Archive for the ‘press release’ Category

Lawyerless court procedure OK’d, Chiz lauds SC

October 10, 2008

Press Release
By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
October 8, 2008

PASAY CITY, Philippines –  Now anybody can go to court and handle his case from start to finish without the need for a lawyer.

The Supreme Court has already approved A.M. No. 08-8-7-SC or the “Rule of Procedure for Small Claim Cases” which provides a simpler and more inexpensive and expeditious means of settling disputes involving purely money claims than the regular civil process.

Small claims cases are civil claims which are exclusively for the payment or reimbursement of a sum of money not exceeding P100,000.

The new rule which became effective last October 1 makes court procedures inexpensive, informal and simple. An individual is allowed to handle his own case. One has to only fill out the ready-made available forms and procedural rules, including the rules of evidence, are not anymore required, thus there is no need for a lawyer.

Senator Chiz Escudero, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights said this new rule augurs well for both the plaintiff and the defendant as it encourages summary procedures which are notably rare in most of the country’s judicial courts.

This rule, he said will unclog our courts which will enable them to direct their focus more on other higher cases and act on these.

“Small claims courts will allow faster action without the complexity of the usual court procedures and the usual lawyer-client transaction. Most often, lawyers just complicate simple matters. This time, they are not allowed to appear in court unless they are either the plaintiff or the defendant.”

The procedure only entails one day hearing in which a judicial dispute resolution (JDR) judge will preside. “This is where an amicable settlement can already be achieved without going through court procedures anymore. It’s faster and economical for both parties in terms of expenses when you go to a regular court”.

Small claims courts will be heard in first level courts like the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts.

The court may dismiss the case outright when any grounds for the dismissal of a civil case is apparent or obvious from the statement of claim and supporting documents.

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Statement Against the Unjust Arrest, Detention, and Enforced Disappearance of Anti-displacement Activists in Orissa, India

September 17, 2008

BY THE KILUSANG MAYO UNO (KMU or May First Movement Labor Centre)
DEMOCRATIC SPACE
Bulatlat
Volume VIII, Number 31, September 7-13, 2008

As freedom and justice-seeking workers and trade unionists in the Philippines, we declare our complete opposition to the unjust arrest and enforced disappearances of anti displacement activists in Orissa, India. We demand for the immediate withdrawal of the trumped up cases and demand for the instant and unconditional release of Davendar Das, Protima Das, Amin Maharana and Pradeep or the “Orissa 4″ who in their quest to support indigenous peoples and farmers in their fight against displacement, were arrested along with David Pugh, a social scientist and teacher from the U.S. on 12 August 2008.

KMU asserts that their hard work in fighting against the displacement of adivasis, dalits, and poor farmers’ communities to give way to mining and other industrial operations does not merit such brutal harassment and repressive measures in an attempt to dampen their struggle for deprived communities in India.

Unfortunately, the unfair treatment suffered by the Orissa 4 under the anti-people and fascist Orissa government is the same underhanded formula used against human rights defenders and liberation fighters all over the world, especially in underdeveloped countries like India and the Philippines.

After being held illegally by government security forces for 28 grueling months on a non bailable charge of rebellion, the Tagaytay 5 political prisoners were finally released last week on August 28 largely due to the non-stop support and strength from progressive human rights advocacy, the militant mass movement in the Philippines, with help from international solidarity networks. There still remains to be more than 200 political prisoners all over the country however, and nearly 900 victims of extra-judicial killings for whom justice remains elusive.

For workers in the Philippines, there have been five documented violent assaults on labor actions victimizing 1,025 individuals. These assaults resulted in the subsequent death of a worker, arrest and detention of ten others, including a woman, and fatal injuries of more than 58 people from January 1 to July 15, 2008 alone. At the start of this year, Melvin Yares, chairperson of KAKABAS (a union of semi-workers and urban poor in Lapu-Lapu City) was abducted on January 4 by seven suspected agents of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP).

As we marked the August 30 International Day of the Disappeared last week, there are still a total of 193 desaparecidos since Gloria Macapagal-Arryoyo assumed the presidency in 2001, while there has been 2,000 desaparecidos since the 1972 to 1986 Marcos dictatorship. It is unacceptable that these families remain in the dark where their loved ones are, without certainty or closure, without genuine recourse for justice.

KMU therefore joins all progressive and peace-loving people of the world in demanding that the trumped up cases against Protima, Devendar Das, Amin Maharana and Pradeep be immediately withdrawn and they be released unconditionally. We also call for a public apology from Orissa authorities for unjustified harassment of anti-displacement activists.

Free all political prisoners!
Justice for victims of unjust arrests and enforced disappearances!
Free Indian anti-displacement activists!  Free the Orissa 4!

Gabriela wants RVAT scrapped

August 19, 2008

QUEZON CITY — Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Representative Liza Maza last week criticized the Arroyo administration and called for the immediate passage of bills removing Value Added Tax (VAT) on oil and the repeal of Reformed Value Added Tax (RVAT).

Maza also called for price intervention from the Arroyo government with runaway inflation, now at 12.2%, hitting the poor hardest.

According to Maza, the rising inflation rate brought about by an unending increase in food prices betrays the failure of the so-called ‘Katas ng VAT’ poverty alleviation measures that the Arroyo has pompously flaunted in the State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“This calls for drastic reforms in policy and governance that will bring food prices to levels that our people can afford. We believe the immediate removal of the 12% VAT is in order,” said Maza.

