Jane Uymatiao

Jane T. Uymatiao is known as @citizenjaneph. She spent more than 15 years as an IT auditor/consultant at an accounting firm and another 2.5 years as VP-Head of a bank's Corporate Planning Division. She has been blogging for about 15 years now and is one of the early adopters of social media. She believes in active citizen engagement, pushing for transparency and good governance, and is regularly tapped to speak on social media-related topics. Her personal blogs are: yoga and wellness (yoginifrommanila.com), tech (titatechie.com), lifestyle (philippinebeat.com), and personal (janeuymatiao.com) Jane has a Master’s degree in Business Administration, major in International Business with a focus on Strategic Management, from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. She is also a certified yin yoga teacher. More details at www.linkedin.com/in/janeuymatiao Updated: May 2021

The urgency of having an FOI law and the Right of Reply

As part of his campaign promises, President Aquino had promised to make the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) an administration priority. A year and a half into his administration, he approves the Malacanang version of the FOI. But…with focus partly diverted to the Corona trial, it seems that there are no clear indicators in the House that the passing of the FOI bill will happen before the end of the 15th Congress.

Why the urgency?

There are three regular sessions in every Congress (this is the 15th Congress). With the resumption of Congress last May 7, there are just four (4) weeks remaining in the second regular session? And the bill is still with the Committee on Public Information in the House. Many are doubtful if it can make it through the second regular session.

Some people say that there is still the third regular session. However, observers say that the third regular session of Congress is the one that is least attended and the one most taken for granted because it is the closest to the next scheduled election and many of those in Congress, especially those planning to run for reelection, may be spending more time in their own provinces and as a result, the FOI bill may not be passed in time.

If this is not passed in the 15th Congress, all efforts to finally have an FOI in place would go down the drain and we will find ourselves at square one again.

Read More »The urgency of having an FOI law and the Right of Reply

Is it time to decriminalize libel? (Part 2 of 2)

“Criminal libel is incompatible with freedom of expression, “ Atty. Harry Roque says.

In recent months, media organizations have become more organized in calling for Congress to decriminalize libel. In Part 1, we tried to make sense of what libel is all about and saw instances when press freedom was curtailed by its criminal implications in the Philippines.

But…as citizens, why should we care about criminal libel?

Read More »Is it time to decriminalize libel? (Part 2 of 2)

Is it time to decriminalize libel? (Part 1 of 2)

If you are in media, a blogger, active in social media, or merely a citizen, be careful what you say or write. If another person feels it has damaged his or her reputation, you could be facing a libel charge. And if the charge sticks, you are likely to face jail time because in the Philippines, it is criminal libel.

In most other countries, libel is a civil case for which penalties are usually financial in nature. But in the Philippines, because it is deemed criminal in nature, media most specially view this as a stifling of press freedom.

Prof. Harry Roque

Read More »Is it time to decriminalize libel? (Part 1 of 2)

Why we need DepEd’s K-12 program

“We are the LAST country in Asia and one of only three countries in the world with a 10-year pre-university program.”(Source: SEAMEO Innotech 2011)

This was a statement in one of the K to 12 (K-12) slide handouts distributed by Department of Education (DepEd)Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro at a media press conference and open forum last December 12, 2011.

This came as a shock as we still hold with pride the fact that we are an English-speaking nation and that other Asian countries used to send their children to our country in the 60s and 70s to study since the Philippines was a premier educational destination. What has happened to us since then? How did we get from being the country of educational choice to last place? Why are our students now ranked among the lowest in Asia when it comes to key subjects like Math and Science?

Read More »Why we need DepEd’s K-12 program

An open letter to the President

Dear Mr. President,

As of this writing, you have already visited the devastated areas of Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and Dumaguete and relief efforts by the government are in full swing. For that I am happy, knowing that this meant a lot for the Sendong victims who needed to see you.

So what am I writing this open letter for?

Because, Mr. President, whether we like it or not, this won’t be the last storm to hit us and with so many areas identified as flood-prone, compounded by climate change, it won’t also be the last time your leadership will be called to fore.

Mr. President, the wheels of your agencies may immediately go into action during natural disasters but I am afraid that that alone is not enough. We need to FEEL that you are one with us. That means being seen and heard at the onset of a crisis.

Read More »An open letter to the President

CHEd….Weather Art Thou?

You’d think that after decades of typhoons and floods, we’d be experts by now, knowing when to call for class suspension. But why is it that every time we are hit with rains, parents are scrambling all over trying to find out whether classes will be suspended or not?

In the pre-internet days, one had to rely on radio and TV to learn if classes were suspended. Back then, radio and TV stations would call the schools to ask if they were suspending classes. Representatives of the schools would also call the stations themselves to relay this information.

But now with the internet, Facebook, Twitter and mobile phones, it boggles the mind why confusion still happens each and every time we are pounded by winds and rains.

Read More »CHEd….Weather Art Thou?

Tax evaders – beware!

April 15 is near and for many, this is when we bite the bullet and shell out precious, hard-earned money to pay our income taxes.

Those of us who are employed often grumble underneath our breath about dutifully paying taxes (automatically withheld from us) while knowing many get away without doing so. This, and the knowledge that so much of our taxes leak out into the pockets of corrupt officials, makes tax time that much more painful.

In a recent forum on Understanding Government Revenues, Department of Finance (DoF) Sec. Purisima said it is shocking to discover that the list of the top 1,000 taxpayers does not include people you’d expect there. He said he was particularly interested in what he calls the “Invisible 500”.

The day may not be long in coming, if this administration executes its plans as described by Sec. Purisima, when tax evaders will slowly fade away and revenue collection starts to improve and become efficient.

Read More »Tax evaders – beware!

Sec. Rogelio Singson speaks up on the Maynilad-PAGCOR issue

Recently, news broke out about an alleged expose on a “midnight deal” that supposedly happened between Maynilad (then headed by now DPWH Sec. Rogelio Singson) and PAGCOR.

In a briefer published by The Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, the issue was described as “allegations that Secretary Rogelio Singson as then president of Maynilad Water Services Inc., participated in a water concession midnight deal between Maynilad, the MWSS and PAGCOR involving the Bagong Nayong Pilipino Entertainment City in Paranaque City that would have supposedly deprived the government of at least P3.6 billion in water fees.”

Read More »Sec. Rogelio Singson speaks up on the Maynilad-PAGCOR issue

BlogWatch gets media accreditation for inauguration

In a historic and unprecedented move, BlogWatch requested for and has been accredited by the Inauguration Accreditation Committee overseeing all the logistics for the inauguration on June 30 of President-Elect Benigno Simeon Aquino III and VP-elect Jejomar Binay.

Eight bloggers that included three production members were duly accredited by the Inauguration Committee. Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (Project Editor), Dine Racoma, Sonnie Santos, Brian Ong, and this writer were accredited as bloggers-writers while the production members accredited were Anton Sheker (blogger/photographer), Pocholo Gonzales (blogger for video coverage) and Peter Baltazar (videographer assistant).

Read More »BlogWatch gets media accreditation for inauguration

BlogWatch — Behind the Scenes

All you have seen of BlogWatch so far have been articles written by its blogger-writers on a vast range of topics on the different candidates, as well as various interviews or fora. Not much is known about what Blog Watch is really all about – ordinary citizens, who just happen to be bloggers, using technology within our means, to bring voter education to netizens (citizens on the net).

Tools of the trade

Let me take you behind the scenes and give you a flavor of what BlogWatch is all about.

Read More »BlogWatch — Behind the Scenes