Archive for the ‘current events’ Category

Nanay Mameng at 83

February 11, 2011

She became known as the small but firebrand speaker during the protest actions leading to the People Power II uprising that ousted then president Joseph Estrada. Protesters from all walks of life, from the urban poor to well-dressed women from the elite, went near the stage whenever she spoke during rallies.


MANILA — On February 8, among the thousands who celebrated their birthday in the country and around the world, one person stood out in the hearts and minds of urban poor Filipinos.

“I hope God would give me a longer life so I could continue serving the Filipino people,” Carmen “Nanay Mameng” Deunida told on Tuesday as she celebrated her birthday together with residents of Sitio San Roque, an urban poor community in Quezon City where threats of demolition still loom. Food were brought by Nanay Mameng’s colleagues.

Nanay Mameng is an icon of the urban poor struggle in the Philippines. Having been born and raised in an urban poor community, herself, she understood well what they need from the government. For more than three decades of active participation in the people’s movement, Nanay Mameng said it is her comrades and entire urban poor communities who inspire her.

Residents of San Roque in Quezon City offer a song for their beloved Nanay Mameng.(Photo by JANESS ANN J. ELLAO /

“They were hurt and some were jailed. But they continued to fight (for their rights),” Nanay Mameng said. When asked about her birthday wish, Nanay Mameng said, without hesitation, victory for the people’s struggle to eradicate poverty in the country.


Nanay Mameng became an activist at the age of 50, making her the oldest member of the former urban poor youth group Kabataan para sa Demokrasya at Nasyunalismo (Kadena or Youth for Democracy and Nationalism) during the Marcos dictatorship.

In 1983, she became a community organizer of urban poor women’s group Samahan ng Maralitang Kababaihang Nagkakaisa (Samakana or Association of United Urban Poor Women) where she later became its chairwoman for 11 years. She became known as the small but firebrand speaker during the protest actions leading to the People Power II uprising that ousted then president Joseph Estrada. Protesters from all walks of life, from the urban poor to well-dressed women from the elite, went near the stage whenever she spoke during rallies.

“At that time, there were attempts to bribe Nanay Mameng to the tune of P1 million or around $23,000, with promises of jobs for her children and grandchildren to stop her from joining rallies but she did not accept it,” Bea Arellano, chairwoman of urban poor group Kadamay where Nanay Mameng is emeritus chair, said. In fact, Nanay Mameng continues to live in Leveriza, an urban poor community in Pasay City.

Arellano said Nanay Mameng, despite her old age, remains to be sharp in her analysis of issues. She continues to participate in protest actions and is a known critic of the nine-year rule of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who she dubbed as “Gloria Macapal-ang-mukha Arroyo.”

When President Benigno S. Aquino won during the May 2010 elections, Nanay Mameng warned that if his administration would be no different from the previous one, she would be among the very first to denounce the newly installed government.

Wanting to Reschedule Her Birthday

A simple birthday celebration for Nanay Mameng.(Photo by JANESS ANN J. ELLAO /

Nanay Mameng is so frustrated with the Aquino administration that she wanted to move her birthday, which fell on February 8, to another date as it also coincides with Aquino’s birthday. “But If we are talking about the fact that my birthday also coincides with that of Joma’s, (referring to International League of Peoples’ Struggle chairman Jose Maria Sison) and nationalist Claro M. Recto, I would jump with joy,” she told The two were also born on the same day.

For the urban poor, the Aquino administration is insensitive to their conditions because his programs consist mainly of the conditional cash transfer scheme, public private partnerships, budget cuts on basic social services, railway fare hike. Urban poor groups also criticized Aquino’s decision to buy himself a “third hand” Porsche.

But no matter how much Nanay Mameng wished her mother had given birth to her earlier or later than February 8, Carlito Badion, vice chairman of Kadamay, said that there is a reason why her birthday coincides with Aquino’s. “This is to show how the two chose to serve the interest of the masses, but one, Nanay Mameng, is genuine, and the other one, Aquino, is not.” (

Probe Arroyo Too, Groups Urge

February 11, 2011

Fr. Joe Dizon of Pagbabago said the recent expose´ on corruption inside the military is another test to the current administration. “This is a golden opportunity to show that he is serious [in fighting corruption].”


MANILA – In the light of a series of revelations on corruption within the military, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should also be investigated.

“The previous government allowed this sordid practice to remain because it kept the generals happy at a time when Arroyo’s rule was being threatened by calls for her ouster. Apart from the corrupt generals, the corrupt commander-in-chief should also be probed for her possible complicity in all this,” Renato Reyes, Jr., Bayan secretary general, said.

In an interview with, Fr. Joe Dizon, spokesman of Pagbabago!, said corruption inside the military was tolerated by Arroyo in exchange for their allegiance and loyalty. “She overused the military compared to Ferdinand Marcos even if there was martial law then. Arroyo did not only use the military to get rid of her critics but also to stay in power,” said Dizon citing the 2004 election fraud. “Not even Marcos did that.”

The 2004 elections were marred with massive fraud. Not a few military officers were implicated in the controversial “Hello Garci” tapes, the wiretapped conversations allegedly between former Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcillano and Arroyo.

Dizon said the recent expose´ on corruption inside the military is another test to the current administration. “This is a golden opportunity to show that he is serious [in fighting corruption],” Dizon said but noted that the Aquino government is “too slow” in resolving the problems of corruption.

Dizon said Arroyo should have been arrested since the day she stepped down from power. He said there is enough evidence to prosecute Arroyo, citing the evidences gathered for the many impeachment complaints filed against her but were seemingly swept under the rug.

“He [Aquino] is projecting that he is clean. But it is unacceptable to be just clean without doing anything decisive. If he wants to convey a strong message then it should be as loud as the wang-wang (referring to sirens that Aquino ordered banned),” Dizon said.

The activist Catholic priest added that if Aquino has strong political will, he could prosecute Arroyo and other corrupt officials as well as retired AFP comptroller Major General Carlos Garcia and his cohorts.

“Reform in the government does not start from eradicating corruption alone. There has to be an overhaul in the social structure, in which the government is led only by the elite,” Dizon said during an interview with Bulatlat. He pointed out that for as long as the leaders of the government have their personal interest in mind other than serving the Filipino people, there would always be corruption.

“Anti-corruption is a continuing advocacy. People should be vigilant even if there is a new government,” Dizon added.

In a separate statement sent through email, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said: “There can be no rectification of past crimes without true accounting and punishment of top criminals in the government and military.”

Foot Soldiers and Junior Officers

“The large-scale corruption and luxurious lifestyle of top government military officials and their families have always hit a sensitive nerve among the Armed Forces of the Philippines’s foot soldiers and junior officers who bear the brunt of reduced and delayed salaries; unpaid life insurance; lack of housing, medical, pension and other social benefits; theft of their combat rations and substandard field equipment bought with huge kickbacks,” the CPP said.

CPP said widespread demoralization exists among the middle and lower ranks of the AFP, “not only because such mega-plunderers are in command, but also because rank-and-file and junior officers are the ones being used as cannon fodder in a losing war.” (

Philippine Agencies, State Schools That Promote GMOs Are Violating the Law — Casiño

January 29, 2011

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said agriculture agencies and government-ran agricultural schools are mandated by the law to promote organic farming. So why are they promoting genetically modified crops like Bt eggplant?


MANILA – Government agencies and institutions that are supposed to promote organic agriculture in the Philippines are violating the law because these, too, are proponents of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said this week.

Casiño said Congress should investigate the involvement of these agencies and institutions in promoting GMOs, which critics deem harmful to humans and the environment.

“Congress, through its Committee on Agriculture and Food, has to look into the cases of testing and releasing genetically modified organism (GMO) crops into the Philippine environment,” Casiño said.

He expressed incredulity that the proponents of Bt eggplant in the Philippines, particularly the Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Plant Industry and the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and other state colleges and universities, are the same entities tasked to spearhead organic agriculture in the Philippines.

Bt eggplants. (Photo from

“Field tests on Bt eggplant runs counter to organic agriculture law and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, a protocol to which we are a signatory,” Casiño said. “By allowing the field tests and even by merely planning to sell Bt eggplant in the market, these agencies are breaking the law and, much worse, they are putting public health at risk.”

Among the schools that participated in recent field tests of Bt eggplant is the University of the Philippines- Mindanao, which was forced to uproot and destroy the crops after the local government issued a cease and desist order in December.

Republic Act 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act was signed into law on April 6, 2010. The main premise of this law was that the government should promote, propagate, develop and implement the practice of organic agriculture in the country.

Casiño said the National Biosafety Framework of the Philippines and the Local Government Code of 1991 were also ignored when it came to government decisions relating to Bt eggplant.

Article 2 of the Cartagena Protocol states that the “development, handling, transport, use, transfer and release of any living modified organisms are undertaken in a manner that prevents or reduces the risk to biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health.”

An anti-GMO poster from Bayan Muna.

Organic Food Festival

Last week, party-list groups Bayan Muna and Anakpawis party-lists opened the Organic Food Festival at the House of Representatives to showcase sustainable agriculture produce such as organic red rice, organic lettuce and organic basi wine.

There were also organic plants in lightweight pots, such as aloe vera, spinach, oregano, tarragon, and lemon grass. Bunches of organic pechay were also sold, as well as tomatoes, chili, and bottles of organic honey. The produce were sold in booths sponsored by various people’s organizations and sponsors.

The festival also featured a forum on safe and sustainable food, and planting techniques which organizers said can help the country attain food self-sufficiency and bio-safety. There was also a lecture on urban farming and organic agriculture.

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño emphasized the need for organic farming.

The activity was also co-sponsored by Resistance and Solidarity against Agrochem TNCs (Resist), Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa pag-unlad ng agrikultura (Masipag), Sibat, TFIP, Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Searice.

Casiño said that they held the event to popularize their advocacy on food security and biosafety issues among other legislators as well as employees in congress. He said there is a serious need to look into the government’s programs when it came to attaining food security while keeping tabs on bio-safety that involves public health and has impact on the environmental.

Serious Concerns

In the last decade, progressive farmer organizations led by KMP and scientist groups have been campaigning against the commercialization of GMOs — hybrid rice, BB Rice, Bt Corn, hybrid papaya and other genetically altered produce because of serious health and environment concerns.

In September last year, Bayan Muna launched what it called an all-out war against the Bt eggplant, a genetically engineered eggplant that is allegedly resistant to a local pest, the Fruit and Shoot Borer.

Bt (Bacillus Thuringiensis) is a toxin-producing germ which, when embedded into the eggplant, makes it resistant to the insect. The Bt eggplant is a GMO designed to produce an insecticide that is present in the whole plant and concentrated in the eggplant itself. Bt eggplant was introduced for field testing in the Philippines by Maharastra Hybrid Seeds Company Ltd (Mahyco) in a few areas, but this 2011, it’s being introduced to the commercial market.

Mahyco is affiliated with Monsanto, the same US-based biotech company that introduced Bt corn in the country and is foremost proponent of GMO.

Casiño said the Department of Agriculture should not have allowed Bt eggplant field trials in different sites across the country in the drive to commercialize it this year. Through the DA, the Bureau of Plant Industry has been given the go signal to conduct Bt eggplant field trials in Sta. Maria, Pangasinan; Bae, Laguna; Pili, Camarines Sur; Baybay, Leyte; Sta. Barbara, Iloilo; UP Mindanao, Davao City; and Kabacan, North Cotabato.

Casino said that it was good that residents and local governments were putting up a fight against the field trials. “We support the LGUs of Sta. Barbara, Iloilo and Davao City in their opposition to the ongoing field test trials in their area. They are all against the planting of Bt Eggplant in their areas,” he said.

Casiño has already filed House Resolution 237 which directs the Committee on Agriculture and Food to investigate the current field trials as it violates the laws on organic farming as well as regulations on environmental safety.

An anti-Monsanto crop circle in Mindanao. The bio-tech company has been accused of propagating GMOs and of using force and intimidation to corner its market. (Photo by Melvyn Calderon / Greenpeace)

“It is high time that Congress look into this issue to come up with better government policies on bio-safety that will help us attain long-term safe and sustainable food for the people,” Casiño said.

Organic agriculture versus GMOs

Organic farming is said to help condition and enrich soil fertility, increase farm productivity, reduce pollution and destruction of the environment, prevent the depletion of natural resources, further protect the health of farmers, consumers and the general public, and save on imported farm inputs.

A specific section of the law, Section 3(b), defines organic agriculture as including all agricultural systems that promote the ecologically sound, socially acceptable, economically viable and technically feasible production of food and fibers.

While it also includes the use of biotechnology and other agricultural practices, it was explicitly stated t that biotechnology does not include GMOs.

According to research of anti-GMO groups, Bt genes could cause cancer and tumors once ingested into the human body.

The group Masipag said there should be an immediate stop to the field trials as these may pose irreversible damage to the surrounding native crops and potential health hazards to the communities.

“Even now we have yet to receive reports if the said crop would be safe to eat and would offer no harmful effects to the environment. If there are no safety data, it is imperative that the field tests be stopped to protect the surrounding communities from the potential hazards of GMOs, Bt eggplant in particular,” it said.

Unfortunately, as a counter-effort to the proliferation of GMOs, organic farming has yet to fully take off in the Philippines. Advocates find it ironic because prior to the arrival of foreign transnational and multinational corporations (TNCs and MNCs) during the American occupation in the 1940s, agriculture in the Philippines was purely organic.

Workers prepare to uproot Bt eggplant at the University of the Philippines-Mindanao after Davao City mayor Sara Duterte stopped the field tests. (Photo from

“Philippine agriculture is heavily dependent on these TNCs and MNC, and many of them are pesticide manufacturers,” said Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano. He added that the effects of pesticide use on the environment also had tremendous impact on the small farmers.

“Before the widespread application of agrochemicals, their rice farms also provided them with fish, snails and other viands for free. It’s the TNCs in agriculture and the full support the government gives them that makes it very hard for farmers to return to organic farming.”

According to Mariano, nine out of 13 big pesticide companies in the country are foreign firms, including Monsanto, Dow, Novartis, Aventis and Bayer. They control 85 percent of the market. Even the few Filipino pesticide companies have to import almost all materials.

Organic farming against climate change

Organic farming does not use any synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. This does not put pressure on the soil and the environment at large. The process makes extensive use of natural fertilizers like manure and bio-fertilizers composed of helpful microorganisms which are capable of providing nutrients to the plants.

In the meantime, proponents and consumers of organic food testify that organic food is tastier and more nutritious than conventional food. They cite various experiments that have reportedly confirmed that organic foods have more amounts of vitamin C and minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron than their conventional counterparts. Organic foods are also rich in phenolic compounds and other antioxidants which play a protective role in heart diseases and cancers.

“So not only eating is planting organic food good for the environment, it’s also good for you,” said Casiño.

Finally, the festival organizers said that the call to switch to organic farming has become more urgent in the face of climate change as the Philippines is considered a vulnerable spot for the phenomenon’s effects, which include massive flooding, sea-level rise and drought.

Experts from Masipag and TNC Resist said that organic agriculture production systems are less prone to extreme weather conditions. It increases the soil’s organic matter content and improves water holding capacity and makes crops more resistant to drought.

Organic farming also contributes to the fight against climate change as it reduces carbon emissions from farming system inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides, methane, CO2, and CO emissions in lowland rice paddies because of effective water management. (

In Isabela, Soldiers Pretend to Be Guerrillas; in Davao, They Don’t Even Try

January 29, 2011

Residents of Jones, Isabela, told a fact-finding mission that the soldiers would present themselves as New People’s Army guerrillas and try to extract information from them. Human-rights advocates called it harassment and that it illustrates the extent the Philippine military has gone to try to suppress the 42-year-old communist movement.


Sidebar: In Davao, ‘New’ Military Tact Vs. NPA Terrorizes Residents

JONES, Isabela – What gave the men away was their behavior. “They looked intimidating and asked questions arrogantly,” said Marjun Dacuso, a 29-year-old resident of sitio Dibulod in this town in the northern Philippines.

The men, around 20 of them, came to the house of Marjun’s brother Marvin on January 7. They disguised themselves as members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA), wearing camisa de chino, the poor man’s shirt, and parachute pants, supposedly a favorite pants of guerrillas. Some wore combat boots and were carrying firearms.

“But we had a feeling that they were soldiers because of their approach,” Marjun said.

Jones resident Marjun Dacuso: “They were arrogant.” (Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil /

The incident, which the Dacusos related to members of a recent fact-finding and mercy mission to Isabela, illustrates the extent the Philippine military has gone to try to suppress the 42-year-old communist movement. Human-rights advocates say this visits by soldiers is a form of human-rights violation.

“President Benigno S. Aquino III said his government’s new internal security plan is different. Well, based on what we found during our mission, it is not that different from what happened in the previous administrations. There rights of civilians are still being violated,” said Nardy Sabino, secretary-general of the Promotion of Church People’s Response.

Sabino’s group was among those that organized the fact-finding and mercy mission in Isabela on January 21. Led by the human-rights group Karapatan, Manila-based and organizations from Isabela visited this town to gather data on human-rights violations allegedly committed by members of 77th Infantry Battalion.

Marvin Dacuso says the soldiers destroyed his crops. (Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil /

In the case of the Dacusos, it was pure harassment.

Marjun said his wife, Malou, 30, rushed to him in the morning of January 7 about the men who arrived at his brother’s house. “When I came to the house, two men, who introduced themselves as commanders, approached me. They were convincing me to go first to a hut but I refused. Then they asked me where the anniversary celebration of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was held. I told them I don’t know anything about it,” Marjun told the mission.

The CPP marked its 42nd anniversary on Dec. 26 and held public celebrations in several parts of the country. The NPA is the armed wing of the CPP.

The two men, according Marjun, kept asking him about the whereabouts of their “comrades” because they would continue the celebration. He stood by his first answer. Then they asked him to guide the men around his house. “They looked around the house, they saw my camouflage hats, and one of them said, ‘You have these? Maybe you’re an NPA?’”

That’s when Marjun confirmed that these men who were representing themselves as rebels were not NPA guerrillas.

“Because I kept telling them that I knew nothing about the anniversary, one of them put aside his firearm and came toward me as if about to hit me. When I sensed it, I immediately distanced myself from him,” Marjun said.

The men stayed for about an hour. They ransacked house. “When I came to my brother’s place, it was already messy. The men cooked rice and took it with them,” he said. Marjun said his wife was so traumatized “she was shaking.”

The soldiers also destroyed the Dacusos’ crops. “It’s okay if they cooked our rice, maybe they were really hungry, but they should not have ruined our place,” Marjun’s brother, Marvin, told the mission.

Residents of Jones, Isabela, complain to members of the fact-finding mission. (Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil /

Other residents, whose identities are withheld for their security reasons, related to the mission and to that on Jan. 10, four armed men approached some 12 farmers working in their farm. The men, according to the farmers, asked them if they have seen their “kadua” (comrades). They said they got separated from the others.

The farmers said they saw no one, but the men stayed for an hour just the same. One of the four men even took a video of the four farmers. Later, the farmers saw the same men with a group of about 30 soldiers in their uniforms.

Fernando Dumalawon, another resident, also narrated that his son Rene, 24, and his companion Ronald Agustin, 22, were slapped by men who introduced themselves as members of NPA on Jan. 6.

Fernando said a neighbor told him that he witnessed how armed men hurt Rene and Ronald. The neighbor “said the two were being forced to tell the men where the camp of the NPA was. But since they did not know, they were slapped.”

Rene and Ronald were formers rebels and immediately left their place after the incident and have not gone back since, according to Fernando.

Part of the mission was a discussion on human rights. (Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil /

The PCPR’s Sabino said most of the residents that they interviewed were all scared to talk about the militarization in their area. Some said that while soldiers are not seen in the morning, they know that they roam at night because the dogs would bark. Out of fear, many of the residents moved to other villages.

Marvin Dacuso also said members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) accompanied these soldiers. “Some of the Cafgus were from the Visayas who are now living in sitio Dima, barangay Minori,” Dacuso said.

As part of the mission, the participants held discussions with residents about basic human rights. The mission also provided relief goods and schools supplies to the residents. A medical mission was also held, benefiting some 300 residents. (

State, Weak Justice System Blamed for Impunity in Killings of Journalists, Activists

November 29, 2010

“We stand not at a crossroad, but at a precipice.” — Atty. Jose Manuel Diokno


MANILA — Impunity, according to human-rights lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno is the “dark side of accountability.” It is, he said, a thousand guns aimed at perceived enemies of the state.

Impunity, said Frank La Rue, a Guatemalan academician and the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, is a state policy. La Rue cited as reasons for the prevalence of impunity: a weak state, state negligence, or a conscious policy of the state. By not investigating a case, the state gives the message that it could be repeated over and over again. Thus, said La Rue, impunity multiplies geometrically.

To end the culture of impunity in the country is the call of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Southern Mindanao as they spearheaded a protest rally and liturgy together with the National Union of Journalist of the Philippines and other progressive groups gathered around Rizal Park, Davao City a day before the 1st anniversary at of the Ampatuan Massacre that killed 58 individuals. (Photos by Jose Hernani /

To stress his point on impunity, Eric Mallonga of the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law and the UP Law Center Institute of Human Rights, cited the massive violations committed during the implementation of the counterinsurgency program Oplan Lambat Bitag during the administrations of Cory Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos and how this “total war” policy of the Philippine government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines is being implemented up to now.

Malloga said there is no clear policy statement that this “total approach” to counterinsurgency is no longer being implemented. “Low intensity conflict intensifies,” he said. Low intensity conflict refers to the counterinsurgency strategy developed by the US Armed Forces, which is still the framework of counterinsurgency operations being implemented up to the present, especially by countries that are allies of the US and hosts of its troops, such as the Philippines.

This was how impunity was defined and dissected in a forum with the title “Journalism Asia Forum 2010: Media and the Culture of Impunity,” which was held at the Manila Hotel last November 23 and was sponsored by the Southeast Asia Press Alliance (SEAPA). The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism are the Philippine members of SEAPA. Representatives from Indonesia Ms. Bina Bektai of Tempo, a Jakarta based news magazine, and Thailand Mr. Anucha Charoenpoh, a senior reporter of the Bangkok Post shared their experiences with impunity in their own countries. The forum was also participated in by SEAPA delegates from the different Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Myanmar, among others.

While the forum was meant to discuss the problem of impunity in the killings of journalists — especially on the day which marked the first year anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre that claimed the lives of 58 people, inlcuding 32 journalists — and the legal remedies available in the pursuit of justice, it could not help but touch on the whole question of justice, or the lack of it, in the country up to the present.

To end impunity in the country, Diokno, Mallonga, and La Rue were one in saying that there is a need to pursue justice and strengthen the justice system in the country.