The Gabriela solon noted that the lowest-income families, who spend most of their meager income for food, suffer most from the government’s economic mismanagement.

“President Arroyo boasts of having women and children line up for hours for the cheap rice she provides, subsidies and doleouts but the grim reality is: Wala nang pagkain sa mga hapag kainan!” (There is no more to eat on the dining table.)

Government statistics in fact note that inflation was highest in rice at 50 % in July from 43% in June; corn, 40.6% from 34.3%; fruits and vegetables, 13.8 %from 12.5 %.

“All in all, food inflation was at 18.6 in July from 17.4% in June,” said Maza.

A slowdown in the increase in the prices of consumer products would be possible should the government immediately suspend if not repeal the VAT outright, Maza added as she called on other congress representatives to immediately act on House Bill 3458 removing the 12% VAT on oil products and HB 3433 to repeal the RVAT, both filed by Gabriela Women’s Party representatives.

Both Maza and Luz Ilagan have likewise co-authored HB 1724 to repeal the Oil Deregulation Law. # GWP Release

Statement: Intensify the struggle for self-determination! Fight Imperialist plunder and state terrorism!

August 19, 2008

By Cordillera Peoples Alliance

August 11, 2008

We mark the 2008 Indigenous Peoples Week or National Minority Week Celebration with greater challenges in our struggle for self determination and defense of our ancestral domain. We celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples with our achievements including the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), as we face the real condition of indigenous peoples under intense national oppression, exploitation and extreme poverty especially in the Philippines. National oppression of indigenous peoples in the Philippines worsened under the exploitative and fascist regime of the fake and extremely-isolated president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In our struggle, we draw lessons from our historic experience. In our celebration this year, we declare to intensify our struggles against imperialist plunder and state terrorism and consistently move for the ouster of GMA.

Greater hunger, graver human rights violations

As Filipinos, indigenous peoples are also victims of the national political and economic crisis. In fact, they bear heavier the impact of the national crisis aggravated by the policies and programs of the illegitimate regime. We are poorer and hungrier more than ever as imperialist globalization takes its toll on the basic survival needs of the people, such as food and social services. Government’s subservience to imperialist globalization steadily increased our dependence to rice imports over the years, making local markets vulnerable to speculations by international and local rice cartels.

Oil prices took a P3/liter hike for the 20th round this year, making the pump price of oil four times more expensive than its price in July 2001 when GMA took office, or from P14.50/L to P58.94/L, or a 306% increase. Minimum daily wage in the Cordillera region for non-agriculture workers is pegged at only P250, yet the cost of living for an ordinary family to survive decently is P830. Unemployment now reached 16 million or 28% of the total labor force. The number of poor Filipinos increased by 3.8 million between 2003 to 2008, or from 23.8 million to 27. 6 million. Inflation hit 11.4 percent in June 2008, the highest in 14 years.

The human rights situation is at its worst, with the regime being the perpetrator under its policy of political killings, the Oplan Bantay Laya, and the recent Anti-Terrorism Act. Since GMA assumed presidency, there are over 900 victims of extra-judicial killings and 193 victims enforced disappearances. Just before her eighth State of the Nation Address (SONA), 3 indigenous farmer-hunters were again summarily executed in Kalinga and Abra provinces. Organizations and individuals critical of the regime, especially those asserting their basic individual and collective rights were killed.

Some of the most committed leaders of the legitimate national peoples movement and Cordillera peoples’ movement were killed and assassinated leaving children, families, clans, tribes and communities orphaned and deprived of having a father, a mother, a sister or brother, leader and peacepact-holder, like the families of Markus Bangit, Alyce Claver, and Albert Terredaño. Justice remains elusive, as the Arroyo government which rules under de factor Martial Law does not show any sincerity in pursuing this.

Causing massive human rights violations is the heightened militarization and terrorism by the AFP in indigenous peoples’ territories especially in areas with strong struggles against large-mining and imperialist plunder. Laws and policies such as the Mining Act of 1995, National Minerals Policy, Anti-Terrorism Act, OBL and political killings are deliberate and systematic violation of indigenous peoples rights and human rights, which have been unprecedented under the Arroyo regime.

Ethnocide in Imperialist Globalization

As indigenous peoples, national oppression adds to the brunt we bear on top of the national political and economic crisis. Our inherent collective human rights are systematically violated, manifested by the worsened cases of development aggression, heavy militarization of indigenous communities; threats, harassment and extra-judicial killings of indigenous peoples asserting their democratic rights. Records from the Indigenous Peoples Rights Monitor show that since GMA assumed presidency in 2001, there have been 120 documented cases of IP killings in the country, with 33 of the cases coming from the Cordillera region. The fascist regime has done nothing but heighten ethnocide in its desperation to comply with unconditional subservience to the imperialist US and monopoly capitalists.

Eighteen of government’s priority mining projects are located in indigenous territories, five of which are in the Cordillera region. It is deplorable to note that big local and transnational mining companies’ applications including government treat our ancestral lands and territories as a resource base for plunder and extraction of profit while sacrificing IPs.

To further revitalize and prioritize the plunder and destruction of our ancestral territories there are 125 pending mining applications in the Cordillera covering 1.2 million hectares of the region’s total land area, or 66% of its 1.8 million hectares. Nine (9) Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA) and four (4) Exploration Permit Applications (EXPAs) were approved without the genuine free, prior, informed consent (FPIC) of the affected communities. The affected communities do not even know of such MPSAs approved with the connivance of NCIP only to be shocked when mining companies are already going into their territories.

