Does Senator Poe understand and approve of Duterte’s Propaganda Centers?

grace-poe-presidential-promises-2016-philstar

Senator Poe citing her campaign promises during her run for the presidency in early 2016 {Photo source: Philippine Star]

By Joe America

I’m sorry I had to use Wikipedia to get a list of Senate Committee members. However the Senate’s web site listing has not been updated since August, 2015, and I know Senator Drilon is not the Senate president anymore. Some guy of very different principles and evidently little administrative precision took over the job.

I wanted to check to see if Senator Poe is still the woman responsible for Freedom of Information (FOI), and its opposite, Propaganda. I say opposite because the principle behind FOI is that citizens will be properly informed and able play their part in democracy to the best interest of the nation. Propaganda is the effort to sell ideas that may or may not be factually correct or in the best interest of the nation. Indeed, it can include harassment and disparagement of citizens if undertaken by trolls. It risks making government an autocratic peddler of deceits rather than service.

It seems to me that Senator Poe had some incidents during the last election in which critics questioned her allegiance to the Philippines. The Supreme Court had to explain to us that she is a citizen, but I think a lot of people still wonder who the heck she is, in terms of principles. She has always been able to talk a good game, and inserts herself into issues that are safe and popular, but one is hard pressed to find where she has really stood up for anything unpopular, but important as to principle.

People can cite her FOI work when the bill is passed, and if it is something other than an idea with 166 exceptions, she will deserve recognition for a job well done. People might try to cite her chairmanship of the Mamasapano hearings, basically examining the culpability of President Aquino for the loss of 44 troops in a battlefield incident, but in view of the current bloodletting now ticking up in the range of 5,000 dead Filipinos, we can see that the Mamasapano hearing was purely an exercise in politics and not principle. I have not heard her speak against the killings, but, of course, I don’t really shadow her much. Just throw shade now and then . . .

Senator Poe chairs two Senate committees:

  • Public Information and Mass Media
  • Public Services

She is an independent, aligned with no political party. She voted FOR Senator Hontiveros’ Sense of the Senate Resolution opposing the Marcos burial in a place reserved for heroes. That is, she opposed the burial.

I personally think overt, regimented propaganda is not democratic politics as usual. It is pernicious and manipulative, a business that would offend any honorable democratic statesman from Thomas Jefferson to Noynoy Aquino. It is what dictators do, autocrats, people who have little respect for the citizens democracy is designed to protect and raise up.

The Inquirer just ran an article about the Duterte Administration’s propaganda structure in their Lifestyle Section, an editorial placement that absolutely blows my mind, as if propaganda were just a popular design movement or a topic best shared over tea at the Peninsula. This quote addresses the main point here:

  • “It is said that the troll armies are like call center operations, and that there are at least three such huge operations in Metro Manila and in the north.”

The article is worth a read, generally describing the social media battles being waged, something like the battle of the trolls, and it briefly comments on the Propaganda Centers.

If ever there were a topic that should be right at the top of Senator Poe’s legislative agenda, it would be to consider whether laws should be passed to ban use of propaganda as a violation of the principle of an open and honest government. It seems to me that it is hard to justify that Propaganda Centers need to be hidden behind a wall of “national security interest” or “executive privilege”. If their purpose is to provide information, just provide it. There are many outlets for it that do not require spending P2 billion on trolls.

I don’t know who speaks for the citizens of the Philippines on this matter, in an official capacity, other than President Duterte, Senator Poe, and her counterpart chairman in the House, Antinio Tonio (Public Information Committee; ACT-Teachers party).

Well, the House seems to be an arm of Executive these days, so I suspect there is little value to looking there for any objective oversight.

The President, all his men, and Mocha may support the centers, and good for them, but a fundamental Constitutional role of the Senate is oversight, and if the Philippines IS a democracy, and if Senator Poe IS a principled patriot, she would be the person most accountable for bringing the operations of the Propaganda Centers into the daylight where they can be examined, certified as in the best interest of the nation, and operated in the spirit of FOI. In fact, she would be negligent in her duties if she were not able to explain the existence and benefits to citizens of these Propaganda Centers.

