Not a Happy Jan After Blog Suspension

After more than two years of hiatus, I decided to revive my blog life on what I thought was a perfect timing–the anniversary month of Blogbastic or seven years since I started blogging. August is the Philippine National Language month, so I thought it will be better to blog in Filipino partly to celebrate the occasion. What a great comeback post it would have been as I blogged about the very political Philippine Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). I was calling on fellow Pinoys and expats to support the call for its abolition or any move towards a more transparent and more responsible way of assisting poor Filipinos.

Alas, after about three hours from posting (probably less than that), a friend gave a heads up that WordPress.com flagged my blog as violating its terms of service  and advertising policy. This is what I saw on my dashboard.

Screen shot 2013-08-26 at 3.13.38 PMI checked my blog. My horror to find out that after more than five years of active blogging on wordpress.com and on the 7th year anniversary month of my blog, Blogbastic fell silent.

Blog was suspended due to alleged violation of WordPress.com TOS and advertising policy

Blog was suspended due to alleged violation of WordPress.com TOS and advertising policy (Click on image for a better view)

I panicked and was emotionally stressed because of this. I thought one of the minions of the Philippine government got hold of my post and flagged my blog. So, I messaged WordPress.com from my dashboard and here. I also could not help it but rage tweeted about this. The timing could not be perfect as it was night in the US. So it took 15 excruciating hours of Blogbastic’s silence for them to get in touch with me.

Finally, Kris from WordPress.com emailed me and said that my blog was flagged by their bot but he failed to explain how and why my blog was flagged. My long time hiatus probably sent red flags to the bots and given that I blogged in my Mother Tongue and had so many links in my earlier blog post, it may have been enough for the bots to pull the trigger.

I’m just glad that I’m back and hopefully blogging away again, this time till death. ;) :P Oh and I’ll blog again in Filipino next time. :D

The Push for a Blogging Association

Blogbastic is on (a very long) hiatus but I am “plurkbastic/twittertastic” in ‘short,’ I am active in microblogging. Microblogging gave a good alternative to a bit time-intensive blogging here at blogbastic (not that I’m complaining, I love writing but I am busy trying to finish my thesis). Microblogs provided me with an avenue where I can post anything about current events here and back home (Got hooked also on instagram lately! You can find my posts here.) However, recent events are provoking me to resurrect Blogbastic! I will roll (hopefully!) those posts in the coming weeks. As I try to slowly blog again (here, that is), I think it is fitting to blog about blogging. This is a way delayed reaction when most of the bloggers are winding down discussing the issue of Willie Revillame, Merci and Marcos’ burial among others (well, old news by the time you read this).

When the buzz about a bloggers association in the Philippines came alive, I decided to just watch the exchanges. After all, I was on blogging “hiatus” anyway and I am really not familiar with all the issues presented. What I know is that the call for a blogging association was reignited when a mainstream journo/columnist revealed that a public relations firm in Manila has a blogger in its roster. The blogger allegedly threatened a restaurant owner of giving it a bad review unless they give in to his/her demand. This incident, as they say, opened a can of worms and gave Pinoy blogging a bad name.

As Ms. Janette explained the vision to have a bloggers association in the Philippines was discussed about two years ago. Who wouldn’t support the idea? There were already groups of bloggers nationwide who formed their local associations anyway. And as pointed out by other bloggers, these bloggers associations are very active that some have regularly sponsored Word Camps and bloggers’ training in their localities or Region. While some associations or informal group persisted some group died naturally. However, I reckon that the purpose of forming a bloc persisted, i.e., promote blogging and support one another technically among others.

