Philip Marco Caballes (Nov. 13, 1985-Jan. 16, 2014)

We first knew him as the funny and awesome CokskiBlue, who brought video blogging (vlogging) to its rightful place – in the front and center of Pinoy blogging.

We immediately put his blog in our browser bookmarks and feed subscriptions. Later, he would be in our phonebooks and calendars as a new, real friend. The blogging community would soon honor him with an award for outstanding work as a vlogger, and he would give back to the community in more ways than we could imagine.

20131205-115205.jpg Aside from #ReliefPH, #TracingPH and other social media-based disaster-related efforts, the netizens’ response to Yolanda now includes a laudable crowdsourcing project called #AidMonitorPH.

The objectives of #AidMonitorPH are pretty straightforward: To identify and list of foreign aid donations and pledges and to monitor how these would be used and spent.

#AidMonitorPH is clearly an offshoot of the ongoing anti-pork barrel campaign and an expression of netizens’ determination to make sure that each dollar donated for Yolanda relief and rehabilitation would actually be spent wisely and transparently.

Fr. Joe Dizon helped convene and organize the #ForwardMarch event against pork barrel last Sept. 13, 2013. (Photo grabbed from Enteng Bautista's Facebook timeline.)
Fr. Joe Dizon helped convene and organize the #ForwardMarch event against pork barrel last Sept. 13, 2013. (Photo grabbed from Enteng Bautista’s Facebook timeline.)

In honor of Fr. Jose “Joe” P. Dizon (Sept. 29, 1948-November 4, 2013), a father to Filipino workers and to cause-oriented coalitions and alliances,  and a veteran of the Parliament of the Streets:

The last time I saw and talked with Fr. Joe was on September 13, 2013, during the #AbolishPork Movement’s #ForwardMarch at the Luneta. He was in his element and happy to be in the streets again. If he was already sick then, he did not show it. He was happy to receive the news about former Chief Justice Reynato Puno’s speech at the nearby Methodist church along T.M. Kalaw, one of the twin Protestant and Catholic events in support of the march.

President Benigno Aquino III (Photo from cegp.org)
President Benigno Aquino III (Photo from cegp.org)

The title of this piece is one of the ultimate conversation spoilers when we talk politics, especially these times when we wish to hold the President, senators, congressmen and their fake NGOs accountable for the outrageous amount of pork barrel funds they abused or plundered.

The mostly educated fall prey for this rather simplistic and erroneous phrase and in the process let the crooks and plunderers get away with murder.  It is a not-so-smart smartass retort that we should pin down and take out from our political vocabulary.

The President at work. Photo by Official Gazette
The President at work. Photo by Official Gazette

We have received a copy of an alleged Memorandum Order from the Office of the President addressed to anti-pork Pinoys.

This explains almost everything that has been happening in the pro-pork camp and what they have been saying.

Memorandum Order No. 69

From: Malacanang
To: All anti-pork Pinoys
Thru: Persons who are pro-PNoy, pro-pork, “non-partisan”, “silent majority”
Re: Your Obligations

Dear misinformed Pinoys:

The #MillionPeopleMarch at Ayala was an awesome, creative, enlightened and colorful display of unity of the many anti-pork alliances and coalitions. Photo from GMANetwork.

Since the preparations for the August 26 Million People March, we have been hounded by an unexplained fear of having our collective actions “hijacked” by unidentified forces who are out to sabotage our plans while at the same time serve their narrow, vested interests.

Its about time to finger these hijackers and put them in their proper place.

Today’s Million People March redux at Ayala is the sixth major protest action of Filipinos seeking the abolition of the pork barrel system.

There appears to be no let up in the protests and the various organizations, networks, coalitions and alliances are slowly overcoming differences, fears and intrigue towards bigger, bolder and common actions. And true to form as the world’s social media capital, Filipinos are seizing the Internet as a platform for organizing and coordination on a national and global scale.   


On Oct. 4, 2013, we go out anew to march. We march again to respond to the urgent need to tell President Aquino and all government officials: The discretionary, lumpsum, wasteful, whimsical and capricious system of spending public funds – pork barrel system – must go.

Perhaps there is no better example of this senseless, irresponsible and corrupt pork barrel system than President Aquino’s own DAP. It did not come with authority of Congress and was concocted by the Office of the President and the Department of Budget and Management. They said it is about pump-priming the economy, but the release was timed during or after political efforts of the Aquino administration to punish one of its enemies. The naked and shameless use of public funds in such a corrupt manner is a slap on the face of every hardworking Filipino citizen who worked so that government would have money to serve the public and not serve narrow political ends.

We must march to demand the abolition of President Aquino’s DAP, urge full disclosure and stop the use of public funds for patronage and corruption between Malacanang and both houses of Congress.

Social Good Summit 2013 gets underway in Manila today, Sept. 21, and in the next few hours and days in over 120 other cities across the globe. The objective is fairly simple but important: Find new, innovative ways of using social media and technology for social good and social change.

