MANILA, Philippines — After the admission of Senator Tito Sotto’s chief of staff that parts of his anti-RH Bill speech last Wednesday were copied from a US based blogger, Senator Pia Cayetano, author of the Senate version and staunch supporter of the Responsible Parenthood or Reproductive Health bill, announced that she is drafting a new bill that will prevent future instances of blatant copying of other’s works for use in one’s speech.
The Responsible Plagiarism Bill, also known as Replication Habit Bill, announced today by Cayetano, has the title “An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Plagiarism, Speech Writing, Weep Control, and for other purposes.”
“This bill aims to address the incessant copying of our colleagues from online sources but fails to give them credit, even going so far as to belittle the origin when confronted,” said Cayetano. “We should be more responsible in knowing where our speechwriter copies the words they want us to say are from.”
She was referring to the comments made by Sotto when he said during an interview that, “Bakit ko naman iqu-quote ang blogger? Blogger lang iyon. (Why should I quote the blogger? She’s only a blogger).”
Bloggers and other netizens went up in arms at what they believe was a wrong move for Sotto, and also attacked his supposed belittling of one of them.
The alleged plagiarism has even spawned all sorts of jokes on social media, with some saying Sotto’s speechwriter is his daughter Ciara, who staunchly defended her father on her Twitter account. (from ABS-CBN News)
The following are the provisions for the Responsible Plagiarism/ Replication Habit Bill:
- The bill mandates the government to “promote, without bias, all effective natural and modern methods of speech writing and fact checking that are categorically ‘safe’ and legal.
- Although plagiarism/piracy is recognized as illegal and punishable by law, the bill states that “the government shall ensure that all speechwriters needing assistance for post-delivery backfires and complications from their employers shall be treated and counseled in a humane, non-judgmental and compassionate manner.”
- The bill calls for a “multi-dimensional approach” integrates a component of speech-writing and responsible plagiarism into all government programs.
- Under the bill, content-appropriate replication and plagiarism education is required from interns to senior chief of staff using “writing-skills and other approaches.”
- The bill also mandates the Department of Labor and Employment to guarantee the rights of speechwriters against their employers. Senators who washed their hands after finding out that the speech he or she just delivered was cribbed from another source and blaming the former, shall be given assistance to defend themselves equally.
- The national government and local governments will ensure the availability of search engine services in all government offices, including but not limited to Google, Bing and Yahoo, so as to avoid future incidents of ‘face palming’.
- Any person or public official who plagiarizes other’s works, whether oral or written, online or off, without proper consent or credit will be meted penalty by imprisonment or a fine.
This early, Senator Sotto is already objecting the passage of the bill saying that information should be free and non-creditable. “Diba kaya nga tinawag na ‘Freedom of Information’ kasi nga libre (Isn’t it why it’s called ‘Freedom of Information’ because it’s free)?!”
He was quick to clarify that he is not against Responsible Plagiarism, but only certain provisions about the new bill. “Everybody is willing to have responsible replication. But we live in a fast-paced world. We don’t have time to check whether what we will say on national television was already written by others on the interweb (sic),” said Sotto.
A pro-RH Bill advocate commented that people should also check the facts that Sotto was dishing out the other day, accusing the Senator of misinformation or rehashed of older issues which were already clarified during the debates.
The comedian turned politician, also blamed pro-RH Bill advocates of changing the focus on the events that transpired. “Hindi isyu dito kung kinopya o hindi, banyagang blogger o lokal. Ang isyu dito eh naiyak ako nung nagsasalita ako. Nakita nyo bang yung luha ko (The issue is not whether it was copied or not, foreign blogger or local. The issue is I cried while delivering my speech. Did you not see the tears in my eyes)?
We are receiving reports that the Senator’s office is already hard at work drafting a new speech for a scheduled turno en contra against the Responsible Plagiarism/Replication Habit Bill to be delivered in the coming weeks.