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NPC asks Comelec to protect voters data

Tuesday, 21 February 2017 00:00 Published in Nation

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to implement stricter measures on data protection as it has investigated another breach of voter data at the Office of the Election Officer (OEO) in Wao, Lanao del Sur.
The breach happened after the computer of the OEO was stolen last January 11, 2017. The stolen computer contains data from the Voter Registration System (VRS) and Voter Search applications, as well as the National List of Registered Voters (NLRV). It also contains biometric records of registered voters in Wao, Lanao del Sur.
The NPC discovered that all Comelec field offices across the country maintain their own soft copies of the NLRV, which contains the personal information of roughly 55 million voters.
The NLRV database was also used in the Precinct Finder application, which was exposed in last year’s Comelec Web site data breach.
“This is already Comelec’s second large-scale data breach in a span of less than a year—a case of a database being breached twice under different circumstances. This time, it involves actual large-scale biometrics data of voters in a municipality. The Commission is very concerned especially since there’s ongoing voter registration nationwide. We will delve deeper into the problem to possibly recommend other measures for Comelec to implement to protect voter data nationwide,” Privacy Commissioner Raymund Liboro said in a statement.
“This breach illustrates that there are many ways to lose personal data. That is why data protection is not only an IT security issue involving firewalls. It’s a governance matter that covers organizational and physical measures to protect data. In this case, failure to secure the very computer containing personal data can be just as disastrous. If the Comelec won’t address the problem systemically, this will happen again and again,” he added.
The NLRV contains approximately 75,898,336 records as of October 17, 2016. Of these, 55,195,674 are active voters and 20,703,662 are deactivated voters.
The VRS contains a total of 58,364 registration records for Wao, Lanao del Sur. Of these, 40,991 records are for registered voters for the coming barangay elections (as of October 19, 2016), and 17,373 records are for the Sangguniang Kabataan elections (as of September 13, 2016). 

Robredo camp ‘afraid of truth’—Marcos lawyer

Monday, 20 February 2017 00:00 Published in Headlines

The camp of former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said the legal team of Vice President Leni Robredo is resorting to delaying tactics as it intends to file a motion for reconsideration (MR) on the decision of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) on the former’s electoral protest.
Lawyer Vic Rodriguez, spokesman for Marcos, noted that the Supreme Court (SC) sitting as PET already ruled against the issue pointed out by the Vice President.
“Despite the tribunal’s ruling that this issue was already ‘beyond dispute,’ Robredo’s legal team is still looking for ways to delay theproceedings,” he said in a statement.

“If Robredo has nothing to hide, why resort to all these delaying tactics? It’s not enough that her camp cheated its way to the vice presidency. Now they want to cheat again by depriving Senator Marcos of his day in court. We want the truth to come out. That’s all,” Rodriguez stressed.
But the lawyer noted that it is expected for the camp of the Vice President to appeal the SC ruling.
“We are not surprised by the pronouncement of Leni Robredo’s counsel that they will appeal the recent PET decision which found former Sen. Bongbong Marcos’ election protest to be sufficient in form and substance,” he said.
“Their actions on the protest have been consistent: they are afraid of the truth because it would reveal how much they tarnished and debased the true will of the Filipino people in the vice presidential race,” Rodriguez added.
The Marcos camp had already asked the PET to expedite the resolution of the former senator’s election protest by setting a preliminary conference.
It stressed said the preliminary conference is important because it will set in motion the issues to be resolved, the list of witnesses and the evidence to be presented as well as the schedule of hearings and the revision of the ballots, in his protest.
Last month, the PET affirmed its earlier resolution finding the former senator’s election protest to be sufficient in form and substance.
The January 24, 2017 ruling denied the motion filed by the former Camarines Sur representative to conduct a preliminary hearing on his election protest and eventually dismiss the same for lack of jurisdiction.
“On the matter of the sufficiency of the protest, the same (is) already beyond dispute. With the issuance of the summons, the tribunal has found the protest to be sufficient in form and substance. The protest contained narrations of ultimate facts on the alleged irregularities and anomalies in the contested clustered precincts, which the protestant needs to prove in due time,” part of the eight-page resolution stated.
The SC also countered Robredo’s claim that the PET should not decide on the case for “lack of jurisdiction” and that the issue should have been raised before Congress acting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC).
“Section 4, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, in relation to Rule 13 of the 2010 PET Rules, provides that the tribunal shall be the sole judge of all elections contests relating to the election, returns, and disqualifications of the President or Vice President of the Philippines,” PET said.
In his election protest, Marcos urged the PET to nullify the proclamation of Robredo as duly elected vice president of the country as this was a result of massive electoral fraud committed to ensure her victory.
In the May 2016, Robredo won the vice presidency after receiving 14,418,817 votes over Marcos’ 14,155,344 votes.           

The New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) yesterday called on Manilenos to immediately follow the example set by former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada to quit smoking for good to avoid tobacco-related illnesses.
NVAP president Emer Rojas said they were hopeful Estrada’s initiative would discourage residents as well as visitors of the nation’s capital to drop their smoking habits.
“In accordance with the appeal of the former President, we are hoping that those residing in Manila as well as those going to the city for business or pleasure, will immediately quit smoking,”  Rojas said.
The former smoker who turned as active advocate in prevention of smoking said  quitting smoking will not only prevent them from developing smoking-related illnesses but will be beneficial also to the welfare of their respective families.
“Quitting will also prevent their families from acquiring diseases borne out of second-hand smoke,” he explained.
NVAP made the call after Estrada ordered the strict implementation of the city ordinance prohibiting smoking in all public places in Manila.
Under City Ordinance No. 7748, smoking is prohibited in all enclosed areas like hospitals, schools, public buildings, shopping malls, and other public places in Manila.
“We applaud Mayor Erap for having the initiative to share his renaissance of veering away from his known smoking habit to his constituents,” Rojas said.
Estrada had dropped the vice after he was hospitalized last December due to asthma attacks stemming from smoking, among other things.
And with the City of Manila taking a cue from Davao City’s own anti-smoking ordinance, the NVAP head expressed hopes that other cities would soon follow suit.
“One of the first was the home city of President Rodrigo Duterte, now it’s the capital city of the country. These developments should definitely encourage other local government units to adopt their own tobacco control policies sooner rather than later,” Rojas said.
He added they were hoping  the actions undertaken by Manila would rekindle the interest of Malacañang in finally issuing the Executive Order (EO) for a smoke-free Philippines.
Rojas said they continue to be optimistic that Duterte will soon sign the long-promised EO that will ban smoking in all public places in the country.
“We remain hopeful that President Duterte will finally fulfill his campaign promise that he will ban smoking nationwide in order to protect his countrymen from acquiring smoking-related illnesses,” he said.
To recall, the “smoke-free Philippines” EO was originally set to be signed by Duterte back in October as relayed by Department of Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial.
The proposed EO is a replication of the Davao City ordinance promulgated during Duterte’s time as city mayor.
It is public knowledge that the highest official of the land had suffered in 2002 one of the diseases that may surface if one continues with the habit of smoking — Buerger’s disease.
Buerger’s disease, also known as thromboangiitis obliterans is a rarer condition that inflames the arteries and the veins in the arms and legs. Blood vessels swell, reducing blood flow and eventually blocking blood to form clots.
The condition prompted the President to quit smoking. 

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