Some of you may remember the story I wrote last year in this blog about a lifestyle columnist who was forced to resign from her job, after bloggers expressed outrage over comments she made about overseas Filipino workers. That episode demonstrated how blogging has emerged as a new and powerful medium where ordinary folks can air their opinions and grievances, regardless of whether they're legitimate or not.
IT rantings from the Philippines.
Melvin G. Calimag
Melvin G. Calimag is currently the executive editor of an IT news website in the Philippines. Melvin has been covering the local IT beat for the last 13 years. He is currently a board member at the IT Journalists Association of the Philippines (CyberPress), and also serves as a charter member with the Philippine Science Journalists Association.
Last Tuesday, a day before the whole Philippines went on a national hiatus to observe Lent in this pre-dominantly Catholic country, I accompanied two IT journalist friends to the Makati City Hall to witness the "inquest" proceedings of five suspects who were caught using somebody else's credit card.What's the big deal in this petty crime caper?
I had been reading with amusement the tumultuous sex scandal that recently brought down New York Governor Eliot Spitzer from his post. What's interesting is that Spitzer earned his reputation as a hard-charging former prosecutor who had intricate knowledge of how organized crimes including prostitution rings, work because he battled them in a high-profile manner before becoming New York's top politician.
Like most inhabitants of the Philippines, I often don't follow or take seriously the designated time of a certain event. We have this bad habit, inappropriately called "Filipino time", which oddly puts premium on tardiness.
Before proceeding to discuss my chosen topic for this week, here's an update of the long-running National Broadband Network (NBN) deal: A new witness surfaced last week during the Senate hearings to corroborate what whistleblower Rodolfo Noel "Jun" Lozada Jr. has disclosed so far concerning alleged anomalies.
As much as I'm tempted to write about the never-ending saga on the controversial national broadband network project (there's a revelation almost everyday on this issue, with the latest being Pres. Arroyo's admission that it was indeed riddled with anomalies), I have resolved to shy away from this national shame momentarily.
While the NBN (national broadband network) scandal continues to wreck havoc on the national psyche, with the uninterrupted coverage of the issue by the local media, the Philippines' tech community now seems on a virtual standstill.The local IT industry is paying extra attention not only because the controversial project is IT-related, but also because the alleged whistleblower, Rodolfo Noel "Jun" Lozada Jr.
It initially came out in the newspapers as an ordinary big-ticket infrastructure project that incidentally fell under the IT domain. But early on, members of the local IT community already sensed that there was something wrong with the fact that the government was going to an area that is better--and should be--left to the care of the private sector.
The central theme in the current U.S. presidential campaign is revolving around "hope".
SOMEWHERE IN THE PACIFIC--The LCD monitor inside the Northwest Airlines flight that I'm taking says we're 36,000 feet above this vast ocean. I'm on my way back to the Philippines after taking a side trip to San Francisco from a press coverage in Washington, United States.