I personally think it is hard to be a unified, bonded, enthusiastic, growing nation, or a real democracy, when citizens are being fed bad information by an organized army of trolls . . .

. . . and if its accountable legislators are complacent or compliant enough to allow a government of, by, and for deceits and harassment of citizens.

 

Comments
68 Responses to “Does Senator Poe understand and approve of Duterte’s Propaganda Centers?”
  1. Grace Lim Reyes says:

    I think this administration thrives on misinformation. For example, they couldn’t provide an accurate number for supposed drug users and dealers. Hence, they are stuck now at 700K plus so-called surrenderees (if there is such a term), quite far off from the 3M to 4M. Another example is the lack of scientific basis to conclude that one year of amphetamine use could fry the brains of users, and thus the killing spree. Wrong information leads to wrong decisions. I would like to think that providing wrong and inaccurate information was intentional and for their benefit. We citizens should learn how to sift through the load of s__t to get to the truth. Hence, I encourage people to research, analyze, and think critically before accepting something as fact or truth.

  2. uht says:

    I have seen at least one building along EDSA (not sure if it was in Mandaluyong, Makati or QC) that served as a campaign headquarters for Duterte during the election, and I know that there have been many more such HQs across the country. It’s been abandoned since July, though.

  3. karlgarcia says:

    If the lower house retains those 166 exemptions and Poe fights for a better FOI bill then a hat tip to her.
    I also like her questioning of the emergency powers,but I hope will come up with legislation so as not to need emergency powers like a simplified procurement law or something

  4. manuelbuencamino says:

    Leni Robredo’s version of the FOI differed from Poe’s version in a very significant way. Leni’s bill was pro-active while Poe’s was passive.

    How?

    Poe said the government must respond to requests. Leni said posting of info must be SOP, that there is no need for an info request for govt to provide the info.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Ok, that would be better. But how do they know if it is info overload already? Some stuff just bore people.

      • cruise says:

        if each agency has a historian (more jobs to writers and history majors) and staff writers who will record all activities of the agency on a weekly basis and inputted on a data base for public consumption, that is one idea, ala wikipedia that if one wants to research one can access the data base. but of course who would want to report bad deeds (only the newspapers because it sells), the data base will be populated by bench raising writeups for the department. well historians should just document what has happened and what was done etc., no spins. but this needs money, it is wishful wish, a dreaming dream, and an unhardly hardwork…maybe.

        • karlgarcia says:

          It all starts with a dream.

          • sonny says:

            I like the the idea, too. The logging activity given the times ends up as forensic source, as cruise suggests.

            • Thea says:

              Why not? I imagine it as a huge high-tech library(National). It would be like writing what happened on a day (historians and writers) to be fed to electronic device (information encoders) with proper catalogues(librarians). Actually, this is being done by university libraries, only they have books and clippings to catalogue and keep.

              Out of topic and speaking of libraries. This is where we lag(by intelligence,perhaps?), children in the West have access to so much books and they enjoy reading them. Never heard any administration that mention about our libraries.

        • chemrock says:

          There is such a log recording in chronological order of official events of the country. I have seen it once but can’t recall the record name or which dept owns it. For example Duterte’s attendance at Lima APEC would be in there, but I’m not sure if events like the demos vs the wax burial would be.

    • I presume there are no remaining advocates of the Robredo approach.

      Thanks for the added info.

  5. Gemino H. Abad says:

    Many thanks, Joe America, for as usual an incisive essay! — More generally, propaganda is the propagation of answers which have lost their questions. The result is a citizenry’s petrified mind, for where there is no question, there is no quest. The propaganda centers of paid trolls comprise the realm of petrified, mendicant minds.(I think, in the House, it is Antonio Tinio.)

