Protect democracy by fighting disinformation
February 27, 2022 7:56 p.m.
FILIPINOS can do their part in upholding our democracy not only by voting for the right candidates but, in this age of technology, fighting disinformation that distorts people’s ability to make sound decisions, panelists in a virtual town hall discussion said Tuesday.
During the launch of Vote Right 2022, a campaign of advocacy group Democracy Watch Philippines in partnership with the Commission on Elections, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, characterized the conscientious voter as someone who possesses an open mind, actively searches for the truth, and who puts an effort into discerning which input from social media must, and must not, be believed.
A good and responsible citizen votes according to one’s conscience, he said.
“This is the candidate who will preserve and strengthen democracy, follow the law, respect human dignity, defend our territory in a peaceful but firm way, and rectify the culture of corruption in government,” Bishop David said.
Meanwhile, Stratbase ADR Institute president Professor Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit pointed to the apparent disconnect between what voters say they want in a candidate and who are emerging as frontrunners in early surveys – a phenomenon that’s best explained by the prevalence and power of fake news.
“Today’s social media space is infected with the pandemic of disinformation, perpetrated by forces who need to distort historical facts,” he said.
Manhit pointed out that next to television, the Internet is the second most influential source of election information. The ordinary information consumer, however, does not necessarily fact check articles he or she sees online.
“The truth must be told. It must be told again and again so it does not drown in the well-funded deluge of lies and disinformation,” he said, as he conjured a governance scenario produced by an election decided by disinformation.
“Voter education today must combat disinformation with untiring passion and resolve,” he said.
Meanwhile, Myla Villanueva, chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, emphasized that the work they do is critical to maintaining the credibility of elections.
“The young people may not remember this, but in the days of manual elections, wholesale cheating was happening in the canvassing where 2000 votes become 20,000 or sometimes, they would remove from one candidate and add to another in very big fashion.”
The PPCRV is legally empowered by the Commission on Elections to perform unofficial parallel counts, conduct voter education and registration campaigns, and be part of the voters’ assistance desk.
A big part of the PPCRV’s work is engaging the youth, especially encouraging first-time voters to take part in elections.
Commission on Elections spokesman and director for Education and Information James Jimenez meanwhile emphasized the ultimate benefits of an automated system which eliminates structural advantages such as perceived bailiwicks and command votes.
He also spoke about how the faster counting now eliminates any window of opportunity for dagdag -bawas (vote padding and shaving), and how the prompt release of election results protects election workers and potentially defuses tensions in hotly contested areas.
“When people no longer have time to condition the minds of the public to accept a predetermined result, then you have a fair environment for the elections where the election result is easier to accept for everyone,” Jimenez said.
While a lot of the success of the 2022 election depends on voters and their vigilance, “we cannot trivialize the contribution of the automated election system to our safe elections.”
Other speakers at the virtual town hall were Atty. Ona Caritos, executive director of Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE), and Dr. Rachel Khan, associate dean of the UP College of Mass Communication and program coordinator of fact-checking initiative Tsek.ph.
In his closing remarks, Paco Pangalangan, convenor of Democracy Watch, sounded the call for Filipinos to exert due diligence in choosing candidates, to be more conscious of the source and quality of information, adopt a fact-checking mindset, open their senses and appreciate the evidence.
“The future of our nation is worth the effort,” he said.
Atayde bats for moratorium on student loan payments during emergencies, calamities
March 17, 2023 9:00 p.m.
STUDENTS won’t have to worry paying their loans during times of calamities and emergencies, as Quezon City first district Congressman Juan Carlos “Arjo” Atayde has introduced a moratorium on the payment of student loans administered by higher educational institutions (HEIs).
The House Bill 7279, which Atayde filed last Feb. 21, headed into its first reading six days later in the Committee on Higher and Technical Education, chaired by Baguio City Rep. Mark O. Go.
He said the bill — once it turns to a law — will halt the payment of all the fees, charges, and costs relating to student loans and technical-vocational training institutions (TVIs) or by the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UNIFAST) during emergencies.
It will cover all students residing in areas declared to be under a state of calamity or emergency — those who are enrolled in state universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs), private HEIs, and public and private TVIs.
“We have to find a way to help our students and their families, when natural or even these man-made calamities hit them hard. We just have to make everything easy for them including a moratorium on the payment of student loans,” Atayde said. “It is a burden on a student and their family especially in difficult times like aftermath of typhoon, fire and earthquakes, among other disasters.”
“In the order of spending, student loans will be their least priority since spending will go mostly to basic necessities for survival,” Atayde added.
