Nautilus, dugong highly endangered in Tanon Strait

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #CebuBloggingCommunity

CEBU, PHILIPPINES (May 27, 2015) — Overfishing, pollution and climate change, lack of enforcement and accountability in the management of Tanon Strait put the chambered nautilus as most critically endangered along with 14 species of cetaceans in danger of extinction.

Dr. Isabelo R. Montejo, DENR-7 regional director, in delivering his State of Tanon Strait Address today here in Badian, southwestern coastal town of Cebu Province, mentioned that only a few nautilus species have survived to date as this unusual resident of Tanon Strait is highly prized for its shell. Its population is believed to have been overfished since the 70s.

With the assistance of non-government organization Oceana (Protecting the World’s Oceans), it was learned that decline in population of important marine species is traced to illegal commercial fishing, destructive fishing, juvenile fish catch, lack of enforcement and accountability, pollution and climate change.

Montejo said that sea mammals, accounting to 14 species of 27 found in the country, like spinner dolphins, dwarf sperm whales, dugongs, whale sharks, among others, suffer from indiscriminate fishing as well as lack of a reliable enforcement of existing laws that govern sustainable economy along with development.

On the occasion of the 17th anniversary today of Presidential Proclamation 1234 creating the Tanon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS), Montejo and Oceana led the inauguration of a TSPS office in Barangay Malhiao, Badian. This was witnessed by over 60 stakeholders from various government agencies, local leaders, community partners, fisherfolk, print media, and bloggers.

The office placed at the “center of Tanon Strait” serves to link the gap in data gathering, and facilitate solutions to “save Tanon from illegal commercial fishing, destructive fishing and pollution.”

“Tanon is a migration corridor to sea mammals. It has 18,830 hectares of coral reefs and an estimated area of patches of mangroves, 26 species, reaching around 5,000 hectares. But all of these are threatened by industrial waste, being a natural catchment,” Montejo further explained.

Thus, the need for strong leadership, effective enforcement of Fisheries Code, special protections within the seascape and accountability when transiting a protected seascape. As cited by Oceana in its journal, Tanon Strait “needs strong leadership at all levels in the conservation efforts.”

“The Protected Area Management Board has a clear mandate to responsibly manage fisheries, including establishing a comprehensive plan for protection.”

“Effective enforcement of the Fisheries Code will require increased monitoring of fishing activity at sea and in port, increased resources for interception, and strengthening the judicial process.”

“Urgently needed is a management plan which includes regulations specific to the unique needs of the seascape.”

“Although commercial fishing is banned in Tanon Strait, commercial vessels transit through the Strait regularly. When commercial fishing vessels come to port in Tanon Strait, they must be held accountable for the origin and legality of their catches.”

Moreover, environmental lawyer Gloria Estenzo Ramos said that tools, with improved technology, could help monitor these commercial vessels. “I know of drones, image-capturing satellites, web systems that can help monitor activities at sea. If we have this technology on Tanon seascape, and continue to build on this effort, then it would be a lot easier to facilitate stewardship, address critical concerns in protecting our coral reefs, our fisherfolk, our future.”

TSPS is the largest marine protected area in the Philippines, and the third largest park, nearly as extensive as the two largest terrestrial natural parks in the Northern Sierra Madre and Samar Island which protect the Philippine eagle and other wonders. Tanon Strait is their marine counterpart, with an area of 5,182 km squared, more than three times the area of the Tubbataha National Park.

Oceana went on to report that the Strait is extremely narrow (27 kilometers), 160 km long and 500 meters deep. At its widest, the Strait is only 27 km., and narrowest near the south at a mere five km.

The deep waters which attract dolphins, whales, sharks and manta rays extend down from the surface a distance roughly half a kilometer. Oceana pointed out that in Cebu City, this is equivalent to a jeepney ride between the Basilica del Santo Nino and Fort San Pedro. In Dumaguete, this is equivalent to a walk between the Dumaguete Cathedral and Silliman University. Tanon Strait has a coastline of 450 kms.

Tanon Strait is that body of water between Cebu and Negros Island.###


‘Technotour Amazing Adventure Challenge’ to explore southern, midwest Cebu

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #CebuBloggingCommunity

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES — Cebu’s best can be experienced through technology and a set of mental and physical challenges.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Cebu Provincial Capitol, Cebu Parklane International Hotel, and local government units initiate “Technotour Amazing Adventure Challenge” (an experiential tourism through technology) from June 16 to 18, 2015 covering southern and midwest Cebu.

In a press conference today, April 20, it was learned from organizers that this is a three-day, two-night adventure challenge that will promote and showcase Cebu’s tourism, food, people, culture and heritage through technology and adventure.

The event is open to teams composed of four participants, must be 18 years old and above. Teams must have a four-wheel vehicle sturdy enough to navigate and bring them from the city, to the south, midwest of Cebu, and back to the city, for three days. The challenge will start and end here in Cebu City.