The GMA administration has twisted the definition of our opposition to destructive projects and the assertion of our legitimate rights and the right to survive as “terrorism,” making us open targets to extra-judicial killings and military terrorism. The regime has massively militarized indigenous communities to break community opposition to destructive projects and repress the communities. Militarization of indigenous communities include physical basing of the Philippine Army in ancestral territories and houses, regular military operations such as unwarranted searches of houses, imposed food blockades, curfews, and other restrictions.

The Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) maliciously and unjustly branded communities and legitimate organizations like the Cordillera Peoples Alliance and its members as fronts of the revolutionary CPP-NPA-NDF, making them open targets to military attacks, vulnerable not only to harassment but to extra-judicial killings.

Such is the case of the Binongan indigenous peoples in Baay Licuan, Abra, who are presently opposing Canadian mining company Olympus Pacific Minerals. Having won an initial triumph in their struggle with the suspension of its drilling, and sustaining their collective stand for Olympus to get out of their ancestral domain, the 41st IB, 503rd and 502nd Reconnaissance and Composite Coys were deployed in the communities after the other. Community leaders, along with CPA and its Abra chapter KASTAN, were tagged as NPA supporters and NPA fronts. Military terror is being sown to break the communities’ unity and solidarity. In Conner, Apayao, communities are not giving up the fight against Anglo American subsidiary Cordillera Exploration, and now, Australian mining company OceanaGold which has a notorious record of human rights violations in Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya. Leaders of the local organization SAPO were harassed and death threats continue.

The gravest instance this year is the havoc in Tubo, southern Abra, due to the month-long bombings and intense military operations of the 50th Infantry Battalion starting March 21, 2008, leaving one whole community of the Maeng tribe in deep trauma, fear and terror. The area has been targeted for large mining but was consistently opposed by the people as early as the 1920s. The regime has specifically eyed the Cordillera as a priority area for OBL 2, thus hastening the smooth entry of applications and operations by securing the areas through militarization.

The extra-judicial killings of indigenous farmer-hunters in the Cordillera by the AFP and PNP has been rampant under the Arroyo regime: Johnny Camareg in 2001, Mt. Province (killed by elements of the 22nd Special Forces Company, 3rd Special Forces Battalion), Etfew Chadyaas in 2003, Mt. Province (killed by elements of the 54th IB under Lt. Sia-ed), Efren Agsayang,a 19 year old deaf-mute from Mankayan, Benguet killed by elements of the provincial PNP; Victor Balais in Pinukpuk, Kalinga (slain by elements 77th IB), Bernabe Bangguey (slain by elements 41st IB) and Gavino Lawagey (Abra) all in 2005-all accused to be members of the New People’s Army, and this year, Mariano Galisen (March 2008, killed by elements of the 50th IB) in Tubo, Abra; Rocky Aboli and Rey Logao in Kalinga last April and June, both killed by elements of the 21st and 77th IBs.

Victories in the face of worsened national oppression

While this might be the dismal state of indigenous peoples in the country and the Cordillera, we cite a few of the many significant victories in the struggle for indigenous peoples’ rights that have a strategic impact to the wider movement for people’s democratic rights.

The Baay Licuan communities thru BALITOK have successfully hosted the 24th Cordillera Day celebration with big mobilization last April 23 and 24 and have drawn in concrete support from other regions and abroad in their local struggle against large mines and militarization, as they continue to strengthen their resolve as a community. In Tubo, the communities did not succumb to the terror inflicted on them. Instead, they continue to strengthen themselves as they brace for more situations that challenge their collective opposition to the unending plunder interests of State and foreign companies. In Brgy. Amtwagan, resolutions were passed embodying their stand against large mines and militarization, strongly urging the municipal and provincial governments to support these. Likewise, communities in other parts of the Cordillera remain vigilant against the entry of large mines.

More recently in Apayao, SAPO has affiliated with the Cordillera Peoples Alliance during its first general assembly this July, making it the 196th member organization since the 9th Congress in December 2006. In time, SAPO will grow to comprehensively address burning issues in the province, aside from presently battling foreign companies’ attempts to mine indigenous communities in Conner. In August 7, two days before the International IP Day, mining affected and threatened communities all over Benguet together with their local government officials and advocates affirmed their unity against the entry and operation of large mines and put up the Benguet Mining Action Alert Network (BMAAN) to strengthen their unity and action.

Internationally, we gained concrete ground with the passage of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which the CPA actively lobbied for since 1985. This victory is one we share with the rest of the world’s indigenous peoples. The challenge now is the declaration’s implementation, which we should not lose sight of but fervently pursue so that its passage is meaningful to indigenous peoples. In response, CPA co-organized and hosted the Asia Workshop for the UNDRIP Implementation. In the international anti-imperialist united front, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance served as the lead organization of Study Commission No. 10 on the Rights of indigenous peoples, national minorities and nationalities for self-determination, and decolonization against discrimination, racism, and national oppression by imperialism and local reaction of the International League of Peoples Struggles (ILPS). It convened the international workshop on this concern in the ILPS’ Third International Assembly in Hong Kong.

Continuing militant resistance

Cordillera indigenous peoples have a history of militant and armed resistance for the defense of land and life, as shown in the successful anti-Chico dams and anti-CRC struggles during the US-Marcos dictatorship. To date, with the aggressive onslaught of imperialist plunder and exploitation in the Cordillera, Cordillera IPs are still collectively fighting and waging militant resistance as we achieve more victories in our struggle for self determination and right to ancestral domain.

