The Government Websites Experiencing Technical Difficulties? The Internet's Got Your Back
If you’ve recently tried to access any government-hosted websites, you might have noticed that the Philippines has run into a spot of technical difficulties.
Last week, the DICT issued a statement saying that “The Government Web Hosting Service (GWHS) is experiencing hardware failure on one of its storage systems that is affecting its overall function. As a result, several government websites are currently down and inaccessible.” They also added the reassurance that the servers were not hacked. There has yet to be an announcement regarding the timeline for the servers to get up and running.
Of these affected websites, one is the Official Gazette, the official national publication and public journal of the presidential office of the Philippines. History student Kristoffer Pasion also took to Twitter to alert the citizenry that a few significant articles regarding Philippine history appear to have gone missing.
Just found out that two articles in the Official Gazette have been deleted. Thank God 4 @waybackmachine. These articles are here. Save 'em and read 4 the dark days ahead.— Kristoffer Pasion (@indiohistorian) July 3, 2018
"Declaration of Martial Law"https://t.co/t8K2mqT3MQ
"Fall of the Dictatorship"https://t.co/tujc8uDEyP
Pasion later tweeted to correct himself, acknowledging that the missing articles may be attributed to the fact that the entire site was down.
Just found out that OG site is down, as has been told to me here. DICT announced prob in their system around the same time I tweeted. Let's still give gov the benefit of the doubt, but I retain this tweet so people are informed that articles are archived. https://t.co/zaRHH5bA9w— Kristoffer Pasion (@indiohistorian) July 5, 2018
Thankfully, the Internet is made to be a self-healing entity that makes provisions for this kind of eventuality. It's like Wolverine, only as a decentralized digital presence instead of a fictional superhero. Thanks to the virtual magic of Google caches, both of them remain easily and legally accessible on a third-party website known as WayBackMachine.com. WayBackMachine is a portal to a worldwide archive of digital content.
In 2016, both articles were also published in an online book by the PCDSPO, the office that manages the Official Gazette, entitled “Heroism, Heritage and Nationhood,” under a chapter about Martial Law. The book is free and can still be downloaded online. It is described as a “compendium of essays and features from the Official Gazette and the Presidential Museum and Library websites.”
That said, this isn't the first time the Official Gazette has been questioned about missing articles. In October 2016, several articles about the gains of the Aquino administration went MIA. Prior to that, in September 2016, the Official Gazette was also called out for a social media post about former president Ferdinand Marcos. This post was first edited, then deleted, and then reposted with a different caption—but not before angry Filipinos left comments on the post. The Official Gazette issued a statement saying that they were "not in the business of revising history."
Be that as it may, while we are at the mercy of servers and digital publishing, let’s thank our stars for digital archives that keep Philippine history accessible for all discerning readers. It's 2018, after all, not 1984.