Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) President Domingo Egon Cayosa said on Wednesday (Jan. 20) the Department of National Defense (DND) did not need to terminate its accord with the University of the Philippines (UP).

‘Di kasi malinaw! IBP admits DND can terminate ‘open-ended’ accord with UP

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Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) President Domingo Egon Cayosa said on Wednesday (Jan. 20) the Department of National Defense (DND) did not need to terminate its accord with the University of the Philippines (UP).

“The U.P.-DND accord does not and should not hinder legitimate law enforcement and security operations as the agreement specifically provides that ‘nothing herein shall be construed as a prohibition against the enforcement of the laws of the land’,” Cayosa explained in a statement.

On the other hand, Cayosa, a gradute of UP himself, admitted that the DND could “legally terminate the open-ended U.P.-DND agreement.”

“However, it would have been more ideal and in keeping with statesmanship, mutual respect and courtesy that consultation and dialogue between the two parties, both of which are government institutions, were held to possibly resolve issues and seek solutions before any unilateral abrogation,” he pointed out.

The accord was signed back in 1989 which prevents the police and military from entering UP campuses without coordination from the university.

However, DND Sec. Delfin Lorenzana wrote to UP President Danilo Concepcion that the agreement has been terminated starting Jan. 15 since the university has been used as recruitment for communist groups.

“Diverse groups, including those who oppose government, conduct recruitment in U.P. as they do in many other schools. Nevertheless, what truly impels and fuels dissent is not U.P. or its tradition of critical thinking and activism but the injustice, corruption, incompetence, abuse and oppression, poverty or hopelessness that citizens may experience or discern,” said Cayosa.

Meanwhile, the IBP president said UP should not fret over the decision of termination of the accord.

“Academic freedom, freedom of expression and association, due process, privacy, and other fundamental rights are guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution. These basic rights cannot be taken away by the unilateral scrapping of an agreement for operational coordination,” he said.

“Considering its institutional autonomy as a National University under R.A. 9500, primary authority and responsibility for ‘effective security, safety, and welfare of the students, faculty and employees of U.P.’ rests with the officials of the U.P. System, not with the Department of National Defense or other government agencies/units,” he added.

Though “there is reason to decry and oppose the unilateral termination,” Cayosa said “it may be wise for U.P. and its stakeholders to focus more on what we can do and less on what we cannot control.”

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POLITIKO / Across the Nation

POLITIKO / Latest News

Chinese cyber-espionage unit on US hacking spree: report

At least 30,000 US organizations including local governments have been hacked in recent days by an “unusually aggressive” Chinese cyber-espionage campaign, according to a computer security specialist.

The campaign has exploited recently discovered flaws in Microsoft Exchange software, stealing email and infecting computer servers with tools that let attackers take control remotely, Brian Krebs said in a post at his cyber security news website.

“This is an active threat,” White House spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said when asked about the situation during a press briefing.

“Everyone running these servers needs to act now to patch them. We are concerned that there are a large number of victims,” she added.

After Microsoft released patches for the vulnerabilities on Tuesday, attacks “dramatically stepped up” on servers not yet updated with security fixes, said Krebs, who cited unnamed sources familiar with the situation.

“At least 30,000 organizations across the United States — including a significant number of small businesses, towns, cities and local governments — have over the past few days been hacked by an unusually aggressive Chinese cyber espionage unit that’s focused on stealing email from victim organizations,” Krebs wrote in the post.

He reported that insiders said hackers have “seized control” of thousands of computer systems around the world using password-protected software tools slipped into systems.

Microsoft said early this week that a state-sponsored hacking group operating out of China is exploiting previously unknown security flaws in its Exchange email services to steal data from business users.

The company said the hacking group, which it has named “Hafnium,” is a “highly skilled and sophisticated actor.”

Hafnium has in the past targeted US-based companies including infectious disease researchers, law firms, universities, defense contractors, think tanks, and NGOs.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Microsoft executive Tom Burt said the company had released updates to fix the security flaws, which apply to on-premises versions of the software rather than cloud-based versions, and urged customers to apply them.

“We know that many nation-state actors and criminal groups will move quickly to take advantage of any unpatched systems,” he added at the time.

Microsoft said the group was based in China but operated through leased virtual private servers in the United States, and that it had briefed the US government.

Beijing has previously hit back at US accusations of state-sponsored cyber theft. Last year it accused Washington of smears following allegations that Chinese hackers were attempting to steal coronavirus research.

In January, US intelligence and law enforcement agencies said Russia was probably behind the massive SolarWinds hack that shook the government and corporate security, contradicting then-president Donald Trump, who had suggested China could be to blame.

Microsoft said Tuesday the Hafnium attacks “were in no way connected to the separate SolarWinds-related attacks.” (AFP)

Werpa si Eba! Lord Velasco recognizes women’s role in nation building

By Billy Begas

Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco pays tribute to all Filipina for their pivotal role in nation-building even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Allow me to recognize all the strong, empowered and empowering women of the House. Kinaya at kinakaya natin ang laban sa pandemya because you kept everything steady here at work even as you faced the challenges with your families at home,” said Velasco.

At present, women make up 48 percent of the House workforce.

Records from the chamber’s Human Resource Management Service show that out of the 4,037 members and employees of the House, 1,941 are women. Of which, 85 are legislators, 649 are Secretariat employees, 940 are congressional staff members, and 267 are co-terminus and contractual workers.

The House has eight female deputy speakers namely Evelina Escudero (Sorsogon), Loren Legarda (Antique), Bernadette Herrera (Bagong Henerasyon party-list), Kristine Singson-Meehan (Ilocos Sur), Divina Grace Yu (Zamboanga del Sur), Camille Villar (Las Piñas City), Rose Marie Arenas (Pangasinan), and Vilma Santos-Recto (Batangas).

After Velasco’s election as Speaker in October 2020, the House elected a female Secretary General—Atty. Jocelia Bighani Sipin.

Sipin spearheaded the House Secretariat through a period of transition from October 12 to November 18 last year. She is currently the Deputy Secretary General assigned at the Office of the Speaker.

On March 8, female lawmakers will take full control of the plenary session as part of the annual tradition in the legislative chamber to mark the National Women’s Month and the International Women’s Day.

The all-women session will be led by Deputy Speaker Arenas, president of the Association of Women Legislators Foundation Inc. of the 18th Congress.

The plenary is set to adopt resolutions congratulating two Filipino-American appointees of United States President Joe Biden—Gloria Steele and Camille Calimlim Touton.



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