Our notable, small but meaningful victories are a slap to the terrorist regime’s face. GMA has nobody but herself and the government to blame for her plunging popularity ratings, extreme poverty and unbearable socio-economic crisis in the country and national oppression of indigenous peoples. We call for her ouster as part and parcel of advancing our struggle for self determination. We call for GMA’s ouster being part of the marginalized citizenry the regime so strongly exploits and represses, and in support to the clamor of the democratic sectors.

Scrap the Mining Act of the 1995! Stop militarization and military terrorism in indigenous communities!

Assert our right to self determination! Enough of Mining and Imperialist Plunder! Enough of GMA! #(NorthernDispatch)

August 15, 2008

HB 3535: Satur bill pushes decriminalization of libel

(The House militant bloc of legislators led by Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo renewed the push for the passage of House Bill 3535 that decriminalizes libel.

The said bill was included in the initial consideration of the Committee on Revision of Laws on the bills seeking to amend/repeal the provisions of the Revised Penal Code on libel today.)

When we drafted HB 3535, we were not unmindful of the fact that our libel law was originally enacted to protect citizens from unwarranted damage to reputation. We knew for a fact that the libel law was designed to protect the good name of an individual from being destroyed by the misuse of the freedom of speech.

Libel is increasingly used as the convenient and predominant tool for those in power to muzzle an independent media and silence critical voices.

A major case in point is First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo who filed libel suits against at least 42 journalists from different media outlets in 2006. Although, as a supposed “gesture of peace,” Mr. Arroyo ordered his lawyers to withdraw all these libel cases in 2007.

This reality has spawned widespread calls among media practitioners to decriminalize libel. Some approached us to file a bill seeking to take out libel from our criminal laws, arguing that its decriminalization will strengthen the safeguards on free speech and expression and promote free flow of information which is necessary in a democracy which we claim to enjoy.

We were thus confronted with the difficult question as to whether or not the decriminalization of libel is the appropriate path to pursue. Or better still, we were concerned whether decriminalizing libel will keep the delicate balance between an individual’s right against unwarranted damage to his reputation vis-a-vis the guarantees of freedom of speech.

Our libel law has been abused by the powerful few to curtail the right of the press to delve into the truth behind matters of public interest and the people’s right to know.

We believe that the delicate balance between private reputation and the freedom to speak will not vanish into thin air if and when libel is decriminalized.

If libel is decriminalized, those whose private reputation are attacked will still have adequate means of legal relief, foremost of which are Articles 19 and 26 of the Civil Code.

Article 19 of the Civil Code holds a person liable for damages if she/he fails to act with justice and observe honesty and good faith when exercising her/his rights and while performing her/his duties.  On the other hand, Article 26 of the Civil Code holds an individual liable for damages if she/her fails to exercise the duty to respect the dignity, personality, privacy, and peace of mind of others.

If libel is decriminalized, the press can enjoy the free exercise of its duties and functions, and as a result, the people will have unimpeded access to information involving matters of public concern. Decriminalizing libel will remove its potency as an instrument to intimidate and harass. It will allow the media to do their work without fear.

HB 3535 has Ocampo as principal author and Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, and Gabriela Reps. Luzviminda Ilagan and Liza Maza as co-authors.

Ocampo is a former assistant business editor of the Manila Times. #

LIST OF JOURNALISTS CHARGED WITH LIBEL BY MR. ARROYO IN 2006

NEWSBREAK (“MORE PROPERTIES,” DEC. 8, 2005 ISSUE)

1. Marites Vitug (editor-in-chief)
2. Glenda Gloria (associate editor)
3. Ricky Carandang (business editor)
4. R. E. Otico (editorial consultant)
5. Jose Dalisay Jr. (editorial consultant)
6. Booma Cruz (contributing editor)

NEWSBREAK (“WILL SHE NOW CHANGE?” JUNE 7, 2004 ISSUE)

7. Concepcion Paez (contributing writer)

MALAYA (“POE’S CAMP SAYS MIKE IS CHIEF CHEATING OPERATOR,” MAY 19, 2004)
8.
JP Lopez (reporter)
9. Regina Bengco (reporter)
10. Amado Macasaet (publisher)
11. Enrique Romualdez (executive editor)
12.
Joy de los Reyes (editor in chief)
13. Ma. Teresa Molina (managing editor)
14. Minnie Advincula (news editor)
15. Ellen Tordesillas (chief of reporters)

MALAYA (“FIRST COUPLE’S IDEA OF CHARITY,” JULY 9, 2004, “BUSINESS INSIGHT” COLUMN

(Macasaet)

16. Rosario Galang (business editor)

PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER (14 COUNTS, TULFO’S COLUMN “ON TARGET” THAT APPEARED ON JAN. 14, 17, AND 26; MARCH 9 AND 23; MAY 23, JUNE 17, AND AUG. 3, 2006)

17. Ramon Tulfo (columnist)
18. Isagani Yambot (publisher)

19. Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc (editor in chief)
20.
Jose Ma. Nolasco (managing editor)
21. Abelardo Ulanday (associate editor)
22. Rosario Garcellano (associate editor for readership)
23. Artemio Engracia Jr.
(news editor)
24. Jorge Aruta (opinion editor)
25. Pergentino Bandayrel Jr. (national editor)
26. Juan Sarmiento (senior desk editor)

