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Poe denies wanting to block Facebook in PH, calls out disinformation using ‘spliced’ video

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Senator Grace Poe denied claims online that she is pushing to block Facebook in the Philippines and called out this disinformation against her, the very thing that the Senate hearing on “fake news” is trying to fight.

The senator said that banning Facebook in the country was counterproductive and that claims that are spreading online about her were untrue.

“Ganyang mga produkto ng fake news factories ang ating nilabanan. Isang malaking industriya na sa ating bansa ang pagbabaluktot ng katotohanan,” Poe said in her official Facebook page.

“Iyan ang fake news. Hindi totoo ‘yan. First of all, that’s counterproductive… Mali. ‘Yun talaga ang disinformation,” the senator said in a television interview on February 1.

One of the trending videos about the part of the Senate hearing on fake news on January 30 where Poe asked a resource person about Facebook started with this question from her: “Let’s say, can you block a particular company like Facebook from being accessed in the Philippines? I know they do this in China.”

However, Poe clarified that the video that are now trending online have been “spliced” to make it seem as though she wanted to ban the use of Facebook in the country.

“Yung mga lumabas [sa social media], syempre hindi natin pipigilan. Ako mismo nasa Facebook, yung mga anak ko nasa Facebook, marami sa ating mga kababayan ang kumukuha ng balita mula sa Facebook,” she said.

Poe led the series of Senate hearings on fake news as the chairman of the Senate committee on public information and mass media. The second hearing was attended by media representatives, Palace communication officials, and bloggers.

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During the January 30 hearing, Poe actually asked a law expert several questions on what the government can possibly do to block hate speech, especially those that are heading towards criminal liability.

“Not that we’re going to do this. I’ll be the first to disagree if they do. But let’s say, can you block a particular company like Facebook from being accessed in the Philippines? Of course that would spark a revolution and we know that. But what I’m saying is this: They’re banking on their popularity but we should also assert their accountability to us,” Poe said.

Addressing the netizens who are now bashing her for the misunderstood portion of the Senate hearing, she urged them to distinguish facts from lies and added that her camp would come up with a full video of the hearing.

“We’ve come up also with our own video of the proceedings, kasi it (video circulating online) was spliced. If you’re conscientious enough and you really want to find the truth…kasi kapag ayaw mong malaman ang katotohanan madali namang kalimutan yan,” she said.

Some netizens also defended Poe’s question during the hearing.

“People, it was a hypothetical question in the hearing. What she’s after was Facebook’s accountability to us as users,” said one Twitter user.


De La Salle Professor Antonio Contreras also offered his take on the “misunderstanding” surrounding Poe’s question.

“This is a classic case of misunderstanding,” he said in a Facebook post. “The context was a public hearing. Senators ask questions to resource persons on the issues at hand.”

“Senator Poe asked a technical question of whether it is possible to block FB. She did not suggest that IT SHOULD BE BLOCKED,” he added.

When she opened the Senate hearing, Poe expressed her concern about the spread of fake information that might lead to a “culture of lying” if left unchecked.

“If purveyors are allowed to get away with their lies, they embolden government officials to also lie in order to escape accountability, crush dissent and commit illegal acts with impunity,” Poe said.

“Fake news is the e-version of the budol-budol, which many of our people unable to distinguish fact from fiction fall victims to. It is not even farfetched that in the future fake news can trigger wars,” she added.

“If fake news is not challenged, it will create lynch mobs out of certain people turning them into an army of character assassins who can be unleashed with just one meme to destroy an idea, a person or an institution.”

She also noted how Taiwan teaches its children media literacy in school to help them distinguish factual news from hoaxes.

Poe also brought up how wrong online behavior can be carried over to real life.

“Kung hahayaan natin ‘yan baka lumaki ang mga bata ngayon na intolerant sa pananaw ng iba at madaling maniwala sa haka-haka. We need to expose them in a kind of converasation that eduicates and enlightens, that relies on truth and not the kind that respects facts,” Poe said.

Sources: ( inquirer.netphilstar.com )

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Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’

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President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks

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His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

Sources: ( rappler.comphilstar.com )

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show

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Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.

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Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

Sources: ( tnt.abante.com.phphilstar.comrappler.com )

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal

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Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.

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In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

Sources: ( inquirer.netnews.abs-cbn.com , nnphilippines.com )

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