In the massacre site, progressive groups join the families of the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre in commemorating the 1st anniversary as they call to end impunity, to seek justice for all of the victims of human rights violations in the country and to trial former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the primary violetator. (Photo by Jose Hernani /

Diokno pointed to the excruciatingly slow grind of justice in the country as the reason behind the dismal record of convictions of those responsible for the killings and the need to amend the rules of court through legislation or by an act of the Supreme Court. Specifically, Diokno said, the courts should allow the “perpetuation of testimony” so that witnesses could have their testimonies recorded immediately to be able to move on with their lives. According to Diokno, a case that normally takes two to three years creates a tremendous amount of pressure on the witness who has to endure being under confinement for his or her protection while the accused roams freely. What happens is that witnesses decide to get out of the program and are either killed or intimidated. He also pushed for the strengthening of the Witness Protection Program (WPP). Not like in the US, Diokno said, the Witness Protection Program in the Philippines does not provide for the relocation of witnesses and their families. After the case, the witness is practically left on his or her own. Mallonga added that not only are there very few convictions, those convicted are only the truggermen and not the masteminds. He also batted for the plugging of loopholes in current laws and available remedies.

La Rue said the formation of an international body such as the Comision Internacional Contra Impunidad en Guatemala that would investigate the killings of journalists and activists could contribute a lot in pursuing justice for the victims and strengthening the state and its justice system toward ending impunity. However, he said, it would require a lot of humility on the part of the government and the president to admit that the justice system is weak and that it needs outside assistance. Also the government needs to formally request for a partnership with the United Nations and to solicit the support of a group of funders.

Meanwhile, La Rue said, to push press freedom forward, there is a need to decriminalize the freedom of expression, referring to laws that constrict it such as laws on libel and censorship.

On the other hand, journalists should professionalize and be accountable to the public, not to the state because that would constitute censorship, said La Rue. Journalists should also be wary of media conglomerates, which control what and how news would be broadcasted and published.

In any case, La Rue stressed, violence against journalists must end, citing reports that the Philippines ranks first in the list of countries with the most number of cases of violence against journalists. Joining the Philippines in the top five are Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Mexico. Somalia is under a violent civil war; Iraq and Afghanistan are being occupied by the US, which has been encountering stiff resistance from local armed groups; in Mexico the drug war has turned increasingly violent.

The speakers called on journalists, organized groups and the general public to continue the fight against impunity. “We stand not a crossroad but at a precipice,” Diokno concluded. (

Justice Secretary, Journalists Agree that Ampatuan Massacre Trial Crucial in Addressing Impunity

November 29, 2010

“The case of the Ampatuan massacre is not just a matter of prosecuting individuals. It also requires the neutralization of the whole machinery of violence and brutality that is fueled by power, political influence and wealth.” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima


MANILA – “When the powerful and the wealthy kill journalists, there has been a pattern in which they could get away with it,” said Luis Teodoro, deputy executive director of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR). In his speech before the delegates of the seventh Congress of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), he called on the Aquino government to address the problem of killings of journalists.

Since 1986, NUJP said, 141 journalists have been killed. One hundred seven were killed under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government and one under the new administration of Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

“Impunity continues because of the weaknesses of the justice system,” said Teodoro who is also a former dean of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communications (UP-CMC). Only four cases have been more or less resolved, he added.

Teodoro said the justice system cannot operate effectively. “Prosecutors are afraid either because the police and military are in collusion with the perpetrators or the police and military are involved in the killings,” he said, adding that CMFR studies prove this.

Teodoro cited the case of Edgar Damalerio, managing editor of the weekly newspaper Zamboanga Scribe and a commentator on DXKP radio station, who was shot dead on May 13, 2002 in Pagadian City. Police officer Guillermo Wapile is the primary suspect in Damalerio’s murder.

“There is a shortfall in the number of prosecutors. They are overworked, [saddled] with hundreds of cases… There is also a lack of enthusiasm to prosecute killers of journalists,” Teodoro concluded.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, in her keynote address to the NUJP Congress, admitted that “prosecutors do not yet have the right mindset when it comes to dealing with killings of journalists.”

De Lima is advocating for prosecutors to get involved in the case build up, as is the practice in the United States. “In the Philippines, the practice is that prosecutors are not involved in the gathering of evidence. But they know which evidence would be admissible in court. So I have been encouraging prosecutors to get involved at the investigation stage. However, prosecutors helping in the case build up would be different from those conducting the preliminary investigation.”

Teodoro said the Aquino government can enhance the witness protection program of the Department of Justice, reform the prosecutorial service by raising the salaries of prosecutors and hiring more prosecutors.

Private Armies

Teodoro also pointed to the reality of warlords and private armies such as in the case of the Ampatuan massacre. “Government security forces have themselves been privatized. It’s a situation encouraged by the central government. Security forces become independent power themselves. It is the police and military who have exclusive monopoly over arms,” he said.

“Disband private armies, CVO and CAFGU. This is do-able on the part of government but the government won’t do it,” Teodoro said.

When asked about the plan of the Aquino administration with regards the numerous calls to disband paramilitary groups, de Lima said Aquino is still studying the matter. She said the military reasoned that they lack manpower for counterinsurgency operations.

“If that is the policy, something like the Ampatuan massacre will occur again,” Teodoro predicted. “Without disbanding private armies, there will be that constant danger.”

Combating Impunity

Teodoro said punishment for the perpetrators of the Ampatuan massacre is especially crucial. It would send the message whether these crimes would be tolerated or not.

Justice will be served, de Lima assured the journalists. “We recognize the personal stake each of you has in this trial. After all, aside from the Ampatuans and the others accused, what is on trial here is our whole criminal judicial system.”

De Lima is supportive of the call for live coverage of the Ampatuan massacre trial.

The case of the Ampatuan massacre “is not just a matter of prosecuting individuals,” said de Lima. “It also requires the neutralization of the whole machinery of violence and brutality that is fueled by power, political influence and wealth.” (

Environmental Groups Intensify Opposition to Planned Expansion of Coal-Fired Power Plants

November 29, 2010

A typical coal power plant generates an average of 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide… 500 tons of small airborne particles…720 tons of carbon monoxide… 225 pounds of arsenic… and 114 pounds of lead, four pounds of cadmium, other toxic heavy metals, and trace amounts of uranium which are all poisonous and carcinogenic.


MANILA – Coal-fired power plant is the most hazardous energy source in the world but despite its dire effects, the national government plans to construct at least four new coal power plants by 2012 and is targeting to increase the local production of coal by 250 percent by 2015.

According to Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE), more coal-fired power plants will be constructed in the provinces of Isabela, Zambales, Negros Oriental and Occidental, Davao City, Saranggani, General Santos, and Sultan Kudarat.

There are already nine existing coal-fired power plants in the Philippines which are operating in Sual, Pangasinan; Masinloc, Zambales; Mauban and Pagbilao, Quezon; Toledo City and Naga, Cebu; La Paz, Iloilo, and Semirara, Antique and Villanueva, Misamis Oriental. By December of this year, Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC) will start to operate in Iloilo, while Korean Electric Power Co. (Kepco) in Naga, Cebu was also set to operate next year.

“The hazards of coal fired power plants is well discussed in numerous international studies, but here in the Philippines, there seem to be a deliberate attempt by the government to ignore these health and environmental impacts as well as the pleas of the communities against coal fired power projects,” said Meggie Nolasco, public information officer of Kalikasan-PNE.

After his US trip last September, Aquino boasted of bringing home $3.7 billion in investments. Part of this potential investments would be coming from Marubeni Corp, which plans to rehabilitate and expand the 1,200-megawatt (MW) Sual and 735-MW Pagbilao coal-fired power facilities in Luzon.


How dirty could the coal-fired power plant be?

A typical coal power plant generates an average of 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide which causes acid rain; 500 tons of small airborne particles which can cause chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma, and premature death and lung diseases; 720 tons of carbon monoxide which causes headaches and place additional stress on people with heart disease; 225 pounds of arsenic which is carcinogenic; and 114 pounds of lead, four pounds of cadmium, other toxic heavy metals, and trace amounts of uranium which are all poisonous and carcinogenic.

Coal-fired power plants produce electricity through coal. The coal, a sedimentary rock is the main material in producing energy. It is burned to produce heat; this heat coming from the burning coal is used to generate steam that is used to spin one or more turbines to generate electricity. Coal is composed of carbon along with variable quantities of other elements, sulfur, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.

However, the generation of harmful byproducts in coal burning depends on the efficiency of the process. Dr. Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of Agham said if the coal is made of pure carbon, its byproduct is carbon dioxide. But the country’s coal is not high grade; it is not pure carbon. “Not all coal available here in our country are pure, there are other materials contained in the coal and some of these are even radioactive.”

In an interview with Bulatlat, Tapang explained that if the coal is not burned efficiently, the radioactive materials contained by coal would be emitted through the ashes coming from the burned coal. This would definitely affect the community surrounding the coal-fired power plant. “We oppose this because it does not only contribute to climate change but also has vast effects on the community and the people.”

Companies running coal-fired power plants claim that there are new technologies to ensure that people’s lives and the environment would not be at risk, said Tapang. “According to them there are ways to ensure the efficiency of coal burning like liquefying the coal (grind it into fine powder and mix it with other materials). But still, if the burning process is not efficient the plant would still emit substances in the atmosphere. And there would still be liquid wastes that have to be disposed somewhere and would have effects on the community.”

Impact on Health

On Oct. 14, PEDC had a second test run of its 164 megawatt coal power plant in Barangay Ingore La Paz, Iloilo. According to the local urban poor organization Kadamay, the residents complained of ground tremors, loud noise and foul fumes. During the test run, the communities were covered by smog. Kadamay added at least eight children from the affected village, aged eight months to 14 years old, were hospitalized after inhaling fumes from the plant and exhibiting symptoms of sickness, such as headaches, dizziness and nausea.

A medical mission conducted in Naga, Cebu in December last year by the group of Dr. Romeo Quijano, a professor at the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in University of the Philippines(UP) -College of Medicine, proved that coal-fired power plants greatly affects people’s health. The Salcon Power Corp. (SPC)-Kepco operates in Naga.

According to a news report, people who accidentally inhaled coal ash from the operating coal-fired power plant affects their upper respiratory system. In Barangay Poblacion, Naga, 34 of 97 patients have upper respiratory infections. Some of the diseases acquired by the people within the community of Naga are hypertension, urinary tract infection, Musculosketal disorder that affects the body’s muscles, joints, tendons ligament and nerves, Koch’s pulmonary or tuberculosis and other lung-related diseases like pneumonia and acute bronchitis, arthritis, errors of refraction, malnutrition and postural hypertension among others.

Nolasco said increasing the number of coal-fired power plants in the country is misguided and downright disastrous.

Contradiction in Prevention of Climate Change

The Philippines participates in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), an international treaty that sets general goals and rules for confronting climate change.

According to Kaliksan-PNE, coal is identified as the single major source of carbon emission and air pollution in the world. “Coal accounts for one third of the emissions of global greenhouse gases, the primary cause of climate change and global warming. The power industry consumes most of the coal produced and coal-fired power plants, the main technology used to convert coal to electricity, is known as one of the dirtiest power generation technologies.”

“This contradicts our country’s commitment to prepare people to adapt to the effects of climate change and to protect people’s health,” Nolasco told Bulatlat.

Moratoruim on Coal-Fired Power Plants

On Nov. 24, Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women’s Party, Anakpawis Act Teacher’s Partylist and Kabataan have filed a house resolution calling for the immediate moratorium on the construction and/or expansion of all coal-fired power plant projects in the country until 2050.

The organizations under the Network Opposed to Coal Power Plants (No to Coal Power Plants) supported the resolution.

Nolasco, also the spokesperson of No to Coal Power Plants said the resolution “is in response to the Aquino administration’s push for two new coal power plants in Iloilo City and Cebu province to operate early next year and its commitment to foreign and local energy companies to construct four coal power plants in the country.”

However, the group clarified that they are not calling for the closure of existing coal power plants in the country. The moratorium until 2050 only goes with the deadline set by the UNFCC to stabilize global carbon emission, climate change, and global warming. The group also said that by 2050 there would be a 52 percent increase of greenhouse gas emissions if the trend in carbon emissions continues. This would result in a rise of global temperature by 1.7 – 2.4 degrees centigrade.

“Imposing a coal moratorium in the country is a big contribution to combating global warming. More so, avoiding the use of coal for power will alleviate our dependency to imported fossil fuels and dirty power technologies. Given the right policies and programs on energy, the government can definitely provide a cheap, stable and clean power supply to the Filipino people, without sacrificing the welfare of our communities and environment,” Nolasco said.

Privatization of Electric Power Industry

Tapang said there are other alternatives for generating power and the Philippines has one of the highest potential in the world in terms of geothermal resources. Added to this, Tapang said, the country’s solar and wind power potentials are more than enough to replace existing power generation.

Other indigenous renewable energy sources are biomass and water. Tapang said these industries needed only to be tapped and developed.

“It is the responsibility of the government to build the power plants and generate, transmit and distribute the electricity in the country. However, the government privatized the National Power Corporation (NPC) and let private companies to develop the electric power industry,” Tapang explained, citing the Electric Power Industry Act of 2001 (Epira). “The problem is these private companies will not build plants if they will not gain profits,” said Tapang.

“The government should have developed other energy sources like renewable energy instead of passing an anti-people law like Epira,” Tapang explained. (

Filipino Journalists Face Another Form of Impunity: Violation of Labor Rights

November 29, 2010

In a speech at the seventh Congress of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), labor lawyer Nitz Mahinay said there is impunity not only in the killing of journalists but also in the violation of their rights to self-organization and job security.


MANILA – Contrary to perceptions that journalists enjoy glitz and glamour, journalists and media workers suffer the same job insecurity and appalling conditions no different from other Filipino workers.

In a speech at the seventh Congress of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), labor lawyer Nitz Mahinay said there is impunity not only in the killing of journalists but also in the violation of their rights to self-organization and job security.

Mahinay noted that contractualization in the Philippine media industry has become rampant. The use of in-house manpower agencies owned by the principal employer is one of the latest tactics employed against media workers. Such is the case of the ABS-CBN Internal Job Market (IJM) employees. Despite the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) decision in favor of the workers, the ABS-CBN management did not reinstate the dismissed workers and even continues to retrench them.

Delegates of the NUJP Congress spoke of various work arrangements that violate labor rights such as volunteer reporters, talent and technical staff, correspondents, among others. Some owners of media agencies also deny the existence of an employer-employee relationship.

Journalists suffer from scandalously low remuneration with some being paid per story, per commission, or with very low wages. Benefits such as insurance and hazard pay are rare, if given at all. Journalists are hardly protected from the risks of the job with no protective clothing or insurance.

Mahinay said the Supreme Court and the DOLE are ‘not consistently upholding the law.’

Propose Actions

The Congress adopted a resolution addressing this concern. The NUJP resolved to:

1. ensure the installation of a data base system that would provide the necessary information about the different working conditions of journalists in the different media, regions, and provinces to enable the union to plot out strategies and tactics to promote the rights and welfare of NUJP members,

2. study and make recommendations regarding the most effective and workable form of organization that would promote the rights and welfare of NUJP’s members, in particular, and journalists, in general such as, but not limited to, an industry union, federation, alliance, etc

3. promote education on unionism among NUJP chapters and members through the publication of a primer, the conduct of seminars on unionism and labor rights, among others

4. assist chapters and members in organizing a union and addressing their rights and welfare concerns

5. study and recommend laws, amendments to laws, policies and procedures that shall advance the rights and welfare of journalists

“We should go to the basic of organizing ourselves,” Mahinay told journalists. (

ABS-CBN Defends Firing of 41 Workers (So Far)

July 19, 2010

The network said it is “not dismissing or retrenching employees.” Instead, it describes the dismissals as an “ongoing process.”


MANILA — Since the employees of the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN’s internal job market (IJM) decided to form a union in March 2009, they thought that as employees of the giant network that calls everybody a “kapamilya” (family member), they would also be treated as such. But so far they have met only disappointment and “dirty tactics” as ABS-CBN belied the message of its own station ID in the course of denying them recognition and crushing the union.

One of the issues the union has been fighting for is regularization on the job. The thousand-strong IJM pool, composed mainly of seemingly “permanent contractuals,” comprise about half of the ABS-CBN workforce.

Now, as the profitable network engages in a series of regularization schemes that unionists have dubbed as “bogus,” “discriminatory” and the latest offer as “long-term contractualization,” the unionists are bracing themselves and urging the rest of the employees to “stand up for your rights, assert that the IJM employees should have been regular employees.”

Since June 17, some 41 employees of IJM have been terminated from their job or denied work schedules and access to the network’s compound over the issue of regularization and union-building.

But in a statement emailed to the media, Bong Osorio, head of corporate communication of ABS-CBN, said they are “not dismissing or retrenching employees.” Instead, Osorio describes what is happening as an “ongoing process” that is “not a mass termination or dismissal.”

Osorio explained that they “want to move on with the employees that want to work with us and help make us bigger and better.” He is referring to the selected employees in the thousand-plus IJM pool whom they recently offered with, and accepted, either long-term or program contracts.

This, however, constitutes “constructive dismissal,” said IJM unionists, because the “regularization package” is loaded with conditionalities that few self-respecting employee or unionist could swallow. For instance, wage reduction for the same job.

A Case of Contractualization

ABS-CBN is a leading media network in the Philippines with consistently rising profitability. Today it expects a “blockbuster” 2010 with net income likely doubling to P3.4 billion ($74,090,215), up from its earlier projection of P2 billion ($43,582,479), from P1.7 billion ($37,045,107) in 2009, which for its part represents a 23 percent increase from its net income in 2008 of P1.4 billion ($30,507,735).

ABS-CBN is owned by the Lopezes, one of the wealthiest Filipino families who supported President Benigno Aquino III’s campaign. It is also a family known for having recovered its wealth and stature through the help of the first Aquino administration. This network prides itself of its strong advocacies and public service.

But the network is apparently engaged in crushing the union of its IJM workers and continuing its drive to hire permanent contractual employees.

In a language that affirms what its workers have been complaining about before the Department of Labor and Employment, Osorio said: “The individuals in the IJM were engaged to render service under non-regular positions, which means they could freely work in two or more capacities within the network, and even outside ABS-CBN that will have a need for their talents and skills.”

But why are positions in IJM non-regular? The said IJM workers, according to its union, have been working with ABS-CBN for years already. “We should have been regularized long ago,” said Alain Cadag, vice-president of IJM workers’ union. “One year of continued service to the company is enough for us to be considered regular employees according to the Labor Code, and we are working for this company from 5-22 years already!”

The union also argues that there is really no “new regular positions” being created, because the ABS-CBN is offering it to existing IJM employees. “If they are really granting regular status to some IJM employees, then it follows they knew that the IJM is performing work that are necessary and desirable to the company,” the union said in a statement, adding that it is again another basis for regularizing all of the longtime employees with the IJM.

What and who is the IJM? Based on Osorio’s statement, the IJM is “a database of accredited technical or creative individuals” engaged to render service under non-regular positions. It is a “pool” from where ABS-CBN is now hiring for “limited regular posts.”

Before the labor department the ABS-CBN said it is the IJM that employs the individuals in IJM workers’ union, not ABS-CBN itself. This argument led to the non-recognition of the IJM workers’ union. But then Osorio said in his statement that the IJM “is not a labor agency of ABS-CBN.”

“Whether you call it as database or workpool, IJM is ABS-CBN. Who owns IJM? Who owns ABS-CBN? They are one and the same. We should not have been contractuals, we should have been regulars here,” said Cadag of the IJM Workers Union.

The union slammed the “improved packages” Osorio said they were offering with their “new regular positions.”

In a statement, the IJM workers’ union explained that they “refused their offers because (1) there is a waiver of pending cases against ABS-CBN; (2) the salary offered is (only) 50% of what we’re earning as IJM; (3) years of tenure are waived; and (4) it is a move to bust the union.”

Osorio said they are not union-busting but the union said the ABS-CBN management’s supposed regularization offers are calculated “to lessen our members to eventually bust the union.”

“ABS-CBN is moving in step with the ever evolving multi-media industry landscape, and we are treating this issue driven by the company values of fairness, honesty and transparency,” Osorio underscored in his statement.

The union said it hopes the management truly meant that. (

Pascual Guevarra and the Struggle for Land

July 19, 2010


MANILA — The death of 78-year-old farmer Pascual Guevarra is not a result of a personal feud but of a long struggle for land.

Guevarra was shot dead inside his house by a lone gunman in barangay San Isidro, Laur, Nueva Ecija, around 4:30 p.m., July 9. The killer whisked away with a male companion on board a black motorcycle without a license plate. They headed north.

Guevarra was preparing the evening meal at the kitchen located at the back of the house when a man in his mid to late 30s, fair skinned, 5’5” in height, medium built, wearing a light blue shirt, denim pants and a hat quickly walked towards him and pulled a handgun tucked in his waist.

A photo of Pascual Guevarra (Photo courtesy of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas /

The shots were heard by Ronnel Villoria, the victim’s grandson who was tying their carabao in the yard. He immediately rushed inside the house and saw the assailant standing over his wounded grandfather. Ronnel grabbed the assailant from behind and tried to wrest away the gun. He continued to struggle with the gunman until the latter broke free and shot Ronnel in the shoulder. The gunman hurriedly ran outside.

Guevarra’s daughter Lilibeth, who also witnessed the shooting, brought his father to a hospital in the nearby town of Bongabon but he was pronounced dead on arrival. Lilibeth’s four-year-old son Jebhet Prince also saw how his grandfather was killed.

In an interview with Bulatlat, Lita Mariano, spokesperson of Amihan, said that Guevarra was under surveillance for almost one month.

Amihan is an organization of peasant women and a member of the fact-finding team organized by the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL), an affiliate of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

Mariano said that Guevarra’s relatives said that two men frequented their house, one pretended to be a buyer of used-bottles and the other an icedrop vendor. Both men, whose faces were always covered, stopped going to their place a week before the shooting.

Lilbeth also noticed, on two occasions, a black Hyundai Starex van with red license plate (government owned) passed slowly by their house. She first noticed it at 4:00 p.m. the day before the shooting. The same vehicle went back in the morning of the shooting while they were conducting a bible study.

On July 5, while Guevarra and other farmers were at the Department of Agriculture Region 3 office, Byrone dela Cruz of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) District 3 of Nueva Ecija went to see him at his house. He found Lilibeth instead who told him where her father was. Dela Cruz left a message for Tatay Pascual that the farmers affected by the DPWH projects would now be paid. He also told Lilibeth that he was coming back on Friday, July 9 and specifically told Lilibeth to tell her father not to leave the house on the said date. He also asked where Lilibeth’s husband was and took both of their mobile phone numbers, then left. Dela Cruz never came back on the day he said he would.

Not a Mere Land Dispute

Site where Tatay Pascual Guevarra was brutally murdered while preparing to cook for dinner.(Photo courtesy of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas /

In its spot report, the local police of Laur said that the motive behind the killing is a mere land dispute. The police, however, did not identify any suspect.

Lilibeth told the fact-finding team that the family strongly believes that the military, particularly the 7th Infantry Division (ID) of the Philippine Army, was behind the killing.

Mariano said Guevarra had always been at the forefront of the struggle for the 3,100 hectare land located inside the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR), home of the 7th ID.