BANDERA (SIX COUNTS, TULFO’S COLUMN “ON TARGET” THAT APPEARED ON JAN. 26; MAY 23 AND 27; JUNE 6, 8, AND 17, 2006)

27. Eileen Mangubat (publisher)
28. Beting Laygo Dolor (editor in chief)
29. Jimmy Alcantara (associate editor)
30. Raymond Rivera (circulation manager)

DAILY TRIBUNE (STORIES WHERE TATAD WAS QUOTED AS SAYING ARROYO WAS HIS WIFE’S “CHIEF CHEATER,” MAY 14, 16, 17, AND 18, 2004)

31. Ninez Cacho-Olivares (editor in chief)
32. Romulo Mariñas (news editor)
33. Gina Capili-Inciong (city editor)

34. Jake Martin (construction editor)
35. Marvin Estigoy (advertising manager)
36. Gerry Baldo (reporter)
37. Sherwin Olaes (reporter)
38. Lito Tugadi (circulation manager)
39. Jing Santos (subscription manager)

(FOR ACCUSING MIKE ARROYO OF INFLUENCING RPN-9 NETWORK TO AXE ” ISUMBONG MO , TULFO BROTHERS DURING A PRESS CONFERENCE IN QUEZON CITY ON AUG. 2, 2006 )

(Tulfo)

40. Erwin Tulfo
41. Raffy Tulfo

INQ7.NET (“HOW TO SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE MIKE ARROYO,” JULY 5, 2004, HIGH GROUND COLUMN)

42. William Esposo

Krisis at kahirapan sa ilalim ng rehimeng US‐Arroyo

August 4, 2008

SObraNA!

Krisis at kahirapan sa ilalim ng rehimeng US‐Arroyo
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Hulyo 2008

Ika‐walong SONA na ni Gloria pero krisis ay lumala pa

Masyadong malala na ang inabot na pagkabulok ng rehimeng US‐Arroyo.

Sumadsad ang “approval ratings” ni Gloria sa pinakamababang antas ng sinumang pangulo mula 1986.
Nasa ‐38% ang popularidad ng pangulo dulot na rin ng patuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng langis, krisis sa
bigas at mapaniil na VAT. Hindi na nakabangon ang ratings ni Arroyo mula noong panahon ng dayaan sa
eleksyon ng 2004, Hello Garci Scandal ng 2005, extrajudicial killings at alegasyon ng malawakan at
malakihang mga kaso ng katiwalian.

Sa kabila nito, nagmamatigas pa rin ang administrasyon sa mga patakarang binabatikos na ng mayorya
ng mamamayan bilang pahirap sa kanila. Isang halimbawa ang VAT sa langis, Sa kabila ng apela ng mga
lider ng simbahang Katoliko at batikos ng mga mambabatas, ayaw pumayag ng rehimeng US‐Arroyo na
tanggalin ito dahil limpak ang koleksyon ng BIR mula sa VAT.

Hindi pa rin nakaka‐alpas ang rehimen sa mga isyu ng katiwalian. Sariwa pa sa isip ng tao ang
maanomalyang ZTE‐NBN deal at inaabangan ang magiging testimonya ni dating House Speaker Jose de
Venecia kung totoong isisiwalat niya ang kanyang nalalaman. Nagiging matunog din ang mga nakaraang
kaso ng katiwalian tulad ng “Swine Scam” at ang Northrail contract.

Ang korapsyon sa panahon ng matinding krisis ay lalong magpapatindi sa galit ng mamamayan sa
nakaupo sa Malacanang.

Ang pabigat na VAT ay binibigyang katwiran ng rehimen sa pamamagitan ng tinaguriang “subsidy” para
sa mahihirap. Tinutuligsa ng marami ang pakanang ito bilang panandalian, di tunay na solusyon kundi
panlilinlang at madaling mauwi sa korapsyon.

Nakakapanatili na lamang si Arroyo sa poder sa suporta ng mga heneral, big business (lokal na
komprador kapitalista at dayuhang monopoly kapitalista), mga tagasunod at mga kaalyado sa
lehislatura, sa local at pambansang pamahalaan at sa korte suprema. Nariyan pa rin ang suporta, ayuda
at panunulsol ng US sa rehimen dahil sa masugid nitong pagtupad sa mga maka‐imperyalistang polisiya,
kabilang ang neo‐liberal na globalisasyon at ang “gera laban sa terorismo”.

Desperado ang rehimeng Arroyo na bigyan ng “laman at sustansya” ang kanyang darating na SONA.
Hindi kumagat ang islogan nilang “Ramdam ang kaunlaran” dahil sa tindi ng krisis. Hindi rin
pinapaniwalaan ang islogan nilang “Labanan ang kahirapan” dahil hindi nga sapat ang mga ginagawa ng
gobyerno para bigyang lunas ang krisis o kahit man lamang ibsan ang epekto nito. Naghahabol ng
maaaring gamiting palusot si Arroyo sa gitna ng maraming mga bigong pangako at maling patakaran.
Sa huli ay mauuwi ang talumpati ni Arroyo sa litanya ng mga di‐umanong “accomplishment” na walang
batayan sa realidad, pawing kasinungalingan o kaya’y pinakikinabangan ng iilang naghahari.
mamamayan, kasabay ang mga planong “dole‐out” at subsidyong ginagawa na sa kasalukuyan.