Some bloggers had merits in their decision not to join this initiative while others have taken a (very) personal reason not join, which I really pity. I think I have nothing more to add to the issue. If you want to read more, following are some links to some good reads about it as suggested by Jayvee:

I am not aware of any bloggers association here in Australia but I am aware that there was a bloggers’ conference held recently. This is different from the Word Camp of WordPress. My point here is they did not need an association to organise a big event. They were united by the blogosphere. However, the case of the “big bad blogger” should be treated as a red flag for every Pinoy blogger anywhere in the world. We know that one person or group can manipulate laws, regulations, policies or guidelines in the Philippines. So, the idea of a National Bloggers Association might be a good one. I think we need it to protect ourselves and help one if one needs it.

I do question, however, how the “manifesto” was circulated secretly and this does not sit well really to most bloggers, I reckon. While Tonyo explained the move behind this, I think this inadvertently showed that blogging used to be a class A-B activity and the move to ‘circulate’ the manifesto to a ‘chosen few’ implied that those at the C, D or E might muddle the thing. Despite this however, I strongly believe that it is in the best interest of everybody, whether you’re against it or not, to get the ball rolling. As I have pointed out earlier, unless we can trust our lawmakers and/or we are certain that there are laws that can adequately protect bloggers, then certainly we do not need any association that will promote and protect our rights as Pinoy bloggers.

If you agree with me, I believe it is time that you sign up  now. I just did.

Decision 2010

I wrote this article long before the May 10 2010 elections. Decided to update and upload.

Filipinos overseas have trooped Philippine embassies worldwide to cast their votes. There were reported glitches in some areas however the overseas voting went well smoothly, generally.
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We Remember

I remember, I was in Grade 3 when Ninoy was assassinated. I could vividly remember watching intently the news on TV the nervous general. I remember my angry father who couldn’t believe that it had happened. In retrospect, I reckon that the feeling that he had was the same that I had when I watched in horror as terrorists flew the planes onto the twin towers–disbelief.

I remember that this was the time that I became aware of the political events in the country. I remember eagerly going to our city’s Catholic school gymnasium to have glimpse of a Ninoy exhibit when they had a roadshow, even if it meant walking a good 10 kilometers from our home to the city. I was in fourth grade then.

I remember the military trucks passing in front of our school and later watching on TV, again, history unfolding as Marcos was ousted without much bloodshed. I remember the news on Cory’s determination to oust the dictator, not out of vengeance but for love of the people that her better half has truly loved. I remember the accolades that the world has given to Cory. She was surrounded by famous and infamous advisers giving this and that advice, which I reckon made her a favorite target among military rebels. At some point, I felt the ‘uprisings’ were made not as an attack on democracy but an attack on Cory as a person as she still tries to endure insults and scrutiny in the midst of male-dominated Philippine politics.

I remember when Cory was despised that even a famous journalist accused her of hiding under her bed in Malacañan in the middle of a coup. She sued and the journalist proved himself to be more qualified as a gossip scribe rather than a serious journalist.

I remember her serious effort to make it easy for most Filipinos passing an agrarian reform law, establishing the good government commission among others.

I remember political analyst saying that after the plunder of the Philippines, it will take about 12 years of consistent good policy for the Philippines to recover.

I remember Cory trying her best putting the best men and women in her cabinet to build and manage the economy.

I remember Cory stepping down and giving in to her successor making good of her promise that she’s only there for ‘housekeeping.’ Despite some disappointments during her term, she did a good job as a president disappointing her critics that a ‘housewife’ will not be able to do it.

I remember the woman behind the great man. I remember the woman who became an icon for democracy. I remember the woman who lived up to upholding democracy and fighting for it even as a private citizen. I remember the woman who earned greatness in her own right. I remember, the Filipinos remember, the world remembers.

We remember.

Thank you President Corazon Aquino.

Blogbastic

OAV Initiative Updates (UPDATED)

I was about to update some of you about the OAV initiative here in Perth when Noelle inquired on how we were doing here. Well here it goes.

At this stage, I was able to coordinate with the consul general here in Perth. While they were helpful in some way, I’m not sure if the OAV registration is something of a priority based on what the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs has been stating. I think it is common for our embassies anywhere to claim that there has been an intensive campaign to reach more Filipinos to register for the OAV when there’s hardly any campaign at all, save for a few maybe (or is it just a PR stunt?).

