Monday, November 26, 2007

Careless Whispers (Secrets, Intrigues and Confidentiality)

By Obiter07

They say gossip travels fast but it may just bring you to jail. You may not know it but sharing secrets is a crime punishable under the Revised Penal Code if you are a manager, employee or servant.

“ARTICLE 291. Revealing secrets with abuse of office. — The penalty of arresto mayor[1] and a fine not exceeding 500 pesos shall be imposed upon any manager, employee, or servant who, in such capacity, shall learn the secrets of his principal or master and shall reveal such secrets.”

One wonders why only managers and employees are covered. Does that mean higher ranking officers are exempt from penalty when they should be the ones in a position to know and reveal more? Household help should also be forewarned that their employer’s private lives have to remain private, details of which may not travel beyond the clotheslines and walls of the house.

Naturally, revealing industrial secrets carries a higher penalty. Though the fine is not at all high.

“ARTICLE 292. Revelation of industrial secrets. — The penalty of prision correccional[2] in its minimum and medium periods and a fine not exceeding 500 pesos shall be imposed upon the person in charge, employee or workman of any manufacturing or industrial establishment who, to the prejudice of the owner thereof, shall reveal the secrets of the industry of the latter.”

However, the violation of intellectual property rights is a totally different matter and obviously subject to severe punishment.

For the benefit of Piolo and Sam, “intriga” is actually a crime too. Unfortunately, though, Lolit can just forego a short cab ride to cough up the fine -

“ARTICLE 364. Intriguing against honor. — The penalty of arresto menor[3] or fine not exceeding 200 pesos shall be imposed for any intrigue which has for its principal purpose to blemish the honor or reputation of a person.”

To add some bite and attempt to make up for the measly penal punishment, damages may be claimed for violations of privacy, and intriguing as well, under the New Civil Code:

“ARTICLE 26. Every person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons. The following and similar acts, though they may not constitute a criminal offense, shall produce a cause of action for damages, prevention and other relief:

(1) Prying into the privacy of another’s residence;

(2) Meddling with or disturbing the private life or family relations of another;

(3) Intriguing to cause another to be alienated from his friends;

(4) Vexing or humiliating another on account of his religious beliefs, lowly station in life, place of birth, physical defect, or other personal condition.”

The following general principles under the Civil Code may also be used:

“Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.

Art. 20. Every person who, contrary to law, wilfully or negligently causes damage to another, shall indemnify the latter for the same.

Art. 21. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.”

Of course, when you spread something that tends to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead, then the provisions on libel apply[4] And we need a whole new post to tackle that topic.

With the wider and faster variety of present-day communication tools, the penalties prescribed barely offset the damages done to the victims who may find themselves ready subjects of careless and harmful text messages, Photoshop-ed pictures or videos over the internet, or easy tabloid fodder. We hope the laws can be amended as soon as possible to reflect modern times.

[1] The duration of arresto mayor shall be from 1 month and 1 day to 6 months.(Art. 27, Revised Penal Code).

[2] The duration of prision correccional shall be from 6 months and 1 day to 6 years. (ibid)

[3] The duration of arresto menor shall be from 1 day 30 days. (ibid)

[4] Art. 353, ibid.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In Memoriam

This November, as we remember all those who have gone ahead, may we all be reminded that …

“all mankind is of one author, and is one volume;

when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book,

but translated into a better language;

and every chapter must be so translated;

God employs several translators;

some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice;

but God’s hand is in every translation,

and His hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again

for that library where every book shall lie open to one another”

John Donne (1572-1631)


Friday, November 16, 2007

Incorporate for Good (How to set up a foundation and get NGO certification)

By Siesta-friendly

The SEC defines a foundation as “a non-stock, nonprofit corporation established for the purpose of extending grants or endowments to support its goals or raising funds to accomplish charitable, religious, educational, athletic, cultural, literary, scientific, social welfare or other similar objectives.”[1]

Thanks to Erap and his Muslim Foundation, the SEC has taken a closer look at foundations and realized that a lot of them have merely focused on fund-raising without the consequent fund-spending.

SEC registration

Accordingly, the SEC has started to require submission of the following:

A. Upon submitting its application for SEC registration:

1. Certificate of Bank Deposit of an amount not lower than P1M, and

2. Statement of willingness to allow the SEC to conduct an audit (if the foundation was registered prior to the effectivity of the SEC Memo Circular (dated June 22, 2006), this Statement shall be submitted together with the submission of the first General Information Sheet (GIS) and audited Financial Statement (FS).
Naturally, these requirements should form part of the supporting documents to the articles and by-laws.

B. Yearly, together with the GIS and audited FS:

1. Sworn Statement indicating the following:

i. source and amount of funds,

ii. program/activity planned, ongoing and accomplished (with complete name, address and contact no of project officer-in-charge and complete address and contact no. of project office),

iii. application of funds

2. Certification, on the existence of the said program/activity in the locality, issued by the Office of the Mayor/Bgy Captain or Head of the DSWD/DOH which has jurisdiction.

NGO Certification

Assuming your foundation really aims to help in social welfare and development, your next step is registration with the Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC). Certification by the PCNC will give your foundation the status of a recognized donee institution and facilitate collaboration with the government as well as possible donors, in providing service to those in need.