Kahirapan, di pag‐unlad

Sa likod ng diumano’y paglago ng Gross Domestic Product, patuloy naman ang pagtindi ng kahirapan ng
maraming Pilipino. Sa pinakahuling ulat ng NSCB, lumaki ang bilang ng mahihirap ng 3.8 milyon sa
pagitan ng 2003 at 2006. Sa taya mismo ng gobyerno na malamang minemenos pa, umaabot na sa
27.6 milyon ang bilang ng mahihirap (o 33% ng populasyon) mula sa dating 23.8 milyon (30% ng
populasyon).

Tandaang napakababa ng pamantayang ginagamit ng gobyerno upang sukatin ang kahirapan.
Halimbawa, noong 2006, kailangan lamang daw ng isang pamilyang may limang kasapi ng P206 kada
araw upang huwag maituring na mahirap. Napakalayo nito sa tinataya namang halagang kailangan ng
isang pamilyang may parehong bilang ng kasapi na P894 kada araw upang mabuhay nang disente (i.e.
batay sa family living wage ng NWPC) kung sa NCR. Kaya higit na marami pa ang maituturing na
naghihikahos kumpara sa opisyal na datos ng gobyerno. Sa hiwalay na pagtaya, maaaring umabot sa 8‐9
sa bawat 10 pamilya ang maituturing na mahirap.

Sinusukat lamang ng mga macroeconomic indicators gaya ng gross domestic product (GDP) growth ang
paglago ng produksyon ng ekonomya sa loob ng isang takdang panahon. Pero hindi nito ipinapakita kung
paano naipapamahagi ang yamang nililikha ng ekonomya upang pakinabangan ng higit na nakararami.
Naipapamahagi ang yamang ito sa pamamagitan ng paglikha ng produktibo at sapat na bilang ng mga
trabaho, pagseguro ng disenteng sahod at kita, maaasahang panlipunang serbisyo at iba pa. Pero ang
mga ito rin mismo ang hindi tinutugunan ng rehimeng US‐Arroyo.

Kawalan ng trabaho

Lumalala ang krisis sa kawalan at kakulangan ng trabaho sa bansa. Sa pinakahuling ulat ng NSO, mahigit
16 milyong manggagawang Pilipino (o halos 28% ng labor force) ang wala o kulang ang trabaho.
Dinadaya pa nga ng gobyerno ang pagsukat sa kawalan ng trabaho dahil sinadya nitong baluktutin ang
depinisyon ng empleyo upang itago ang tunay na kalagayan ng job scarcity sa bansa. Samantala, ang
labor force participation rate (LFPR) na 63.2% noong April 2008 NSO survey ay siyang pinakamababa
mula noong 1995.

Hindi nakakalikha ng sapat at produktibong trabaho ang mala‐kolonyal at mala‐pyudal na lipunang
Pilipino. Ibayong pinalolobo ang bilang ng walang hanapbuhay ng patuloy na pagkawasak ng mga
industriya sa bansa at patuloy na konsentrasyon ng mga lupang sakahan sa kanayunan. Sa April 2008
survey ng NSO, iniulat nitong umabot sa 168,000 netong trabaho ang nawala mula sa parehong
panahon noong 2007 dahil sa 244,000 na nawalang trabaho sa industriya. Samantala, anumang
trabaho ang nililikha ng ekonomya ay batay sa kung ano ang pangangailangan ng dayuhang
pamumuhunan at hindi sa kung ano ang aktwal na pangangailangan ng ekonomya.

Bukod pa rito ang mga nalilikhang trabaho na di‐produktibo, walang seguridad at napakababa ng kita
gaya ng pangangatulong, pagtitingi, at iba pa dahil walang trabahong malikha ang industriya at
agrikultura. Katunayan, halos 50% ng bilang ng may hanapbuhay sa bansa ang nasa sektor ng serbisyo
kunsaan kabilang ang ganitong tipo ng mga trabaho gayundin ang mga negosyong call center at iba pa
na siyang pinapaboran ng mga dayuhang imbestor.

Krisis pangkabuhayan

Hindi rin nakakatiyak ng disenteng pamumuhay ang mga Pilipinong may hanapbuhay. Nananatiling
napakababa ng minimum wage at patuloy na iniiwanan ng umaalagwang pagtaas ng halaga ng
pamumuhay. Sa NCR, umaabot lamang sa P345 hanggang P382 ang arawang minimum wage kasama
na ang COLA, malayo sa itinuturing na ”living wage” na P894 kada araw.

Pumapatong sa kawalan ng hanapbuhay, disenteng sahod at kita at pangkalahatang pagkaatrasado ng
ekonomya ang napakatinding pagtaas ng presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin na bunga ng
pagsasamantala ng mga dayuhan at lokal na monopolyo, maling patakaran ng gobyerno at mga pahirap
na buwis gaya ng VAT.

Bunga halimbawa ng Oil Deregulation Law (RA 8479), hindi mapigilan ang pagsirit ng presyo ng mga
produktong petrolyo. Mula nang ipatupad ang ODL, tumaas na ang presyo ng diesel, 738%; gasoline
products, 554‐572%, at LPG, 499%. Ngayong taon lamang, 19‐20 ulit na OPH ang naitala na nagpataas sa
presyo ng gasolina ng P19 kada litro; diesel, P24 kada litro; at kerosene, P22.50 kada litro. Mahalagang
tumbukin din na mayroon mang OPH o wala, dati nang artipisyal na mataas ang presyo ng langis bunga
ng pag‐iral ng pandaigdigang kartel sa langis.