  6. brianitus says:

    It’s bad enough that people are fed with “bad” info. What’s worse is people rely on memes without doing research. I think that’s what you get out of using social media as your primary news reader married with a culture of non-critical thinking (just my assumption). With all the fluff floating around there, it is easy to get a clouded view of things.

    Anyway, I hope Sen. Poe wakes up and does some “galaw-galaw.”

    Back to the propaganda centers, there’s really no way of knowing if people are even aware of their existence or verify if they are really there. That Inquirer report would simply be dismissed by hardcore administration supporters as “Yellow” propaganda. Thus, someone “independent” really ought to take a qualified look.

    “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”

    Guess who controls the past now? Strange times we are living in.

  7. karlgarcia says:

    Propaganda is bad as it is, but we still vote people even if they are proven unworthy of our votes,from barangay chair to senators to presidents.

    As Bob says, problem statement first before solutions.
    Forest-trees,symptoms-illnesses,etc etc…..
    cause-effect,systems thinking…..
    Herman-Chomsky model
    Edgar Lores model.

  8. kaye says:

    I hope Sen Grace Poe will comment on this..

  9. caliphman says:

    Joe, I regret to say but I find this blog rather odd. Not to relive our campaign wars but Poe has been the subject of more undeserved legal and personal brickbats than she deserves in my opinion.

    The election being over, the standard against which she is better measured should not be as as an ideal presidential candidate which obviously no one should have hurdled, granted 16 million others begging to differ.

    It is as a junior member of a circus circle of mostly unprincipled and sycophantic senators fending primarily for their political survival. That many of us hete can lump her with the short list in that sorry group as those with enough balls, like Hontiveros, de Lima, Trillanes, Bam Aquino to name a few, who are willing to defy Duterte and his minions is definitely a credit to her.

    As to whether her version of the FOI pales in comparison to Robredo’s or that ordered by Duterte throughout his administration, all I can say is I would find it incredible to expect to that a whistleblower to risk his job if not his life to publicly expose that a full transparency policy is not being followed. Not when slavish loyalty and open intimidation is the watchword of the times.

    • Okay, let’s say you have convinced me that Senator Poe is a courageous and principled public servant, then what? You are okay with state-sponsored troll armies? Nothing should be done about it? Senator Poe has no obligation on oversight?

      • caliphman says:

        Joe, stressing about Poe’s political obligations amidst a senate that has abandoned its responsibilities, a judiciary that upholds neither law or justice, and an administration that is run by presidential whimsy and emotion…that is like quibbling whether the cook turned off the gas burners before fleeing a burning building.

        • So you would prefer that I not address the issue, be complacent, do nothing? When I speak about Grace Poe, my audience is all legislators, and I suppose even the judiciary, or anyone in government, and it reflects a theme I have been repeating ever since I did an article that emphasized that the health of Philippine democracy now rests with its institutions. The subject of propaganda is one of the topics I also mentioned earlier and have raised again and again because I think it damages the Philippines to be so crass and manipulative. So these are what I will continue to address, institutions stepping up to the bar and also abuse of democratic principles. It is always good to get your inputs, but it is clear that you are not in my target audience on this one.

          • caliphman says:

            Joe, we are usually on the same side in waging war against the evils of corrupt and abusive government. You wielding your magic and barbed pen, me with an imagined verbal pitchfork, bearing flaming torches to try and guide the way. You are correct to say I cannot join campaign to single out the politically defeated and powerless Poe and lay on her the onus and public duty to lead the fight against propaganda, disinformation and outright lies being fed the public when the lead source is the daily spoken and online assault by Duterte and his cohorts. To harken back to that past analogy of fighting with Pinoy on his political foxhole, when one is being overrun by an overwhelming and brutal enemy, its the heavy artillery or the armored cavalry that is usually needed…and not some frail and shellshocked lady. In the war against oppressive government, it may be a worthy fight but in case no one noticed, the whole democratic front is collapsing.

