Robredo pushes for social media regulation vs disinformation

Robie de Guzman   •   March 21, 2019   •   2508

Vice President Leni Robredo | Courtesy : OVP

Vice President Leni Robredo is calling on Congress to pass a law to strictly regulate the use of social media in the Philippines.

During an interview with reporters in Dagupan City, Pangasinan on Wednesday, Robredo stressed the need to regulate the social media, which she said is “being abused in a very negative way” and has become a tool to spread disinformation especially during election season.

She said Congress should take action to somehow control and regulate posts on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and even YouTube.

“Kasi kung anybody can post anonymously, ang daming nabibiktimang hindi naman dini-deserve na siraan,” she added.

Robredo said election campaigning in the country have been marred by dirty tactics through online platforms. She added that this is unfair to the people who must know the truth but also rely on social media for information.

The Vice President said she and her family have been victims of vicious attacks and fake news by propagandists on social media.

“Sometimes you can’t blame them because they think it’s true. But what is being fed to them is propaganda,” she added.

She believes the social media should also be “made accountable the way traditional media are accountable” to promote responsibility among its users.

Robredo also lamented the lack of teeth in the country’s election laws to level the political playing field.

“Halimbawa, iyong mga violators, hindi naman nakakasuhan, hindi name-make accountable, kasi wala masyadong ngipin iyong batas kaya kailangan talaga i-amend ‘yung ating election laws,: she added.

“So if we do nothing, the situation will worsen,” Robredo said, adding that it takes time to undo the damage caused by anonymous social media posts. — Robie de Guzman

Robredo urges DepEd to realign budget to fund blended learning, address health concerns

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to realign the items in its budget to finance the distance learning program and respond to the needs of teachers and students as the country shifts to a blending learning system amid the pandemic.

In a letter dated August 10 addressed to DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, Robredo said the department must realign its P29-billion budget for rehabilitation of school buildings to procure gadgets and other equipment for distance learning and hazard pay for teachers.

“Around P29.5 billion was earmarked for the rehabilitation of school buildings for 2020. Given the shift to distance learning, many of these school buildings will be left without children to occupy them, thus deprioritizing the need for the rehabilitation of physical spaces,” she said.

“This amount can be used to procure the needed gadget and equipment for distance learning as well as address the health concerns of educators,” she added.

Robredo also noted that 61% or around 14 million households do not have access to the internet, adding that 74% or some 34,700 schools do not have the infrastructure to engage in online learning.

“While we understand that the department has set up the DepEd Commons learning platform for students to access lessons on their worn, we have received reports that only 7 million students have so far subscribed to this platform,” she said.

“This constitutes only 35% of the estimated 20 million public school students in the country,” she added.

Aside from access to internet connection and self-learning modules, Robredo also called on DepEd to protect the health and safety of educators by conducting mass testing, with testing and distribution of results done before classes start; providing sufficient fund for physical check-up and medicine; providing supplies such as personal protective equipment, hand sanitizers, among others; distributing hazard pay on time, and; establishing a system for the health and wellness needs of the teachers.

She said such initiatives can be funded by realigning DepEd’s P700 million budget allotted for teachers’ trainings.

“Many of these trainings have already, or will be, shifted to online modalities, thus freeing up resources that would otherwise have been used for travel and accommodations,” Robredo said.

“Rest assured that we understand the complexity of the challenges before us. We submit these insights and recommendations in the spirit of solidarity so that we may all, as one nation, build the better normal that our people deserve,” she added.

In response to the vice president’s recommendations, Briones said they cannot just make any significant realignment in their budget without consulting the Department of Budget and Management.

She also said they have allotted P9 billion fund for the reproduction of modules and that these have been forwarded to DepEd regional and division offices.

Briones likewise assured they have laid out programs to ensure the safety and health of educators as she reiterated that no face-to-face classes will be implemented amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been paying hazard pay before COVID-19 for teachers who are in places na malayo ang sasakyan, malayo sa urban area. May standard kasi yan,” she said.

“Ulitin ko walang face-to-face until hangga’t walang vaccine yun ang sinasabi ni president; therefore, the teachers will not be exposed as a result of teaching. If they will be exposed, there might be other causes,” she added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

BI eyes deportation case against Chinese woman who hit a Makati traffic enforcer

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 13, 2020

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has recommended the deportation of the Chinese woman who went viral for hitting a traffic enforcer and a biker in Makati City.

Immigration acting spokesperson Melvin Mabulac reiterated that foreign nationals staying in the Philippines should also follow the law. There will be no special treatment and no exceptions for them, Mabulac said.

Hindi po ibig sabihin ay isang dayuhan siya ay may espesyal siyang batas. Kung ano ang batas na pinatutupad po sa isang ordinaryong Pilipino, dapat sundin po ng kahit sino pang dayuhan na nandito sa ating bansa, (It does not mean that foreign nationals have a special law. The law followed by an ordinary Filipino should also be followed by any foreign national here in the country),” he said.

Authorities have also discovered that the Chinese woman identified as Dong Li is only under a tourist visa and has not followed the necessary requirements to update her status. The Immigration cited overstaying and disrespect to authority as grounds for deporting Dong.

Basically, dalawa po ang tinitingnan natin. Siya po ay overstaying at the same time, iyong undersirability. Klarong-klaro naman po doon sa social media, at naging viral pa naman, iyong disrespect sa authority. Bawal na bawal po iyan (Basically, we are looking into two (violations). She is overstaying and, at the same time, there is undesirability. It is clear in the viral post on social media that she disrespected a person of authority. That is prohibited),Mabulac said.

The agency already recommended to their legal division the filing of appropriate cases for Li’s deportation. –AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Woman in viral video arrested for violating quarantine protocols

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 15, 2020

The woman who was caught in a viral video was arrested by the Caloocan City Police and is facing charges for violating quarantine protocols.

According to Caloocan City Police Chief PCol. Dario Menor, Mikaela Tahum is facing charges of Alarm and Scandal, Unjust Vexation, Resistance and Disobedience to a Person in Authority, and for violating the City Ordinance on face masks.

In the viral video, Tahum was trying to enter Barangay 156 in Bagong Barrio but was blocked by the police since the said area was under total lockdown. She was also seen not wearing a mask.

Tahum kept insisting, saying she only needed to hand over a bag to someone living in the area.

“Iaabot nga lang (I am just going to hand this over). Wala akong paki sayo, sino ka ba (I don’t care about you, who do you think you are)?” she told a policeman in the video.

Menor said they verified that Tahum was not an authorized person outside residence (APOR).

“Kitang-kita naman na wala siyang mask. Then nung vinerify kung APOR siya, it turned out na unauthorized person outside residence siya kasi hindi naman siya essential workforce (She clearly wasn’t wearing a mask. Then when we verified if she was an APOR, it turned out that sh wasn’t because she is not a part of the essential workforce),” he said.

Meanwhile, the Caloocan City Police Chief also reminds the public to adhere to quarantine protocols and abide by the law. —AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

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