one-third practice and two-thirds explanation.” – Will Rogers

I read the eight thousand words 42nd anniversary message of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines just for the hell of it. Hell is an apt description for the experience of laboring through the annual pastoral letter from the native communist party hierarchy, that perennial pathetic reaffirmation of faith in Marxist economics, Leninist politics, and Maoist armed struggle.

“Don’t you have better things to do other than dumpster diving?” asked my bourgiosecapitalistfeudalimperialistpuppet friend.

“Not everything discarded is trash,” I replied.

“Did you find anything useful?” he asked.

“I discovered a couple of gems: waste-basketting and continuing condonement.”


“Waste-basketting” as in “the waste-basketting by the Arroyo-dominated Supreme Court of the so-called Truth Commission,” and “continuing condonement” as in “as well as by the continuing condonement not only of the Arroyo regime’s human rights violations but also those of the current regime itself,” I explained.

“The current regime…” he mused ignoring the new additions to my vocabulary. “But didn’t Aquino drop the charges against Morong 43?”

“Yes, but the native communists said it was only because of intense pressure from human rights group here and abroad.”

“But that shows the Aquino administration listens,” he said.

“The communists said it’s just a ploy.”

I quoted the relevant passage from the anniversary message, “By all indications, the Aquino regime is hellbent on using the slogan of human rights in order to continue the gross and systematic human rights violations. It is obviously going to use the peace negotiations with the NDFP and the MILF as an occasional propaganda device and to block the demands of the people for basic social, economic and political reforms to address the roots of the armed conflict and lay the basis for a just and lasting peace. So far, most important to the Aquino regime is beefing up the military, police and paramilitary forces and unleashing them against the people and the revolutionary forces.”

“Wow, that’s a mouthful!” he exclaimed. “Aren’t peace talks scheduled soon?”

“The communists think that’s also a ploy. Besides, they aren’t settling for anything less than the transformation of the country into a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist paradise.”

“How’s that?”

I read from the message again, “The US-Aquino regime intends to use the peace negotiations with the NDFP as an instrument for deceiving the people and pressuring the NDFP towards capitulation. It is scheming to junk the peace negotiations when these cannot be bent towards the counterrevolutionary objectives of the regime. The revolutionary forces and the people are aware of these objectives and thus, even if they push for whatever can be achieved through peace talks, they harbor no illusions that revolutionary objectives could be achieved through these alone or in the main. They are fully aware that their patriotic and democratic aspirations can only be effectively pushed in peace negotiations alongside the primacy of people’s war and mass struggles.”

“So the peace talks are a waste of time,” he concluded. “The communists talk peace but they wage war.”

I continued reading, to rile my friend some more.

“Benigno Aquino III has emerged as the chief representative of the exploiting classes, having drawn the biggest amount of campaign funds from them, enjoyed the support of the media lords, run the most guileful propaganda campaign and benefited from the manipulation of the US-controlled automated voting system. Thus, he is hellbent on continuing the US-dictated policies of neoliberal globalization, the preservation of the neocolonial fascist state and support for the global war of terror.”

“There’s really no point talking to them. They don’t even believe Aquino is his own man, they just called him a puppet of the US.”

“No, I think talking to them is an excellent idea.”

“What? Why?”

“Because we might pick up a couple of new words.”

Religion gets in the way of safe sex

Manila, Philippines — With the unprecedented rise in the number of HIV infections this year, health officials are hoping that the Pope’s recent statement about condom use will help promote it as an effective way of preventing the spread of the virus.

In this year alone, the Department of Health HIV/AIDS Registry recorded 1,417 new infections for the period January to November. It is the highest number of HIV infections recorded in a single year since the epidemic was first discovered in the Philippines in 1984.

A 2008 assessment of the AIDS Medium Term Plan (AMTP) of the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) stated that “MSMs present the biggest threat of an accelerated growth in the spread of HIV in the country.”

Condom use a struggle

The Philippines has the lowest condom use in Asia and according to the National Demographic Health Study of 2008, condom use stands at a dismal 2.8%. Other methods like withdrawal which involves unprotected sex is much higher at 9.8%.

Health experts have been struggling to promote condom usage among the youth as a means of protection against STI and HIV and have met a strong adversary in the Catholic Church and other pro-life groups.

The Catholic Church adamantly opposes any form of modern contraception saying that they are abortifacients that promote promiscuity.  With over 90% of the population being Catholic, the Church’s teachings have a strong bearing over the public’s perception and the social stigma that surrounds condoms.