“It is clear that Tatay Pascual’s death is not due to a personal feud,” Mariano said, reacting to President Benigno S. Aquino III’s recent statement that the recent cases of extrajudicial killings are due to personal grudges. “It is the struggle for land,” she said.

In another interview, Anakpawis party-list Rep. Mariano who also joined the fact-finding team, said there is an Army detachment one kilometer away from the place of the incident and the perpetrators sped away toward that direction. “The killers were not at all afraid to be apprehended,” he said.

Historical and Political Context

In 1956, President Ramon Magsaysay issued Presidential Proclamation Order No. 237 declaring the 73,000 hectares of land in Nueva Ecija as a military reservation. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) uses 15,000 hectares of the 73,000 hectares as a camp and training ground.

By 1991, the Corazon Aquino administration allotted 3,100 hectares of FMMR to peasants displaced by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption through a Transfer of Deed between the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Agrarian Reform. By virtue of this Deed of Transfer, over a thousand peasants and other residents were awarded Certificate of Land Ownership Awards or CLOAs.

But on 24 June 2008, the newly-appointed commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division, Brigadier Gen. Ralph Villanueva, wrote to Mr. Orlando Tumacay, the Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer (Paro) of Nueva Ecija requesting the latter to revoke the awarded CLOAs and to defer the issuance of new ones pending the litigation of a case filed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) against the DAR before the Court of Appeals.

The residents in the 3,100 hectares organized themselves and formed Almana to oppose the 7th IDPA’s plan of evicting them from their community. Almana sought the help of the AMGL and conducted a fact-finding mission on 5-6 October 2008. Since then, Almana has actively lobbied and held dialogues with concerned agencies regarding the farmers’ plight. Guevarra was always present in these dialogues with the military and Department of National Defense (DND).

Rep. Mariano said Aquino should act immediately on the case of Guevarra, underscoring that the 1991 deed of transfer was anchored on the executive orders issued by his mother Cory.

Last week, Rep. Mariano filed House Resolution 64 directing the House of Representatives’ committees on human rights and agrarian reform to jointly probe the killing of Guevarra.

“It is imperative that the joint committees on human rights and agrarian reform immediately conduct the inquiry upon its formation. The lives of farmers in Fort Magsaysay are now under threat,” Rep. Mariano said.

According to Tanggol Magsasaka, 561 farmers have been killed since 2001 and 119 of whom are KMP leaders.

“There seems to be no difference [between Arroyo and Aquino],” Amihan’s Mariano said. She said that the recent spate of killings reminded her of the peak in extrajudicial killings in 2006. “That time, within 24 hours, five activists in Central Luzon were gunned down.”

Five activists have already been killed in the first ten days of the Aquino administration. (

International Groups Ask Aquino to Institute Transparent, Participatory Process for Selecting CHR Chair

July 19, 2010


The pending appointment of former Akbayan Rep. Loretta Ann “Etta” Rosales to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) would violate United Nations’ standards for human rights commissions and may cause the downgrading of status of the country’s rights body.

International bodies are urging the Aquino administration to establish a participatory process in choosing and appointing the next chairperson of the independent Commission on Human Rights. Just as the issues of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and other human rights violations are an international concern, so is the independence of the CHR.

International groups wrote to President Benigno S. Aquino III raising concerns about the appointment of the next CHR chairperson.

“It will be important that the appointment procedures you adopt can be held up as international best practices so that the next CHR Chairperson can start on a firm foundation,” said Rooslyn Noonan, chairperson of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC). The ICC, the worldwide association of rights commissions and ombudsmen, is recognized by the UN as the body that accredits human rights commissions according to their compliance with the standards known as the Paris Principles.

The Paris Principles, also known as the Principles Relating to the Status of National Human Rights Institutions, were adopted by the U.N. General Assembly through Resolution 48/134 of 20 December 1993.

The Paris Principles states:
1. The composition of the national institution and the appointment of its members, whether by means of an election or otherwise, shall be established in accordance with a procedure which affords all necessary guarantees to ensure the pluralist representation of the social forces (of civilian society) involved in the protection and promotion of human rights, particularly by powers which will enable effective cooperation to be established with, or through the presence of, representatives of:
( a ) Non-governmental organizations responsible for human rights and efforts to combat racial discrimination, trade unions, concerned social and professional organizations, for example, associations of lawyers, doctors, journalists and eminent scientists;
( b ) Trends in philosophical or religious thought;
( c ) Universities and qualified experts;
( d ) Parliament;
( e ) Government departments (if these are included, their representatives should participate in the deliberations only in an advisory capacity).

The ICC laid down the following criteria for the selection and appointment process: there should be a transparent process, broad consultation throughout the selection and appointment process, advertising vacancies broadly, maximizing the number of potential candidates from a wide range of societal groups and selecting members to serve in their individual capacity rather than on behalf of the organization they represent.

In another letter, the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF), said that the failure to undertake such a process may be seen as breaching the Paris Principles and may lead to a review of the accreditation status of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines.

In a separate letter, the international NGO, Civicus, wrote to Aquino: “We ask that you guarantee the independence of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines in line with the United Nations’ Principles Relating to the Status of National Human Rights Institutions.”

“The front-runner candidate should not have a problem with an open selection process, with her credentials and long advocacy. In fact, with this process, critics of candidates will have to make their negative statements in public, with some proof, instead of unsubstantiated comments to the press,” CHR Commissioner Cecilia R.V. Quisumbing said.

Losing the A-status

According to Quisumbing, the CHR has already been warned by the international accreditation body in its past review that the process of selecting its members does not meet the Paris Principles.

“It would be a shame to lose our A-status during the Aquino Administration, just when we’re all optimistic about a rights-focused government,” Quisumbing said.

An A-status means that the institution meets all the criteria set out in Paris Principles. It gives the CHR the right to make statements at the Human Rights Council, to make reports and statements to U.N. Committees that monitor compliance with each human rights convention, among others.

The rating of commissions and institutions for human rights are determined by the ICC.

Clear Bias

Former Bayan Muna representative and Makabayan president Satur Ocampo said Rosales is closely identified with Aquino. He said that Rosales’s Akbayan party played a role in Aquino’s campaign during the elections and was even part of the Liberal Party.

“Impartiality is the key in selecting the next CHR chair,” Ocampo said in a press conference, July 15.

Bayan Muna Rep, Teddy Casino said Rosales will not be an effective chair of the CHR. “She has been involved in many conflicts within the human rights community,” Casino said.

As then chairperson of the House Committee on Human Rights, Rosales showed clear ideological bias against members of the mainstream Left. “The primary victims of extrajudicial killings are from the mainstream Left, how would Etta handle this?” Casino said.

Karapatan, the premier human rights group in the country, has opposed Rosales’s appointment. “Ms. Rosales will not be objective in handling human rights violations cases,” Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Karapatan secretary general, said, “and will not have sympathy for victims of human rights violations and their relatives. Her dismal performance as Chairperson of the Committee for Human Rights at the House of Representatives was marked with prejudice against victims affiliated with our groups and network. It will taint, if not diminish, the independence of the Commission.” (

Prioritize Disaster Preparedness, Aquino Urged

July 19, 2010


MANILA – . When typhoon Basyang (international name: Conson) hit Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces last Tuesday night, killing 26, people living in disaster prone areas traumatized by typhoon Ondoy last September 2009 were on their feet getting ready for another catastrophe. But Basyang had more wind than rain and left hundreds of families homeless and rendered Luzon without electricity.

The horror of Ondoy still haunts people. Government, on the other hand, only reacts when disaster strikes. Thus, the Citizen’s Disaster Response Center (CDRC) challenged President Benigno S. Aquino III to prioritize disaster preparedness to prevent what happened last September 2009.

“Let’s not wait for the next disaster to hit the Philippines before we reinforce our systems,” said Lourdes Louella Escandor, CDRC executive director, in a statement, adding that early preparation is the best solution to natural calamities.

According to CDRC, the Philippines topped the list of countries most frequently hit by natural disasters, as revealed by the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT) being maintained by the Belgium-based Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED).
CRED also ranked the Philippines second to China in the top ten list of countries most affected by natural disasters in 2009 with 13.6 million people affected.

Poor: Vulnerable to Disaster

Giovanni Tapang of Agham said the vulnerability of the country to disasters is not just a function of the hazards that are present in the country because earthquakes, typhoons, flooding are “part and parcel of our geographical (and geological) location.” It is aggravated by poverty, lack of preparedness and proper disaster response, said Tapang.

It is not only typhoon Ondoy that wreaked havoc to the country as it has always been battered by at least 20 typhoons every year. Typhoon Uring in 1991 was recorded as the most deadly typhoon in the Philippines that killed around 6,000 people. Typhoon Pepeng in November 2009 was the most destructive with P27.3 billion (USD 608 million) worth of properties lost. In the face of these tragic losses, what does the government do to prevent deaths and loss of shelter and livelihood in the future?

Suyin Jamoralin, advocacy officer of CDRC, said that in reality, poor families are the most affected by the calamity. “That’s why we in CDRC define disaster as a result of a hazard that hit vulnerable communities that have no capability to overcome its destructive effects.

Jamoralin said the Philippine government relies on a knee-jerk response to disasters. “They still would not invest on disaster preparedness activities, rehabilitation and mitigation. Their prevailing framework for disaster management is still within the traditional approach, which is focused on emergency relief measures rather than rehabilitation and mitigation. They only act when disaster happens and it’s often dole-out.” She added that this framework is one-dimensional.

The Presidential Task Force on Climate Change (PTFCC) in 2008 is one of the many government agencies that do not fully work. Its tasks are to “design concrete risk-reduction and mitigation measures and adaptation resources, especially to address short-term vulnerabilities, on sectors and areas where climate change will have the greatest impact.” But still, many lives were lost during typhoon Ondoy.

Tapang said that PTFCC is one-sided, “it only looks at technical solutions like geoengineering, carbon reduction etc. They should also take into account the biggest factor in our vulnerability, which is poverty. It is relatively easier for a family in Forbes Park to recover from floods than a family in a barong-barong (small hut) despite being hit by the same hazard (like floods). The widespread poverty makes us more vulnerable to climate change-induced problems.”

The National Disaster Coordinating Council and Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council also functions only when disasters happen. Tapang added that “they rarely have preparatory practice.” Like what happened with Basyang, Metro Manila was unprepared not only because the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) missed the prediction but because it simply was not ready for any disaster at all (predicted or not). No systems were in place, no clear lines of communications etc. — these lead to problems especially in crisis/disaster events.”

Philippine government also received funds from different funding agencies (, but still, the government’s disaster response is not effective.

Community-based Disaster Management

CDRC pushes for Community-Based Disaster Management (CBDM). It is a comprehensive approach to disaster management with a development perspective.

Jamoralin said that central to this approach is people’s empowerment. “The people must be involved and participate fully in all aspects of the process to bring about development, including disaster management. They are involved in identifying potential risks and hazards to their communities, in building disaster preparedness committees (DPC) and in draftinf a counter disaster plan such as warning, evacuation plan, securing of resources, organizational arrangements and policies, evacuation drills and training of community leaders and members,” said Jamoralin.

Jamoralin said disaster management should be a holistic approach; it is not separate from people’s development. The CDRC, for example, does not only respond to disasters through relief, it trains communities on disaster preparedness; it has a program for mitigation (tree planting, seed banking, etc.), emergency response (relief delivery, evacuation center management, psychosocial services), and rehabilitation (reconstruction, shelter, livelihood, etc.). “Helping people help themselves” is the slogan they have been carrying for 26 years. It does not only lessen the communities’ vulnerability to disasters but also enables it to get rid of it.

But most of all, the government should address the root cause of disaster “which is people’s vulnerability stemming from social inequality and bad governance, especially anti-people policies. And these will not be solved only through relief delivery because disasters are not only caused by natural calamities, there is the underlying issue of poverty,” Jamoralin pointed.

Challenge to Aquino government

CDRC urged the new administration to fully implement the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 (RA 10121) which was signed into law by former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo last May 27 before she stepped down from office.

CDRC said that under the new law, the Calamity Fund, renamed as the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRM Fund), could now be used for disaster risk reduction or mitigation, prevention and preparedness activities. Before this law was passed, the calamity fund could only be tapped during emergencies. Escandor said the challenge to the new administration is to ensure that this law is fully implemented down to the barangay level.

However, only around P600 million ($12,967,365 at an exchange rate of $1=P46.27) has been left in the calamity fund.

Jamoralin added that the new administration should prioritize disaster risk reduction in the country and to be more pro-active and not reactive. “He should also address the root causes of people’s vulnerability to disasters.” (

Groups Slam Possible CHR Appointment of ‘McCarthyist’ Etta Rosales, Who Echoed AFP’s Line on Killings

July 12, 2010


MANILA — Various groups have expressed dismay over the reported impending appointment of former Akbayan representative Loretta Ann “Etta” Rosales as chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

According to reports, Rosales is the choice of President Benigno S. Aquino III but her appointment papers have yet to be released.

Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of the human-rights group Karapatan, said Rosales will not be objective in handling cases of human-rights violations. “Our experience bears out that Ms. Rosales has shown bias against victims of human-rights violations and advocates such as Karapatan,” Enriquez said.

Enriquez, a victim of the abuses during martial law, accused Rosales of creating divisions among the martial-law victims by agreeing to a compromise settlement with the Marcoses and establishing a separate group of victims that would, Enriquez said, choose “monetary settlement over justice for the entire class.”

Dismal Performance

Enriquez also described Rosales’s performance as then chairperson of the Committee for Human Rights at the House of Representatives as “dismal” and marked with “prejudice against victims affiliated with Karapatan and its network.” This, Enriquez said, will taint, if not diminish, the independence of the CHR.

In a separate statement, the labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno said Rosales merely sat on hundreds of resolutions seeking investigations into extrajudicial killings since 2001 when she was chairperson of the House Committee on Human Rights during the 13th Congress.

Red-baiting US senator Joseph McCarthy and Etta Rosales; Birds of a feather.

Enriquez said Rosales will not be able to earn the trust, confidence and cooperation of the victims and human-rights organizations affiliated with Karapatan.

Sounding like the Military

“Why appoint Akbayan party-list chair emeritus Etta Rosales, who has sounded like military butcher Jovito Palparan in linking legal progressive groups to the Communist movement, to the Commission of Human Rights?” KMU said in a separate statement.

The labor center noted that Rosales has echoed the military’s arguments in dismissing the extrajudicial killings of activists and civilians under the Arroyo regime as mere result of “internal purging” among communist ranks, and that legal progressive organizations are linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.

“Appointing her [Rosales] to the commission, which should solve the killings with impartiality, is highly unreasonable, if not insane,” said KMU executive vice-chairman Lito Ustarez.

Ustarez recalled that during the visit of Philip Alston, the United Nations’ special rapporteur for extrajudicial killings, to the country in 2007 to investigate the human-rights violations under Arroyo, Rosales echoed the military’s line that the killings were part of the “purging” allegedly being undertaken by the CPP.

In 2004, Rosales’s partymates in Akbayan accused the KMU, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), Migrante, among others, “as groups that are associated or working closely with the CPP.”

In January 2007, Rosales and Akbayan party-list released a statement asserting that “Bayan Muna continues to express sympathy toward the NDF.”

In April 2008, Akbayan members also filed murder charges against Bayan Muna Representatives Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casino, Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza and Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, citing again the so-called “internal purge” within the CPP.

“Such McCarthysist red-baiting is what the military uses to legitimize the black propaganda and brutal killings that it undertakes against members of progressive party-lists and people’s organizations,” Ustarez said.

KMU said it would campaign to block Rosales’s appointment to the CHR. “The Commission on Human Rights right now needs someone who has the resolve to hold the perpetrators of extrajudicial killings liable. Rosales clearly does not have that resolve. What she has is her fervor to link progressives to the CPP-NPA-NDF.”

“If you are going to appoint her, you might as well appoint someone like Norberto Gonzales or Palparan,” youth group Anakbayan told Aquino in a statement, referring to retired general Jovito Palparan.

Gonzales, former chief of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Nica), has been vocal in maligning partylist groups and people’s organizations as fronts of the CPP. As part of the then Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG), Gonzales also led the filing of trumped-up charges against critics of the Arroyo government.

Palparan, on the other hand, has been branded as “The Butcher” due to the trail of blood he left behind in areas where he was assigned. At the congressional hearings on extrajudicial killings, Palparan mouthed the same line as Akbayan.

Political Patronage

Anakbayan national vice-chairperson Anton Dulce said the possible appointment of Rosales is an obvious act of political patronage, exactly the thing President Aquino campaigned against during the elections. Akbayan actively campaigned for Aquino during the elections.

“This is the reward for their being Noynoy’s attack dog against progressives who were, and continue to be, critical of him and his policies,” said Dulce, referring to several statements made by Akbayan leaders and members, including former Akbayan representative Risa Hontiveros, against senatorial candidates Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza, accusing them of links with the CPP and NPA.

Transparent Process Sought

Anakbayan said there are certainly more qualified candidates than Rosales and her appointment runs counter to efforts to professionalize the CHR, as well as the entire civil service.

“President Aquino must think twice in appointing Ms. Rosales. He must heed the call of the CHR to subject the selection of the CHR chairperson to a transparent selection process in which human-rights organizations truly working on the ground will also be allowed to voice out their choice,” Enriquez said.

Enriquez added that Aquino should better choose someone from the current CHR commissioners.

In another statement, CHR officer in charge Commissioner Cecilia R.V. Quisumbing said that a participatory and transparent selection process is vital to the CHR’s standing in the United Nations and other international bodies.

The CHR, together with various human-rights groups, called on Aquino to establish a process for the selection of the CHR chairman that includes open applications and consultations with stakeholders as required by international standards.

Quisumbing said the CHR has already been warned by the international accreditation body in its past review that the process of selecting its members does not meet with the Principles Relating to the Status of National Human Rights Institutions, also known as the Paris Principles, which were adopted by the U.N. General Assembly resolution 48/134 of 20 December 1993. (

Political/Editorial Cartoon: P-Noy Killings

July 12, 2010

Editorial/Political Cartoon: PGMA’s Shield: CHACHA

July 9, 2010

Political/Editorial Cartoon: P-Noy is a Chained Smoker

July 6, 2010

Editorial/Political Cartoon: Power Play

June 9, 2010

Raping the Victim on Air

June 9, 2010

For the past few days, I’ve returned to my old habit: browsing the airwaves and listening for local news and commentaries.

Thanks for my tv gone, my radio has now my attention.

I happened to chance upon this Bombo and Super Radyo late night program, both discussing the rape incident involving a colorum taxi with a fake plate number, and a young lady, a nursing graduate and working as promo girl for Nestle Philippines.

I was apalled to hear that most of the texters are praising the criminal and villifying the victim. Some has gone too far by saying that the criminal is lucky to have a very young and pretty girl for the night, and some judged the girl almost automatically, as the real one to be blamed for her misfortune.

What enraged me most was the radio reporter and radio host show’s action: they read those kind of text messages on air, laughed and even agreed to some nasty comments, effectively sending a message to listening public that their distorted opinions and views on rape was correct.

What kind of media persons are these people? Grrrr. It seems to me that these colorum media persons are not knowledgeable about the ethics of reporting stories involving women and children.

The next time i hear them doing these very same thing, i’m going to name them.

Political/Editorial Cartoon: Post-Senakulo

April 25, 2010

Political/Editorial Cartoon: Erap Ghost

April 25, 2010

Political/Editorial Cartoon: Politically Marked

April 25, 2010

Political/Editorial Cartoon: Another Lutong Makaw

April 25, 2010

“Villarroyo”: Behikulo ni Noynoy at ng LP Pabalik sa Pwesto

April 22, 2010

Behikulo ni Noynoy sa Pagka-Pangulo
Behikulo ng mga Oportunista para Makabalik sa Pwesto

Sa kawalan ng sapat na mapagkakatiwalaang record bilang mambabatas ni Noynoy, at sa kakapusan ng mga argumento tungkol sa C-5, ang mga propagandista ng Liberal ay matagumpay na nakapagbuo ng panibagong katagang gagamiting sasakyan para sa maipanalo ang pampanguluhang halalan: ang Villarroyo.


Ang kanilang objective, ngayong di nila kayang patunayan ang akusasyon hinggil sa C-5(which is tantamount to tsismis), tuluyan na silang tumungo sa lantarang paninira, sa pamamagitan ng pagpipinta sa kanilang inaakalang mabigat na karibalng kaparehong kulay ng kinamumuhiang Arroyo administration.

Sa pamamagitan ng pagkakabit ng pangalang Arroyo kay Villar, umaasa ang Liberal na mag-iiba ang paningin ng mga botante sa kanilang kalabang kandidato, at lilipat ito sa kanilang kampo.

Ang ganitong linya ay masisilip sa mga pamamaraan ng CIA (pagkakalat ng tsismis lalo na sa rehimen ni Hugo Chavez ng Venezuela at Saddam Hussein ng Iraq) at ng AFP, pagsasabing ang mga aktibista ay mga komunista o kaya’y NPA. Ang ganitong taktika ng red baiting ang siya ngayong ginagamit ng Liberal para makapamingwit ng boto para sa kanilang kandidato. Kapansin-pansin ang pagflourish ng ganitong taktika ng gamitin din ito ni Rissa Baraquel sa pakikipagdebate niya kay Liza Maza ng Makabayan Party (Guest candidate ng NP) sa nakaraan nilang Harapan sa Channel 2.

Pero gaano katotoo ang “Villarroyo”? Gaano katotoo ang isang akusasyon na kinakabitan ng katagang “sikreto”? Kasing-totoo ba ito ng isyu ng Hacienda Luisita, na pinipilit ipalabas lang noon pa ng kampo ng Cojuangco-Aquino na tsismis lang? Kasing-totoo ba ito ng isyu na walang nagawa bilang mambabatas si Noynoy Aquino?

Ganitong klase ban g kampanya ang ipinamanang legacy nina Ninoy at Cory sa kanilang anak?

Nakaka-awang isipin na sa pagnanais ng anak na abutin ng walang hirap ang pinaghirapang maabot ng kanyang magulang, ay gagamitin niyang tuntungan ang mga dakilang pangalan ng mga ito. And much worse, ang magpagamit sa mga nakapaligid sa kanya at gumamit ng ganitong klase ng linya ng kanyang kampanya.

Ito marahil ang nakikitang dahilan ng yumaong Cory Aquino kung bakit ayaw niyang patakbuhin noon si Noynoy. Ganunpaman, unless katulad tayo ni Gng Arroyo na nakakausap ang Diyos, hindi na natin malalaman ang tunay na dahilan ni Gng Cory Aquino.

Matagal nang gamit ng LP ang “Villarroyo”. Ako man, sa mga unang linggo nito’y napaniwala. Pero habang tumatagal, napapansin kong ang “Villarroyo” ay hindi pinaputok para paigtingin ang kontra-Gloriang laban ng mamamayan, kundi gawing behikulo lamang para sa kanyang pagkapanalo.

