Sunday, April 26, 2009

Perfectly Legal*

Legal. Naaayon sa batas. Ilan ito sa mga halimbawa:

1. Legal ang pag-upo ni Palparan sa Kongreso kahit na may batayan ang akusasyon na imbwelto sya sa pagkawala ng mga UP students na sina Sherlyn Cadapan at Karen Empeno. Mayroon ding bakas ng dugo nina Eddie Gumanoy at Eden Marcellana ang kanyang mga kamay.

Sherlyn Cadapan at Karen Empeno, nawawala pa rin!

Sherlyn Cadapan at Karen Empeno, nawawala pa rin!

Layunin ng Party List na magkaroon ng representasyon sa Kongreso ang mga marginalized na sektor ng lipunan. Si Palparan ay magiging kinatawan Bantay, ang Party List ng mga "True Marcos Loyalists". Siya ay magiging boses diumano ng "sectors engaged in security and peace and order concerns”. Hindi ba't ito na mismo ang mga tauhan ng gobyernong kung tawagin ay Pulis at Militar. Ah, oo, kailangang magkaroon ng mga mambabatas mula sa sektor na ito, hindi kasi sila nabibigyan ng prayoridad.

Palparan, Berdugo!
Palparan, Berdugo!

2. Kaugnay nito, legal din ang pagdaragdag ng isa pang Arroyo sa Kongreso. Isa sa mga bagong Party List Representative si Lourdes Arroyo, hipag ni Gloria mismo. Sabi ng Malakanyang, legal nga rin ang pagkakaroon ng dalawang Cayetano sa anong problema?

3. Wala pa raw namang naghahain ng Cetificate of Candidacy kaya legal din ang mga personal ads ng mga aspiring tumakbo. Hindi naman kasi ata obvious kung ano ang pinopromote ng ads na ito. Masagot kaya nila nang buong linaw kung saan nagmumula ang pondo para sa airtime ng mga ito?

4. Legal ang pang-aarestong ginawa sa mga kapatid ni Trina Etong, asawa ng broadcaster na si Ted Failon. At uulitin ko ang sintemyento ng nakararami, laluna niyong mga nakapanood ng video footage ng panghuhuli: kung kay Ted Failon nagagawa ito ng awtoridad, paano pa sa mga mamamayang walang suporta ng ABS-CBN, gaya ko, halimbawa.

5. And finally, legal ang pwersahang pakikipagtalik sa mga babaeng hindi naman tunay na "demure provinciana lass". Ayon sa Court of Appeals, ang rape ay maaari ring tawaging "spontaneous, unplanned romantic episode" kung saan kasalanan mo pang napagsamantalahan ka dahil sa iyong "indecorous behavior".

they've set the rapist free
they've set the rapist free

Legal ang pumatay ng tao, ang nepotismo, ang pangmalakasang pangangampanya maski hindi ito napapanahon, ang pangdarahas at ang panggagahasa.

Hindi lahat ng legal tama, hindi lahat ng ilegal ay masama.

*Nasambit ito ng aming VP noong nakipag-usap sya sa team namin noong nakaraang araw. Tungkol ito sa forced overtime sa aming department noong holy week. Sabi nya, "Although it's perfectly legal, we will not do (10-hour shifts) again." Hindi umano "convenient" para sa mga agent ang ganoong set-up kaya hindi na uulitin pa. Gayunman, hindi rin babayaran ang OT na iyon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Life, Death and the Internet

The internet is fast becoming the primary platform of various advocacies. This week, I browsed a couple of articles from PDI about how personal the internet has become to these two people: Jonathan Mann and Lilian de Dera.

Jonathan Mann is an artist, particularly, he writes a new song each day. The internet is his stage. I particularly like his optimism towards his craft: 

"There are laws of probability," said Mann. "If I write 31 songs in a month, I have a pretty good chance one of those is going to be excellent and the more I do it hopefully the better they get."

Lilian de Dera seeks justice. Her husband and daughter were allegedly killed by men in uniform. Surely, you are familiar with e-mails requesting to be forwarded to everyone in your inbox - an online version of a polyeto: ipasa pagkabasa. She said: 

"Help me bring my cause to the eyes of the people capable of steering the wheel of justice to the right direction. Help me make the loudest cry worthy of attention by those people in-charge in rendering justice to those who deserve it."

One is about celebrating life, the other a clamor about inequitable death. The internet is a refuge for common people. There is no escaping this connection, this virtual world.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The McKinsey Quarterly Top Ten Newsletter 2009

The McKinsey Quarterly

Top Ten Newsletter 2009

Read our ten most popular articles of Q1 2009

Six ways to make Web 2.0 work
McKinsey’s work with early adopters of Web 2.0 technologies reveals six management imperatives to help companies make the most of these new tools. This article includes a sidebar that summarizes the Twitter comments received since its publication, as well as a podcast featuring one of the authors.
A better way to fix the banks
Here’s a plan that could solve the toxic-asset pricing problem voluntarily—without requiring Uncle Sam to nationalize the whole industry—and make (pretty much) everyone a winner.
Mapping decline and recovery across sectors
Different sectors enter and emerge from downturns at different times. A look at past recessions suggests how some industries may fare. An audio recording of the article is also available.

