'Hacktivism' gains foothold in the Philippines

'Hacktivism' gains foothold in the Philippines

Summary: A group has justified hacking, saying it is a way of calling for change and political reforms amid the so-called 'pork barrel' scam.


The recent spate of hackings involving the websites of government agencies and local government units in the Philippines seems to indicate that many are now starting to embrace the online media as a platform for change.

In the last quarter of this year, more than 10 government websites have been defaced, usually with a message and accompanying video calling for citizens to join the efforts to curb corruption in the country.

A group claimed responsibility for the hacking and justified the move as a way of calling for change and political reforms amid the so-called "pork barrel" scam.

The scam is allegedly a widespread scheme to bilk the national treasury into pouring billions of pesos into dubious projects and programs initiated by non-government organizations (NGOs).

What makes the scam truly despicable is that politicians, lawmakers, and government leaders are allegedly willing participants, and are directly benefiting from the scheme. In some cases, the officials are implicated because they allegedly approved of giving funds to these NGOs, some of which were found to be non-existent.

For the group, hacking is an effective way to actively participate in calling for change. The Anonymous group also defaced a few commercial websites with the same message in an apparent attempt to show that it is serious.

The government may just shrug off these acts of "hacktivism" or even take action and remind the group that hacking is still illegal under Philippine laws.

One such apparent reminder is the recent apprehension and arrest of a suspected hacker who allegedly violated Republic Act 8792, or the E-Commerce Law.

While many Filipinos love to go to social media to take a stand on issues, hacking seems to be a more direct and pragmatic way to get the message across, and that social media actually complements "hacktivism".

It is then not unexpected that these so-called "hacktivists" will continue doing what they are doing unless they see change.

Topics: Security, Philippines

Joel D. Pinaroc

About Joel D. Pinaroc

Joel has been a media practitioner since 1996, starting off as a reporter and eventually becoming editor of a pioneering IT trade newspaper in Manila. He is currently one of the content producers of a Manila-based developmental website.

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  • 'Hacktivism' gains foothold in the Philippines

    "What makes the scam truly despicable is that politicians, lawmakers, and government leaders are allegedly willing participants, ..." Well, they are not mere participants, they are the initiators of these scams. After Marcos et.al. got away with their multi-billion dollars scams (approx 250B with a B as in BILLIONS - 250,000,000,000 in todays dollars X 40) of the 70s and 80s, and THANKS TO THE HELP of uncle sam skirted the law of the land. no politicians of any color have any qualms that they can get away with anything. My musing, had the Marcos's family hanged by the Filipinos like Ceaușescu of Romania, will these brazen and cavalier attitudes of filipino politicians be the norm of today? or shall these people blame uncle sam for f***ing again their little brown brother from asia by air-lifting the marcoses and cronies to safety. guess not, just let them hope that they themselves will for once in their life take charge of their future and destroy these parasites that are hell bent on destroying whatever "world respect" if any was left of them by the marcoses and their friends. Filipinas are either house maids or pros, and Filipinos are either lowly peasants or bricklayers - perceptions from around the world particularly by middle eastern people that are employing them by the millions! GOOD LUCK TO THE HACKTIVISTS AND GODSPEED TO THESE PEOPLE WHO WAS FORSAKEN ...
  • backward politicians

    my comment is that these hackers will not be heard by politicians for the simple reason that a majority of politicians do not care much about technology (read: ignorant). filipino politicians (most of them) care only about building a good image to get as many votes as they can when the next elections come along. what a backward system.