Pero pinalala pa ito nang patawan ng rehimeng US‐Arroyo ng 12% VAT ang langis (RVAT Law) mula
noong Nobyembre 2005 sa dikta ng IMF. Sa kasalukuyan, umaabot na sa mahigit P7 kada litro ang
kuleksyon ng gobyerno sa VAT. Kailangan ng bangkaroteng rehimeng US‐Arroyo ang VAT upang matiyak
sa mga dayuhang creditor na patuloy itong makakapagbayad ng utang.

Magkasabwat ang rehimeng US‐Arroyo at mga kumpanya ng langis sa pagpapahirap at pagpiga ng
pakinabang sa mamamayan – ang gobyerno sa VAT sa langis at ang mga oil firms sa lumalaking tubo
bunga ng OPH. Sa taya ng Kontra‐KulimVAT, sa kada P1 kada litro na OPH, lumalaki ang koleksyon ng
gobyerno mula sa VAT ng P5.5 milyon kada araw. Ipinapaliwanag nito ang pagmamatigas ni Arroyo sa
VAT sa langis.

Upang bigyang katwiran ang VAT sa langis, ipinangangalandakan ng rehimeng US‐Arroyo ang subsidy
program nito na pinupondohan ng lumalaking koleksyon ng gobyerno mula sa VAT sa langis. Kabilang
dito ang inanunsyong P4 bilyon na subsidyo (P1B power subsidy; P1B microfinancing para sa asawa ng
mga tsuper at konduktor; P500M karagdagang benepisyo para sa mga senior citizens; P1B para sa mga
lalawigang tinamaan ng kalamidad). Ngunit walang makabuluhang pakinabang dito ang mamamayan
dahil sa bukod sa lubhang maliit, hindi rin ito naipapatupad sa buong bansa.

Samantala, kung aalisin ang VAT sa langis, agad na bababa ang presyo ng diesel ng hanggang P7.07 kada
litro; gasolina (P6.93 hanggang P7.46); kerosene (P7.20); at LPG (P88.62 kada 11‐kg tangke). Para sa mga
tsuper, maaring madagdagan ang kanilang kita ng mahigit P212 kada maghapong pamamasada; tricycle
driver, P29 kada pasada; maliit na mangingisdang gumagamit ng bangkang de‐motor, hanggang P69
kada pangingisda. Ilan lamang ito sa mga kongkreto at direktang pakinabang ng ordinaryong
mamamayan kung aalisin ang VAT sa mga produktong petrolyo.

Krisis sa bigas

Bunga naman ng patakarang liberalisasyon ng agrikultura at pribatisasyon ng NFA, hindi mapigilan ng
gobyerno ang pagsasamantala ng kartel sa bigas. Balewala at pakitangtao lamang ang panapanahong
raid na ginagawa nila sa mga warehouse ng mga rice wholesalers. Sa ilang bahagi ng Mindanao, umabot
pa sa P50 kada kilo ang retail price ng bigas at walang palatandaang nag‐iistabilisa ang presyo nito sa
buong bansa. At kahit maging istable, sinasabi na ng NFA na nasa napakataas na P35‐37 range ang
magiging presyo ng commercial rice, malayung‐malayo na sa P24‐28 (maliban sa fancy) na presyo noon
lamang Disyembre 2007.

Mula Disyembre 2007 hanggang nitong ikatlong linggo ng Hulyo 2008, tumaas ang retail price ng
regular milled rice sa NCR ng 50%; well milled rice, 46%; at premium rice, 43 percent.
Patuloy na pagsandig sa importasyon at liberalisasyon ang tanging solusyon ng NFA sa krisis sa bigas at
itinaas pa sa 2.4 milyon MT ang target nitong angkatin ngayong taon mula sa dating 2.1 milyon MT.

Ginagamit din nitong palusot ang krisis sa bigas upang ituluy‐tuloy ang pribatisasyon ng NFA at hikayatin
ang mga pribadong trader na mag‐angkat ng bigas. Lalo nitong pinalulubha ang kawalan ng seguridad sa
bigas ng bansa habang ibayong pinalalakas ang lokal na kartel sa bigas.

Pagsirit ng presyo

Sa pangkalahatan, pumitik sa 11.4% ang inflation rate nitong Hunyo, pinakamataas sa loob ng 14 na
taon. Itinulak ito nang husto ng 17.4% pagtaas ng presyo ng pagkain na bumubuo sa mahigit kalahati ng
badyet ng isang pamilya.

Pinatitindi ng pagtaas ng presyo ang kahirapan sa bansa lalo’t sa kalagayang marami ang walang trabaho
at kulang na kulang ang kita. Sa pag‐aaral, halimbawa, ng ADB, sa bawat 10% pagtaas sa presyo ng
pagkain, 2.3 milyon ang madadagdag sa bilang ng mahihirap. Sa kasalukuyang bilis ng pagtaas ng presyo
ng bigas lamang, tinatayang madaragdagan ang bilang ng mahihirap ng 660,000. Samantala, sa bawat
10% pagtaas sa presyo ng langis, 160,000 Pilipino ang nadaragdag sa bilang ng mahihirap.