Five trends that will shape business technology in 2009
The year 2009 will be challenging for CIOs. Here’s how to play your hand.

Hal Varian on how the Web challenges managers
Google’s chief economist says executives in wired organizations need a sharper understanding of how technology empowers innovation. Read the interview or watch the video.

How companies make good decisions: McKinsey Global Survey Results
Companies get a lot of advice about how to make good decisions. Which decision-making disciplines really make a difference?

The crisis: Mobilizing boards for change
Andrew Campbell, a director of London’s Ashridge Strategic Management Centre, and Stuart Sinclair, the chairman and nonexecutive director of several companies in the United Kingdom and Eastern Europe and former CEO of Tesco Personal Finance, write that boards must change the way they work if they are to meet the challenges of the economic crisis. We asked readers who are directors to take an online survey of how their boards have since changed. A summary of the results is now posted with the article.

The new normal
McKinsey’s worldwide managing director, Ian Davis, writes that the business landscape has changed fundamentally. Tomorrow’s environment will be different, but no less rich in possibilities for those who are prepared.

When job seekers invade Facebook
Soumitra Dutta, a professor of business and technology at INSEAD, and Matthew Fraser, a senior research fellow there, write that the increasing popularity of online social networking is changing not only the way people manage their careers but social networking itself. Included is a selection of some of the many reader responses we have received since this article was posted.

Leading through uncertainty
The range of possible futures confronting business is great. Companies that nurture flexibility, awareness, and resiliency are more likely to survive the crisis, and even to prosper.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Computer Professionals warns of possible large scale election cheating on COMELEC automation | Computer Professionals' Union



Press Release, 2 April 2009

“If not done properly, automated large scale cheating can happen with the COMELEC's plan for automated elections,” warns the Computer Professionals' Union (CPU) on the current rush of COMELEC to implement an Automated Election System (AES). The first automation attempt was scrapped by the Supreme Court in 2004 when COMELEC's P1.7 billion contract with Mega Pacific Consortium was declared null and void due to irregularities. Under R.A. 9369 which mandates the COMELEC to recommend the technology and choose a provider for the automated elections, the Commission chose Optical Mark Reader (OMR) technology for the 2010 National Elections.

The OMR system that will be used by the COMELEC will use 80,000 Precint Counting Optical Sensor (PCOS) machines. The  PCOS includes a computer system, an OMR device which will read ballots marked by the voter, and a networking device for data transmission. This will cost the Filipino people P11 Billion.

The current automated election system is vulnerable to insider manipulation, software engineering problems, and remote or network attacks.

With insider access to the AES, vote manipulation can become more sophisticated. Dagdag-bawas or tampering can be made to appear mathematically consistent. In the manual elections, adding or subtracting to the results at the canvassing stage produces inconsistent totals when compared to the number of registered voters and actual votes cast. With the AES, this can now be made to appear consistent if direct manipulation to the data is made or by programming the system to reconcile the numbers. Insiders can overwrite the consolidated data with results favorable to certain candidates. In the manual elections, the coordinated manipulation of municipal/provincial canvass is limited by geographical factors. In the AES, tampering in the synchronized provincial canvass can now be done by just manipulating the consolidation servers at the municipal, provincial and national canvassing levels.

Whether intentional or incidental, a software problem in the AES system can affect the machines to be used in the elections. Software bugs are commonplace and they sometimes affect the same hardware with the same configurations differently. 

“It should be a requirement that the source code of software used by the AES be open and released to the public for review,” adds Rick Bahague, the National Coordinator of CPU. Source codes are instructions understood by machines to do certain functions or tasks.  “However, with the current timeline of COMELEC, this will not happen. If source codes are released, no time for review is alloted.” 

CPU is also known for its advocacy for Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).

During transmission of data from municipal to provincial up to the national canvassing, there are still dangers of manipulation. Outside attackers can do advance cracking techniques to alter data being transmitted. 

In addition, the AES should also provide a voter-verifiable audit trail. A voter-veriafiable-audit mechanism allows a voter to check consistency between his or her ballot and the recording made by the AES. In the event that machines fail, there should be a way to recount votes independently from the machines.

While there are technical challenges, it is still possible to create a suitable AES system which the people can trust. It should be reviewed by a large number of independent security experts with knowledge in computer security and cryptography. The source code, instructions written in a language understood by computers, of the system should be open and available to the public. This will allow all interested and technically-adept individuals and groups to scrutinize the functions of the system. It should have voter-verifiable audit trails for reference.