As Noelle complained, even the consul general in Melbourne is at lost as to how the OAV will be set up. Well, I hope that by the time we’ll be able to reach our 200 mark target here in Perth, the Philippine Embassy in Canberra will know what to do. And we will be able to participate and will not be a mere spectator to the history-making election next year.

Despite the expected automation of the election system next year, there are some Pinoys here that have begged not to register out of frustration in the electoral system some of them expressing doubt whether the vote they will cast here will definitely be counted for their candidate.

The future might still be uncertain despite the possible improvement in the electoral system in the Philippines, but for some of us away from home, we could not just sit down and watch our countrymen just slug it out themselves, we want in and yes while there might just be a few that will be voting away from home. We will be part of election history next year, we will be counted.

Blogbastic

UPDATE: GMAnews.tv has a good primer re the OAV registrations. It’s interesting to note that the PDF file containing the comprehensive research re the OAV was from an ABS-CBNnews.com researcher. :) There are calls to extend the 31 August deadline of OAV registration to a later date–let’s hope that this call will be granted. GMAnews.tv is calling for Pinoys abroad/expats to air their stories re OAV registrations. So, I think this is a good opportunity for us to tell our side of the story and let them know that much of the hyped public awareness on the OAV is dud. Email your stories at pinoyabroad@gmanews.tv

The war begins and so does the blogging challenge

As the Pangandamans and the Dela Paz’s trade suit, Hamas and Israel trade rockets with increasing number of civilian casualties. This is the analogy that first came to my mind after being a part of Philippine blogging history. It is an off-tangent analogy but I was wondering what’s next after blogging passionately and in support of a fellow blogger? There are bigger issues in society such as the Gaza conflict, the financial crisis, corruption and the Philippine Cha-Cha.

This is not a post that concedes that the blogging exercise in support of the Dela Paz’s was futile–we rattled Malacañan and highlighted the power of blogging. I am proud to be part of the bloggers that rallied behind victims of injustice. The Golfgate event of Antipolo showed the unique society that the blogosphere has created wherein there is hardly a delineation between the coño and the masa.

When a member of the blogosphere receives injustice, there is no distinction on his/her social status, his/her background and sometimes some of us are guilty of jumping into the issue without looking at the other side of the story. We’ve read about how to blog responsibly and I believe most of us did blogged responsibly in this case and we were vindicated as evidence surfaced of what really happened that fateful day (but of course, I’m not pre-empting the courts but in the public eye, it was inevitable for the Pangandaman to look like a red-faced liar).

As I was writing this post, I read Carlos Conde’s take on the event. He was spot on in highlighting the power of blogging. As he wrote as follows:

Today, blogging, apart from being both a narcissistic and cathartic exercise of self-expression among millions, is a potent information tool. News organizations use it to complement their journalism (take note: complement, not supplant). Activists use it to promote their cause. Victims use it to right a wrong.

We were able to highlight an injustice in this case, however, blogger and journalist Carlos expounded and challenged not only blogger Bambee but all Pinoy bloggers that there are other issues that warrant the same outrage that was exhibited. As he explained:

I have not seen the same level of outrage in the blogosphere over the disappearance of Jonas Burgos, of Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, of the atrocity done to Remegio Saladero Jr. and the hundreds of human-rights victims in the Philippines as we have witnessed in the Pangandaman incident.

While others might be fed-up with the issue and with due respect to the Dela Paz’s (OK and the Pangandamans), this is a lesson learned for bloggers that with the acknowledged power of this medium we are responsible to direct it to drum-up interest to other social issues such as the killing of children in Gaza, the continued greed at Wall Street, the blind eye of the presidency (it’s up to you to choose whose president I’m referring to) on corruption among other things.

As a comic cliche goes… with great power comes great responsibility. So, use it wisely.