Bakit ganito kasidhi ang hangarin ng LP na maipanalo ang halalang ito? Una, ang mga nakapaligid sa LP ay mga dating Cabinet officer na nakatikim na ng poder at nagnanais na makabalik muli sa kanilang marangyang pwesto. Nakapaligid din ang ilang malalaking civil society group sa pangunguna nina Dinky Soliman na nasabit na rin sa isyu ng katiwalian kung naaalala nyo pa ang isyu ng CODE-NGO scam. Ikalawa, si Noynoy ay mahinang Pangulo na madaling manipulahin kung sakali man. After all, kung si Gloria nga na nagmamagaling ay manipulated ng military, much worse si Noynoy. Ang kanyang track record ang magsasabi na wala siyang political will, walang politikal na buto.

Ibig sabihin, sa halalang ito, si Noynoy ay isa rin lamang behikulo. At para matupad ang kanilang pangarap, kailangan nila itong maipanalo. At para manalo, nabuo ang “Villarroyo”.

Political/Editorial Cartoon: Anti- FOE Move

April 21, 2010

Political/Editorial Cartoon: The Frog

April 21, 2010

Political/Editorial Carton: The Bat

April 21, 2010

Political/Editorial Cartoon: South Gun

April 21, 2010

Political/Editorial Cartoon: Transport Sector

April 17, 2010

Millionaires, Allies of GMA, Lead Nominees of Dubious Party-list Groups

April 14, 2010

By Anne Marxze D. Umil

Many party-list groups that have successfully made it to Comelec’s accredited list have questionable nominees and strong links to Ms. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said election watchdog Kontra Daya (Against Cheating) and Kabataan (Youth) Party-list. For nominees, these party-list groups teem with millionaires, former government officials, former police and military officials, even incumbent government officials. Many are proven allies of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In fact, based on the investigation of Kontra Daya, some are members of her family, and they include a son and various close relatives.

Legitimate party-list groups representing genuinely marginalized sectors and featuring nominees who have either been long-time members or advocates of these sectors, for instance Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela Women’s Party, and the Makabayan senatorial bets Lisa Maza and Satur Ocampo, have all filed a petition to disqualify the dubious party-list groups. They began last month with Ang Galing Pinoy (AGP) party-list, the so-called party-list group being represented by presidential son and outgoing Pampanga Representative Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo.

In pushing for the disqualification of the dubious party-list groups, the legitimate party-list groups and Kontra Daya cited the Party-list System Act, which provides that a party-list should be represented by those who belong to the marginalized and under-represented sectors. They also cited the rules on disqualification cases against nominees of party list groups, or Resolution No. 8807. Its Section 6 stated that party-list nominee must be “one who belongs to the marginalized and underrepresented sector/s, the sectoral party, organization, political party or coalition he seeks to represent…”
As of April 6, 2010, Kontra Daya has pinpointed at least 49 dubious party-list groups in the Comelec list. These party-list groups, they said, have questionable nominees, or nominees who are obviously not from any truly marginalized groups. Kontra Daya intends to submit the following list of dubious party-list groups to the Comelec for disqualification.

Party-list groups of the Rich, Connected and Powerful

1. 1st Kabagis Party-list – an Ilocano party-list group that claims to advocate for “widening the segments of economic development.” Jose Singson, Jr., brother of National Security Adviser Chavit Singson, is its second nominee.

2. 1 United Transportation Koalisyon (1-Utak) – a party-list group purportedly representing the transport sector, but its first nominee, former Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, has been the drivers’ nemesis in the past few years; he is the “spokesperson” of the oil cartel in justifying the overpricing of oil products , according to Piston (United Association of Drivers and Operators). Its second nominee is former Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) official Vigor Mendoza. Its third nominee is Homero Mercado, owner of the bus company HM Transport.

3. Aangat Tayo – a party-list group led by Teddie Elson Rivera, an official of the state-owned Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC). The group claims to represent labor, urban poor, elderly, women, youth, and the overseas workers. Its nominees include Rep. Daryl Grace Abayon, wife of Rep. Harlin Castillo Abayon (Lakas) of Northern Samar.

4. Abante Tribung Makabansa (ATM) – a party-list group that claims to represent the indigenous peoples and was endorsed by presidential adviser for Mindanao Jesus Dureza. Its first nominee is former Army Col. Allen A. Capuyan who was among those implicated by former T/Sgt. Vidal Doble in the “Hello Garci” controversy. According to Doble, Capuyan was among those who implemented “Project Lighthouse” or the wiretapping of personalities during his stint as head of the Intelligence Service of the AFP’s ‘special operations group.’ ATM’s second nominee, Reuben Dasay A. Lingating, is a former official of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). He is also a program officer of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

5. Abono Partylist – a party-list group that claims to represent the agricultural sector. The Abono party-list’s first two nominees are Robert Raymund Estrella and Franciso Ortega III. Both hail from the prominent Estrella and Ortega political clans, which are allied with the administration. Its third nominee is Jacky Rowena Lomibao, wife of former PNP chief Arturo Lomibao.

6. Abot Tanaw – its first nominee is Gerwyn See, husband of Sheryl Genuino-See, daughter of PAGCOR chairman Efraim Genuino. Sheryl See is also a nominee of Batang Iwas sa Droga Foundation, Inc. or BIDA party-list. The couple also own the Philippine master franchise of Mrs. Fields Cookie Cafe chain.

Its second nominee is Mario Cornista, a PAGCOR consultant. In their SEC registration, he is also named as chair of the board of directors of BIDA. Its third nominee, Tomas Toledo, is another PAGCOR consultant. Both BIDA and Abot Tanaw are thus closely associated with PAGCOR chairman Efraim Genuino.

7. Action Brotherhood for Active Dreamers, Inc. (ABROAD Partylist) – a party-list group that claims to support a speedier process for Filipinos seeking work abroad and combating illegal recruitment. Its first two nominees are Danilo Magsino Dy and Angela C. Dy. Danilo Dy owns the Montessori Professional College.

8. Agila ng Katutubong Pilipino, Inc. (AGILA) – a Baguio-based party-list group that claims to represent indigenous peoples. Its nominees include DILG undersecretary and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems administrator Orlando Hondrade, as well as former Quezon City councilor Restituto Malañgen.

9. Ahon Pinoy (AHON) – a party-list group that claims to speak for the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino workers and their families as well as of organizations of expatriates and immigrants. Its first nominee is Dante “Klink” Ang II, son of publisher Dante Ang who also heads the Presidential Commission on Overseas Filipinos. Its second nominee is Emerito Remulla from the influential Remulla clan of Cavite. Third nominee is Von Bryan Cuerpo, son of Rodriguez, Rizal Mayor Pedro Cuerpo.
10. AKO BICOL Political Party (AKB) – a party-list group that claims to advocate progress and development of the Bicol Region. Its first nominee is Christopher Co of the Co clan of businessmen who are reportedly also close to Ms. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Its second nominee is outgoing Legazpi mayor Noel Rosal. Its officers include Dr. Dennis Febueno of the Commission of Higher Education.

11. Alliance of Bicolnon Party (ABP-Bicolnon) – a regional political party representing Bicol, the Alliance of Bicolnon Party has the father-and-son tandem of architects Enrique Olonan and Henry Steve Olonan. The Olonans are a prominent family of businessmen from Catanduanes. Enrique Olonan has been a director of the Chamber of Real Estate Builders Association.

12. Alliance of Mindanao Elders (AME) – a party-list group that claims to advocate the interests of senior citizens throughout the country. Its first nominee is Alfonso Goking, a councilor of Cagayan de Oro City who is a member of the Lakas-Kampi coalition.

13. Alliance of People’s Organizations (APO) – a party-list group that claims to advocate the scrapping of the oil deregulation law. Its first nominee is former Ilocos representative Salacnib Baterina, a businessman and a known Arroyo ally. Its third nominee is Anna Marie Ablan, daughter of Ilocos Norte Rep. Roque Ablan Jr.

14. Alma sa Pagkahikahos at Ignoransya (ALMA) – a party-list group that claims to represent small farmers and fisherfolk, as well as the rural and urban poor. It also claims to have drawn most of its initial constituency from Central and Northern Luzon. Its second nominee Rodolfo Vicerra is the Director-General of the Congressional Planning and Budget Department of the 14th Congress of the Philippines.

15. Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD) – an anti-communist group believed to be supported by the AFP. Its nominees include the farther and son tandem of Pastor Alcover, Jr. and Pastor Alcover II. The elder Alcover calls himself an “anti-communist vigilante”.

16. Angat Ating Kabuhayan, Inc. (ANAK) – a party-list group that claims to represent the urban poor. Its first two nominees are former Police Senior Superintendent Eduardo Octaviano, Jr. and infamous “euro-general” Eliseo dela Paz.

17. Alagaan Natin Ating Kalusugan (ANAKalusugan) – a party-list group that claims to promote and safeguard the health of Filipino people. Its first nominee is Col. Roland E. Kempis, a doctor and Commanding Officer of the AFP Medical Center. According to the Department of National Defense website, Kempis also served in that capacity under Gilbert Teodoro and Norberto Gonzales. Its fourth nominee is presidential assistant Mohammad Ali Basir Lucman Magurang.

18. Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) – also formerly known as Guardians Party-list, a multi-sectoral national party claiming to represent security guards, tricycle drivers and vendors. Its first nominee is Pampanga congressman and presidential son Mikey Arroyo; second nominee is Lubao Mayor Dennis Pineda and third nominee is Bacolor Mayor Romeo “Buddy” Dungca. All three are elected officials in Pampanga and members of the ruling Lakas-Kampi coalition. It’s organizational documents are plagiarized from that of Bayan Muna.

19. Ang Kasangga – a party-list group that claims to represent small entrepreneurs. Its current representative is Ma. Lourdes Arroyo, sister of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. Its first nominee is businessman Teodorico T. Haresco. According to its website, Haresco is known for his involvement in the President’s Bridge Program, a sustained infrastructure and fast-track rural development project spanning over 14 years. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the PNOC.
In December 2005, British newspaper The Guardian ran an article on Mabey & Johnson Ltd., a British firm “accused of making excessive profits in an aid project, by building what their critics call bridges to nowhere”. The Guardian cited Haresco, of the President’s Bridges Program, as the Philippine contact of the British firm.

Second nominee is Eugenio Jose V. Lacson, a scion of the affluent Lacson clan of Negros, a three-term mayor of San Carlos City, Negros Occidental and a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) – United Negros Alliance. Last Jan.21, he endorsed the candidacy of administration bet Gilbert Teodoro.
Third nominee is Anna Maria Nava, the wife of current Guimaras Governor Felipe Nava. Fourth nominee is Enrique V. Martin, a Board Member of the Capiz provincial government.

Fifth nominee Segundo M. Gaston is the Senior Vice President for support and subsidiaries of the Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC)

20. Akbay Pinoy OFW-National, Inc. (APOI) – a party-list group that claims to support the cause of overseas Filipino workers. In its website, it describes itself as “an accredited organization of the Department of Labor and Employment…via a linkage with the Sentro ng Manggagawang Pinoy for a program organized by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration”. Its first nominee is Maj. Gen. Melchor Rosales, the administrator of the Office of Civil Defense and current DILG executive. Its fourth nominee is Katherine Mari S. Garcia, a lawyer for the Puno & Puno Law Offices whose clientele counts several multinational corporations as well as big Filipino businessmen like Henry Sy and the Aboitizes.

21. Alliance for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction, Inc. (ARARO) – a party-list group that claims to represent farmers. Its first nominee is former PNP Regional III Chief PC/Supt Quirino dela Torre. According to Kontra Daya, many have pointed out the irony that it was during his stint as police chief that the Hacienda Luisita massacre happened.

22. Association of Labor and Employees (ALE) – a party-list group that claims to represent workers. Its first nominee is Catalina Bagasina, Pampanga provincial board member, businesswoman and a known Arroyo ally. Bagasina owns a cargo forwarding company.

Erlinda M.B. de Leon, Ms Arroyo’s first cousin, is its second nominee. According to the Office of the President’s website, De Leon has served as a special assistant to the President.
Its third nominee, Ma. Michaela D. Magtoto, is the operations manager of the Prime Review Center.

23. Bago National Cultural Society of the Philippines (BAGO) – a party-list group that claims to represent the Bago tribe of Region I. Its president is Alexander Bistoyong, Ilocos Sur’s Provincial Consultant for Upland Municipalities and a former Board Member of the same province. Its third nominee is B/Gen. Manuel E. Mariano, Jr. who was the Asst. Division Commander of the 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army in 2008.
24. Bagong Henerasyon (BH) – a party-list group that claims to represent youth, women, and “the people of communities.” It has a husband and wife team as its first two nominees, former Quezon City councilor Bernadette Herrera-Dy and her husband businessman Edgar Allan D. Dy.

25. Bagong Bayan na Nagtataguyod ng Demokratikong Ideolohiya at Layunin (Bandila) – this party-list competed during the 2007 elections. Its nominees included retired police general Lucas Managuelod and Benasing Macarambon III, a scion of the wealthy and powerful Macarambon clan of Lanao. Nominees include Nilo Tayag and actor Juan Miguel Bondoc.

According to Kontra Daya, Tayag is a former activist who went over to the Marcos regime after a short period in detention during Martial Law. He helped organize support rallies for the Estrada regime at the height of the oust Estrada campaign. After Estrada’s ouster, he moved over to the Arroyo camp, and in 2006 was part of the “people’s initiative” charter change campaign called Sigaw ng Bayan, which was orchestrated by Arroyo allies. Until September 2009, he was being considered for inclusion in the senatorial lineup of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, the political party of the Marcos family.

Bondoc hails from a family of wealthy businessmen. He owns several businesses including the Benedictine International School of Quezon City.

26. The True Marcos (for God, Country and People) Association of the Philippines, Inc. (BANTAY) – a party-list group that claims to represent security guards, barangay tanods, etc. Current representative is Gen. Jovito Palparan. First nominee is Evangeline Palparan, wife of Gen. Jovito Palparan. Mrs. Palparan is a dentist in the AFP Dental Service.

27. Batang Iwas Droga (BIDA) – this was earlier assailed by watchdog Kontra Daya for being ineligible for party-list accreditation because it is a government-funded and initiated entity. Its first nominee is Sheryl Genuino-See, daughter of PAGCOR chairman Efraim Genuino. Sheryl See was also a previous nominee of Bigkis Pinoy, a partylist also affiliated with PAGCOR’s Genuino.

Other nominees of BIDA like Johhny Tan have been associated with the party-list group Bigkis Pinoy. It is not clear when See and Tan resigned from Bigkis Pinoy to become nominees of BIDA.
BIDA’s fifth nominee appears to be Special Prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio, who is presently a nominee for the Chief Justice’s position.

28. BUHAY Partylist – a party-list group that claims to protect and support the unborn, the sick, the disabled and others not capable of protecting themselves alone through observance of their basic right to live. BUHAY Partylist has father and son Mariano Velarde, Jr. and evangelist Bro. Mike Velarde as the first and fifth nominees respectively.

Mike Velarde is not only the leader of the Catholic charismatic group El Shaddai but is also a millionaire who owns Amvel Land Development Corporation. Buhay’s other nominees include William Irwin Tieng, whose family controls Solar Sports.

29. Confederation of Non-Stock Savings and Loan Associations, Inc. (CONSLA) – a party-list group that claims to represent savings and loan associations and their members. The financial assets of CONSLA members is reported to be up to P60 billion, with 5,000 individual depositors who have a deposit of at least P1 million each. Nominees include former Air Force Col. Ricardo Nolasco, Jr., former Navy Rear Admiral George T. Uy, and former Col. Samuel Padilla

30. Kabalikat ng Mamamayan (KABAYAN) – a party-list group that claims to represent transport workers, farmers and fisherfolk, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, anti-crime crusaders, overseas Filipino workers, government workers, industrial workers, urban and rural poor, migrant workers and seafarers, and students, youth and professionals. Its first nominee is Palace executive Ron Salo. Salo was undersecretary under the Office of the Executive Secretary of Eduardo Ermita in 2009. Before that he was with the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office.

31. Pilipino Association for Country / Urban Poor Youth Advancement and Welfare (PACYAW) – a party-list group that claims to represent urban poor youth. PACYAW is advocating sports development among the youth. Its first nominee is Department of Tourism Asst. Secretary Janet Rita B. Lazatin. She is a member of the Lakas-CMD party and hails from a prominent political clan in Pampanga. Its second nominee is businessman and former Los Angeles Consul Reynaldo Pineda, who is also based in Pampanga.

32. Philippine Coconut Producers Federation (Cocofed) – a party-list group that is comprised of both landlords and farmers as well as businessmen. Cocofed’s third nominee is Jose Lobregat, a scion of the wealthy Lobregat clan of Zamboanga who also owns a cable TV company.

33. SAGIP – Nominee includes former police general Romeo Maganto

34. Sulong Barangay Movement – a party-list group that claims to represent the marginalized, the underprivileged, the underrepresented and the less fortunate people, workers and officials of the barangays. Its first nominee is businessman and former vice-presidential candidate and Tarlac vice Governor Herminio Aquino, a grand-uncle of presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino.

35. YES WE CAN – its first nominee is Maynard Lapid, son of Senator Lito Lapid. Second nominee is Noah N. Nocon, kagawad of Brgy. San Lorenzo, Makati City.

36. Alliance of Transport Sector (ATS) – a party-list group that claims to represent the transport sector. Four of its five nominees are government officials, the first is Philippine Postal Savings Bank President and former Transportation and Communication Asst. Secretary Virgilio Montera. The rest of the nominees are Jaime Domdom, Leticia Gorospe, and Leopoldo Villarena – all officials of the DOTC’s Office of Transport Cooperatives.

37. Itinerant Vendors Alliance of the Philippines Inc. (IVAP) – a party-list group that claims to represent vendors. Its third nominee is Manggay M. Guro, mayor of Marantao, Lanao del Sur.

38. Ang Agrikultura Natin Isulong (AANI) – its first nominee is Roberto V. Rodriguez, mayor of Taytay, Palawan. The third is Jose Umadhay, an executive of the Philippine Phosphate Fertilizers Corporation (Philphos). The fifth nominee, Fiorello E. Azura, is a senior partner of the Azura Quiroz & Campos Law Offices, which represents Philphos.

39. Alagad Partylist – a party-list group that claims to represent the urban poor. Its nominees include Sergio Manzana, mayor of Pangil, Laguna.

40. Ang Mata’y Alagaan (AMA) – its third nominee is Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and former Sandiganbayan Justice Raoul Victorino.

41. Abante Katutubo, Inc. (ABANTE KA) – a party-list group that claims to represent indigenous peoples. Its first nominee is former Governor and Congressman Romulo B. Lumauig of Ifugao.

42. Agrarian Development Association (ADA) – a party-list group that claims to advocate the reduction of rural poverty through “dynamic approaches that will transform agriculture into a modern and competitive sector and ensures the sustainability of the agricultural economy.” Its third nominee is Teresita Victora Agbayani (a. k. a. Viktoria, a former singer) who is also a daughter of former Pangasinan Gov. Aguedo Agbayani.

43. Agapay ng Indigenous People’s Rights Alliance, Inc. (A-IPRA) – a party-list group that claims to represent indigenous peoples. First nominee, Eugenio Insigne, is an official with the National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP).

44. Alyansa ng mga Naulila ng mga Tagapagtanggol ng Bayan (ALNA) – a party-list group that claims to represent widows and other bereaved relatives of soldiers, policemen, security guards, and barangay tanods killed in action. Its first nominee is former PNP Diretor for Logistics Charlemagne S. Alejandrino.

45. Alyansa ng Media at Showbiz – a party-list group that supposedly represents media practitioners and the showbusiness community. Its second nominee is Dr. Manny Calayan who is a cosmetic surgeon with a chain of beauty clinics. He is joined by his wife Dr. Pie Calayan. He is not a media practitioner nor is he part of the showbusiness community.

46. Kababaihang Lingkod Bayan sa Pilipinas (KLBP) – its first nominee is Laguna Gov. Teresita Lazaro.

47. Alay Buhay Community Development Foundation (Alay Buhay) – is a foundation claiming to serve the marginalized. It is chaired by Science and Technology Undersecretary Fortunato dela Peña. The first nominee is Weslie T. Gatchalian, president of Wellex Industries Inc. The third nominee is Miguel B. Varela, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and former chairman and president of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines.

48. Ang Minero – a party-list group that claims to represent workers in the mining industry. Its fourth nominee is Joel D. Muyco, general manager and director of the Vulcan Industrial Mining Corporation. He is also the vice president of Wellex Industries Inc., of which Weslie T. Gatchalian, Alay buhay’s first nominee, is president.

49. Alliance for Community Transformation and Service (ACTS) – its third nominee is Ernesto M. Maceda, Jr. son of former Senator Maceda.

Malacañang Memo on Fielding Own Party-list Groups
Bogus party-list groups supported and funded by Malacañang have been fielded since the last elections. In 2007, progressive party-list groups have exposed a memorandum of the government’s Office of External Affairs (OEA), dated October 16, 2006, informing the president of the formation of a Special Concerns Group “which shall focus in the participation” of their own grassroots and allied NGOs and people’s organizations in the 2007 congressional elections. They requested P5.5 million to cover its electoral campaign.

Their specific objectives have been to: “1) provide full support to several Comelec-accredited party-list groups that are ascertained to be pro-administration and ensure winning nine to twelve seats in the House of Representatives; 2) form a party-list bloc that will support the plans and programs of the administration and help in countering destabilization moves by the opposition as well as the left-leaning party-list groups; and, 3) contribute in the over-all campaign to substantially lower the number of votes of leftist and left-leaning party-list organizations and in the process reduce the seats of this anti-administration parties in the House of Representatives.”

Kabataan Partylist named the party-list groups included in the OEA memo that were accredited by the Comelec to run in the 2010 elections. These include Babae para sa Kaunlaran (Babae Ka or You’re a Woman), League of Youth for Peace and Advancement (LYPAD), Kalahi, Agbiag! Timpuyog Ilokano, Inc. (Agbiag), Abono, Kasangga and Aging Pinoy.

The Kabataan party-list also included other pro-administration party-list groups with already dubious linkages with the government. These included: 1Ganap/Guardian, A-Teacher, Abakada Guro (Abakada), Adhikain ng mga Dakilang Anak ng Maharlika (Adam), Aksyon Sambayanan (Aksa), Ang Laban ng Indigong Filipino (Alif), Association of the Philippine Electronic Cooperatives (Apec), Alliance for Rural Concerns (ARC), Alliance of Volunteer Educators (AVE), Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (Banat), Bigkis Pinoy Movement (Bigkis), Butil Farmers Party-list (Butil), Cooperative Natcco Network Party (Coop-Natco), Kapatiran ng mga Nakakulong ng walang Sala (Kakusa), Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Veteran’s Freedom Party (VFP) and Youth Against Corruption and Poverty (Yacap).