The moratorium shall be effective for the duration of the state of calamity or emergency and for 30 days after its lifting. No penalties shall be collected on the deferred payments.
“To provide adequate relief and protection to our students in times of calamities and emergencies, this measure shall allow the deferral of student loan collections for a reasonable period during and after the onset of disasters.”
The Quezon City lawmaker cited also the availability of the moratorium, which shall not adversely affect the status of the students concerned with regard to their eligibility for re-enrollment on the succeeding semesters or terms, or their eligibility for graduation.
“The proposed legislation doesn’t prevent public and private HEIs from implementing more favorable forms of payment relief or assistance to students affected by disasters, prohibiting students from voluntarily waiving the moratorium on student loan payments, or availing subsidies and assistance from the government,” Atayde concluded.
ShopeePay now available as a payment method for App Store, other Apple services in PH
March 16, 2023 1:59 p.m.
Beginning today, ShopeePay, Shopee’s integrated mobile wallet, is now available as a payment method for Apple services in the Philippines. Customers can use their ShopeePay account to pay for App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV app, and iTunes Store purchases, iCloud storage and more.
The addition of ShopeePay as an Apple ID payment method offers a new way to pay for Apple services without needing a credit card and still allows for easy, secure one-tap purchasing from Apple products including iPhone, iPad and Mac.
Customers can manage their Apple ID payment information in Settings on iPhone and iPad, or on their Mac or PC.
Agatha Soh, Director at ShopeePay commented, “ShopeePay is committed to meeting the needs of users who are increasingly expecting seamless payments across all platforms. We are excited to offer ShopeePay as a convenient payment option for our customers, and expand access to digital payments, benefitting more users.”
For more information on how to add ShopeePay as a payment method, please visit https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201266 or https://shopee.ph/m/ShopeePay-Apple-ID-PH.
Be bolder, braver, more confident at SM Supermalls’ Women’s Month celebration!
March 8, 2023, 8:30 p.m.
Ladies, take center stage as SM celebrates Women Power throughout the month of March. Lots of activities both online and on-ground are in store to empower women and girls all over the country.
Join the Future of Women Global Summit
SM Supermalls will be joining UN Women in kicking off the IWD 2023 celebration through a women’s summit on March 8, at the SM Aura Premier Samsung Hall. Focusing on the future of women in ICT, the two-part event will gather young women, country leaders, policy makers, and advocates together to share perspectives and affirm their commitment to supporting digital equality for women and girls.
Photo courtesy of SM City Lucena
Photo courtesy of SM City San Jose del Monte
Support your local Womenpreneurs
Great finds for ladies are on sale at the SM Womenpreneur Market! This pop-up of small and medium businesses owned by women for women will give you everything you need from food and beauty to wellness and fashion!
Wednesdays are for women!
Shopping on Wednesdays has become even more tempting because the Women’s Wednesday Sale is back! Achieve the glow-up you deserve with special discounts, deals, and promos on fashion, beauty, and fitness exclusively for women every Wednesday of March. So don’t hold back on your shopping; you deserve all these and more!
A beautiful treat of wellness all for you
Forda glow-up and pampering sesh tayo this month because lots of self-care deals are available at the Women’s Wellness Sale. Avail of great deals from wellness salons on facials, hair and body treatments, nail care, and massage from March 1 to March 31.
And more deals online!
Special deals are up for women via the SM Malls Online app. Get the best brand offerings every Wednesday from shoes and beauty and wellness to home and hobbies. Use the code WOMEN and get an extra 10% off, capped at 250. What’s great is that there’s no minimum purchase required!
Also, a collection of brand vouchers will be sent to all women SM Malls Online shoppers valid all month. Wait for your Beauty Pass and give yourself the retail therapy you deserve with tons of discounts, GWP deals, samplers, in-store pick up bonuses, and mystery boxes!
Plus, the SM Malls Online app will be hosting self-care sessions online. Follow SM Supermalls on social media to get a dose of starter packages, Get-Ready-With-Me routines, and beauty products that your favorite beauty experts swear by.
Photo courtesy of SM City East Ortigas
Photo courtesy of SM City Manila
Celebrate Women Power on IG!
Capture the beauty and power of women at the beautiful spots and installations all over SM. Be free to express your own uniqueness and creativity in the specially-designed selfie spaces in partnership with Selfie Studio. Don’t forget to tag us on IG!
We don’t know about you but exciting days await every SM woman. So be bolder, braver, and more confident! With these activities, you can confidently step forward in fashion, beauty, wellness, and express yourselves to make a positive impact.
Stay updated on all things women this IWD 2023 by visiting www.smsupermalls.com and following @smsupermalls on social media.