You will need to submit an Expression of Interest to Apply. After which you will be given a Letter of Intent and Application for Accreditation. The 2 documents then need to be returned together with am initial P1,000.00 application fee. You will then be given a Survey Form which must be returned with several attachments. Full details of all requirements and the entire process can be found at Once the PCNC proceeds with its evaluation, the full application fee is payable. This fee shall be based on the foundation’s total assets reflected in the FS.

As is common, when people want to make things easier they end it making it more complex. The NGO certification aims to assist NGOs to help provide better service. The process to get it may be tedious but it may prove worthwhile. The help you will provide should be enough reward, especially if funded from donations which can result in tax incentives (i.e, tax deductions and donor’s tax exemptions).[2]

Good luck!

[1] SEC Memorandum Circular No. 8. June 22, 2006.

[2] Revenue Regulations No. 13-98. December 8, 1998.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Virtual Flower Offering

For Mariannet and our fellow citizens who have been made to suffer, one way or another, by the greed and selfishness of our leaders, our thoughts and prayers …


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Playing fair (OPM and the Law on Copyright)

By Siesta-friendly

For writing definitive Filipino masterpieces “Pipit”, “Saan Ka Man Naroroon”, “Ikaw and Mahal ko”, “Dahil Sa Isang Bulaklak”, “Gaano kita Kamahal”, “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan”, “Basta’t Mahal Kita”, and Christmas classics “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit”, “Pasko Na Naman” or “Misa de Gallo”, Levi Celerio spent his end days, not wallowing in wealth (as he deserved) but unable to pay his hospitable bills. He died not in a 1st rate hospital but in a small clinic. Even his death, and that of fellow National Artist Lucio San Pedro who died 2 days earlier, were grossly overshadowed by the then recent death of a mere teen idol.

Despite making music and lyrics, no matter how popular or timeless, the business of a Filipino songwriter has never boomed. This notwithstanding the existence of laws protecting copyright. And long before internet pirates even existed, i.e., downloads and file sharing, which further dilutes the privileges of copyright holders. Everyone wants something for free. But when it comes to local music, this is clearly out of tune with what the law requires.

Copyright Existence and Limits

No copyright registration is even necessary. All one has to do is create and the copyright exists upon creation –

Works are protected by the sole fact of their creation, irrespective of their mode or form of expression, as well as of their content, quality and purpose (Sec. 172.2, Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines).[1]

Copyright exists during the author’s lifetime and 50 years thereafter; the copyright owner’s heirs can enforce his rights after his death (Sec. 198.1).

Basically, only performances done privately and free of charge, or made strictly for charitable, religious, educational or news/commentary purposes, do not infringe on copyright (Sec. 184.1 and 185). Meaning, every time OPM is played or performed on tv, radio, concerts, hotels, bars or restaurants, cinemas, singing contests, sports events, even malls, fitness centers, dance schools, elevators, played as soundtracks or theme songs, run as commercial jingles, or in any way performed for the public, the songwriter should be paid a royalty fee.

By way of example, if employees of commercial establishments play music on the radio privately, it is only the radio station liable to pay royalties; however, if the commercial establishment plays radio music over a loudspeaker or public address system, then it is also liable to pay royalties (Sec. 171.6).

If you go to a bakery and help yourself to a piece of their bread and leave without paying, you’re liable for theft. Same goes with helping yourself to someone else’s music for profit and not pay for it.

Copyright Infringement

Last September 2007, Lorrie Ilustre wrote the Philippine Inquirer complaining how ABS-CBN not only used her song (the Hotdogs hit) Panaginip without her permission - for a telenovela and a new Hotdogs cover album and the subsequent promotions for both - but gave credit to someone else as composer.[2]

She has sound legal basis for her complaints. As author, she has exclusive right to authorize or prevent, among others, (a) the reproduction of her work or a substantial portion thereof (Sec.177.1); (b) the arrangement or other transformation of her work (Sec.177.2); and (c) the public performance of her work (Sec.177.6). In addition, she has the right to require that the authorship of her work be attributed to her and that her name be indicated in connection with its public use (Sec. 193.1). Accordingly, as exclusive owner of these rights, she should be compensated for the use of her work. More so when the user profited therefrom. As of the date of her letter, ABS-CBN had still been giving her the runaround.

How do we nourish local talent? And how do we avoid focusing on (listening, watching/viewing, and paying for) foreign artists over home-grown talent? How do we keep our talents at home? Respect them and give them their due. You want to be paid for your work don’t you? Then pay for playing someone’s music as well. It’s only fair.


Just recently the National Press Club (NPC) altered several portions of a mural (depicting the history of press freedom) they had commissioned the Neo-Angono Artists Collective to paint. Rightfully, the Neo-Angono complained against the alterations. Under the law, they have a right to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to, their work (Sec. 193.3). As the mural is commissioned work, the NPC owns the mural but the copyright remains with Neo-Angono (Sec. 178.4).

Also, we did not tackle the cd/vcd/dvd world as there should be enough notice of such piracy whenever Optical Media Board unleashes their SWAT wannabes during their mall raids.

[1]Republic Act No. 8293.

[2] Taken from Accessed November 4, 2007.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Greenpeace: Enforce recycling


25 October 2007. Russian Federation.
‘The Garbage man’ - an activist in St Petersburg - demands stronger recycling enforcement.

©Greenpeace/Александр Петров.

Source: Greenpeace