            • It’s her job as Chair of two committees. She is not a defeated victim. Institutional ethics, instutional accountability. She is at the power point of bringing possibly dirty propaganda into the light. Either you are fine with propaganda or seek to stop it. What is your suggestion as to how to stop it? Or are you fine with it? My article is an urging to STOP the democratic front from collapsing by asking the legislators to stand up for the powers and obligations of the Senate as an institution. You say they don’t need to do that. It’s too hard for them.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Joe, I too find this blog post very curious. Prior to the national presidential elections on a number of occasions you criticised her severely for naievity, ignorance, lack of experience etc.
                Duterte was elected president and she was defeated. And it was a defeat that you played a role in.
                Now a very new & different political order has emerged in the Philippines. There are aspects to this new order which are very dangerous. Much is still uncertain. But if the polls are accurate, Duterte has majority support from the Filippino people.

                Despite all this you are here trying to tell her how to do her job as senator – what her senatorial agenda should be. But you are Poe’s long time political critic Joe. And as you are a US citizen, she is not accountable to you.

                So I suggest Senator Poe will just ignore you.

              • I suspect she does. But we still have the problem of possible state-sponsored lies or violence on line, and I can’t think of another person who has accountability for oversight on that point.

              • ps, I responsibly represent my son’s interest. He is a citizen.

              • pps, I started out as a Poe fan, and you can track my growing disillusionment via the blog history. It pertains to her actual acts, not some inherent bias.

              • ppps, most enlightened people judge an idea based on it’s merits, not the citizenship of the author. Sometimes an outsider brings in new ideas.

              • caliphman says:

                We have always viewed Poe differently, politically, morally, legally, and what her adpirations should be in light of circumstances. I did not say anything about her ior anyone else being a victim but that she is politically powerless as is Roxas or the LP is in their election defeat. Those committee titles are meaningless and transitory as they were to De Lima as it is political realities and not senate rules that really matter. Enough of Poe already who is an unlikely figure to to pick to reopresent the rest of the Senate by either the publlic or by most of the senators themselves. Like Robredo both may be forced to hold their piece so they can face a bigger fight another day.

                I myself do not like being subject to propaganda but its good to distinguish between disinformation which involve fabrication and deception from propaganda where the intent is to advertise or spin facets of what is factual to advance an objective. It is the former which is more likely to be illegal if not criminal and the latter, if it does not involve lies , more inappropriate and annoying than anything else.

                It is the fictional news and other sources of disinformation which is endemic online that is really dangerous to public interest. In the case of the US election, Trump benefited a lot from disinformation efforts on Facebook and Twitter by his supporters. That Duterte followers are engaged in the same type of operations are reported in the link to your current blog. There is a huge controversy going on right now workdwide as to whether and what riole the government and those who manage Facebook, Twitter, etc should have in regulating disformation. The main arguments against intervention being privacy and free expression rights, not to mention the fact that Facebook and other online social giants live and die by advertisng, read here ‘propaganda’, revenues with all the spurious claims that go with it.

                So its not all that black and white as to what should be legally done here with propaganda and the armies of bots and trolls sent out to propagate it to the public. Its the the type of philosophical if not esoteric issue that I could engage engage in here but do not because, to be frank, it can be a bit sophomoric and not exactly my cup of tea.

              • I think it is far from sophomoric to be concerned if the State is promoting violence on line, or issuing lies. It may not be your cup of tea, and that’s fine. But to others, it is not trivial. To that point, Sen. Hontiveros is proposing legislation to prosecute and fine those who engage in threats of violence against women (threatening gang rape, for instance). She does not consider it sophomoric. It’s too bad there are not more who are as dedicated as Senator Hontiveros. It would appear that Senator Poe remains an eternal populist rather than principled defender of decency and democracy.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Good thing, third time is the charm for Hontiveros.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                I suggest that the question is ” What is the constitutional role of Senators in the
                Philippines ?”

                Here is Oz their primary role in review of proposed legislation and investigation of how existing legislation is operating.

                ( There is also a fair bit of ‘argy-bargy’, or political grandstanding. But that is not a constitutional role. )

                What is the constitutional role of senators in the Philippines ? And how do senators measure up by that standard.