A suitable AES should accurately capture voter's intent to actual tally. It should be secured such that ballot secrecy is protected. It should be encrypted and digitally signed so that the ballot data is protected and difficult to tamper with. It should be able to effectively handle a large number of voters. Finally, it should release report faster than the manual elections. 

AES will not eliminate cheating and fraud in the 2010 elections. Moreover, technology to speed up voting and the canvassing process only becomes relevant and useful if the people behind the technology are credible and serve to protect the interests of the population in the elections.

The Computer Professionals' Union and other concerned ICT groups are organizing a National ICT Conference on Automated Elections System on 22 April 2009 in UP Diliman. It primarily aims to gather experiences and best practices in technologies relevant to AES. CPU hopes to set a baseline that will serve as a monitoring mechanism of the people on AES providers and the COMELEC.


Automagic Elections, Computer Professionals' Union, 2 April 2009,

Rick Bahague rick at cp-union dot com 4134196 / 09178840096

Nation of Servants

Yes, the HK magazine and the erring writer already apologized.
Yes, they already pulled-out the article's online version.
Yes, there are hundreds of thousands of domestic workers in Hong Kong.
Yes, the Philippine's claim over Spratly Islands is under dispute. 
And yes, the article is a criticism on the Chinese government's inability to assert their blah on Russia and Japan...and instead, they chose to "pick a fight" with a poor country like the Philippines.
Yes, the article is just plain sarcastic. 

I now understand what Chip Tsao wanted to say, especially since he had Conrado de Quiros to defend him and his article. What makes the article insulting is that it tells of the truth: the Chinese government is confident that we do not have the political, and hence, military, capability to defend the Spratlys; we have degree holder OFWs paid to "wash (their) toilet and clean (their) windows 16 hours a day"; and the Spartly take-over by the modern state capitalist government of China might as well be a revival of expansionism, among others.

Chip Tsao's article can be funny. If he had not used Louisa to expound his point, I could have enjoyed the article the first time I read it. But then, I was one of those who reacted on the contrary. Glaring was the "disrespect" for his household help. Okay, so this was not his point. I could accept that. I could also accept his apology. 

from Aaron Ceradoy

De Quiros said, "the barb (is) aimed elsewhere", in fact, "it even casts Filipinos in a good light, by inference". But the Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong cried foul. And we must understand why: they have been dealing with ignominy the instant they boarded the plane that brought them there. 

For a "best-selling author and columnist", Chip Tsao should have known better. Has he not heard of the Philippine's calvary already? I could agree that the article is not intended to be condescending. Unfortunately, a nation which needs to deal with blatant insult every single day cannot appreciate satire. Satire scmatire.

Here is a reprint of Chip Tsao's article:

The War At Home
March 27th, 2009

The Russians sank a Hong Kong freighter last month, killing the seven Chinese seamen on board. We can live with that—Lenin and Stalin were once the ideological mentors of all Chinese people. The Japanese planted a flag on Diàoyú Island. That’s no big problem—we Hong Kong Chinese love Japanese cartoons, Hello Kitty, and shopping in Shinjuku, let alone our round-the-clock obsession with karaoke.

But hold on—even the Filipinos? Manila has just claimed sovereignty over the scattered rocks in the South China Sea called the Spratly Islands, complete with a blatant threat from its congress to send gunboats to the South China Sea to defend the islands from China if necessary. This is beyond reproach. The reason: there are more than 130,000 Filipina maids working as $3,580-a-month cheap labor in Hong Kong. As a nation of servants, you don’t flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter.

As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made my blood boil. I summoned Louisa, my domestic assistant who holds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila, hung a map on the wall, and gave her a harsh lecture. I sternly warned her that if she wants her wages increased next year, she had better tell every one of her compatriots in Statue Square on Sunday that the entirety of the Spratly Islands belongs to China.

Grimly, I told her that if war breaks out between the Philippines and China, I would have to end her employment and send her straight home, because I would not risk the crime of treason for sponsoring an enemy of the state by paying her to wash my toilet and clean my windows 16 hours a day. With that money, she would pay taxes to her government, and they would fund a navy to invade our motherland and deeply hurt my feelings.

Oh yes. The government of the Philippines would certainly be wrong if they think we Chinese are prepared to swallow their insult and sit back and lose a Falkland Islands War in the Far East. They may have Barack Obama and the hawkish American military behind them, but we have a hostage in each of our homes in the Mid-Levels or higher. Some of my friends told me they have already declared a state of emergency at home. Their maids have been made to shout “China, Madam/Sir” loudly whenever they hear the word “Spratly.” They say the indoctrination is working as wonderfully as when we used to shout, “Long live Chairman Mao!” at the sight of a portrait of our Great Leader during the Cultural Revolution. I’m not sure if that’s going a bit too far, at least for the time being.

Chip Tsao is a best-selling author and columnist. A former reporter for the BBC, his columns have also appeared in Apple Daily, Next Magazine and CUP Magazine, among others.