Each team must have either one smartphone or tablet wherein they will use to download the app to get all instructions while they are on the road. They must be able to answer questions while they are on the road. They must be able to answer questions from the app to pinpoint the control points which will correspond to a historical site. The team must also be required to perform a task pertaining to a respective culture or product of a municipality. The first team who will be able to complete all control points, tasks and get to the finish line will be declared as the winner.

Registration fee per team is P20,000 (twenty thousand pesos) which includes two-room accommodation for two nights (twin-sharing), meals, race jersey and other freebies.

It was further learned that prizes may come in the form of gadgets, and other items, amounting to P30,000 for top spot depending on sponsors’ discretion.

This is just one of the activities in line with Cebu Business Month (Glocalized Cebu) 2015.

Participating component cities and towns are Talisay, Minglanilla, Naga, San Fernando, Carcar, Sibonga, Argao, Dalaguete, Alcoy, Boljoon, Oslob, Santander, Samboan, Ginatilan, Malabuyoc, Alegria, Badian, Moalboal, Alcantara, Ronda, Dumanjug, Barili, Aloguinsan, Pinamungajan, Toledo and Balamban.

For more info, email or or Check or Call the Chamber at 6332.232-1421 to 24 local 107-108.###

Hack-tivism is real deep penetration

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #citizenmedia

So I missed the 8th Rootcon? And I’m about to throw fits. It was in a Rootcon thingie that I got surrounded by 99 hackers, and how it felt sooo good, it aches to be left out.


What I remember most is meeting lawyer Al Vitangcol III who inspired me to scribble this piece, which saw print first in Cebu’s longest-running community daily, The FREEMAN. Read on:

“The reality is that the government and even the private firms do not have an established and effective security mechanism to protect computer systems and communication networks, including the Automated Elections System, from determined hackers.”

If you find this at the concluding portion of a report on “…Automation and Electoral Fraud,” penned by lawyer Al Vitangcol III, would you trust the PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machines again?

Vitangcol, a treasure trove when it comes to computer/network security, graced the “Rootcon 5 Hackers Conference” here in Cebu City, Central Philippines as one of the event’s valuable resource speakers. However, he refused to give a categorical answer to the question if there was indeed tampering of election results during the 2010 polls given the premise that “no system is 100-percent hack-proof.”

Instead, the Information Technology specialist and the Philippines’ first (and only lawyer) Electronic Commerce Council-certified computer hacking forensic investigator referred me to a report he presented to the Senate during one of the house’s “investigation in aid of legislation” on the alleged vulnerability of the PCOS machines to vote shaving and vote padding.

Vitangcol’s report which also saw print in national newspaper The PHILIPPINE STAR (StarWeek Magazine) read: “The most common question asked by the voting public is whether or not the election results can be tampered with. The answer is possibly Yes.”

He cited the following major technical issues which the Commission on Elections and Smartmatic-TIM have yet to resolve:

  • Software and subsequent voting date of the PCOS machine. It was said that these will be placed in a separate memory card, distinct from the unit itself. Such opens up opportunities for damage, tampering, data alteration, and even memory card switching.
  • Crypto keys. The cryptographic keys, both private and public, to the machine, are both under the control of Smartmatic-TIM – contrary to internationally established cryptographic standards. Thus, Smartmatic-TIM and its associated parties can make changes to the precinct election results without detection.
  • Data transfer. Transmission to the Comelec-Smartmatic-TIM hubs will be done through public telecommunications network. Transmitted data to designated points nationwide may be lost, erased, or even altered, once the Philippines’ AES comes under attack from computer hackers and crackers.

“With the few identified vulnerabilities of the AES,” Vitangcol wrote, “the final question that begs to be answered is this — Is the AES susceptible to hacking?”

He underlined that the Comelec, through its spokesman, had already admitted that it can be hacked, in this wise, “I am not saying that the system cannot be hacked. No system is 100-percent hack-proof. I am just saying that we have made sure that the system will not be hacked.”

“Even the Supreme Court, in its decision in Roque et. al. vs. Comelec et. al. had failed to look into the big picture of the AES relative to computer hacking,” this was also learned.

“Said decision focused only on the PCOS machine – and not on the whole AES infrastructure.”

Pertinent portion of the said decision reads: “Additionally, with the AES, the possibility of system hacking is very slim. The PCOS machines are only online when they transmit the results, which would only take around one to two minutes. In order to hack the system during this tiny span of vulnerability, a super computer would be required. Noteworthy also is the fact that the memory card to be used during the elections is encrypted and read-only — meaning no illicit program can be executed or introduced into the memory card.”

Vitangcol pointed out that the Supreme Court was correct in saying that the PCOS machines are only online when they transmit the results, which would only take around one to two minutes. “There is no question about this. Nobody would even want to hack the PCOS machines,” he added.

“But how about the municipal, provincial and national hubs that will receive the transmission of election results? Are they online for only two minutes? No, they are not,” he stressed.

“In fact, these hubs will be online for a prolonged period of time – from the time that the first clustered precinct will transmit its results to the time that the last clustered precinct will transmit its results to the same hub – effectively exposed and vulnerable to hacking all throughout that time.”