              • Write laws, pass budgets, conduct investigations in aid of legislation, and other oversight business. The actual Constitution text is just a google away.

              • How do they measure up? Weakly in my opinion. Most are not driven by principle.

            • caliphman says:

              Its a long hike to Senator Hontiveros decrying online violence against women from waving an anti- propaganda banner and pointing a finger at a senator you consider unprincipled and then saying its her job to fix things. Good luck with who your audience is as its probably not Poe or the Senate who might heed you as Bill says…and what you really intend to campaign against as it does not seem to be online propaganda. As I said at the start of this thread, I find this piece rather strange.

  10. Andre Leonard says:

    Stopping trolls may prove impossible. There are just too many and social media is a hard place to monitor anyones credentials or lack thereof.

    As for Poe taking a stand against these propaganda trolls. It’s worth noting that Poe ran against Duterte and lost. Poe endured a barrage of criticism and insults from the Duterte propaganda machine. Since then we have seen others swept up in this frenzy of attacking your political opponents.

    Poe is wise to pick and choose her battles that are of the greatest importance and will yield the best results for the people. Poe perhaps wisely has concluded that a majority of the voters have spoken by electing Duterte. Why risk alienating herself and the wrath of others in the senate just to make a point of inquiry or order.

    Poe is smart, intelligent and has a high moral code. Sometimes silence is the best weapon when everyone else is making all the noise.

    • So you are fine with a taxpayer funded initiative to mislead and insult citizens of the Philippines? Nothing can or should be done about it? And Senator Poe is true to her oath by remaining expediently ignorant about such a gross manipulation of public information?

  11. caliphman says:

    http://www.eaglenews.ph/news-in-photo-marcos-burial-at-the-national-heroes-cemetery/

    This is out of the Poe topic but perhaps more controversial. Raissa Robles just posted a blog showing that the Marcos burial was probably a charade. Her blog displays two photos of his coffin being lowered to a waiting man in a secret chamber below. The second is of the casket fully lowered in the bunker beneath with four men attending to it, apparently the evening after the ceremony.

    I was suspicious at first that the two photos might have been photoshopped including the first where Imee Marcos is seen near the coffin which Raissa appears to have received from twitter. The link above shows the orgiinal news article which published this photo with the man underneath. The news article attributes the photo as having been released by Imee Marcos press office!

    Something is definitely rotten in Taguig if not in Denmark and its not the bodies of all the heroes buried there.

  12. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. Insofar as opinion forums are concerned on news media, moderators should be hired to filter comments. Note that I say “opinion” and not “discussion” because it’s always a one-way street even if there are more than one party engaged.

    1.1. This reminds me of our friend Mariano. It’s easy to detect him through his many disguises. What is funny is he sometimes creates a shadow persona who disagrees with his main persona… and he debates with himself.

    1.2. In the major news media in Oz – such as the Sydney Morning Herald and its sister media in other capital cities – commenters are required to register their identities. When making a comment, I receive an email advising me that my comment will be published if it passes scrutiny. After the comment is published, I receive a congratulatory message. I am not sure if a rejection message is ever posted.

    1.2.1. A “handle” may be used to preserve anonymity but the registered email address should be valid.

    1.3. The major news outlets in the Philippines should be required to hire human moderators and to come up with guidelines for acceptable commentary. This should vastly improve the quality of comments in news media which is a vipers’ nest.

    1.4. I believe Rappler employs an electronic moderator that weeds out comments that contain certain words or phrases. I once used the term “pornographic” in a comment condemning the proposal to show De Lima’s alleged porn video in the Lower House. The comment was not published.

    2. As for social media, regulation is a bit harder.

    2.1. Would that blogs follow The Society’s example, but this requires a strong moderator and intelligent (ahem) and civil commenters.