Raynald [not his real name], 20, said that he is embarrassed to purchase condoms because of the looks that he gets from cashiers. “May be it’s because I appear too young to them, but the way they look at me — you just know they are judging.”

This is part of the reason why health experts are hoping the Pope’s statement on condom use will help sway public perception.

“It is definitely a welcome statement” said Ferchito Avelino, Director of the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC).  “I am positive that it will have an impact, especially in STI prevention, though maybe not to prevent pregnancy.”, Avelino said.

Grasping at straws

But for other members of the Catholic hierarchy, nothing has changed.

Melvin Chan, executive secretary of the Family and Life Commission of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the official organization of the Catholic hierarchy clarified, “A group of Filipino priests just got back from the Vatican and clarified [the statement] with the Holy Father himself. The Pope clarified that in light of their profession, male prostitutes can condom use as a sign of moral responsibility and possibly the start of his conversion.”

“So, you see, nothing has changed. We were in fact commended for upholding the fight to protect the sanctity of life from its start.”, concluded Castro.

Elizabeth Angsioco, chairperson of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP) refuted this, “There is a CBCP Manual that specifically encourages the use of condoms between sero-discordant couples to prevent HIV transmission to the uninfected partner.”

Castro claimed that this clause was incorrect and was struck out in the latter versions of the manual.

Not a moral battle

Jonas Bagas, chairperson of The Library Foundation (TLF Share), an NGO that promotes sexual health in the context of human rights said, “Rather than focus on what the Pope says, we need concrete interventions as the HIV problem is an urgent one.”

The Philippines has long been seen as a low prevalence country, but the 2010 Global AIDS report showed that globally, infection rates have gone down by 19%, whereas in the Philippines, it on an unprecedented upswing.

“The global trend is that countries are driving down the rate of infection or at least controlling it. In the Philippines, it is the opposite.”, said Bagas.

“We need to take the discussion to a public health framework; not where it is dictated upon by some sort of dogma. “, Bagas said.

Bagas and other RH groups are pushing for the passage of a Reproductive Health Bill as a way to address the HIV and AIDS problem.

If passed, the RH Bill will legislate the procurement of condoms and other contraceptives and make them a part of the list of essential medicines in hospitals. Age appropriate sex education, which is absent is most schools curricula, would also be mandated starting grade 5.

The RH Bill is currently undergoing plenary debates and RH advocates are hopeful that it will be passed by the first quarter of next year.

The Philippines is the only country in the South East Asia region where there is no national law on reproductive health.


Image: Some rights reserved by Autistic Psycho

I honor the food in you, which is also in me

Friends, critics, and readers, would you, for a moment, lend me your ear?

For some of us a year ago, it was a season for contemplating the political calculus. It was a period of uncertainty. For some, especially those who would step into the ring and aim for the various positions open, it was a matter of war.

We are here now, a year later. Wiser, I hope.

What differentiates this year from the last is this great weight that has been lifted. No matter the troubles the nation continues to face, and will without doubt have to live up to in the days, months and years to come, there is a general feeling of hope. Cito Beltran put it this way. The President’s popularity is more about us, than it is about him. In many ways, he is correct.

For all the faux pas of the past half year, for all the missteps, and setbacks, this continues to remain. It is an imperfect world. It is a country that is unequal. In many parts, it is unstable, and we have a democracy that at times would seem, unsustainable.

And yet, no matter how cynical our pragmatism could get, the President’s inaugural address continues to resonate, and with good reason, “Now we can dream again.” It is the call-to-arms that no matter how imperfect, this generation now has breathing room to begin, to build.

It can wait a few more days because, whatever your color, whatever the stripe of your conviction, whether you believe in a savior who was born some 2,000 years ago or not, perhaps we can agree that this holiday, we take a step back. It is a moment that there are no colors. There are no lines that divide us, no bitter rivalries. We all contemplate; renew our spirit surrounded by friends, family, good food and tasty drink.

“I came to the conclusion long ago…” Ghandi said, “that all religions were true, and also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold my own, I should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu… But our innermost prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim, a better Muslim, a Christian, a better Christian.”

My point is, “I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me.”

I honor the food in you, which is also in me.

Put it another way, Food coma time!!!!

On behalf of the men and women— our writers, our creatives, and technical volunteers, and our Core Group, we wish you all our warmest Happy Christmas, and a most Merry Holiday.