He added that with all due respect to our revered justices, the Supreme Court, in the same decision, “possibly made a lapse when it stated that the ‘memory card to be used during the elections is encrypted and read-only.’ The memory card is not ‘read-only.’ In fact, the images of all the ballots cast, together with the final count of all the votes of all the candidates, will be stored in the same memory card during elections day. If the memory card is ‘ready-only,’ then the results cannot be written and stored in the same card. For sure, the memory card is ‘read-write’ capable.”

What is the significance of this? “This means that the contents of the memory card can be erased, altered, or even manipulated,” Vitangcol said.

The report comes with a reminder that hackers are motivated by challenges, especially when an event of transcendental proportion takes place, and when the organization responsible for that event raises a challenge. According to him, “it is the adventure that primes these hackers to develop a system that can paralyze, if not totally break down, another system.”

And for huge hacking incidents, the involvement of a Filipino explicitly tells how impressive our engagement with technology is. Only that we seem to lose sense when proper application of such is already required of us. Remember the ILOVEYOU computer worm aka Love Letter authored by Filipino computer programming students and released to the wild in 2000? Even the series of defacements of government websites profess the genius of Pinoy IT specialists.

Collectively called Philkers (Philippine Hackers), these smart alecks claim that their invasion is not meant to destroy protected files. In fact, they have a commanding, rallying, engaging description to justify their act of deep penetration: Hacktivism. This, to show to our leaders – smack on their faces – how much work is still to be done; how much knowledge to imbibe; and methods and strategies to relearn and unlearn, when faced with the current and emerging challenges of securing information.###

Globe unveils Next ACT

photo from

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES (January 16, 2015) — Globe Telecom is bringing a plethora of colors to this year’s Sinulog Festival as it unveils the Next ACT (Art + Community + Technology) Sinulog 2015 that gives locals and tourists from all walks of life a flavor of the next-generation festival celebration with exclusive offers, biggest parties, and heart-pumping concerts that are sure to give everybody the most wonderful festival experience.

“Sinulog cuts across all audiences, thus, Globe also offers an engagement for everyone from all ages whether through exclusive promos on products and services or via the numerous events lined up in different venues in Cebu. We want everyone to enjoy Globe wherever they are and whatever their mood or lifestyle may be,” Joe Caliro, Globe head of Retail Transformation and Management, said.

At the center of it all is the Globe “village” in One Mango Avenue Mall, one of Cebu City’s main venue of festivities and fanfare and where the fully-functioning, one-stop shop Globe Mobility Store-on-the-Go holds court surrounded by interactive game booths of Tattoo, Globe Prepaid, Globe Postpaid, TM as well as its partners, Cloudfone and Allphones.

Globe Mobility Store-on-the-Go does not only provide instant processing of postpaid line and broadband applications but also introduces a breathtaking festival scene guaranteed to enliven up any atmosphere. People can share the music of alternative rock band Callalily and energetic dance sets of four of the country’s best DJs and Gen3 Next ACT ambassadors – DJ Mars Miranda, Callum David, Badkiss, and Eric Capili today while being bathed in a blast of bright and vibrant colors. The revelry is similar to the Indian tradition Holi, a celebration of spring where people throw various colored powders in the air while dancing to music, resulting in an exhilarating experience and visual stimulation.

For a more family-oriented activity, there are variety shows to be graced by popular actor and Cloudfone ambassador Xian Lim featuring games, dance contests, Kalokalike (celebrity look-alike) competition, among others. Registration is free for the four-day event and comes with drinks and treats from the various booths.

Since Globe wants to have something for everyone, it has also lined up more activities in various locations. For the youth, Globe Prepaid is bringing Sponge Cola, Radioactive Sago Project, DJ Jess Miller, DJ Aaron Atayde, and DJ Mars Miranda for Hangout Load Up Sessions at Mango Square. Value brand TM is back with its Republikaravan Concert at Gaisano Bowlingplex topbilled by Parokya ni Edgar.

Party crowd gets entertained by some of the country’s hottest DJs at Tattoo’s ElektroMundo at LivSuperclub today, and tomorrow, the 17th, at the City Times Square across Parkmall. Globe customers can enter for free upon purchase of a mobile Wifi from Globe Mobility or from the various PC shops across the city. They also get a loot bag that contains a bandana and a wristband as well as a Tattoo-branded shot glass which can be used for free drinks at the party. Spotify ambassadors will also roam the venue to educate customers on how cool it is to use Spotify on Tattoo Mobile Wifi or on a smartphone.

Amid the major activities are pocket events sponsored by Globe Prepaid such as Threadfast 2015 at Parkmall with Chicosci, Urbandub, Small Hands, Franco, Eleyn, Wilabaliw, and other Cebu bands and DJs as well as the Sinulog Royals at Alejandro’s – Century Plaza.

Meanwhile, Globe Postpaid and Tattoo Nomadic also offer affordable phone and tablet bundle while Globe Prepaid gives out free Sinulog tumblers for those who will load P150 and register to GoSakto50. Tattoo@Home, on the other hand, rewards subscribers with a P500 Sodexo gift certificate for every successfully installed broadband application received from Jan. 12 to 18, 2015. (Globe Communications)