    2.2. I think regulation on FB and Twitter is even more difficult. This might require more stringent defamation laws such as those that exist in Oz. Here, public personalities can sue for libel. I recall Cardinal Pell threatening to sue a young woman who was forced to withdraw her tweet and apologize. I think the current Philippine law that allows criticism of public personalities is fair.

    3. Propaganda factories should be dismantled.

    3.1. I understand that not all propaganda is misinformation. At best, propaganda can be equated to marketing. At worst, propaganda is deception and great mischief.

    3.2. It is difficult to draw the line between marketing and outright deception. In the US, fact-checking has become an adjunct industry to political campaigns. In the Philippines, lies and misinformation multiply at a greater rate than a multi-headed Hydra on stem cell therapy.

    3.3. A government that maintains an unregulated propaganda factory is not to be trusted. As far as I am aware, political parties and the government in Oz do employ advertising agencies that follow a code of ethics. The government usually has a budget for new programs that require public dissemination. Political ads are mandated to carry authorization and follow broadcast rules. With respect to truth in advertising, the content of political ads is, of course, problematic.
    *****

    • Public service messages from government agencies are indeed a service, but they are not hidden. I think the starting question for a Senator would be, are any PH government agencies engaged in the dissemination of misleading information or disparagement of citizens. It would be quite enlightening to get the scripts from which the (alleged) call center operators work, and records of on-line messages on twitter, faceook and the like. Witness testimony (whistleblowers) might reveal, for instance, that the government is sponsoring rumors about major figures (Robredo pregnancy). Mocha Uson should be high on the witness list to understand how much she (allegedly) gets paid, from whom she takes direction, and inquire about messages she has produced that are factually incorrect.

      My guess is that as soon as the hearings were announced, troll volumes would drop like a rock.

      • Thea says:

        We don’t need a whistle blower. If the rumors are posted in Mocha Uson’s page,she can be summoned for a criminal/civil case under Phil. Penal code for slander or libel. This is a perfect step to discourage “hi-tech-chismosas/sos” since we don’t have law on banning misinformation, I think.

        • I don’t think cleaning up the internet will be a goal of this administration at all. I know one of the three bills Senator Hontiveros has put out today deals with online violence against women. So that is a step toward tightening up on some forms of expression. I’d like to see Senator Poe be equally proactive in helping to clean up the social environment. If it is government that is dirtying the discussion, that would be a horrid way of treating citizens, because it eventually leads to extreme language and even physical threats. I think it is hard for individual citizens to make use of slander and libel laws. It takes an advocacy, and it seems to me there aren’t any, but there are attorneys who join in the obnoxious dialogue.

        • caliphman says:

          I beg to disagree. Whistleblowers like Magtoto and others are essential when there is a deliberate coverup by the powers that be of malfeasance within their organization. It is because powerful but unprincipled public officials are so prevalent and cannot be trusted to audit and police themselves that a public freedom of information act and whistleblowers are so essential. More often than not, they may have something to hide and only an insider willing to spill the beans as sell as a law requiring undiscosed information to be shown if requested by the public will bring these wrongdoings to light. Remember Vice Mayor Morales in the VP Binay Senate hearings? Those hearings would not have gone anywhere without his role as whistleblower.

          • Thea says:

            I agree that Whistle Blowers are essential to unearth the evil doings in an organization or agency. But while I agree with you, I see it differently,the misinformation drive against VP Robredo is an intricate web because,

            1. No pre-existing law covers the so called misinformation except the RA 10175(Cyber Crime Prevention Law) and the revised Penal Code, wherein there is what we call “internet liber” and defamation/liber respectively. In the internet libel case, ONLY the person who post the libelous comment/article can be accused.(http://asianjournal.com/editorial/what-you-need-to-know-about-online-libel-in-ph-cybercrime-law/). That means, the source, the financier or who ever in the misinformation drive can run scotch free. There should be a law violated(even we know that there are evil doings) for a Whistle Blower to expose , but where is this law?

            2. Since, let us say, Mocha Uson et al posted it , IMO, there is no need for a whistle blower as it is already evident and clear that the post has malicious intention to destroy VP Robredo.

