“National Pride Over a Virus in the Philippines”

Mydans, Seth

The New York Times, May 5, 2000

In Manila a lot of Filipinos feel proud that one of their own composed the computer virus that in its several versions “crippled e-mail systems around the world. ‘’Yes, the Filipino can,’ cheered The Manila Standard under the headline, ‘The country’s first world-class hacker.’ ‘Fellow students swelled with pride at the drab little computer college where the 23-year-old student, Onel de Guzman, had outlined something close to the rogue program in a thesis proposal. ‘It was wrong,’ conceded one of them, ‘but amazing.’” Mr de Guzman in a news conference admitted that ‘”it is possible’ that he had unleashed the program that caused tens of millions of dollars of damage in 20 countries.” His lawyer suggested that the student “was not really aware that the act imputed to him was done by him. The Philippines are so far behind in the cyperspace race that they don’t even have any relevant laws for making Mr. de Guzman’s act a crime. And they have so few computers that the student’s act didn’t really harm the Philippines itself very much. ‘’Hey, here is a Filipino genius who has put the Philippines on the world map,’ wrote Art A. Borjal today in The Philippine Star, a daily newspaper. ‘And who has proven that the Filipino has the creativity and ingenuity to turn, for better or for worse, the world upside down.’ He blamed developed nations for creating a vulnerable computer technology and said that the home-grown virus was something that will ‘make foreigners look at Filipinos with hidden envy.’”