Need 100M pesos? Be a Hacker

Do you need 100M pesos? Well, if Sen. Alan Cayetano’s proposal will be backed by the other lawmakers then, let’s all try our hands at being a hacker. Why? Read the following article from Christina Mendez of the Philippine Star: Hackers wanted; P100-million reward .

Excerpts from the article include:

Opposition Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano is proposing that about P100 million out of the P11-billion poll automation fund be used as a reward to people who can hack the machines to be used in next year’s automated elections.

Well, Senator, you have just opened the country to vulnerable attacks {sigh}. Just imagine the world’s hackers reading the article, doing the math, and realizing how big they could make out of this! Don’t you think that it is too premature to claim that the system is hack-proof when the company to make the program/system is not even known yet? Besides, the almighty Pentagon and the FBI had been victims of hackers before…so, the country can dare to make silly statements as this? And a reward that many of the country’s citizens would die for just to get their hands on? Had I any IT brain in me, I’d seriously think of hacking the system!

“For the country, we cannot afford another six years or longer of instability because of questions on the elections. So we thought of a direct assurance for our people that automation would be credible,” Cayetano said.

“We thought of way to address this… (and use the P100 million) as a reward to computer experts, technology experts and even to hackers to show if the system has any vulnerability,” Cayetano explained.

The money will be taken out of the P11-billion appropriation recently approved by Congress for automation.

Cayetano said the Comelec would also be asked to outline the rules and regulations covering the reward, with P10 million as the minimum reward for every successful attempt to hack into the poll automation system.

In pushing for this, Cayetano cited a statement made by Comelec Executive Director Jose Tolentino, who was quoted by the media to have declared that “by the time a hacker gets into our system, the election is over.”

No, the country may not afford another 6 years of political instability but we can’t also afford to waste money. And yes, for a country that could not afford to waste money, we’ll be too stupid to dole out that 100M for a hacker to do the job. Have you ever been on a security briefing on hacking and the internet, Senator?

“The most effective way to test if indeed a system is credible, reliable and tamper-proof or fraud-proof is to offer a sizable prize to whoever can hack and convincingly show the weaknesses of the system,” Cayetano’s resolution read.

Yes, the intention is noble and right, of course. However, the reward is too much, too big, and too tantalizing not to be taken…

Hmmm…I have a proposal…Why don’t you pay someone to hack the sites of those who the country owes money from – to erase our debt and all. The 100M reward will be very useful and appropriate, then! Or perhaps, the intended reward be used to pay – for real – the teachers who serve during the elections and get paid several months after the elections are over!

Please, Senator, the money would be useful when used elsewhere. You can even choose to reward your hacker but the amount should definitely be not as big as 100M!

Warning to Parents: Children’s Havaianas being Recalled in the Philippines

Havaianas, an expensive but very popular line of flip-flops, issued a recall on the following painted children’s wear:

• Baby Estampas
• Baby Pets
• Kids Apple
• Kids Fairy
• Kids Flores
• Kids Lighthouse
• Kids Monsters
• Kids Surf
• Baby Letrinhas
• Kids Sports
• Kids Candies
• Kids Fun
• Kids Love
• Kids Sereias
• Kids Speed
• Kids Lucky Bug
• Kids Pets
• Kids Rock
• Kids Slim
• Kids Wonder Woman
• Kids Small Flowers
• Kids Tropical w/Kit

The slippers are recalled because of the possibility of lead paint affecting the children who would be wearing them. The flip-flops were made in Brazil.

Parents should take the slippers away from their children as soon as possible and contact the suppliers so that these can be replaced.

Manny Pacquiao as 2008 Filipino of the Year

The Philippine Daily Inquirer awarded Manny Pacquiao one of the most sought-after titles in the country – PDI’s (2008) Filipino of Year. Actually, this is already the second time that Pacquiao was honored with this title. Does he deserve that distinction? Does he deserve to be chosen over politicians, business-people, and other big time personalities? Yes!