Adam’s first nominee is Energy Undersecreatry Zamzamin Ampatuan, nephew of Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. who is implicated in Ampatuan Massacre. Aksa on the other hand, is National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales’s party-list, an organization of opportunist “yellow” labor leaders who frequently demonized the progressive party-list groups such as Bayan Muna, said a report from CENPEG (Center for People’s Empowerment in Governance). Aksa has likewise been regarded as a phony social democratic movement allegedly affiliated with Partido Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas (PDSP).

Banat, meanwhile, is a party-list group of the government’s Liga ng mga Barangay (Village League) and Sigaw ng Bayan (Nation’s Cry). Both are supporters of Arroyo’s Charter Change. Bigkis, on the other hand, is identified with PAGCOR chairman Efraim Genuino.

Coop-Natco was supported by the Department of Agriculture in the 2007 elections and initially by the president, too. Kakusa, another party-list group, has for its chairman emeritus the convicted child rapist and former Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo Jalosjos. It is supported by the Lamb of God Foundation and by the outreach program for elderly inmates reported to be established by Jalosjos.

Yacap’s current nominee, Rep. Haron Omar, is the brother-in-law of Rey Sumalipao who is one of the election officials implicated in the “Hello Garci” controversy for padding the votes of the president in 2004. (

Political/Editorial Cartoon: Middle Force

March 30, 2010

Political/Editorial Cartoon: Maguindanao Martial Law

December 27, 2009

Ampatuan Show

December 7, 2009

Moro-moro, paumanhin sa mga lehitimong moro, ito ang nakikita ko sa mga kaganapan sa Mindanao.

Bakit kanyo? Eto…

1. Ang deklarasyon ng martial law ay isang paraan para subukan ng Malakanyang ang opinyong publiko. Kung marami ang magagalit, mananatiling sa Maguindanao lang ang martial law. At kung marami ang magkikibit-balikat, maaari nila itong ilunsad sa buong bansa para kanselahin ang nalalapit na pambansang halalan, at apanatili sa pwesto ang kurakot na pamahalaang Arroyo.

2. Walang intensyong patawan ng parusa ang Ampatuan. Sa halip na ideklara silang terorista, idineklarang rebelde ng Malakanyang ang Ampatuan. Ang ending, maaaring ma-guilty ang Ampatuan, pero bibigyan yan ng amnestiya. Rebelde eh.



Invitation to Bikol Tattoo Convention 2009

November 16, 2009

DIGTA '09: 1st Bikol Open Tattoo and Bands Festival
October 22, 2009


Dear Fellow,

Good Day!

We are glad to inform you that we are going to hold the 1st Bikol Open TattooCon and Bands Festival on December 19, 2009, and that you, and your gang are invited.

Registration fee is pegged at P1,500.00 for each delegate. Proceeds will be used to finance two regular meals and three snacks, and the stipends for the speakers and judges.

Only official delegates are allowed to participate in competitive events.

Tentative venue will be the Naga City Gymnasium.

Attached is a copy of the programme of activities and the list of competitions.

We would like then to ask for your confirmation to attend and participate. You can text or call the following (Zenia/Bong Perida – 0928-2830336 and Carol Badiola – 0915-7724222) for your confirmation.

Once confirmed, we will send you the mechanics of the contests, registration and entry forms, and a copy of the pooled solicitation letter to help you produce the required amount needed to participate and compete. So don’t forget to send us your active email addresses.

Thank you very much!

In the Service of the Filipino People,

Ma. Carol B. Badiola
Project Coordinator,
U-X Tididits Productions


On Stage
8:00 National Anthem
8:05 Invocation
8:10 Opening Program
House Rules
Orientation/Presentation of Competition’s Rules
Roll Call of Sponsor’s
9:30 Activity Proper
3:00 – 4:00 Presentation and Judging of Entry for the other
competitive events
7:00 Closing Ceremony

9:30 – 11:30 Lecture 1 (The Philippine Tattoo Arts Situationer)
1:00 – 2:00 Lecture 2 (Tattoo Arts Trends)

9:30 Start of On-The-Spot Tattoo Contests
11:00 Scouting of Best and Worst Tattoos among the
3:00 – 4:00 Presentation and Judging of the open competitions
6:00 Submission of Judge’s Score Cards


8:00 Concert Opening Act
9:00 Awarding of 2 minor competitions’ winners
10:00 Awarding of 2 minor competitions’ winners
11:00 Awarding of 2 minor competitions’ winners
12:00 Awarding of the major competitions’ winners
4:00 Closing Act

(Note: List of performers and schedule are not final. It may be changed without prior notice.)


On the Spot Competitions:

1. Open (Medium – not more than 5” XX 5”) —- P5,000.00

Open Competitions:

1. Black and Gray (Medium) —- P3,000
2. Colored (Large) —- P3,000
3. Black and Gray (Large) —- P3,000
4. Colored (Medium) —- P3,000

Each on the spot competitors is eligible to participate in the 5 Open Competitions. They must pre-register the name of their models, the title of its tattoo (if there is one), and the year of its creation.

Special Prizes:

Best Female — P3,000
Other Surprise Awards!!!!

**further posts will follow**

Le Dinner (Political Cartoon)

August 11, 2009


June 2009 Press Releases From Democratic Peoples Republic of North Korea

June 19, 2009

I thought i should post these.  In order for your, Barangay readers to have a glimpse of the “other side”.

Read on..


“Naenara” News – Statement & Commentary     [ 2009-06-14 ]

Lee Myung Bak Group’s Ulterior Motive of

Anti-DPRK False Propaganda Disclosed

The Lee Myung Bak group is deliberately spreading misinformation about the north these days through the “Chongwadae,” the “Intelligence Service,” the “Ministry of National Defence,” the “Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade,” the “Ministry of Unification” and other institutions.

The Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea released its information bulletin No. 950 on June 12 refuting the false propaganda.

It says: The group of traitors is now leaving no means untried to spread misinformation about the north in a bid to build up public opinion. It is letting media use such misinformation as “the north’s preparations for a missile launch”, “restarting nuclear facilities” and “stockpile of ammunition”. It is also making phone calls to “legislators” to let them know about the above-said misinformation.

The fuss made by the Lee group about “information about the north” was prompted by its wicked and foolish attempt to calm down the anti-Lee Myung Bak resentment of people from all walks of life which has reached the point of eruption in the wake of the death of the former “president” in south Korea, get rid of a tight corner and justify the fascist suppression of the forces supporting the June 15 Joint Declaration under the pretext of “security,” the information bulletin notes, and goes on:

The secretariat vehemently denounces the Lee group’s opening of “information about the north” as another vicious anti-DPRK racket to incite the consciousness of confrontation with the DPRK in south Korea, build up public opinion on “security crisis” in a bid to weather the ruling crisis and justify its moves for confrontation and war against fellow countrymen.

The Lee group is sadly mistaken if it thinks it can get rid of the abyss of ruin through false propaganda aimed at inciting the confrontation with fellow countrymen and red herring.

The Lee group had better make an apology before the nation for its crimes against the nation, people and reunification and immediately step down without delay instead of working hard to prolong its despicable remaining days through such mean and nefarious anti-DPRK ruckus.


“Naenara” News – Statement & Commentary     [ 2009-06-12 ]

S. Koreans Called Upon to Deal Telling Blows at Lee Myung Bak Group

A spokesman for the Central Committee of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea issued a statement on June 10 on the occasion of the 22nd anniversary of the June Popular Resistance in south Korea.

Through the June popular resistance that raged throughout south Korea for more than 20 days the south Korean people fully demonstrated the indomitable fighting spirit and patriotic stamina to do away with the outsiders’ colonial domination and fascist rule and achieve without fail independent and democratic new politics, a new life with their own efforts, the statement said, and continued:

The resistance clearly proved that nobody can quell the people’s desire for independence and the need of the times and there is nothing to fear when broad popular masses rise up, united close as one.

22 years have passed since those historic days but the south Koreans have not yet been freed from the harsh colonial rule of the US.

The Lee Myung Bak group of pro-US conservatives, in particular, openly called for “giving priority to south Korea-US relations” right after its seizure of power and restored the harsh fascist dictatorial system, turning south Korea into a graveyard of independence and democracy and the worst tundra of human rights in the world where the independent right and dignity of the people are wantonly violated.

The Lee group has become evermore frantic in the confrontation with the DPRK alongside its US and Japanese masters in its crafty bid to escape the stern punishment of the people enraged by the political catastrophe, the daily deteriorated people’s living and brutal fascist suppression.

The situation prevailing in south Korea urgently calls on the people of broad strata to turn out as one in the same fighting spirit as displayed by the participants in the June popular resistance and make a clean sweep of the group of traitors and wage a courageous do-or-die struggle to greet the day of independence, democracy and reunification.


“Naenara” News – Statement & Commentary     [ 2009-06-12 ]

US, Chief Culprit of Nuclear Proliferation

The United States is wholly to blame for sparking a new nuclear arms race and a thermo-nuclear war as it is taking the lead in developing nuclear weapons. No matter how noisily it is trumpeting about nuclear disarmament, nobody will lend an ear to it.

The nuclear disarmament touted by the US has nothing to do with the efforts to prevent a nuclear war and defend the peace and security of the world as it is nothing but hypocrisy and deception.

The basic factor of the nuclear proliferation lies in the US quest of hegemony. The US policy based on the double standards is the main source of upsetting the world nuclear non-proliferation regime and disturbing the international stability.

The US is conniving at the development of nuclear weapons and access to them by the pro-US forces and its allies, backing them and even cooperating with them, prompted by its double standards and biased stand. But it is seriously calling into question the “nuclear issue” of those countries which do not curry favor with it and behaving as if it were a “nuclear judge.” This is the height of sarcasm.

The US has undisguisedly pursued a policy of nuclear blackmail, ignoring the requirements of the NPT and the obligations under it, while frantically stepping up the preparations for mounting a preemptive nuclear attack on other countries any moment.

The Korean peninsula is exposed to the biggest danger of a nuclear war in the world.

The US war maniacs are threatening to mount a preemptive nuclear attack on the DPRK without any advance warning after singling it out as one of the targets of their preemptive nuclear strikes.

It is self-evident that the DPRK can never abandon its nuclear deterrent unless the US nuclear threat is removed.

The US contends that it should have a monopoly of nukes while other countries should not be allowed to have access to them and it is free to brandish its nuclear stick and attempt to mount a preemptive nuclear attack while other countries should not be allowed to have any nuclear deterrent to counter it. What brigandish logic it is.

If the US is truly interested in preventing the spread of nukes, it should cease the modernization of nuclear weapons and take the lead in nuclear disarmament.


“Naenara” News – Statement & Commentary     [ 2009-06-12 ]

June 10 Independence Movement, Struggle for Independence against Outsiders

June 10 this year is the 83rd anniversary of the June 10 Independence Movement waged by the Korean people against Japan. The movement was an eruption of their pent-up grudge and resentment against the Japanese imperialists’ ferocious colonial rule over Korea and a massive patriotic struggle to get back the territory of the country occupied by the latter and achieve the sovereignty of the nation.

Through the movement the Korean people displayed their indomitable will and patriotic stamina to achieve independence and sovereignty without fail, disclosed the Japanese imperialists’ barbarity and the deceptive and crafty nature of their “cultural rule” and dealt telling blows at their colonial rule.

Decades have passed since the movement but the southern half of Korea is still trampled underfoot by foreign armed forces. This has prevented the national sovereignty from being achieved nationwide.

The reality goes to clearly prove that it is impossible to expect reconciliation and unity of the nation and independent reunification of the country nor is it possible to escape war disaster as long as foreign forces’ moves for aggression are connived at and the Lee group, following them, is allowed to remain in force.

Koreans who love the country and the nation and value its dignity and sovereignty should join the ranks of people out in the nationwide struggle for independence against outsiders. It is necessary to check and foil the scenario for establishing the “triangular military alliance” involving the US, Japan and south Korea and the reckless racket kicked up by the belligerent forces at home and abroad to ignite a war of aggression against the DPRK and resolutely smash the Japanese reactionaries’ wild ambition to stage a comeback to Korea.


“Naenara” News – Statement & Commentary     [ 2009-06-13 ]

Political Terrorism

The death of former “president” of south Korea Roh Moo Hyun was a politically motivated premeditated and deliberate terror and shuddering murder committed by the pro-US conservative forces of south Korea according to their despicable scenario for politically motivated retaliation.

What merits a serious attention is that the case was neither mere revenge of those “in power” upon those who “lost power” nor the murder prompted by hostility towards Roh.

The case was an unprecedentedly brutal action and a hideous anti-reunification fascist man-killing farce intended to suppress and eliminate the forces struggling to achieve national independence and reunification through alliance with the north and scrap the historic October 4 Declaration. The Lee Myung Bak group dealt a politically fatal blow at the man who signed the declaration and thus forced him to commit a suicide, bringing to light once again its traitorous act of denying the declaration and ambition for confrontation with fellow countrymen contrary to national reconciliation and unity and independent reunification.

Now people’s indignation and grudge against the Lee group of traitors are towering in south Korea in the wake of the death of the former “president.” South Korean people from all walks of life are unanimous in saying that the death of Roh was “a politically motivated murder by the Lee Myung Bak regime” and “de facto death caused by torture” and strongly demand traitor Lee make an apology for it and call for “wholesale resignation of the Cabinet” and “investigation into the state administration.”

With no sleight of hand can the Lee Myung Bak group evade the responsibility for the tragic death nor can it bar the resentment of the people from developing into all-people resistance.

The Lee group will surely have to pay dearly for its unprecedented crimes.


“Naenara” News – Statement & Commentary     [ 2009-06-14 ]

Lee Myung Bak Group’s “Story about Counterfeit Money” Rebuked

A spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea on June 12 gave the following answer to the question put by KCNA refuting the racket kicked up by the south Korean puppets against the DPRK over the “story of counterfeit money,” pursuant to the US policy:

The right-wing conservative media in south Korea including Dong-A Ilbo are floating stories that in November last year the Pusan local police office uncovered and arrested four south Koreans who tried to circulate counterfeit 100 US dollar notes after smuggling them into south Korea from China and the investigation resulted in clearly proving that those were counterfeited in the north.

Meanwhile, the puppets and the intelligence authorities of the US are spreading the fiction, claiming that they agreed to tighten the watch over China and other countries where “counterfeit money” is in circulation in order to check the smuggling of “the north’s counterfeit money” and to intercept the shipment of various materials which can be used for counterfeiting.

The “story about counterfeiting” was concocted by the Bush administration in the past in a bid to justify the financial sanctions against the DPRK. But when the story turned out to be a plot of the CIA it became a laughing stock of the world and the US stopped talking about it any longer as it was nothing but a poor scenario with neither plausibility nor evidence.

As widely known to the world, it is south Korea and the US where counterfeit money is openly circulated and all sorts of irregularities and swindles are rampant.

This being a hard reality, the puppets, in league with the US, revived the outdated anti-DPRK scenario which had been thrown into the dumping ground after its true nature was brought to light. This only reveals the deplorable position of those forces hostile to the DPRK in which they find themselves, much upset by their failure to seek a pretext for imposing additional “sanctions” against the DPRK over its just measure for bolstering up its nuclear deterrent for self-defence.

The Lee Myung Bak group would be well advised to stop peddling the US hackneyed scenario that can convince no one so that it may not suffer bitter shame and confess to all cases of irregularities and corruption.


June 18, 2009


Kulturang Popular 



Naalaala ko nang huling gumamit ng ganitong formula, sa klase sa chemistry. Hindi nga ba’t ang urban legend ay tinanong daw ni Eddie Ilarde, host ng noontime show na Student Canteen, ang kontestant, “Ano ang pangkaraniwang tawag sa NaCl?” At dahil hindi makasagot ang kontestant, nagbigay ito ng clue. “Ito ang binubudbot niyo sa itlog ng inyong Mister.” Dali-daling sumagot ang kontestant, “Pulbos!” Namula si Ilarde, humagalpak ng tawa, pati ang mga audience sa studio. Nagtataka lamang ang kontestant kung bakit.

Masasabi na ganito rin ang reaksyon ng mga nabiktima ng swine flu virus, A(H1N1) o Influenza A subtype H1N1, na madalas makabiktima sa mga baboy at ibon. Isa itong uri ng lagnat. At kung lagnat lang, bakit nagkakagulo ang mundo, at maging ang World Health Organization (WHO) ay nagdeklara na ng status ng pandemiko ito. Ito ang unang deklarasyon ng WHO ng antas ng pandemiko sa loob ng 40 taon.

Tanging mga nabibiktima at pamilya nila ang nakadarama ng pagtataka—kung ano itong bagong virus na dumapo sa kanila. Na parang sila lang ang hindi nakakaintindi kahit sila lang ang direktang naapektuhan nitong low-risk na virus. Ayon sa WHO noong Hunyo 2009, may 27,737 ang may kaso ng H1N1 sa 74 na bansa, at 141 na ang namamatay resulta nito. Ang mga high risk sa H1N1 ay ang historikal na naisantabi: nakakatanda, nagdadalangtao, musmos, mga may sakit sa puso at baga. Tila sinasalamin ng virus ang mga aktwal na naeetsapwera sa kasaysayan.

Sa katunayan, ang mga nababalitaang may kaso ng H1N1 virus ay galing sa mga pribadong eskuwelahan: De La Salle University (DLSU)-Taft, DLSU-St. Benilde College, Ateneo de Manila high school, FEU-East Asia College, at St. Andrews School sa Parañaque. Ang narinig kong biro sa UP ay hindi raw kasi lubos na mayayaman ang mga estudyante, kakaunti lang ang nakakapagbiyahe sa labas ng bansa kaya wala pang insidente ng H1N1 virus sa kampus.

 Ang hindi isinasaad ng mga kaso ay hindi naman talaga maykaya lamang ang may akses sa biyahe sa labas ng bansa. Hindi ba’t ang migranteng manggagawa na bumubuo ng mga sampung porsyento ng populasyon, mga 12 hanggang 15 milyong Filipinong OCW ay nanggaling sa lampas pa sa 74 na bansang apektado ng virus? Dagdag sa matinding kondisyon ng paggawa sa ibayong-dagat, pati ang kalungkutan sa pagkawalay sa pamilya, ang H1N1 ang bagong risk factor ng pagiging migranteng manggagawa.

 At kung isasaalang-alang din ang demographics ng OCWs, karamihan na nito ay mga babae, marami rin ang may sakit o lalong nagkakasakit sa pagtratrabaho sa ibang bansa. Samakatuwid, kasumpa-sumpang maging OCW sa kasalukuyang panahon. Itong idinadambana ng estado bilang “bagong bayani” ay dinadakila lamang sa kanilang kapasidad ng magremita ng foreign currencies sa bansa. Lampas pa rito, pambubusabos ang trato ng estado. May plano ba ito para sa mga OCW na naging biktima ng virus, o ang kanilang pamilya rito?

Kaya hindi mayamang sakit ang H1N1. Ito ay tumatabas sa lahat ng uring may kapasidad makapaglakbay dahil sa kanilang sobrang finansyal na yaman o lakas-paggawang naibebenta sa labas ng bansa. Na kahit hindi pangmayaman, ang minamarkahan ng mga bagong global na sakit—swine flu, bird blue, SARS—ay ang kapasidad ng katawang uminog sa globalisasyon dahil sa angking finansyal at lakas-paggawang yaman.

Mabilis-bilis ang pag-akyat ng insidente ng kaso ng H1N1: noong 11 Hunyo, 92 pa lamang ang kaso; noong 12 Hunyo, 111 na ang bilang. At nadaragdagan din ang mga bilang nang nakakaligtas sa pagkasakit. Sa katunayan, mas mapanganib pa ang insidente ng dengue kaysa H1N1 sa bansa. Na masasabi ring ‘great equalizer” dahil walang pinipiling biktimahin, mayaman man o mahirap.

Ang hindi sinasaad nito ay ang mas maraming rekurso ng maykaya kaysa wala sa dengue, maging sa H1N1. Marahil, sa pagkakaraon ng tsansang magkasakit, pantay ang mayaman at mahirap. Pero sa tsansang gumaling sa mga sakit, mas nakalalamang ang mayaman sa mahirap. At ito ang kwento ng pagkakasakit sa bansa. Hindi patas ang laban.

Hindi nga ba’t si Manny Pacquiao, nang makabalik sa bansa pagkatapos ng laban sa Las Vegas, ay hindi nagpapigil. Tinatwa ang self-quarantine policy na magkukulong sa balikbayan sa kanyang tirahan sa loob ng sampung araw para lamang tamasain ang pag-ambon ng papuri at parade ng mga politikong tagasuporta?

Sa global na antas, hindi rin patas ang labanan. Ang deklarasyon ng pandemikong antas ng H1N1 ng WHO ay nagpapaalarma sa dami ng gitnang uri na nagnanais maprotektahan ang sarili laban sa sakit na ito. Ang patent para sa Tamiflu, gamot para sa maraming uri ng influenza, kabilang ang avian flu ay pinanghahawakan ng Gilead Sciences. Noong 1997, si Donald Rumsfeld, ang magiging Defense Secretary ng US sa ilalim ng pagkapresidente ni George Bush, Jr., ang chairman of the Board ng kompanya.

Mapapapayag niya ang gobyerno ng US na mag-stockpile ng Tamiflu na nagkakahalaga ng $2 bilyon. Si Rumsfeld din ay kaduda-duda ang koneksyon sa pharmaceutical industry. Kumita raw ito ng $10 milyon sa pagbebenta ng isang pinaghihinalaang carcinogenic na sweetener, ang Nutrasweet.

Noon pa man, pinagsamantalahan na niya ang paggamot laban sa swine flu nang magpamalawakang bakuna si Gerard Ford noong 1976. May 50 katao ang namatay rito. Noong 2006, humingi ang administrasyong Bush ng $7.1 bilyong budget para pondohan ang pananaliksik sa sakit at gamot nito.

Malaking negosyo ang epidemiko sa US. Ito ang pagkakataon na ang sabwatan ng negosyo at politika ng bansa ay natutunghayan. Sa Pilipinas, ito ang pagkakataong preprente at magpapapogi ang mga ofisyales ng kalusugan. Hindi nga ba’t sa monitoring lang ng salmonella sa peanut butter, cocaine sa energy booster drinks, prevensyon ng dengue, melamine sa imported na gatas ay buzing-buzy ang mga ito?

Kaya nakakapagtaka na hindi gaanong pumapapel si Gloria Arroyo. Low-profile pa rin, katulad ng pagtahimik nito sa Constitutional Assemly (Con Ass) na itinataguyod ng Lower House. Noong nagka-SARS sa 2003, si Arroyo ang prumonta sa pagdeklara ng unang biktima ng sakit sa bansa, maging ng ofisyal na polisiya ng kanyang pamahalaan sa sakit na ito. Pero sa pagkakataong ito, na pwedeng-pwedeng pumapel si Arroyo, nananahimik ito at pinagkakaabalahan lamang ang simpleng operasyon ng kanyang opisina.