Photo credit: Some rights reserved by [casey]

Pro-life president Eric Manalang on the Pope and condoms

When I was assigned the article, “Religion gets in the way of safe sex”, for IRIN News (the humanitarian news and analysis agency of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), my editor reminded me to get the point of view of religious and pro-life groups to ensure a balanced report.

In the context of the unprecedented rise in HIV infections in the country, I was to get  the reaction of public health officials,  HIV/RH activists and religious groups on the pope’s statement on condoms and if its impact on the reproductive health debate, if any.

I called Pro-Life President Eric Manalang for a comment and he asked me to email my questions first before giving a reply. I obliged and received a reply from Mr. Manalang the next day.

The story, “Religion gets in the way of safe sex” did not make it to IRIN News, but apart from here on, it was published on I informed Mr. Manalang, that  his reply to my e-mail would be printed in full — as per his request —  on both websites.

Below is the email of Mr. Manalang, which has not been edited (save for formatting and punctuation) or cut.

Dear Ana,

Thanks for calling.This may or may not be the interview you may want,you will notice as you read on.

Nothing personal but it  seems awkward for you  and almost impossible for me to get a fair result from this interview (your boss has an agenda am sure), seeing  that IRIN, a part of UN, already has made certain conclusions with regard to RH, population agenda and poverty and the HIV problem , as well as infers at the very least a certain media bias already as to the “focus only on  the Condom portion ” of the statement by the HOLY FATHER (with much of secular MEDIA misleading many Catholics and non-Catholics).

HIV is a problem of promiscuity, abstinence and faithful family life is the key values needed. Look at Thailand vs. Philippines on HIV vs. condom promotion.Where is the HIV epidemic? In Thailand!

Kindly yourself, Catholic or not,  consider that The POPE did not change any existing teaching nor commandment,it is the secular media that translates it to meet its liberal/left leaning agenda, PDI included, when it comes to fighting and destroying  objective morality and decency.

No population, no economy because no producers and no  consumers. Simple truth. Poor people are the source of growth in an economy, not the wealthy.


There are TEN COMMANDMENTS not less nor more. Bad morality brings bad policies,what else can we expect ?

The UN, a supposedly unifying international body is now a “TUTA” ( pardon my taglish) of the USA and EU and many fabulously funded Foundations (Packard,Ford,etc) whose agenda is to depopulate countries like the Philippines. WHAT!!?? Is the UN unifying for or against HUMANITY? RH using health as a convenient smokescreen lie is  to mislead the poor that children are burdensome.

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

A war against our women’s wombs has been launched. Scary indeed. But we fight!

Stop corruption not the population! Build schools, more teachers, more real health facilities for survival, not RH, abortion fronts. Empower the poor with education,education education.

If you’re in need of an interview, just ask the PLCPD. Maybe they will be happy to oblige with lies and falsities from selected data and RH  biased experts for the MDG.

Funny how many of  the progressive blocs of Akbayan, Bayan Muna, feminists, environmentalists, etc. have sided with the enemy, a.k.a imperialist USA, in pushing the over population myth agenda and so interview them as well. Hypocrisy betrays consistency.

I hope you kindly understand the  point clearly.

Knowing that this short piece may not land on the IRIN news, I kindly require that if printed it be done in whole,or not at all. I reserve my right to it.

Of course STRICTLY,for LOVE and LIFE and FAMILY.

Merry Christmas to you  and your love ones Ana..MABUHAY!

God bless,


Photo credit: Some rights reserved by Trishhhh

Senator Kiko Pangilinan's 2010 Christmas message

2010 was a year of change for our country. President Noynoy Aquino’s victory in the elections was the catalyst our nation, aspiring for something better, needed most. Several months hence, we saw and felt these changes happening around us, albeit in a pace that would leave a lot of people wanting. Through sheer determination, we all fought against corruption, even if it meant just starting with not using wang-wangs and respecting traffic laws. With steely resolve, we were able to expose corruption in several government corporations and were able to institute much needed reforms to curb such practices. Read more

TIME Magazine reveals The Best of 2010

A woman being pulled out of rubble after the Haiti earthquake, crude oil washing on the shor of Grande Terre Island, a video image of 31-year-old Chilean miner Florencio Avalos, and soldiers of the Virgina National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment are some of TIME Magazine‘s best photographs of 2010.

True to what has now been an annual tradition for TIME, the magazine released the world’s highlights for 2010, in its “Best of 2010” issue dated December 20, 2010.