In the Philippines, social media is now playing a key role in exposing and fighting the man-made disaster called the PDAF scam. PDAF is the term used to prettify the pork barrel system, the whimsical and discretionary way the President and Members of Congresss would split big chunks of the national budget among themselves and how to spend it capriciously. This system involves huge amounts of meaningful data called public funds, running into more than a trillion pesos.


Exactly a year ago today, on Sept. 12, 2012, President BS Aquino III quietly signed the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 into law.

For many, President Aquino’s signing of the new law displayed either his ignorance of the developing role of the Internet and social media in our way of life as Filipinos or a sinister plan to use the badly-crafted law as a tool to silence citizens.

Online and offline communities were surprised by President Aquino’s signing of the law. One by one, we stood up and condemned Republic Act 10175: Constitutionalists and deans of the most prominent law schools, advocates of human rights and civil liberties, activists and hackers, progressive Members of Congress and senators, bloggers and netizens.

Individually and together, we made the cyberspace and social media a battleground for Internet freedom.


After the Million People March, the fight continues for so many reasons.

We have yet to meet our goals. The President continues to defend and to lie about the pork barrel system. Janet Lim Napoles and her co-conspirators have yet to be charged with plunder. Social services and important infrastructure projects have yet to receive necessary funding under a budget dominated by presidential and congressional discretion – and not our needs as a people.

Protesters march during President Aquino's 2013 state of the nation address. (Photo by Pinoy Weekly)
Protesters march during President Aquino’s 2013 state of the nation address. (Photo by Pinoy Weekly)

What’s with our kababayans who are clapping their hands and squealing with delight that the Dutch activist was detained and about to be deported? Hello, earth?

Thomas van Beersum did not violate any law. The cop cried because of a combination of sleeplessness, helplessness and – whether he admits it or not – a nagging conscience when he was confronted by a big protest action carrying slogans he identified with: Wage increases, price controls, tax cuts, etc.

The guy was already at the airport about to leave the country. But what did our great Bureau of Immigration agents do? They nabbed him. They stopped him. He was not to be brought to a regular jail – no, no. He was nabbed so that our awesome BI agents could deport him. It is not only stupid. It is insane.

The elections are fast approaching and as we make our final choices, I wish to share two of mine. I hope you’ll join me in voting for them too.

For partylist representative, I am mighty proud to declare that my vote goes to Kabataan Partylist, #17 on the ballot. And without fear and with boundless hope for change, I’m joining the common people in voting for Teddy Casino, #6. 

Today, as we tackle social media for social good, I wish to share and call out the elephant in the room…

Thanks to Filipino netizens, the Philippines has become, since late 2010, the world’s social media capital.

Social media, digital, the web, new media – whatever we call what we do online (and which we do so with such sophistication befitting the title “social media capital”) has become important to a growing number of Filipinos across classes, sectors, regions, causes and industries.

Tonyo Cruz is a finalist in the Tatt Awards' Thought-Mover category. You may vote for him until Aug. 24, 2011 at http://tattoo.globe.com.ph/tattawards

The upcoming awarding of the first Tatt Awards coincides with the rise last year of #sentisabado.

At around this time last year, Manila was the center of world news as scores of tourists were hostaged for several hours, a terrible crime that ended with the death of the hostage-taker and, very sadly, a number of tourists. The entire country witnessed this via television and social media.

Days later, in a social experiment I started in my living room in Manila, Filipinos sought to demolish the bad vibes left by the incident with funny and fun-filled tweets marked by the #sentisabado hashtag. By the next weekend, a new worldwide-trending Filipino meme was born on Twitter.

Grabbed from wordpressboy.com
Grabbed from wordpressboy.com

[UPDATE: Paypal has apologized.]

Yesterday, TXTPower turned over to the Philippine National Red Cross a fourth check (P493,047.20) containing donations sent in by folks worldwide who answered TXTPower’s call for donations for victims of typhoon Ondoy in the Philippines.

We did this project with one simple cause in mind: Provide people across the world a way to safely and securely make a donation for typhoon victims in our country. And we are glad and heartened by the trust given by nearly 1,000 donors from 37 countries who pitched in a total of P1,678,437.63 in donations already in the hands of the Red Cross.

But unknown to many,  Paypal intervened last week, froze the account we used for accepting donations, and ruined our fundraising campaign

txtpower1(Submitted to the Hon. Exequiel Javier, Chairman, House Committee on Ways and Means, by Anthony Ian M. Cruz, President, TXTPower.org Inc. [TXTPower] on Sept. 22, 2009)

Thank you to the distinguished Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee for extending an invitation for us to attend this hearing. Allow us to note the similar circumstances when this same panel reportedly voted to approve the new tax last Sept. 8. The said meeting was held immediately after a long weekend and did not provide the public, including oppositors, an opportunity to attend, participate, raise questions and to basically be heard.

On behalf of consumers, your taxpaying constituents, we in TXTPower wish to express our strong and unconditional opposition to the proposed five-centavo new tax on mobile phone services and the setting up of a metering device to purportedly check on revenue streams of the telecommunications firms.