Na ang mga sakit ay ibinabaling muli kay Arroyo ng cause-oriented groups ay hindi naman bago. Sa panahon ng SARS, inakusahan ni Robert de Castro, deputy secretary-general ng Bayan-Muna na si Arroyo ay mayroong exklusibong strain ng SARS (Severe, Acute Recollection Syndrome) nang banggitin ng pangulo na magpapadala ito ng Philippine contingent sa humanitarian mission sa Iraq. Nakalimutan na raw ni Arroyo na US mismo ang may kagagawan ng humanitarian crisis sa Iraq nang bombahin at makidigma ang US.

Sa nakaraang anti-Con Ass, anti-Arroyo rally sa Ayala Avenue noong 10 Hunyo, heto ang referensya sa pangulo sa isang poster ng Bayan-Southern Tagalog: “Mag-ingat: Baboy ng Malacanang, nagtataglay ng Influenza G (C-H-A-2) ‘Gloria Forever Virus’.” At ito ang kontraryong edukasyon sa mga global na epidemiko. Lampas sa pagtuturo sa mamamayan na maghugas ng kamay, o magsuot ng surgical mask, sa pagpapapogi ng mga opisyales ng kalusugan, ang self-reflexive gesture na kuntsabahan ni Arroyo sa global na negosyo at imperialismo ay pumapaling muli para bigwasan ang kanyang pagkapangulo.

Na hindi siya pogi at kaya ng ganda powers nitong gawing shield of protection ang mga pandemiko para manatili sa kapangyarihan. At ang araw-araw na operasyon ng pagkabangkaroteng nanlilimas ng yaman ng bansa, nagyuyurak sa karapatang pantao, nagpro-promote ng malamang ay pinakamaraming retiradong heneral bilang ambassador at ofisyales ng bansa, ginagawang katawa-tawa ang rule of law ay hindi lubos na swabeng gumugulong.

Natitinag ito ilang saglit at oras ng protesta. Para sabihin nga na ang pinakamalaking sakit na umaapekto sa bansa ay hindi naman talaga H1N1 o dengue, kundi si Arroyo mismo.

‘Order of Battle’ Suggests Murder of Journalists Part of Official Policy — NUJP

May 26, 2009

The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, and the Reporters Without Borders condemned what they called as an “abomination,” the military’s Order of Battle, the latest version of which included the NUJP and journalist Carlos Conde, a correspondent for the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, and


MANILA — The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) is now rethinking its official position that the murder of journalists in this country is not part of official government policy.

“The NUJP reiterates that we have, so far, seen no indication that the murder of journalists in this country is part of official policy,” Jaime “Nonoy” Espina, the NUJP vice-chairman, said in a statement this week. But the discovery that the NUJP and its former secretary-general, Carlos Conde, “are considered ‘enemies of the state’ has made us think that we may have to reconsider our position.”

Espina was referring to the inclusion of Conde and the NUJP in the order of battle (OB) of the 10th Infantry Division (ID) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Conde’s name was listed in a document titled “JCICC ‘AGILA’ 3rd QTR 2007 OB VALIDATION RESULT” purportedly prepared by the intelligence staff of the armed forces’ 10th ID based in Southern Mindanao.

In this “order of battle,” more than a hundred individuals – mostly leaders and members of progressive and leftist groups like Bayan, Bayan Muna, among others – are listed and classified as “organized,”
“dominated,” or “targeted.” Conde was the only individual journalist on the list, which classifies him as “targeted.”

(From left) NUJP secretary-general Sonny Fernandez, vice-chairman Jaime Espina, and journalist Carlos Conde. (Photo by Ronalyn Olea)

Besides the NUJP, the defunct Media Mindanao News Service is also included.

“The army considers me an enemy of the state, as the document, which shows the alleged links of these individuals with the communist movement, seems to be saying,” Conde said.

He said that an “order of battle” in the Philippines is a veritable hit list, citing the murder of peasant leader Celso Pojas last year. Pojas, like Conde, was listed in the same AFP document.

Conde works as a freelance correspondent for US-based publications, namely The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune and He has also been contributing stories and reports
every now and then to other foreign and Philippine publications.

Conde deemed his advocacy for press freedom as the reason behind his inclusion in the military’s OB. As coordinator of the NUJP in Davao City and Southern Mindanao and eventually secretary general of the NUJP from 2004 to 2006, Conde was vocal in pressuring the Arroyo administration to stop the killings of journalists.

Not the first time

In a press conference May 21, Espina said this is not the first time that this has happened to members of the media.

Espina recalled that in 2005, a PowerPoint presentation titled “Knowing the Enemy” listed the NUJP and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism as alleged legal fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

The document, which was leaked to members of the media, was believed to be the handiwork of the Intelligence Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Isafp).

Espina said that, at that time, the AFP’s reaction was outright denial. In the end, however, Espina said the AFP admitted the existence of such document and was compelled to pull out the names of media organizations from the list.

Espina noted the faulty information written in recent and previous “orders of battle.” He said that Conde, for instance, has been in Manila since 2006 but the 10th ID put Conde in their list in 2007.

Espina also cited the case of Julius Mariveles, NUJP chairman in Negros Occidental. He said that Mariveles, who has been active in radio broadcasting for three years, had also been tagged as an enemy of the state.

Espina said Mariveles’s name was included in the list of so-called CPP-NPA (New People’s Army) personalities in the Visayas from the Central Command. In the document, Espina said, Mariveles was associated with Bayan. “He was an activist but he has been active in broadcast for three years.”

When they confronted the military, Espina and his colleagues were told: “You are lucky you talked to officials like us. Never, never argue with our men because they are just trained to kill.”

Espina said he himself saw his name in an OB. “If you know your name is in the list, it has a psychological effect on you, you also feel fear,” he said. “If the military does not kill you, others who are angry at communists may do it. It is really dangerous.”

“Is it true that there is no official policy to kill journalists? They why there seems to be a pattern in which media members are often considered enemies of the state,” Espina asked.

Counter-insurgency strategy

“The existence of such an abomination as this OB only bolsters the thesis of United Nations special rapporteur Philip Alston that the plague of extrajudicial killings that has cost the lives of close to a
thousand activists and dissenters since 2001, when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power, can be blamed on a government counterinsurgency strategy that targets personalities from legal
leftist organizations openly tagged as rebel legal fronts,” said Espina.

International media watchdog Reporters Without Borders also expressed alarm over the incident, “Many political activists on such army lists have been murdered by military or paramilitary units in recent years. We urge the government not to ignore these abuses and to put a stop to the practice of blacklisting independent journalists, rights groups and activists.”

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility likewise condemned the AFP’s OB. “Given its traditions of secrecy, the AFP has denied authorship of the document, and would naturally refuse to answer questions on whether a 2009 version of it exists. But such denials, as the escalation of extra judicial killings (EJKs) in the last four years has shown, are as sinister as they’re meaningless, since, in a number of cases, the denials have not prevented EJKs. Under these circumstances journalists’ and media groups have no other recourse but to assume the worst– i.e., that Mr. Conde’s life is in danger.”

The CMFR added: “The harassments, threats and other assaults on critical and independent journalists and media organizations already constitute a pattern of government intimidation that has eroded free expression and press freedom in the Philippines.”


The NUJP called on the AFP and the Department of Defense, specifically Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., to rectify this “mistake” by sacking everyone involved in producing the document. It likewise urged the 10th ID to issue a public apology to Conde, the NUJP and to all the other individuals it may have wronged and placed in danger because of their inclusion in the OB.

Sonny Fernandez, NUJP secretary-general, challenged the Commission on Human Rights, the congressional committees on Justice and Human Rights to look into the military’s OB.

Espina said the Congress should exercise its oversight powers and look into how the intelligence funds are used or abused.

“The military, for obvious reasons, should have money to spend for intelligence purposes because it is dealing with its enemies. But again, if this money is being spent to spy on civilians, people who are not in the hills, people who are not advocating for armed revolution, the Senate should look into this,” Espina added.(

Editorial Cartoon: TV Show

April 19, 2009


Media milage o pampasira ng screen ng tv? 😀

Editorial Cartoon: The Math

April 15, 2009


Korean foreman dies in Hanjin mishap

January 26, 2009

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:12:00 01/26/2009

Filed Under: Accidents (general)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—A Korean foreman died at the shipyard of the Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines in Subic, Zambales, after he was hit and ran over by a forklift operated by a Filipino worker there on Sunday.

Armand Arreza, administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, confirmed the 12:45 a.m. incident, which came a day after the death of worker Raldon del Rosario, 19, on Friday.

Arreza identified the latest victim as Choi Dong Baek. Baek died at the San Marcelino District Hospital in San Marcelino, Zambales, at 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

Arreza said the forklift driver, Menti Dacanay, has been held at the site.

He said Dacanay began his shift at the shipyard’s Assembly Shop C at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Work at the shipyard has been on a 24-hour basis. The Korean shipbuilding firm has finished four of the 13 ships it is scheduled to do up to 2013.

Arreza said Baek’s death “appeared accidental.”

At the shop, forklifts are used to move metal plates and ship components, he said.

Baek was the first known accident fatality among Korean employees. His death brought to 19 the number of fatalities from work- and traffic-related accidents at the shipyard since 2006, according to the company’s tally.

Del Rosario died from massive head injury after an 800-kg metal door installed on Assembly Shop 3 crashed on him and hit his head. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

(Fertilizer Fund Scam) The Araos Ordeal

January 20, 2009

Why are our senators soooooooooooooooo dumb. All of them are talkers, but none of them are walkers.

As I am watching today’s senate fertilizer fund scam inquiry, i can’t help but recognize the fact that araos, a very good star witness prospect, is taking all the beating.

with jinggoy acting as a goon, lacson as sulsulero, and gordon as the bright boss with enrile as the godfather, aytona and paule is practically enjoying the show as the limelight dances away from them.

in my own perception, aytona and paule are the ones behind the show. you know… a hardened liar can go lie all the way to hell. even satan can’t recognize if they were lying. but the likes of araos and gregorio? naa-ah. they’re both victims of circumstances, who were unwittingly and wittingly (at some point) used as pawn to advance the interest of some corrupt personalities.

Our dumb senators are so dumb on focusing on araos’ sign on the MOA. As Araos’ goes on denying that she’s aware of and signed such MOA, the goon Jinggoy requested for a specimen of Araos’ sign as he stands by ala-goon.

They didnt even thought about the possibility that due to the scams character, the operators behind it must resort to “people-using, sign-using, name-using” tactic. They didnt have any inkling that what Araos’ is saying is not “denying her sign” on the MOA. It might be a denial that she did not sign the MOA, EVEN IF SOME SPECIALIST AUTHENTICATES THAT ARAOS SIGN.

They didnt even think about Photoshop. Or GIMP. (Now that’s a joke tehee.)

GMA’s joy ride in Sagada and corrupted roads

January 12, 2009


Sagada, Mt. Province – The whirring of helicopters disturbed the stillness of 7:30, the morning of December 29, when these hovered closely over this tourist town.

NEGOTIATING THE RUGGED TERRAIN. The first family walks through the steep pathway leading to Lumiang Burial Caves during her visit in Sagada, Mountain Province last week. Photo courtesy of PIA-MP

An advance party came to prepare the coming of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for a holiday visit. Chopper after chopper ferried the presidential entourage until finally two hours later, Arroyo came.  She alighted from the chopper and greeted officials who were around, including Mountain Province Governor  Maximo   Dalog,  Sagada  Mayor  Edward Latawan,  Presidential  Adviser  for Cordillera Affairs  Tom Killip,  and  Bontoc Mayor  Franklin Odsey.  It seems the ceremonial lei giving to dignitaries is not observed in Sagada.

I saw Ambasing Barangay Captain Francis Kilongan and in jest asked him why he was not at the heliport to welcome the president.  He said, he was  called by officials at  dawn  to  have the tourist  sites  cleaned up  particularly the  Hanging  Coffins and  Lumyang Cave for the Presidential visit.

It would have been better if  barangay officials met with the President to let her know their local concerns  considering  that  their  areas of jurisdictions are the places the  President  actually visited.

Anyway, what else did GMA do in Sagada?

One of the members of the Sagada Police who was then stationed near Yogurt House said  she would be  going to Rock Inn for some coffee, visit  Lumyang Cave,  have lunch at Café St Jo, then leave after that.

The President has visited Sagada three times. The first was on January 02, 2006, when she promoted Mountain Province’s local products including lang-ay wines, woven products and Sagada coffee.

On this visit, she was given a warm reception at the Saint Mary School grounds by the community. She then gave a press conference and lunch at Café Saint Jo.

The second time was in December 2006 when the President dropped by for some yogurt at Yogurt House after she had a look at the much-visited Hanging Coffins in Ambasing barangay with members of the press.

Dilapidated road

This year, somebody also said there will be a press conference at Café Saint Jo but there was none.

It would have been an occasion to know what she can do for the century-old 10 kilometer Sagada-Dantay road, which remains dusty and rugged.

Following the 20 million Bayan Muna project four years ago, and P1 million from the Provincial Government, a long stretch of the dilapidated road measuring some seven kilometers more still needs concreting.

GMA gave P100 million for road improvement when she came in 2005. A part of the P100 million went to the concreting of the Dantay junction. The rest of the sorry-looking road is still dusty and grumpy-looking as ever and commands a P45 jeep fare through the equally rugged way and dusty road to Bontoc.

It would have also been a time to know her thoughts on the unfinished multimillion “state-of-the-nation address” (SONA) projects at the Halsema Road portion from the end of the Baguio- Benguet Road at Sinto, Bauko, vis-a-vis corruption. A long stretch of the road still remains undone despite funds already poured into the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

From the initial P620 million released in November 2006  split among more than 20  individual contracts, the road  still  suffers from  unfinished and expired contracts after the much publicized press releases that only 15% of the road  is  left unimplemented  by DPWH.  A rugged and dusty road still stretches from Bontoc to Sabangan and on to Bauko.

Complaints have reached the office of DPWH head Hermogenes Ebdane and office of the President, on expired contracts which led to an investigation of the road implementation and irregularities noted.

While this is the case, the amount of P684 million has been released last December to winning contract bidders.

Funding the visit

Speaking of funds, a resident asked why GMA does not fund her own accommodations. Two years ago, Sagada’s municipal government spent P80, 000 for this.

“The funds spent on GMA’s trip could have been used for community projects,” one resident said.

Robert , a tourist from Manila said,  “GMA could have given the funds for this trip to Sagada, the chopper and staff  cost for the  improvement of  Dantay-Sagada  road instead.” # (NorDis)

AFP eyes Cammayo’s transfer to intel unit

January 9, 2009

FIRST lieutenant Vicente Cammayo, who was just released by New People’s Army, could be assigned to the intelligence unit of the military after his ordeal with the communist rebel group.

This was the probability floated by Eastern Mindanao Command spokesman Major Randolph Cabangbang in an interview Wednesday.

Arroyo Watch: Sun.Star blog on President Arroyo

Cabangbang said with the throve of information Cammayo could have gained during his capture, he could very well be useful in the intelligence gathering of the AFP.

The EMC spokesman however said it would all depend on Cammayo after undergoing debriefing.

It was learned that Cammayo flew to Metro Manila on Tuesday evening just hours after his release in Loreto, Agusan del Sur in the morning of January 6.

Cabangbang said Cammayo will first undergo debriefing at Fort Bonifacio before he will be allowed to go home to his family in Cagayan Valley where his eight-month pregnant wife, Mariel, is waiting.

Medical examination conducted on Cammayo in Davao City showed he had a perforated eardrum as a result of the November 7 firefight with NPA rebels in Barangay Casoon, Monkayo.

Cabangbang said Cammayo also divulged his experience with the NPA. One of those that he could not forget is the incident where the rebels threw one of their seriously wounded comrades off the cliff.

Cammayo said he feared that the rebels would do the same to him if ever he would no longer have use for the rebels.

Cammayo was with the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Battalion when abducted by the NPA rebels.(With Peng Alino)

Quake rocks Camiguin

January 9, 2009

AN EARTHQUAKE measuring 3.0 in the Richter scale rocked Mambajao town in Camiguin Thursday noon, No fatalities or damages reported were reported.

The earthquake’s epicenter was located 30 kilometers off the coast of Anda town in Bohol, said Marcial Labininay, officer-in-charge of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvocs) in Northern Mindanao.

Arroyo Watch: Sun.Star blog on President Arroyo

It was also felt in the cities of Cebu and Dumaguete, and in several parts of Bohol and Negros Oriental—all recording 2.0 in the Richter scale. Intensity 1.0 was recorded in Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro City.

Labininay said the earthquake had a magnitude of 4.5 on its epicenter, lasting seven seconds. It was of tectonic in origin—caused by the movement of a fault-line off the coast of Bohol.

No aftershock was recorded.

Cache of firearms seized from 4 gunrunners

January 9, 2009

DAVAO City – A wild car chase ended in the discovery of an arms cache seized from four suspected gun smugglers late Wednesday evening, a police report said.

According to a report of Davao City police, the suspects were onboard a green Isuzu wagon vehicle when they ran through a police checkpoint in Tugbok town at around 10:30 p.m. prompting the police to run after the suspects and caught up with them in the town of Bangkal.

Arroyo Watch: Sun.Star blog on President Arroyo

The suspects were identified as Ruel dela Torre, 41, a resident of Pantukan, Compostela Valley; Teodilo Pogoy, 41, of Tagum City; Rolando Catapon, 36 also of Pantukan; and Josefino Capuyan, 31, of Cebu City.

Recovered from their possession were homemade guns that include 10 units of caliber .45 STI Edge; one caliber .45 Grand Master; 4 units of caliber .38 revolver snub nose; 6 units of cal .357 revolver Sturm Ruger; one .357 revolver power custom; one .357 revolver SNU; 3 units of .22 caliber magnum revolver Black Widow; 28 magazines for .45 caliber (standard); 2 units of silencer; 6 magazines of caliber .45 (extended); and 2 magazines of 9mm.

One of the arrested suspects squealed that most of their buyers are from the military service.

“Preso gyud sila. (They will be detained) The police were told to file the corresponding complaints. I don’t care kung kinsa pa ilang baligyaan (who their buyers are). The fact is, it is illegal. Possession of firearms without documents is illegal. The word here is “possession”. Sila man naggunit, sila gyud makasuhan (they were the ones in possession of the firearms so they will be the ones who will charged),” Mayor Rodrigo Duterte told Sun.Star.

Duterte said the recovered firearms will be forfeited in favor of the government.

“Paltik man pud na. Sunugon nalang (Anyway, it’s just homemade, we will just have to burn it),” Duterte said.

The mayor also congratulated the joint team of the Tugbok Police station, Regional Intelligence Division, Talomo Police station and the 2nd SCMG of the Davao City Police Office for the successful operation. (Grace L. Plata/With BOT/Sunnex)

Sampung yumanig sa 2008

January 8, 2009

PW Editorial Staff

Pinoy Weekly top 10 stories of 2008

MAKAILANG-BESES nagbago ang klima ng pulitika sa bansa noong taong 2008.

Sa pagsisimula ng taon, laluna noong Pebrero, muling humagupit ang malalakas na mga protesta laban sa administrasyong Arroyo bunsod ng mga imbestigasyon sa NBN-ZTE. Tulad ng inaasahan na tuwing unang kuwarto ng taon (ano ang nasa unang kuwarto at palaging natataon dito ang malalaking kilos-protesta?), bumuhos ang mga tao sa kalsada para irehistro ang kanilang disgusto sa panunungkulan ng nakaupong pangulo.

Pero mahusay maghanda sa panahon ng bagyo ang administrasyon. Muling napahupa nito ang sigwa — kapwa dahil sa hina pa rin ng tradisyunal na oposisyon at kilusang masa, at ng tusong pagmamaniobra ng nasa puwesto para makaiwas sa pananagutan sa taumbayan.

At nang makabawi ang administrasyon, muling bumigwas ito sa mga kalaban: sa mga oposisyon sa Senado at Kamara, at sa progresibong mga organisasyon. Nagpatuloy ang pamamaslang, pagdukot, panunupil at pagkaso sa militanteng mga lider.

Kalagitnaan ng taon, dumating ang balitang inakalang mabuti ng taumbayang Moro. Ito ang pagbuo ng kasunduang gagarantiya dapat sa kanila ng karapatang magpasya sa sariling lupain. Pero lumabas na bahagi lamang ito ng maniobra ng administrasyon. Lalo lamang nasadlak sa ligalig ang Mindanao.

Krisis naman — krisis sa pagkain at mga bilihin, sa presyo ng langis, sa pandaigdigang pinansiya — ang bumayo sa pangalawang bahagi ng taon. Hindi lang nagkataon na sa taong 2008 naganap ang mga ito. Sabi nga ng progresibong mga ekonomista, resulta lamang ito ng deka-dekadang pagpapatupad ng neoliberal na ekonomiya na nakatuon sa interes ng kakarampot na kapitalista.

Krisis, digmaan, korupsiyon, karalitaan at panunupil: Masalimuot ang kalagayan ng bansa at mundo sa nagdaang 2008. Pero sabi nga ng isang pantas,”rehearsal” o ensayo lamang ang nakaraang mga kaganapan sa inaasahang lalo pang malalaking kaganapan sa taong 2009.

10. Pamunuan ng dalawang Kongreso, binalasa

Sukob sa taong 2008, napalitan ng pamunuan ang Mataas at Mababang Kapulungan ng Kongreso. Tulad ng inaasahan, mga kaalyado ng Malakanyang ang ang pumalit sa kanilang puwesto.

Unang pinalitan noong Pebrero 4 si Espiker Jose de Venecia Jr, kilalang alyado ni Pangulong Arroyo. Nagsimula ang paghihiwalay ng landas ng dalawa nang ibunyag ni Joey de Venecia, anak ni JDV, ang overpricing na $200 Milyon sa national broadband network (NBN) deal.

Co-owner ng Amsterdam Holdings Inc. (AHI) si batang de Venecia na aniya’y naisantabi sa bidding dahil sa pagmamaniobra ni Unang Ginoo Jose Miguel Arroyo para mapunta ang kontrata sa kompanyang Tsino na ZTE Corporation.

Matapos ang paghihiwalay na ito, ibinunyag na rin ni JDV ang malawakang dayaan ng eleksiyon noong 2004, ang mga iregularidad sa pagbebenta sa Transco pabor sa malalapit sa mga Arroyo, ang maanomalyang paggamit sa road users’ tax at iba pang korupsiyon sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang administrasyon.

Nagbitiw naman sa pagiging Pangulo ng Mataas na Kapulungan si Senador Manuel Villar noong Nobyembre 17. Ayon sa kanyang pahayag, ginawa niya iyon matapos mapag-alaman na wala na ang suporta ng mayorya ng mga kasama sa Senado. Kagyat na nag-eleksiyon ang kapulungan matapos ang kudeta kay Villar. Sa botong 14-0 at anim na abstention, pumalit sa kanya si Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile. Matatandaan na si Enrile ang arkitekto ng Batas Militar. Kilala rin siyang pabor sa isinusulong na Charter Change ng administrasyon.