Aside from photographs, the Top 10 movies, books, and music were also given recognition. Here’s a sneak peek:

Top 1 and Top 10 in Movies

#10: Four Lions (Chris Morris): Nominated for the 2010 British Independent Film Award and the Grand Jury Prize of the Sundance Film Festival, Four Lions didn’t make it to the Philippines–and, perhaps, for good reason. It depicts the adventures and misadventures of “a group of British jihadists who push their abstract dreams of glory to the breaking point.” (Definitely not for the Philippines, right?!) According to TIME‘s resident film critic, Richard Corliss, Four Lions is “the blackest, ballsiest political comedy since Dr. Strangelove.”

"Toy Story 3" | Photo from

"Toy Story 3" | Photo from

#1: Toy Story 3 (Pixar): An animated movie as TIME‘s Number One? Why not? Corloss writes, “Why are Pixar films so often at or near the tip of our 10-best lists? Because nobody these days makes better movies… The movie’s most important lesson is for Hollywood: Watch this and see how it’s done.” Do you agree?

P.S. Guess at which spot The Social Network lies? 🙂

Top 1 and Top 10 in Books

#10: Faithful Place (Tana French): A quick online search in the Philippines’s two online bookstores revealed that the title is not yet available in the Philippines, but it seems to be a murder mystery of Vizconde-like proportions. Frank Mackey is a detective who has been called on to the case of a 20-year old murder mystery that has suddenly become hot topic again. The victim was his girlfriend, and according to TIME’s Lev Grossman, “to do that, he has to go back to his no-hope neighborhood in Dublin and face everything he left behind.” There seems to be yet another parallel between the Irish and the Filipinos besides the religious stronghold, ‘eh?

#1: Freedom (Jonathan Franzen): Again, what TIME has deemed compelling, Philippine bookstores are not selling. According to Grossman, Freedom is another work of author Franzen at his best: “There is no one like Franzen for writing that is high-res and 3-D: the money, the sex, the bitterness, the music, the drinking, the birds–you see and hear and smell it all.” Then again, do we need more money, sex, bitterness, and drinking in the Philippines?

P.S. There’s an interesting title on #8: How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe. 🙂

Top 1 and Top 10 in Music

#10: Teen Dream by Beach House: Writer Claire Suddath says, “Beach House’s third album is a pleasant mix of lazy, hazy pop songs that will make you want to lie in a hammock and watch the clouds float across the sky.”

#1: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West: “Jackass” or not, Kanye West emerged a winner in TIME’s Best of Music list. Suddath writes, “Instead of a simple somersault, Kanye delivers the musical equivalent of a one-handed back handspring… That something is probably going to be played at every bar and dance party you go to for the next six months.”


Of course, it’s not just movies, books, and music that rock our world. In TIME’s “Top 10 of Everything”, you’ll get the lowdown on this year’s best (and worst)–from world news stories and gadgets, to Facebook stories and Twitter moments.

A Changemaker's Wish List

Reposted in full from the author’s blog, The Art of Changemaking

In many ways, 2010 had been a great year for changemaking. We saw in the national campaign the Filipino youth’s participation in electoral processes and political action. We saw more Filipino changemakers—such as Reese Fernandez (now Ruiz!) of Rags2Riches and Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation—being awarded on an international scale a year after Efren Peñaflorida took to the world stage as CNN’s Hero of the Year in 2009. We saw the public debate on the RH bill and on population management finally rise to the surface, enabling more people to know the issues and contribute to the discussion. We saw the incubation of more social enterprises and more ideas with great social impact. We saw how Filipinos actively used social media to participate, to campaign, to make their voices heard on issues. We saw the iPad (’nuff said).

On a macro level, hope and optimism and rising, and we have a lot to build on as we move onward to 2011.

With that, and with only a day left until Christmas, I hope it’s not too late to publish this wish list for and by changemakers.

1. I admittedly have a bias for social enterprises, so I will begin this wish list by wishing for more funding mechanisms to start up ventures with great social impact and driven by the triple bottomline: people, planet, profit. The more enterprises there are that follow this model, the better the world will be.

The Triple Bottomline | Image from
The Triple Bottomline | Image from

2. For ad agencies, communications practitioners, and the private sector to work together to make “sustainability” more understandable by the everyday Filipino—through a culture-sensitive, savvy, and authentic and unplagiarized campaign, maybe?–so that more of us can work toward achieving sustainability in our homes, our schools, our workplaces, and our communities. We have only one planet, and if our nation of 95 million people (and growing!!) can learn to take better care of our own backyard in the Philippines and contribute to solutions instead of adding to the global problems, we would have done humanity a great service.