            More on this e-libel,

            http://news.abs-cbn.com/-depth/09/19/12/internet-libel-may-lead-12-years-prison

        • karlgarcia says:

          When Singsin was doing the whistle blowing, we loved that one. It was unfortunate that the leader we had after such whistle blowing left so much to be desired.

          The jueteng whistle blowers, one was killed while still being a gambler (forgot his name), Sandra Cam is now after De lima.
          Jun Lozada is now charged with graft.

          But I guess,what was meant was with FOI or transparency and accountability, the whistle blower will no longer be needed.

          But to err is human.

    • chemrock says:

      Edgar, allow me some disorganised thoughts.

      Critisising govt officials — public figures must accept their position in life is open to criticism. But this is no open session for vulgarities or falsehoods or libelious claims. Be prepared for libel suits, this is something that keeps internet discussions in check in Spore. Vulgarities are difficult to police but there is an undeclared red line. There was the story of a 15 year old boy who vented so much vitriolics at Lee Kuan Yew during the passing of our ex PM. He was charged in court. It’s not just because the object of his verbal abuse was Lee, but he really crossed the red line of indecency. I like what we have in Spore because it keeps discussions decent and responsible, but of course young neoliberals exclaim loss of freedom of speech. We insist on responsible freedom of speech.

      In Spore we have what is called ‘right of reply’. If someone publishes an article that disparages the govt, or anyone else, the aggrieved party has the right to demand a publication of their response in the same media, of the same print size, free of charge.

      With internet, and especially the rise of false news sites, new challenges are faced. What we have in Spore is a ruling that requires some of these sites to be registered as a media site, which requires observation of some regulatory requirements. Such sites will be considered media sites if (1) they have advertising revenue from the site – TSH being non- monetised would not count as one, (2) if the site has readership of a certain number – I’m not sure what the number is, maybe like 30,000. You have to appreciate our population is small.

      On of the most important ruling we gave is no disparaging comments on race and religion. Whilst we have a successful multi culturism, we know this is fragile. Discussions on race and religion is allowed, just know your limits.

      I want to dispel any notion you may have that internet discourse in Spore is sanitised because of the above. Vulgarities, lies, ignorance, stupidities abound just like in any country. What we have in place are the rules that everybody knows, be prepared for consequences if the red line is crossed.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        Chemrock, totally agree. When I use the term “criticism” with respect to public personalities, I limit it to remarks that are based on facts and reason.

        Accusing Sotto of plagiarism is factual and reasoned. Accusing Leni of being pregnant and undergoing an abortion is not.
        *****

      • Kamote Procopio says:

        You rock Chemrock! If propagandist such as Mocha starts her website here in Spore, it won’t be long she would be heading to Changi prison. Too bad she won’t be caned.
        Not sure if the same rules can be applied to the Philippines as the current administration is instead the one leading on breaking the rules 😔. Aiyoh!

        • sonny says:

          Maybe the Philippines should be federated after all – into cantons the size of Spore and also be so governed. Then I can go back to my stool. Ayayay.

  13. karlgarcia says:

    During the budget hearings of the DICT, one congressman asked about regulating social media, the others just laughed and said the solution is simple: unfriend.

  14. NHerrera says:

    BREAKING STORY

    Senator Leila de Lima’s former security aide Ronnie Dayan surrendered to police on Tuesday, November 22.

    http://www.rappler.com/nation/153199-ronnie-dayan-arrested-la-union-de-lima-driver-bodyguard-alleged-bagman

  15. a distant observer says:

    Since the topic of the day is propaganda:

    “Darkness is good, […] Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they [the liberals and the media] get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing. If we [the Trump Administration] deliver we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years.”
    Steve Bannon. Former Breitbart chief executive, appointed chief strategist and senior counselor of soon-to-be US President Donald Trump.

  16. J. Bondurant says:

    Some of the propaganda centers are in the North? Why am I not surprised?

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