Bago ang pagbibitiw, uminit si Villar sa kontrobersiya hinggil sa C-5 kung saan nagkaroon diumano ng “double insertion” sa badyet. Naniniwala si Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano na mayor na dahilan sa kudeta kay Villar ang eleksiyon sa 2010 kung saan mayroon ding ambisyon sa pagkapangulo ang iba pang senador na sina Lacson, Legarda, Roxas at Gordon.

Soliman A. Santos

9. Ang ikaapat na tangkang impeachment at ang Charter Change

Ayon sa mga kritiko ng administrasyong Arroyo, ang magkasunod na pagbabasura ng reklamong impeachment at pagsasalang sa Kamara ng panukalang Charter Change ay magkaugnay na usapin. Anila, minadali ang una upang bigyang daan ang huli. Paano nga ba’ y ang isa ay may kinalaman sa pagpapatalsik sa puwesto sa pangulo habang ang isa naman ay may layon umanong pahabain ang termino nito.

Apat na magkakasunod na taon tinangka ng mga puwersa ng oposisyon na patalsikin ang pangulo gamit ang proseso ng impeachment. Sa pinakahuling reklamo na pinasa sa tanggapan ng House Secretary General noong Oktubre 13, tiwala ang mga nagpasa at nag-endorso ng reklamo na sina Joey de Venecia, Erlinda Cadapan at mga representante ng progresibong mga party-list gaya ni Rep. Satur Ocampo ng Bayan Muna na ito na ang pinakamalakas at pinaka-kumprehensibong impeachment complaint na haharapin ng pangulo.

Kabilang sa mga mga pagkakasala ng pangulo na nakasaad sa naturang reklamo ay ang betrayal of public trust dahil sa mga anomalyang kinakasangkutan ng kanyang administrasyon, malalang paglabag sa karapatang pantao at matinding katiwalian.

Ngunit tulad ng mga reklamong impeachment ng nakaraang mga taon, kaagad itong nabasura sa Kongreso pa lamang.

Samantala, isa sa pinakamainit na usapin ngayon sa bansa ang Charter Change. Duda ang mga kritiko ng pangulo na taktika ito ng administrasyon upang pahabain ang termino ng pangulo. Sa gayon, anila, ay mabibigyan ng immunity ang pangulo laban sa mga kasong maaaring isampa sa kanya na tiyak na hindi niya malulusutan oras na wala na siya sa kapangyarihan.

Tutol naman ang makabayang mga organisasyon sa iba pang laman ng panukalang pagbabago sa 1986 Saligang Batas gaya ng pagbibigay ng karapatan sa mga dayuhan ng magmay-ari ng mga lupain sa bansa.

Nagkasa na ng iba’t ibang pagkilos ang mga puwersa ng oposisyon gaya ng naganap sa Ayala noon lamang Disyembre 12. Simula pa lamang umano ito ng ‘countdown’ ng sunud–sunod na pagkilos para maibasura ang Cha-Cha.

Jeffrey Ocampo

8. Kontrapelo ng migrante sa GFMD, kahihiyan ni Arroyo

Inisponsor ng gobyernong Arroyo at ginastusan ng milyun-milyong piso ang pagganap sa Maynila noong Oktubre ng ikalawang Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), multilateral na pag-uusap hinggil sa migrasyon ng United Nations (UN). Layong ibida ang umano’y mga ganansiya sa polisiyang labor export na nagpaluwas sa bansa ng mahigit 10 milyong Pilipino, sa halip ay napahiya ang Pangulo sa pagpugot ng ulo sa isang OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) at pagdagsa ng mga migrante mula sa iba’t ibang panig ng mundo para iprotesta ang GFMD.

Noong Oktubre 14, pinugutan ng ulo sa Saudi Arabia ang 27-anyos na OFW mula sa Zamboanga na si Jennifer Bidoya, na ayon sa kanyang mga kapamilya ay hindi tinulungan ng Department of Foreign Affairs na translator lamang ang ipinadala sa paglilitis. Nailantad muli ang mahigit 30 pang OFW sa death row at ang pagpapabaya ng gobyerno sa mga migranteng Pilipino. Nailantad ding muli ang kabiguan ng gobyerno na makapaglikha ng trabaho at lalong hikayatin ang pangingibang-bansa sa kabila ng kapahamakan, eksploytasyon, at pagkawasak sa pamilya na dulot nito.

Halos kasabay ng pagputok ng pandaigdigang krisis pampinansiya ang GFMD, kaya’t sa napipintong pag-uwi ng libu-libong OFW na masisibak sa trabaho, hindi na maitambol pa nang husto ng Pangulo ang migrasyon bilang solusyon sa kahirapan ng pamilyang Pilipino at sa naghihingalong ekonomiya ng bansa. Maging ang pahayag sa GFMD ni Ban Ki-Moon, pangkalahatang kalihim ng UN, na migrasyon ang lulutas sa krisis, hindi nakaani ng gaanong pansin at suporta.

Pinutakte rin ng puna ang gobyernong Arroyo at ang GFMD ng International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR), alternatibong pagtitipon ng mga migrante mula sa mahigit 100 bansa. Sa pangunguna ng International Migrants Alliance, hindi nagpadala ng remitans ang maraming migrante bilang simbolikong protesta sa umano’y sapilitang migrasyon at kung paano pinagkakakitaan ang remitans ng mga gobyerno at imperyalistang institusyong pampinansiya.

Madaragdagan pa ng dalawang milyon ang mga OFW sa 2010. Magpapatuloy ang migrasyon, pero iigting din ang krisis na magpapatindi sa pang-aabuso at panggigipit sa mga migrante. Mabuti na lamang at nariyan ang IAMR na magsisilbing boses ng mga migrante ng mundo, kontrapelo sa GFMD at iba pang “pakulo” para lalong isistematisa ang umano’y “modernong pang-aalipin.”

Ilang-Ilang Quijano

7. Panunupil sa Southern Tagalog 72: Pinakahuli lamang sa serye ng panunupil ng gobyernong Arroyo

Tinaguriang Southern Tagalog 72 (ST 72), mga lider-aktibista silang sinampahan ng “gawa-gawang mga kasong kriminal” upang bigyan ng “legal na mukha ang panunupil ng rehimeng Arroyo” sa kanilang hanay.

Kasong arson kaugnay umano ng pagpapasabog ng isang cell site ng Globe Telecom sa Lemery, Batangas at frustrated murder at multiple frustrated murder kaugnay naman ng pananambang sa mga kapulisan sa Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro ang ngayon’y nakasampa laban sa kanila. Kasunod nito’y isa-isang dinakip ang mga akusado. Una na sa kanila ang chief legal counsel ng Kilusang Mayo Uno at kolumnista ng Pinoy Weeky na si Atty. Remigio Saladero na dinakip noong Oktubre 23. Dawit umano ang abogado sa parehong kaso sa Batangas at Mindoro.

Sa kasalukuyan, anim ang dinakip at piniit sa Calapan City Provincial Jail at dumaranas ng hirap at pasakit ng pagbibilanggo umano sa kanila ng Estado.

Ayon sa Bagong Alyansang Makabayan sa Southern Tagalog, kung saan kasapi bilang pangrehiyon o pangprobinsiyang lider ang mga akusado, bahagi ito ng panunupil ng administrasyong Arroyo sa kanyang masusugid na mga kritiko sa hanay ng makabayang mga organisasyon. Iba umano itong taktika ng panunupil upang pahupain ang mga batikos sa pamahalaan sa loob at labas ng bansa dahil sa papalubhang estadistika ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao gaya ng pamamaslang, pandudukot at iba’t ibang porma ng harasment sa mga aktibista.

Matatandaang nauna nang sinampahan ng mga kasong kriminal ang mga representante ng progresibong mga party-list na sina Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casiño, Liza Maza, Rafael Mariano, Joel Virador at ang namayapang si Crispin Beltran. At bago ang kaso ng ST 72, mayroon nang tinaguriang Tagaytay 5, mga tagapagtaguyod ng karapatan ng mga magsasaka na sinampahan rin ng mga kaso.

Ayon sa grupong Karapatan, sa kabila nito’y patuloy pa rin ang mga kaso ng pagpatay at pandudukot sa taong 2008. Sa taong ito,nakapagtala ang grupo ng 50 kaso ng pamamaslang at 7 kaso ng pagdukot. Samantala, kasama ang 6 na bilanggo sa bilang ng ilegal na inaresto na may kabuuang bilang na 1,464 mula noong 2001, dagdag ng grupo.

Jeffrey Ocampo

6. Kampeon ng manggagawa, pumanaw

Pumanaw noong Mayo 20 si Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran matapos maaksidente habang kinukumpuni ang tumutulong bubungan sa kanyang tahanan.

Nagluksa ang mga manggagawa at sambayanang Pilipino na kanyang pinaglingkuran. Libu-libo ang nakiramay at naghatid kay Ka Bel sa kanyang huling hantungan. Dumagsa ang mga mensahe ng pakikiramay mula sa iba’t bang panig ng daigdig. Kahit ang Malakanyang ay nagpaabot ng pagsaludo at pakikiramay sa kanya.

Si Ka Bel ay naging unyonista at tagapangulo ng Kilusang Mayo Uno. Naging tagapangulo rin siya ng International League of Peoples’ Struggle. Ikinulong si Ka Bel noong panahon ng Batas Militar. Muli siyang ikinulong noong 2006 sa panahon ni Pangulong Arroyo.

Sa kabila nito ay hindi napatahimik si Ka Bel sa kanyang pagsusulong sa interes ng uring inaapi. Nananatiling buhay ang diwa at mga adhikain ni Ka Bel sa puso at isip ng uring anakpawis at sambayanang Pilipino.

5. Ang pagtaas ang pagbaba ng presyo ng langis

Patuloy na umakyat ang presyo ng krudo sa pandaigdigang merkado. Umakyat ng hanggang US$115 hanggang US$147 kada bariles ng krudo, at dinagdagan pa ng 36% pag-akyat ng buwis para dito.

Ispekulasyon sa presyo ang itinuturo bilang isang malaking dahilan ng ganitong pagtaas ng presyo ng langis sa pamilihan, kaalinsabay na rin ng pahinang halaga ng dolyar ng Estados Unidos dahilan ng nararanasang krisis pang-ekonomiya ng bansa.

Ang dahilan ng ispekulasyon ayon sa isang eksperto ay ganito. Naglalaro lamang sa $70 hanggang $80 kada bariles ang paglikom ng pinakamahal na langis. Nadadagdagan ito ng tinatawag na “market’s risk premium plus speculation”.

Artipisyal na itinataas ng spekulasyon ang presyo dahil hindi naman sa tiyak na merkado (spot market) mismo ang palitan kundi sa pang-matagalang kontrata ng suplay. Dito namumunini ang transnasyunal na mga kumpanya ng langis. Mismong si John Hofmeister, ang presidente ng Shell Oil, ang umamin na magiging (successful) ang kanyang kumpanya sa langis na naglalaro sa presyong $35 hanggang $65 kada bariles.

Mula sa P6 na minimum na pasahe para sa mga dyip sa simula ng taon, umakyat ito ng P7.50 hanggang umabot pa ng P8.50. Kamakailan lamang naibaba ito sa P7.50 dahilan diumano ng ilang pagbaba ng presyo ng krudo sa pandaigdigang merkado. Ilang kilos-protesta rin ang isinagawa ng ilang grupong namamasada tulad ng Piston (Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide) upang ihayag ang kanilang pagkadismaya sa tuluy-tuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng langis.

Darius R. Galang

4. ‘Moro-moro’ ni Arroyo sa Mindanao

Magkahalong galak at takot ang naramdaman ng iba’t ibang komunidad sa Moro Mindanao nang ianunsiyo ang paglagda ng gobyernong Arroyo at Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) sa Memorandum of Agreement and Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) noong Agosto.

Galak dahil para sa mga Moro, simula ito ng pagkilala ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas sa karapatan sa pagsasarili sa sariling lupain. May sariling kasaysayan at kultura ang sambayang Moro, anila. Ito ang kalayaang matagal nang ipinaglalaban ng mga kilusang sesesyonista sa lugar, mula sa Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) hanggang sa MILF.

Pero takot sa MOA-AD ang ipinakalat sa hanay ng sibilyang di-Moro ng ilang lokal na pulitiko.Unang ibinalita ng Pinoy Weekly ang “pagpaypay” ng pulitikong pamilyang Piñol at iba pa sa kawalan ng tiwala ng ilang komunidad ng Kristiyano sa North Cotabato at Maguindanao sa mga Muslim. Bago pa lagdaan ang MOA-AD, naghahasik na ng lagim sa mga Moro ang muling-nabuhay na grupong paramilitar sa naturang mga lalawigan. Samantala, nagtalaga na ng mga tropang militar ang Philippine Army dito.

Naibalita sa midya ang nakatakdang paglalagda sa Malaysia ng dalawang panig sa naturang kasunduan. Ginamit ito na oportunidad nina Piñol para ikampanya sa publiko ang ilegalidad diumano ng MOA-AD. Sinakyan naman ng mga pulitikong tulad ni Sen. Mar Roxas ang kampanya para ibasura ang kasunduan. Noong Agosto 5, naglabas ng temporary restraining order sa paglalagda ng MOA-AD ang Korte Suprema.

Naging mitsa ito para muling sumiklab ang matinding bakbakan sa Mindanao. Inatake diumano ng mga puwersa ni Kumander Bravo ng MILF ang Kristiyanong mga komunidad noong Agosto 18. Umabot sa 41 katao ang nabalitang napaslang. Sa mga panayam ng Pinoy Weekly, inamin ng mga lider ng MILF na may “pagmamalabis” sa kanilang hanay na ikinasawi ng ilang sibilyan. Pero binigyang-diin nila na karamihan sa mga napaslang ay miyembro pa rin ng mga grupong paramilitar.

Matapos nito, hayagang nagdeklara na ang gobyernong Arroyo ng giyera kontra sa MILF. Mistulang winakasan ang usapang pangkapayapaan ang nagdeploy ng karagdagang mga tropa para tugisin sina Bravo at isa pang kumander ng MILF sa Maguindanao, si Kumander Umbra Kato.

Ang resulta – walang tigil na digmaan magpahanggang ngayon sa Mindanao. Sa ulat ng Kalinaw Mindanao, aabot na sa kalahating milyong sibilyan ang nagsilikas. Isang humanitarian crisis – matinding kawalan ng kabuhayan at bahay, gutom, malnourishment sa mga bata, sakit – ang sumisiklab ngayon dito.

Samantala, sa kalagitnaan ng mga debate sa publiko hinggil sa MOA-AD, pasimpleng binuksan ng mga tagapagsalita ng Malakanyang ang posibilidad na itulak ang Charter Change para mabigyang legal na batayan ang naturang kasunduan. Agad na nasilip ito ng mga kritiko ng administrasyon: Tila taktika lamang umano ang kunwa-kunwaring planong pagpirma at biglang pag-atras sa MOA-AD ng Malakanyang para lalong mapalawig ang panunungkulan ni Pangulong Arroyo.

Kenneth Roland A. Guda

3. Krisis sa bigas: Marami pa ang kakainin natin

Sa gitna ng pagiging depende ng bansa sa angkat na bigas, nagkaroon ng kakulangan sa suplay ng bigas. Ang 10%hanggang 15% na bahagi ng angkat na bigas para sa pambansang suplay ay kinulang, hanggang umabot sa pinakamataas ng presyo ng bigas sa loob ng 34 taon.

Pandaigdigang kakulangan sa stock ng bigas at iba pang pagkain ang nagsimula ng biglaang pagtaas ng mga presyo nito. Paglamig at peste ang nakaapekto sa mga produkto ng Tsina, habang nakaranas naman ng pagbaha ang Vietnam at ang Pilipinas.

Napilitan na ang ilang bansa tulad ng Vietnam at Cambodia na magpaliit hanggang sa tuluyang itigil ang pag-eeksport ng kanilang bigas. Kaakibat na rin nito ang problemang agraryo ng Pilipinas tulad ng land conversion, subsidiya sa mga magsasaka, sa pagbanggit lamang ng iilan.

Dumoble ang presyo ng bigas. Umakyat hanggang P50 ang isang kilo ng bigas. Tampok sa mga isyu ang pagtatago/pag-ho-hoarde ng ilang rice retailers ng kanilang suplay sa gitna na rin ng spekulasyon ng lalong pataas na presyo ng bilihin.

Naging tampok na pangitain sa pang-araw-araw ang mga pila sa tindahan ng bigas, at pag-lilimita ng mabibiling bigas. May napaulat pa na nagkaroon ng riot sa pila sa ilang pare ng Mindanaw. Naging isyu na rin ang inilabas na bigas ng gobyerno, dahil bagamat abot-kaya ng mahihirap ang inilabas na NFA rice na nagkakahalaga ng P18.75, ay napakababa ng kalidad kumpara sa komersiyal na mga variety na nasa pamilihan.

Darius R. Galang

2. Iskandalong NBN-ZTE at Fertilizer Fund: Ebidensiyang matingkad ng Pangulong korap?

Umalingasaw gaya ng bahong matagal nang itinatago ang pinakamatitingkad na ebidensiya ng pagkakasangkot diumano ni Pangulong Arroyo sa matagal nang bumabagabag sa kanyang iskandalo sa proyektong National Broadband Network at pagbili ng overpriced na pataba.

Sa unang kuwarto ng taon ang dramatikong‘pangingidnap’ ng mga opisyal ng administrasyong Arroyo kay Engr. Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada Jr. para mapigilan o makompromiso ito sa pagtestigo sa Senado hinggil sa overpriced at di-mapapakinabangang $329-M proyektong NBN. Hindi nito napigilan ang pangungumpisal at paglalahad ng nalalaman ng dating adviser ni dating Kal. Romulo Neri ng National Economic Development Authority—kabilang rito, na alam ni Pangulong Arroyo na may suhulan sa proyekto pero inaprubahan pa rin.

Sa Korte Suprema pa dumulog si Neri para lamang manatiling sikreto, o “pribilehiyong ehekutibo” ang utos o tindig ni Arroyo sa proyekto. Gayunpaman, lumabas pa rin ang totoo—naibandera ang mga litrato ng Pangulo at Unang Ginoo Mike Arroyo na nakikipaglaro ng golf sa mga opisyal ng ZTE Corp. noong Nob. 2, 2006. Hanggang sa mapatalsik si House Espiker Jose de Venecia, tumiwalag, at inilahad sa kanyang biography na, oo, kasama siya ng mag-asawang Arroyo sa pulong sa Shenzen, Tsina. Ang Unang Ginoo pa mismo diumano ang nagmungkahi ng transaksiyong gobyerno-sa-gobyerno.

Samantala, bumalik sa bansa noong Oktubre si dating Usec. Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante ng Department of Agriculture matapos ang apat na taong ‘pagtatago’ sa Estados Unidos. Yayat at namumuti ang buhok, humarap si Joc-Joc sa Senado para itanggi ang papel sa anomalya at ipawalang-sala rito si Arroyo. Sa sobrang paghuhugas-kamay walang senador ang naniwala at nagpapatuloy ang imbestigasyon dito. Mas interesante ang naglitawang mga testigo kamakailan gaya ni Julie Gregorio, presidente ng Feshan na suplayer ng pataba, na umaming mas maliit nang P52-M ang aktuwal na ibinayad ng gobyerno sa kompanya kaysa sa idineklara nito sa papel.

May dalawang bagong testigo sa P728-M Fertilizer Fund Scam na nakatakda sa Enero. Hindi pa rin umano nailalabas ni de Venecia ang lahat ng kanyang nalalaman hinggil sa mga anomalya ng Pangulo. Noong Pebrero nang lumantad si Lozada naganap ang pinakamalalaki at malalawak na kilos-protesta sa Ayala Ave., patunay na pinaka-ayaw ng taumbayan na sila’y pinagsisingungalingan at ninanakawan ng pera, lalo ng pinakamataas na opisyal ng bansa.

Ilang-Ilang D. Quijano

1. Pandaigdigang laban sa panahon ng pampinansiyang krisis sa daigdig

Ramdam ng buong mundo, laluna siyempre ng pinakamahirap na mga mamamayan ng mundo, ang krisis sa pinansiya ng US noong huling dalawang buwan ng taong 2008.

Bunsod ng walang habas na “ispekulatibong pamumuhunan” sa pagpapautang sa subprime mortgage sa bansang iyon, nasadlak sa matinding ligalig ang ekonomiya ng US. Apektado siyempre ang mga ekonomiya ng mga bansa, pero lalong apektado ang mga ekonomiyang nakadepende at tali rito – kabilang na siyempre ang Pilipinas.

“Pinakahuling manipestasyon lang ang kasalukuyang krisis ng pundamental na mga kontradiksiyon ng pandaigdigang sistemang kapitalista na tumitindi sa panahon ng imperyalistang globalisasyon, paliwanag ni Paul Quintos, ekonomistang maka-manggagawa mula sa Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (Eiler). “Lumalala ang polarisasyong pang-ekonomiya, labis na akumulasyon ng kapital, at labis na produksiyon na nagdudulot ng pagtindi ng mga krisis na pang-ekonomiya at sa dulo’y nagluluwal ng pagkawasak ng produktibong mga puwersa ng lipunan.”

Sa pagdaan ng panahon, ani Quintos, lalo lamang titindi ang krisis ng sistemang kapitalista sa daigdig. Titindi rin ang atake sa karapatan ng nagtatrabahong mga mamamayan bunsod ng pagpupumilit ng mga kapitalista na bawiin ang numinipis na kita dahil sa krisis. Malawakan ang inaasahang tanggalan sa hanay ng mga manggagawa sa iba’t ibang bansa ngayong 2009. At sa kabila ng paniniguro ng mga opisyal ng gobyernong Arroyo na di masyadong maaapektuhan ang bansa ng krisis na ito, pinakamatinding binayo – at babayuhin – nito ang mga migranteng Pilipino.

Di bababa sa 3,000 Pilipino ngayon na nagtatrabaho sa mga bansang tulad ng South Korea, Taiwan at Macau ang nasibak o nanganganib na mawalan ng kabuhayan bunsod ng krisis. Sa United Arab Emirates, inamin mismo ni Labor Sec. Marianito Roque na may 3,000 Pinoy ang nasibak. Naiulat ng Migrante International na marami sa mga ito ang namumulubi na lamang sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng dayuhang bansa para mabuhay at makauwi.

Iyong mga manggagawa namang lumalaban para ipagtanggol ang karapatan ay inaatake rin. “Ipinapakita ng huling Taunang Sarbey ng mga Paglabag sa Karapatang Pangmanggagawa na inilathala ng ITUC [International Trade Union Conferedarion] ang nakakaalarmang pagdami ng mga pinatay dahil sa mga aktibidad na pang-unyon, mula 115 noong 2005 patungong 144 noong 2006, ani Quintos. “Sa Pilipinas, di bababa sa 87 unyonista at mga organisador ng mga manggagawa ang pinaslang simula noong 2001.”

