A very quick update regarding my last post: By the Time You Read This I Will be a Criminal: SOPA is in the Philippines (Tumblr blog post here):
The good news: A few weeks ago, the Philippines’ Supreme Court has issued a 120-day TRO against the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
The better news: Many senators, including those who had initially signed this bill into law, are now calling for reforms to remove most, if not all, of its more controversial clauses (spurred to change their minds because of the bad publicity they’ve been receiving, as is so often the reason for politicians changing their minds).
The bad news: This has not stopped several other people from taking advantage of this law to suppress dissidents, as seen in just a few of these newspaper articles: Arrest of Anti-mining Activist | Sacking of 16 Nurses for Liking a Facebook Post | School Sanctions Students for ‘Cyber-Libel’
The worse news: Philippine President Noynoy Aquino refuses to back down, and continues to push for the continuance of the Cybercrime law, including all its controversial clauses, claiming that “Now that the law is in effect, we have to enforce it. I can be impeached for dereliction of duty if I do not implement the law,” without taking into consideration the ramifications of that said law, which he could have vetoed in the first place. Aquino is a known bully, not quite known for having a giant intellect, with diplomatic gaffe and inactivity following even more diplomatic gaffes and inactivity, so perhaps this is not surprising to citizens who do understand the Philippine culture of “hero-worship” and the reasons why someone with so little experience other than claims to having ‘martyred parents’ was able to come into power. (USA’s George W. Bush is the closest analogy I can think of.)
Because of his stance on the law, the law could still push through once the 120 days are over, so it’s still uphill work for those fighting for their freedom of speech. But the TRO and the new calls for reforms by many of the Senate body, at least, is a hopeful sign.
Slightly off-tangent – thank you for over 14,500 Tumblr reblogs, and thank you for many of you asking how they could help out, or empathizing with us Filipinos. Most people here tend to revert back to our old procrastinating ‘Juan Tamad‘ ways once we think the worst is over, even when the problem has not yet been solved, so at the end of these 120 days we might be needing more than just reblogs and likes should negotiations fail and the law is once again reinforced.
I don’t have any further news regarding the status of my current manuscript (at least, no news I am able to announce just yet), but I DO have this spiffy new blog layout, where I will continue to post at regardless of consequence. Some rather happy things are currently going on with the submissions process, and I hope to post some of these (hopefully) happy things at around mid-November or somesuch, or failing that, some sad things if things don’t pan out as planned.