Thursday, 3 November 2011

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, November 3, 2011

Philippines supports UNESCO resolution on wider use of internet for human development

The Philippines joins other countries in supporting the use of the Internet to enhance human development through education, culture, communication and information.

The Communication and Information Commission of the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a resolution calling on the 193 member states of the organization to “unleash the Internet’s potential to offer opportunities for human development in the areas of education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.”

The resolution recalled the policy adopted by UNESCO in 2003 promoting multilingualism and universal access to cyberspace. It also reiterated the advocacy of freedom of expression, the observance of ethical principles and respect for privacy.

“The Philippines welcomes this report and accepts its invitation for all UNESCO members to reflect upon and analyze the role and impact of the Internet in enhancing human development in the areas of education, culture, communication and information,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma, said in a statement during the UNESCO debate.

Coloma, the chairman of the Committee on Information and Communication of the Philippine UNESCO National Commission, is attending the 36th Session of the UNESCO General Conference on Communication and Information in Paris, France. The general conference is being held from November 1 to 3.

Coloma said that all conference participants share a common mission of promoting universal access to the Internet and fostering ever-higher levels of Internet penetration and use in open and inclusive knowledge societies.

This will unlock the potentials for optimizing the use of the Internet in promoting transparency, accountability and good governance, he added.

“We believe that an engaged, enlightened and empowered citizenry is able to provide authentic feedback to government and participate meaningfully in democratic institution-building.”

In the Philippines, Coloma said, the Aquino government has been actively promoting the use of new media and the social media networks to provide real-time news and public information such as on weather and urban traffic flows. These are also being used for disaster risk reduction in the midst of dangers posed by climate change, and the need for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Coloma noted that key sectors in the Philippines especially women, the youth, young professionals and the members of the armed services, are now actively engaged and participating in online forums that build common ground and consensus on national issues.

The General Conference is UNESCO’S highest ruling body. One of the highlights of this year’s session is the special plenary meeting on the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the adoption of UNESCO’S Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.

The General Conference also began its work on the organization’s next Medium-Term Strategy for 2014-2019. (PCOO)

Aquino government renews commitment to OFW welfare; supports POEA deployment ban

The Aquino administration renewed its commitment for the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) by supporting fully the deployment ban imposed by an overseas employment regulating body.

Despite the deployment ban issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the Amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 also provides that the state shall allow the deployment of OFWs to companies and contractors with international operations that are compliant with standards prescribed by the POEA, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a statement on Thursday.

Citing the statement of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Valte said that the number of OFWs to be affected by the deployment ban in 41 countries would be very minimal.

“As an important pillar of the Philippine economy, part of our commitment to migrant workers includes expanding economic opportunities while ensuring their safety wherever they may be in the world,” she said.

The labor department said the ban will affect just over 200 OFWs, and those who have opted to come home can avail of the government’s integration program. It also said that the 41 countries affected by the ban are not considered major receiving countries for OFWs.

This week, the POEA ordered a deployment ban on 41 countries for the lack of guarantees ensuring the welfare of OFWs. The POEA said the receiving countries must have labor laws or conventions related to the protection of migrant workers.

At present, the Philippines has an existing deployment ban on conflict-affected countries like Somalia, Syria, Nigeria, Lebanon and also imposes partial ban to Iraq and Afghanistan. (PCOO)