Ngunit inaasahang lalakas pa ang hanay ng mga manggagawa at mamamayang lumalaban ngayong 2009. Para sa ekonomistang si Edberto Villegas ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas-Manila, “Dapat magsimulang mamalayan ng lahat ng indibidwal na wastong mag-isip na ang solusyon sa di-maiwaksing pampinansiyang mga krisis ng kapitalismo, na dulot ng labis na produksiyon nito, ay hindi ang ireporma ang sistema tulad ng gustong gawin ng mga gobyernong kapitalista, at lalong hindi ang piyansahan ang sakim na mga institusyong kapitalista.”

Kenneth Roland A. Guda at Soliman A. Santos

Mga larawan nina Arwin Doloricon, Ariston Valle, King Catoy, AKP Images, Arkibong Bayan, KJ Rosales, at KR Guda


Theres The Rub: Shoe story

December 17, 2008

By Conrado de Quiros
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:44:00 12/17/2008
Filed Under: Protest, Politics, Charter change, Personalities

George W. Bush went on a surprise visit to Iraq to say goodbye. He got the surprise of his life.

While holding a press conference with the Iraqi prime minister to announce plans for a withdrawal of US troops by 2011, an Iraqi journalist seated near the front row threw his shoes at him, shouting in Arabic, “Here’s your goodbye kiss, you dog!” The first one Bush ducked, while the second one sailed past him, but barely. The shoe-thrower was Muntadhar al-Zeidi, a 28-year-old TV reporter, who deeply resented the American occupation of his country and mourned the hundreds of thousands of deaths it had caused.

Iraqi security wrestled him to the ground and dragged him to prison. For his deed, he got the ire of the authorities, who called him a barbarian. He stands to get two years of jail for insulting a foreign guest as well as Iraqi officialdom.

But it is doubtful if the jail term can be carried out. Because, for his deed as well, he has become a hero to his people.

His network has refused to apologize for his actions and demanded his immediate release, saying he was only living up to the democracy the Americans claim to have brought to Iraq. Demonstrations have broken out in various parts of Baghdad, the demonstrators throwing shoes as well at American convoys.

“Al-Zeidi’s shoe is the most famous shoe in the whole world!” gushed Fawzi Akram, a legislator.

Certainly, it has become a luminous symbol of protest for the entire Arab world. In Arab culture apparently, throwing shoes at someone is the highest form of insult.

It is also from where we stand, who are not steeped in that culture, a most expensive one. I searched the Internet for stories about whether Al-Zeidi was wearing his usual everyday shoes or had made it a point to wear old and appropriately smelly ones, but could not find any. I don’t know that many of us will agree to part with our Hush Puppies or Doc Martens to express our disgust at our own overstaying ruler. But Al-Zeidi can at least look forward to a bright, and fairly comfortable, future. His shoes have now been elevated to the status of relics, and could fetch a fortune if sold. At least if he can still claim ownership of them.

Indeed, if he can find it in his heart to separate America from Bush, he can look forward to a bright and profitable career as a pitcher in US Major League Baseball. His throws were not that bad, and almost found their mark. The footage shows he was aiming for Bush’s face and would have been most happy had his missiles landed there. Alas, Allah was most forgiving.

Al Zeidi’s “goodbye kiss” has a couple of things to say to us.

The first, and less obvious, is that journalists are human beings, too. From all accounts, Al-Zeidi has no relatives who died from the American invasion or the uprising it spawned. Indeed, from all accounts, he is resentful not just of America but of Iran, whose interventions in his country he fears as well. Nor is he fond of militants who abducted him last year and beat him up before releasing him. He is just someone who has seen, and having seen, felt the need to do something about what was wrong. He is just someone who has heard, and having heard, felt the need to give voice to what was right.

A journalist is supposed to be objective, neutral, and dispassionate. None of that means he or she may not feel emotion. None of that means he or she may not be stoked to rage. None of that means he or she may not protest injustice and oppression.

That is the reason I do not attend press conferences, least of all in Malacañang. I do not own too many shoes.

The second, and more obvious, thing Al-Zeidi’s act of defiance has to say to us is, why in hell don’t we do something like that? As far as I know, over the last few years only a couple of Filipinos have done something akin to it, though their actions have not produced the electrifying or iconoclastic effect Al-Zeidi’s has done.

One is Maria Theresa Pangilinan, who heckled Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo while she spoke at the graduation ceremonies of Cavite State University a couple of years ago. Pangilinan’s protest then has something very much to say to us now. She shouted, “No to Cha-cha!” [No to Charter change], aised a banner saying the same thing, and shouted the words a second time. She was allowed to graduate, but was berated by people who presumed to be her superiors but were in fact her inferiors. She remained unapologetic for the deed.

Two is Mar Roxas, who shouted in last Friday’s rally, “P—ng ina! Patayin na ang Gloria Forever Cha-Cha na ito!” [SOB! Kill this Gloria Forever Charter change!] Like Pangilinan, Roxas was upbraided by Malacañang for lacking good manners and right conduct. But like Pangilinan, Roxas has remained unapologetic, saying that if Malacañang wants to see people who thoroughly lack good manners and right conduct, it should look at its occupants.

I don’t know that any people more revere tradition and demand respect for elders and those in authority than the Arabs. But that they have risen as one to extol someone who has transgressed that in the name of all that is right and just and true, it speaks volumes about their capacity for wisdom, too. We can do no less. There are limits to politeness when you are being impolitely screwed. There are limits to gracefulness when you are being gracelessly strangled.

Al-Zeidi sent his powerful message to someone who was leaving and who wanted only to revise history and be remembered for having done something good. Here, we have someone who refuses to go and wants only to revise the Charter and continue to wreak evil upon the world. It’s time we dropped the niceties. It’s time we collected our shoes, or the equivalent of them in our own culture (feel free to make your suggestions) and hurled them at the source of our hellish torments, while shouting:

“Here’s your kick-out kiss, you dog!”

(PDI Editorial) Epitaph

December 17, 2008

For Muntader Al-Zeidi, the Iraqi expatriate journalist who threw his shoes at US President George W. Bush, it was meant to be the supreme insult. For the rest of the world, it reduced Bush from being the conquering hero into what most of the world truly thinks he is: a heel. The journalist who threw his shoes knew full well that among his people and in the Arab world, he was evoking the way Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad was pelted with shoes in ritual excoriation of the deposed dictator. By the same light and according to the same people, Bush is nothing more than a despot, too.

By all accounts, Zeidi attended the press conference of Bush and the Iraqi premier, Nouri al-Maliki, intending to do his job, which was to report on it as the correspondent for Al-Baghdadia television, an Iraqi-owned station based in Cairo. According to Maythem al-Zeidi the journalist’s brother, “He [his brother]was provoked when Mr. Bush said this is his farewell gift to the Iraqi people.” The irate journalist took off his shoes and threw them at the American president, shrieking in Arabic, “This is a farewell kiss, you dog! This is from the widows, the orphans, and those who were killed in Iraq!”

The journalist’s colleagues suggest that he didn’t lose his cool, but rather, dreamed of giving his culture’s supreme insult to Bush. What is beyond dispute is that after being wrestled to the ground and manhandled, Zeidi was whisked off to detention, where he remains, his fate unknown. Meanwhile, as the Internet marketing term goes, the shoe-throwing incident has gone viral, and what was meant to be an American propaganda coup has degenerated into Flash animation satire around the world.

But there was more to the world lapping up the shoe-throwing incident instead of being bombarded with the media-managed sight of a lame-duck American president doing victory laps in Iraq. George W. Bush had a genuine tryst with destiny, a historic opportunity to channel global sympathy over the World Trade Center tragedy into a new partnership with the democratic world. Instead, he lurched into a campaign of imperial conquest and transformed the imperial presidency into a Nero or Caligula-like regime of hubris, obstinacy and incompetence.

Domestically, going into office as a pragmatic dealmaker, he settled into it as an uncompromising ideologue, betraying a marked weakness for cronyism and an uncomprehending insistence on plutocratic values in the face of economic challenges for an essentially blue-collar country. British historian Simon Schama marks the mishandling of Hurricane “Katrina” and the misery of New Orleans as the point of no return for Bush, domestically, while the world, of course, marks Bush’s decision to invade Iraq as the point in which global sympathy for America turned into global hostility.

But, of course, the Philippines has been out of lock-step with the world in this regard. Overall, this country remained one of the few places where Bush remained popular. Indeed, overall, it can be argued that aside from a few other places like Poland, the Philippines was one of the few places where Bush and his policies were viewed with an approbation Bush stopped enjoying long ago among his own people. Indeed, until a remarkable last-minute turnaround in public opinion took place, Filipinos seemed inclined to applaud a continuation of the Bush policies as incarnated in his party’s nominee, John McCain.

We don’t necessarily agree with those who suggest that what Filipino public opinion did, when Barack Obama’s election to the White House began to look increasingly certain, was to opportunistically jump off the McCain campaign and belatedly join the Obama bandwagon. But as Bush rides off into the sunset a disgraced and despised, and ultimately, failed leader, it is worth pondering why our country, overall, has proven to be rock-solid in its affections for a leader everyone else in the world seems to hate.

The colonial mentality seems unsatisfactory as an answer, for why would we feel the same as the Poles, who were never colonized by America? Rather it lies in something deeper, and it may be something that bodes ill for our own stability, particularly with regard to Mindanao. And it is: a Crusader mentality that lurks in our national heart, still.

Rescuers search for 29 ferry passengers

December 16, 2008

MANILA (Updated 2:31 p.m.) – Rescue teams battling strong waves and winds Tuesday pulled four more bodies – all children – from seas in the northeastern Philippines where a ferry capsized, drowning 27, officials said.

Twenty-nine passengers were still missing from the overcrowded, wooden-hulled Maejan after it overturned following an eight-hour journey Sunday, Police Chief Superintendent Roberto Damian said.

Most of the 46 survivors swam or clung to driftwood and other objects until they reached shore in Aparri town in Cagayan province,about half a mile (kilometer) from the site of the accident, police said.

The ferry, loaded with more than 100 people along with a cargo of pigs, cows and water buffaloes, was traveling from Calayan islands in the Luzon Strait when it encountered huge waves and currents that broke its bamboo outrigger, causing it to flip over.

Roel Viernes, who survived the accident with his brothers and cousins, said the 28-ton ferry capsized in just a few seconds after being battered ferociously by huge waves, hurling terrified passengers to the cold water.

“I hope some of my fellow passengers are still alive,” Viernes said, despite dimming hopes of such a prospect.

The rescue operation by Coast Guard and Navy vessels, backed by Air Force helicopters, was suspended overnight but resumed Tuesday despite the rough weather. The search focused on Cagayan’s sprawling coast, Calayan Mayor Joseph Llopis said.

Some relatives waited on shore for any news of missing passengers but many were forced by strong winds to take shelter in an Aparri police station, where rescuers set up a command post.

“It’s hard to accept, but it may be difficult to find survivors now,” Llopis said.

Coast guard chief Vice Adm. Wilfredo Tamayo said Monday the ferry was authorized to carry only 50 people but twice as many packed on board for a trip to buy Christmas food and other holiday supplies.

He said criminal charges will be filed against those who allowed the overloaded Maejan to sail. The ferry’s owner and her daughter were among the dead, police said.

Tropical storms, badly maintained boats and weak enforcement of safety regulations are often the cause of sea accidents in the
sprawling Philippine archipelago.

Last month, a cargo ship sank in rough seas north of Cagayan, and passing vessels plucked 16 of 20 people from shark-infested waters.

Weeks earlier, separate storms capsized two passenger boats in the central Philippines, drowning more than 50 people. (AP)(SunStar)

Matagal nang handa sa ‘radikal na pagbabago’ ang maralita

December 15, 2008

Jeffrey Ocampo

Pag-asa para sa radikal na pagbabago (KR Guda)

Martsa ng mga maralita noong Disyembre 2: Pag-asa para sa radikal na pagbabago (KR Guda)

ALA-SAIS na ng gabi at madilim na ang paligid ng Payatas. Sa tahanan ni Conchita Orande o Aling Conching, nakapalibot ang kanyang asawa, mga anak at apo sa harap ng lumang telebisyon. Maliit lang ang kanilang bahay na gawa sa pinagtagni-tagning materyales. Iniilawan ng malabong bombilya ang kabuuan at mga detalye nito, gayundin ang pagal na katawan ni Aling Conching mula sa maghapong paghahanap-buhay.

“Bunga ng pagsisikap (ito),”pagmamalaki niya sa bahay, sa kabila ng kaliitan nito. Pinagkakasya niya ang kanyang pamilya sa masikip na bahay na iyon na nakatayo sa lupang kanilang nabili.

Pamimili ng basura sa tambakan ng Payatas ang hanapbuhay ni Aling Conching. Sila itong namumulot ng mga basurang mapapakinabangan pa at paghihiwalay ng mga ito batay sa kanilang klase: lata, karton, papel, plastik na bote at baso, bakal. Ito rin ang ikinabubuhay ng karamihan ng mga residente ng Payatas.

Aabot ng siyam na oras ang inilagi ni Aling Conching sa tambakan para mamili ng basura. Sa arawan na kitang P150, lubhang hirap sa buhay ang pamilya Orande. Ayon sa National Wage and Productivity Commisssion, aabot na sa P858 ang kailangan ng isang pamilyang may anim na miyembro sa isang araw para sa pinaka-simpleng pagkain, pamasahe at ilang gastusin. Sa kaso ng pamilya ni Aling Conching, pinagkakasaya nila ang kanyang karampot na kita para itaguyod ang kanyang pamilya na umaabot sa 12 ang miyembro, kasama ang anim na maliliit na apo.

Umabot na sa 55 anyos si Aling Conching, at hirap na ang pangangatawan niya. Ngunit tuloy pa rin siya sa kanyang pamimili para maitawid sa pangaraw-araw ang kanyang pamilya.

Biktima ng kontraktuwalisasyon ang kanyang asawa. Dating dyanitor sa Araneta Center sa Cubao, natanggal ito noon pang 1995. Dahil dito, mag-isang itinatagutayod ni Aling Conching ang kanyang pamilya, bagama’t pamiminsan-minsa’y nakakatulong ang anak na isang mangangalahig.

Dahil dito, may mga pagkakataong hindi na sila kumakain ng hapunan dahil sa kakapusan ng pera. Isa lang ang pamilya ni Aling Conching sa libu-libong pamilya na lumiliban sa pagkain, ayon sa pag-aaral ng Center for Trade Union and Human Rights.

Samantala, may mga pagkakataong hindi na nakakapasok sa paaralan ang kanyang mga apo dahil wala ring maipabaon sa mga ito. Hindi rin abot-kamay ang tulong-medikal sa lugar at iba pang serbisyong panlipunan na dapat ay napagkakaloob ng libre sa mga mamamayan.

Larawan ng pamilyang Pilipino

Hindi lamang ang pamilya Orande ang kagaya nitong lugmok sa kahirapan. Batay sa pag-aaral ng Social Wheater Stations nitong Hulyo, dumarami ang pamilyang Pilipinong nagsasabing sila’y naghihirap. Ayon sa grupo, 59 bahagdan o 10.6 milyong pamilya ang nagpahayag hinggil sa kahirapang dinaranas nila.

Hirap din ang napakaraming pamilya na tustusan ang kanilang pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan. Sa sarbey ng Ibon Foundation noong Abril, lumalabas na nahihirapan ang pamilyang Pilipino sa pagbili sa pagkain. Nito namang Oktubre, lumalabas na nahihirapan din sila dahil sa taas ng presyo ng pamasahe, pambayad sa tubig at ilaw at medikal na mga pangangailangan.

Dagdag pa dito, lubhang apektado ang mga maralitang-lunsod sa kasalukuyang krisis pampinansiya na sumasalanta sa Estados Unidos at sa buong daigdig. Lalong tumitindi ang kanilang hirap sa pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin at ng iba pang mga pangangailangan.

Sa katanuyan, maging ang pamimili ay apektado din ng krisis na ito, ani Aling Conching. Ang plastik na bote na dati’y naipagbibili ng P27 kada kilo ay maipagbibili na lamang ngayon ng P5 habang ang lata na dati’y P50 kada kilo, ngayon ay P10, salaysay niya. Lubhang naapektuhan nito ang arawang kita ng mga mamimili.

Sila rin ang unang-unang naapektuhan ng krisis sa bigas at pagkain. Dahil umaabot na mula P28 hanggang P40 ang presyo ng kilo ng bigas, nagtitiyaga ang mga maralita sa pagpila para sa mas murang bigas ng National Food Authority kahit na napakababa ng kalidad ng mga butil at hindi sapat ang suplay nito. Apektado ang nutrisyon ng mga Pilipino dahil sa paghihigpit nila ng sinturan pag dating sa pagkain.

Kawalan ng kasiguraduhan sa panirahan

Isa sa mga karaingan ng mga maralitang-lungsod ay ang usapin ng kawalan ng kasiguraduhan sa paninirahan. Lagi’t laging may pangamba ang mga ito na isang araw ay maari na lamang gibain ang kanilang mga kabahayan.

Isang matining na halimbawa ay ang naganap at magaganap pang serye ng demolisyon dahil sa pagtatayo ng Quezon City Central Business District. Apektado nito ang napakalaking bahagi ng lunsod ng Quezon gaya ng Sitio San Roque, San Isidro, Brgy. Central at Pinyahan. Aabot sa 15,000 na pamilya ang mapapalayas mula sa kanilang mga tahanan, ayon kay Carmen Deunida o Nanay Mameng ng Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay).

Samantala, umabot sa mahigit 14,000 ang pamilya sa Bulacan at kahabaan ng riles ang sinalanta ng “pagmomodernisa” ng Philippine National Railways, dagdag ng grupo.

Mismong ang lugar ni Aling Conching ay humaharap din sa banta ng demolisyon. Ang Sampaloc, Bansalangin at Narra, mga lugar sa Payatas, ay inaangkin umano ng pamilyang Paez-Santos. Makailang ulit nang pinapadalhan ang mga residente doon ng demolition notice na nagdudulot sa kanila ng pangamba. Sumasailalim din ang mga lugar na ito sa Community Mortgage Program ng pamahalaan kung saan pababayaran sa mga residente ang kanilang lupa sa pangakong ito ay mapapasakanila sa hinaharap. Ngunit hindi sa karanasan, hindi napupunta sa mga residente ang mga ito, bagkus ay napapaalis pa nga sila pagkatapos ng ilang panahon.

Ayon sa Kadamay, ang inaatupag pamahalaang Arroyo ay pagpapalayas sa mga mahihirap mula sa kanilang tahanan habang kibit-balikat sa kahirapang dinaranas ng mga ito.

Bahagi ng ‘radikal na pagbabago’

Kung susuriin, malaki ang papel na ginagampanan ng mga maralitang-lungsod sa panlipunang pagbabago. Dahil sa dami ng kanilang bilang at sa hirap na kanilang nararanasan, isa sila sa mga pangunahing naghahangad nito.

Ayon sa Lagutin ang Tanikala ng Kahirapan, isang sulating hinanda ng Kadamay, aabot na sa 27 milyon ang maralitang-lungsod sa buong bansa. Malaking bahagi nito ay nagsisiksikan sa Kamaynilaan. Ayon pa rin sa dokumento, ang “maralitang-lungsod ay kinabibilangan ng mga manggagawa at mala-manggagawa na dumaranas ng matinding kahirapan.” Dagdag pa, sila din umano “ang lumalaking bilang ng mga mamamayang walang trabaho o regular na hanapbuhay.” Naninirahan sila sa mapapanganib na mga lugar gaya ng tabing riles, tambakan ng basura, ilalim ng tulay, estero, nakatiwangwang na lupa o kaya’y sa mga komunidad na kapos sa mga pasilidad at serbisyong panlipunan.

Karamihan sa kanila ay nagmula sa iba’t ibang lalawigan ng bansa na inigawan ng lupa at napilitang lumuwas ng Maynila sa pag-asang makakanahap ng bagong kabuhayan.

Matagal nang nakikipaglaban ang maralitang-lungsod para sa kanilang karapatan at pagababago sa lipunan.

“Pinatunayan ng mahabang kasaysayan ng pakikibaka ng mga maralitang-lunsod na ang suliranin sa pabahay, trabaho, at karapatan ay sumasalamin sa krisis na sanhi ng mga saligang suliranin ng lipunang Pilipino,” ayon sa Kadamay. Ibig nilang sabihin ay kailangang tugunan ang ugat ng kahirapan ng mga mamamayang Pilipino.

Paliwanag ng grupo, ang patuloy na pakikialam sa pulitika ng Estados Unidos at pakikinabang nito sa ekonomya ng bansa, katuwang ang mga “lokal na naghaharing uri”, ang dahilan kung bakit naghihirap ang mayorya. Pinapanatili umano nito na “atrasado ang agrikultura at bansot ang industriya” ng bansa upang magbigay-daan para sa patuloy na pagsulong ng banyagang ekonomya.

Ayon pa sa grupo, tanging ang pakikibaka para sa “pambansang demokrasya” ang sagot sa kahirapang dinadanas ng maralitang-lungsod at ng sambayanang Pilipino. Kailangan umanong mapalaya ang bayan mula sa “dayuhang kontrol.”

Ayon kay Nanay Mameng, ang kailangan ng bansa ngayon ay “radikal na pagbabago sa bansa sa panahon ng lumalalang kahirapan at at kagutuman ng maralitang-tagalunsod.”

Dagdag pa niya, hindi na nakasasapat ang “pagsandig sa ligal na proseso upang kamtin ang panlipunang katarungan at kaunlaran para sa maralita.”

Para naman kay Aling Conching at iba pang residente ng Payatas, ang kahulugan ng “radikal na pagbabago” ay ang pagpapatupad ng “tunay na repormang agraryo at pambansang industriyalisasyon.” Ito umano ang magbibigay ng solusyon sa kawalan ng trabaho, kagutuman at kahirapang nararanasan ng mga mamamayan.

Pinapaigting daw nila ang laban ng maralitang-lungsod sa kasalukuyan, partikular na pagpapatalsik kay Pangulong Arroyo, lalu pa’t naibasura na ang reklamong impeachment at patuloy ang maniobra sa Kamara para maisulong ang Charter Change na magpapahaba ng termino nito. Hindi umano matitigil ang paghihirap ng mamamayan habang nasa kapangyarihan ang pangulo.

Sa kagaganap lamang na “Lakbayan ng Maralita” sa pangunguna ng Kadamay noong Disyembre 1-2, nagmartsa ang mga maralita ng Payatas, kasama ang iba pang maralita, mula sa kanilang lugar tungo sa Mendiola.

Noong gabing bago ang martsa, naghanda sina Aling Conching. Kailangang magpalakas para sa aktibidad kinabukasan. Kung kaya, sinikap nilang makakain ng hapunan. Iyon nga lang, nahihiyang kuwento ni Aling Conching, “pagpag” (pagkaing mula sa basura, o pinagtirhan ng iba) lang ang naihain sa hapag.

Pero naniniwala siyang sa pamamagitan ng martsang iyon at marami pang ibang martsa, magbabago rin umano ang kalakaran.