My point of view had changed over the years. I don’t like boxing – well, a lot of girls don’t. Just imagine seeing your favorite hero punch another hero while getting his face rearranged in the process – that’s literally bloody! Also, I couldn’t see why of millions of people would gladly leave everything that they had been doing to focus on the TV screen or boxing ring to watch 2 people try to beat each other up for huge sums of money. To me, it was pointless.

One Sunday in 2007, I was forced to watch the match because my hubby wouldn’t stop talking about Pacquaio and how he would beat his opponent (I’m not even sure who it was that Manny had beaten up!). When the fight started, I started feeling proud to be a Filipino – every punch that Manny throws cements my confidence in him so that at the end of the match – when he won – I became a fan. Since then, I gladly stop whatever it was that I was doing and sit closest to the TV. 😀 Hey, even during his fight with de la Hoya, there were a of de la Hoya fans who became Pacquiao fans at the end of the game – so I was not being melodramatic.

Anyway, back to being Filipino of the Year, well, he is the Filipino of the Year. On the day of any Pacquiao fight, people can dance on the streets – even highways – without being hit by a vehicle because people are indoors watching the fight. Heck, if you want to travel then you can arrive really fast to wherever you want to be because the streets are practically empty – that is, if you have your own vehicle. Because public utility drivers watch the fight, too!

The police are also happy when Pacquiao has a fight because for some time now, the whole country has ZERO (or almost zero) crime rate during the hours of the Pacquiao fight. Cool! I wish he has a match everyday LOL.

Also, no matter how wealthy he is, he takes time to share it with his “kababayans”. He remains humble and does not boast much about all the guys he had beaten – after a fight, he’d often attribute that success to God and the people who prayed for him then takes some of the credit. Yes, Manny Pacquiao deserves to the Filipino of the Year – in PDI or anywhere else. He makes almost all Filipinos proud of being Filipinos.

Knockout: Solis on the Floor

Knockout: Solis on the Floor

Bad Philippine Housing Loan System

People from advanced countries take for granted the fact that they can easily buy a house. People from my country, the Philippines, have to rely on the somewhat incompetent housing loan system – even wh

en this is a government institute under Mr. Vice President himself! Those who can really afford to buy a parcel of lot then build a house on cash are of course not going to agree with me but for us who can’t afford, then this is our plight.

I just found this sort-of dream lot near my parent’s (and parents-in-law) house. It is about 691 square meters – and located right beside the road. It’s worth only about Php 795 per sq m or about Php 550,000 in all. Now, that is a good deal considering that most undeveloped lots located near the road sell at about Php 2,000 per sq m.

Bobby and I have some cash from savings and donations (Uncle Dogbert?) but it is still not enough to cover that amount {sigh, can someone grant me a loan, please?}. I am crossing my fingers that by the time that we do have that cash, the lot is still for sale 😀

Anyway, I was glad that the government has this housing loan system they call PAG-IBIG which grants housing loans to people like us in the working class. With big hopes, we attended the seminar last November 27 (of 2008). We had to fill out a Member Status Verification Slip (or something like that) so that they can verify if we are eligible to obtain a loan. That is just the very first step which will determine if we can proceed to transacting with the lot seller. This also means that the loan process has not commenced yet – we have to wait for that MSVS. We were told that it would take them 1 or 2 weeks to process that and inform us if we are eligible for the loan.

After two weeks, I called up the office and was informed that they were on an “offline” mode and were not able to process the MSVS. Every Thursday after that, I would call the office in the afternoon just for sure – the answer is always the same: “Sorry, Ma’am, but we are still waiting for the papers to arrive. We are still on offline mode.” And to think that the country’s vice president (Noli de Castro) has been showing ads on TV about that governent office being the answer to housing problems in the country or something similar to that!

So, somewhat impatiently (but I have no choice, right?), I call the office at 4 o’clock on Thursdays – without fail. It’s more than two months since we last attended the seminar. Maybe they had been wrong about the verification process being done after 2 weeks – maybe they meant two years!

Can someone give me a loan now? 😀 If only it’s as easy as that, huh? Let’s just say that I would still need about Php 300,000 right now. Hmm, maybe I should try a “Piso Para sa Bahay” kind of fund raising? 😀 If only the government can improve the housing loan system – I’d have that lot soon {sigh}.