We unite in times of disaster

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I was reading a fellow country man’s article titled  “Why the Southern Highlands & Hela Provinces are important to me” and it inspired me to tell this story.  It almost brought tears down as I reflected on a similar experience back in 2001 when I was at Gordon’s market in Port Moresby. I was with a young Erave youth; his name is Leme who left his village when he was aged 5 years with his older brother because of a tribal fight that destroyed his entire village and displaced the villagers.  He went back to his village after some years but he could not settle in so he drifted to Madang with some “wantoks”. Homeless and wondering around I found him in town and took him in after hearing about his ordeals. He just became part of the family and he even changed his surname to my family name. Anyway we were in Port Moresby trying to locate his older brother who lived somewhere at 5 mile area.  As soon as we got off the PMV at Gordons market and walked past some women sitting behind their esky coolers selling ice block, his face suddenly lit up and he smiled. I asked what he was smiling about and he told me, “mi harim tokples ya”. (I can hear my native language being spoken.)

We eventually found some information from the ladies and went to 5 mile where he was reunited with his brother after all these years. He decided to stay with me in Madang instead of with his older brother. He is now married to a lady from Banab, NCR Madang and lives with her in the village.

Anyway, the point of these experience after reading the article by Scott Waide, I made these comments on his blog: “from my point of view we are all Papua New Guineans despite our language barriers and cultures. I am from the coastal region and I don’t know how to speak Erave or Tari languages but that did not stop the brotherhood that developed between Leme and myself.  Personally, I disagree with provincial day events and provincial flags. It only separates our unity as Papua New Guineans. I believe we should do away with promoting provinciality as it only stereotypes us into classes. Natural disasters like the Rabaul Volcanic eruptions in 1994, Aitepe Tsuanmi in 1998 and recent disasters at Manam, Kadovar and Mendi have brought back that unity of independence in 1975 despite our Provincial barriers.  Learning of how Bougainville supplied aid to the victims of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Southern Highlands is a classic example of this story. The bottom line is that we unite in times of disaster and emergency despite our cultural differences is a phenomenon worth considering in reforming our government of the day, its country values and our constitutional rights.”

Scott mentioned in another article that “…in the last 10 years, the monopoly of information has shifted from government to citizens…” and “…in a disaster prone country like Papua New Guinea, it is crucial that we review our processes and use our resources better..” which I totally agree with. There is no civil defense set up in Papua New Guinea unlike most countries. I am not referring to the PNGDF or the National Disaster Center in Port Moresby but non-combatant civilians, volunteers trained in the capacity of providing humanitarian relief work. This can be taught in schools by reforming education curriculums and the national qualification framework to train civilians at all levels of education.

If we really value National Security, as citizens we should not take sides in the political arena while the current sovereignty of our nation and democracy is being manipulated by greed, foreign gain and power.  Unity in times of disaster should be the same when it concerns the governance of national security.

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Act will not censor social media: NICTA

Source: Looppng

The Cybercrime Act will not be used to gag public complaints in the media.

Charles Punaha, the National Information and Communication Technology Authority (NICTA) CEO, said the Act, passed by Parliament in 2016, will not be a form of censorship on mainstream and social media.

“We respect freedom of information and speeches as provided for under the Constitution, but let me also specify that those freedom are referred to by law as qualified rights, meaning that people should not abuse those freedom to commit (crimes) against other people,” Punaha said.

“Our code will be developed within the confines of the law, the existing legislation and mindful to facilitate and respect the freedom provided for.”

However, many of Loop PNG readers think the Act is a smokescreen by the government to protect them from public scrutiny, especially on Facebook.

These are some of the comments on our news site.

“It is censorship your highness. You are telling us to watch our mouths when criticising public, elected officials – a norm in any democracy. Isn’t that the same as prohibiting people from watching certain movies, etc?” wrote a reader.

“People or so-called leaders are pushing around to have media under their control. (It) is to protect themselves from their corrupt practises so where does this freedom of speech come in play, shame on you leaders for pushing this agenda around to pass that law,” Arnold Mara commented.

“We need freedom of speech in our country! We all know that the media in PNG is being controlled by the Government, we need social media to expose corruption and the truth on our Parliamentarians and senior public servants’ immoral and unethical behaviours,” another reader commented.

Meanwhile, under the new Act, the three mobile phone operators must register all their users before the end of 2017.

“We remind subscribers that the number of days has been reduced, and we have 12 months left and they must register now,” Punaha said.

He added that they are in constant dialogue with the mobile operators and are confident with the current progress of SIM card registration.