3. Related to that: for government to support couples’ rights to choose how to manage their own families, by providing accurate and relevant information on ALL family planning options and by making these options available in whatever shape or form. Call it reproductive health; call it family planning; call it populatin management; call it demographic governance; call it whatever you want, but for me, people need choices and they need to know what these choices are so they can manage their families better. Better-managed families make better-managed communities.

4. Speaking of communities: we wish for more public-private partnerships in making communities more liveable. This encompasses everything from waste management to better urban planning, to providing alternative learning systems for children who cannot go to school, to supporting sports like football (go Azkals!)–or futkal (futbol sa kalye)–at the very least to keep children off drugs and off the streets, to community-based resource management. Families and communities need to be taught shared responsibility for their living spaces, because if they can’t tend to the world, they will at least tend to their backyards.

Image by Saucy Salad on Flickr Creative Commons
Image by Saucy Salad on Flickr Creative Commons

5. Since the Department of Education has already moved for the implementation of the K+12 program, we wish for more parallel funding for school buildings, (correct textbooks), and other learning equipment and materials so that Filipino children will grow up with progressive minds and be able to compete whether at home or in the global marketplace. (Corollary to that: families really SHOULD stop making more babies so that we won’t need to keep building more classrooms, squeezing children into poorly-lit, poorly-ventilated spaces, and having them share textbooks in the guise of giving them a proper education.)

6. Speaking of education: we need greater, more substantial funding for science and technology research and development. If Filipinos can be great singers, performers, boxers, and service staff, why can’t they be great scientists, engineers, inventors? Why do we always have to be on the bottom end of the service or manufacturing food chain when we can also be idea generators, creators, and thought leaders?

7. Speaking of leadership: we seek an end to patronage politics and to the kind of political dynasties that are unproductive, oppressive, and Ampatuan-like. This happens not only in Maguindanao and in the far south, not only in Abra and in the far north. It happens everywhere—from supposedly-progressive cities in the metro to small barangays all around the country. Being inspired by your parents’ career and wanting to take after them is not bad, and it’s one thing; pretending you have a kingdom and perpetuating a cycle of violence and corruption is another. For real leaders to emerge, old systems have to be broken down.

8. Speaking of broken down: What on earth is wrong with our Supreme Court, the Sandiganbayan, our Ombudsman, and our entire justice system at that?? I am no legal expert so I cannot comment on that, but—please!–somebody overhaul our justice system and allow us Filipinos to know the real meaning of justice.

9. To my mind, justice also means equal access to opportunities, and the freedom to equally exercise rights and responsibilities. It seems like this can be achieved better if we have a stronger and larger middle-class. So we go back to the basics: more empowering education, more access to fair capital, more opportunities for gainful employment, a stronger economy whose fruits trickle down to the masses, a better-managed population, better governance, better urban planning, a focus on science and technology and higher-value creative industries, sustainable agriculture… All of these contribute to prosperity for more, not just prosperity for a few. The larger our middle class grows, the more progressive the Philippines will be, and the better for all of us.

10. I left out transportation: The Philippines would really be so much better with a more efficient, well-planned, and well-coordinated transportation system. We need more trains to connect our provinces; we need less pollutants such as tricycles and kuligligs. We need more energy-efficient transport options such as monorails, subways, and e-jeepneys. We need to punish criminal bus, jeepney, and taxi operators and drivers who perpetuate the cycle of violence (oppression and death!) that goes on in our streets every single day. We need less cars on the road. We need bicycle lanes. We need more, better, and wider roads because EDSA (the road) is NOT the model for transport efficiency. We need to be able to get to work and to meetings in no greater than 30 minutes. We need a saner environment in the metropolis.

Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita | Some rights reserved
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita | Some rights reserved

11. Because next year will be 2011, we shall have 11 wishes. And because there truly is so much to say, so much to wish for, my last wish is that YOU, fellow Filipino, share your own wishlist for a better Philippines, too. (My boss, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, did his first—read it HERE, then feel free to add your own.)

And with that, folks, here’s my parting wish for you all:

May the abundance of the season reach your home and your family,
May prosperity be yours today and for the rest of the New Year.
May you be enveloped by what truly matters to you,
And may you be filled with the grace that comes with a heart that is at peace, a life that is well-lived, and environment that allows you to fulfill your life’s purpose.

Happy Holidays!