Blogbastic

A year Down Under and away from the Pearl of the East

A full year Down Under and two years away from my native soil. I do miss the Philippines and this blog helped me connect with anything that’s from the Philippines and thereby relieve homesickness (I do have my family here but you miss some things that is uniquely Philippines!–balot, kwek-kwek, mami, lomi, Jollibee, atbp.).

After 200 posts, 570 approved comments, 43 categories and 387 tags, 2008 has been a wonderful year for me as a blogger. I’m ambivalent whenever I write about issues. Here in Australia a great actor, Heath Ledger, died early last year and later last year a budding Filipino actor died in his sleep (reminds you of Rico Yan). Early in 2008, Australian politics was rocked by what the media branded as “Iguanagate” and just last month before the year ended, in the Philippines, “Golfgate” or Golf’s Black Friday took place highlighting the very bad side of politics (aside from what we already know).

Australia experienced a spate of ATM firebomb attacks while bank robberies in the Philippines became more frequent and bolder as the Philippine economy grew only in paper with the effect not readily felt at the grassroots. Australia’s Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, delivered most of his election promises within his 100 days in office while it’s been more than hundreds of days since Gloria said that she’ll step down (and there are fresh moves to, apparently, extend her stay in office).

The biggest news last year probably is the global credit crisis. It saw the mighty dollar fall and institutional banks crumble. The CEOs of Wall Street has given a new meaning in begging, i.e., by coming to the US House of Representative in Jets, they later tried to change their tactics and came by hybrid cars but some of them still made a mistake by driving a hybrid car that was meant to be phased out.

Australia is looking forward to a better year in the year of the ox while the Philippines is claiming that this will be their year.

I said I was ambivalent because I was passionate to write about things that I stumble online or hear from my social network (online or in person) but sometimes it has been a burden to write about some things that you hate hearing like the case of the Golf course beatings in the Philippines. Despite these, blogging will still be a therapy and “practice” for me. It has been a great medium that united Filipinos worldwide and even connected people of different ideologies.

As everybody hope for the best for the new year, I also pray that my regular readers and “transit” readers have a better 2009 regardless where we are and whatever our status in society.

God bless us all!

Blogbastic

Poverty is real everywhere

Change is said to be the only thing permanent in the world, however, poverty might as well qualify as another thing becoming permanent in the world, unless we do something about it. There have been many debates as to how to eradicate poverty and it has become a worldwide concern that the UN top it on the list of its priority for its millennium development goals.
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Trickiest criminals

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd recently branded the convicted Bali bombers as “mass murderers and cowards who deserve what’s coming to them.” This was after it became certain that the convicted criminals will be executed any day soon.

News.com.au/perthnow)

Australian PM Kevin Rudd brands the Bali bombers as 'murdering cowards' (Source: News.com.au/perthnow)

The convicted bombers, Amrozi, his brother Muklas and Imam Sudra, faced the media yesterday and remained defiant. They said that there will be others who will avenge their deaths. As I watched their interview on TV, I can see fear and nothing that indicated that they would want to embrace death as they have repeatedly declared previously.

Islamic terrorist might be the trickiest criminals that any law enforcement agencies might have since they claim to welcome death yet continue to make threats if they continue to live. So, what is the fitting punishment? Will they reform? At the end of the day, what do they want?

Boom! what now?

Prior to the 9/11 attacks, there were a number of bombings that were directed to ‘dominant’ countries but most of the victims would likely be civilians and peace loving people. One of the most infamous attack prior to 9/11 was the Kenya bombing. One would wonder why the hatred, why the passion for killing? Well, they might be able to justify their acts through their elegant dialectic but one would really ask, are they humans? Now, in a very familiar scene that reminiscent of the attack on the UN in Iraq, Kenya, these misguided elements gave media press release. The attack in Islamabad was said to be the biggest in 7 years.

I think they will never stop until everybody’s stopped breathing. So, there’s the big bang, now what?