Dec 222014

Reader Francisco “Jun” Astilla sent us an email about the spate of cut-price promo sales of LED television sets which seems to be a ploy to unload certain types of television models that would soon be rendered obsolete once the National Telecommunications Commission order shifting TV broadcast services from analog to digital terrestrial takes full effect by 2020 – by which time all analog broadcast would be completely shut off.

Those in the know say the digital shift would cost TV networks P8.5 to P9 billion to roll out the service in over 70 service areas for about 17 million households. Among those that have begun utilizing/testing digital broadcast in certain service areas are ABS-CBN and TV5. According to the NTC, digital terrestrial television broadcasting or DTTB would provide better signal quality, allow mobile subscribers to watch TV programs using their phones and most of all, enable the broadcast of warnings to alert the public about impending or ongoing calamities and other emergency situations. 

Majority of households in the Philippines – estimated at 90 percent – still use analog television sets but these would be rendered obsolete in the next three to five years as the country shifts to digital mode – something that merchants conveniently omit telling customers. Viewers, however, could continue using analog TV through a digibox (presumably similar to the “blackbox given away by broadcaster Ted Failon in his dzBB radio program) that would enable the analog unit to receive digital signal, although we’re not certain if the digibox is already commercially available in the market. 

Just recently, NTC issued memo circular 07-12-2014 outlining the rules and regulations for DTTB service, listing the types and models of commercially available TV sets and indicating whether these could only receive analog or are compatible with digital broadcast. According to Jun Astilla, dealers should be required to indicate the information on the TV sets they are selling, and that a listing of all commercially available sets be made available to the public with the brand, model and type as well as their classification as their classification (analog VHF/UHF, ISDB-TB compatible or ISDB-TB).

US disappointed with Philippine justice system

In a clear example of the “shoe being on the other foot,” Americans are complaining about the case of slain US Marine George Anikow who was beaten and stabbed during an altercation with four men who were trying to get inside Bel-Air Village in November 2012. A video that has since gone viral showed Anikow being ganged up on by four men with one of them stabbing the victim on the neck. Anikow was shown running away from his assailants who chased him and continued brutally beating the already prostrate victim.

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However, Judge Winlove Dumayas of the Makati Regional Trial court downgraded the charges from murder to homicide and granted bail to the four accused, ruling that the evidence of guilt for murder is not strong. Dumayas further ruled that “given the number of the accused,” he did not consider Anikow at a disadvantage during the altercation because the latter was an established member of the US military service, even observing that Anikow was also able to hit back during the exchange of blows.

Many find the judge’s ruling absolutely ridiculous since it seemed to say that a US Marine should be “invincible” and could easily take on four men including one with a bladed weapon – aside from the fact that it implied that Anikow should just have taken on the rain of blows without offering any resistance whatsoever. “What the hell kind of reasoning is that?” a very angry American who requested anonymity asked.

Last August, Anikow’s sister Mary and their septuagenarian mother came to the country to attend a court hearing, expressing apprehension that the suspects in the slay of the marine, who left behind three young children – might get away with murder. Mary Anikow’s fear seems to have come true, some US citizens told us, because only two of the suspects were convicted of the homicide but were given probation by the judge – a virtual slap on the wrist – while the two others were acquitted.

No wonder the US is very upset and even more wary now about cases involving Americans because of the perception that they might not be given a fair shake. Concern about the safety of US citizens particularly servicemen is also a major reason why the US Embassy is firm about retaining jurisdiction of Private First Class Joseph Pemberton. Now that the shoe is on the other foot with the killers of George Anikow going unpunished – will the usual noisy protesters fulminating about injustice condemn the ruling?

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