Pinahihirapan na nga ng husto ng kawalan ng maasahang programang lilikha ng trabaho, na
pagpapanatili ng mababang sahod at kita, matinding pagtaas ng presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin at
pabigat na VAT, wala pang maasahang panlipunang serbisyo mula sa rehimeng US‐Arroyo. Mula 2001
hanggang 2008, halos 28% ng taunang pambansang badyet ang inilalaan sa interest payments pa
lamang samantalang napakaliit ng nakalaan para sa edukasyon (15%); kalusugan (1.7%); at pabahay
(0.3%).

Sa halip na panlipunang serbisyo, karahasan at pagpapalayas ang dinaranas ng anakpawis at maralita sa
kamay ng rehimeng US‐Arroyo. Ayon sa tinipong datos ng KADAMAY, halimbawa, mula July 2007

hanggang February 2008, aabot na sa 24 na kaso ng demolisyon ang naitala sa NCR pa lamang na
nagpalayas sa may 12,345 pamilya bukod pa sa 2,650 kabahayan.

Papanagutin ang rehimeng US‐Arroyo

Walang aasahan ang mamamayan sa darating na SONA ni Gloria kundi pawing kasinungalingan.

Ipinapakita ng kasalukuyang sumasahol na kalagayan na dapat nang tapusin ang paghahari ng pahirap,
korap, tuta at pasistang rehimeng US‐Arroyo. Hindi dapat tiisin pa ng dalawang taon ang isang bulok na
pamamahala.

Dapat managot ang kasalukuyang rehimen sa pagkawasak ng kabuhayan at pagdarahop ng milyunmilyong
Pilipino.

Dapat managot ang rehimen sa patuloy na pandarambong sa kabang‐yaman, ekonomya at patrimonya
ng bansa sa gitna ng matinding krisis at kahirapan dinaranas ng mamamayan.

Kawagib Moro Human Rights calls for the release of Basilan detainees

July 29, 2008

Kawagib
Wednesday, 23 July 2008 22:29
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COTABATO CITY (Kawagib/21 July) — The Kawagib Moro Human Rights appeal to the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City to be fair in deciding the fate of the Free Basilan73, Moro detainees who were victims of 2001 crackdown in Basilan, as the kidnapping case against the Abu Sayyaf will have its final hearing at the sala of a Pasig RTC judge that will be held at the Camp Bagong Diwa today.

Kawagib has stood for the innocence of Moro detainees who were illegally arrested, tortured and detained as a consequence of a intensive military crackdown conducted by the Philippine Army on July 13-15, 2001 in different areas in Basilan.

The crackdown was the response of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo against the rising Abu Sayyaf kidnapping, while the case filed against Free Basilan 73 was that of the kidnapping of a Claretian priest, teachers and students in Tumahubong, Sumisip in Basilan in 2000.

Bai Ali Indayla, spokesperson of Kawagib Moro Human Rights, believes that it is the Arroyo government who has to be held accountable for the reported human rights violations against those who were arrested during the crackdown, and as a proof that most of those arrested were innocent was the release of more than 16 Basilan detainees in year 2003 for lack of evidence.

Indayla believes that Atty Pura Calleja, the lead counsel of the Free Basilan73, has presented all evidence that will vouch for the innocence of her clients hence she has freed some of them in 2003.  Indayla hopes, that the rest will be freed next month as the Pasig RTC judge presiding the case will issue the final verdict on the accused.

Indayla believes that justice has long been overdue to the victims of crackdown.  In 2005 more than 11 of them died in an overkill operation lead by then DILG chief Angelo Reyes that aimed to quell the uprising of some Abu Sayyaf members inside Camp Bagong Diwa.  And throughout the seven years, six of them have already died because of sickness.

Indayla also prays that the Pasig RTC decision in August will be timely for the Muslim observance of fasting during the month of Ramadhan, and that their release is a gift that for the first time in seven years of incarceration, the Free Basilan73 will observe fasting as free men.

Reference: Bai Ali Indayla
KAWAGIB Spokesperson
#23 Oblates Drive, Rosary Heights 6
Cotabato City
email:
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From GreenWatch Philippines

July 24, 2008

Tie Yellow Ribbons to help Save 4000 Trees in Mt. Kanlaon

Bacolod City – The Green Alert together with the “Save Mt. Kanla-on” Coalition launched a “Tie a Yellow Ribbon to Save 4,000 Trees in Mt. Kanla-on” campaign to gather and visibly show the Negrenses’ support to lady-lawyer Andrea Si for her filing of a TRO, which will be heard today, in a bid to prevent the PNOC-EDC from cutting more than 4,000 trees inside the Mt. Kanlaon buffer zone. Gov. Zayco recently signed the MOA which gave the PNOC-EDC the go signal to start the cutting of the trees, which they immediately began last Monday. Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra endorsed the campaign in a letter to Catholic schools.

“We are appealing to the faculty and students of these catholic schools to stand up and show their support to today’s TRO hearing. They can show this by tying yellow ribbons on their arms, wrists, their cars, by donning yellow t-shirts or by simply wearing anything yellow, The youth should play a vital role knowing that this is for their own future. We should not forget that these trees too have lives and cutting them is no different from killing a human being. We owe a lot to these trees for providing us the Oxygen that we breathe everyday; we should bring that favor back to them,” Green Alert said. “We also encourage other sectors of the community to stand up and join us in this crusade. Every Negrense must participate in this cause because it affects our heritage and our future.” Green Alert added.

Green Watch Philippines, Inc. chairman Don Flordeliza, Jr. expressed his group’s solidarity and support to the “Save Mt. Kanla-on” Coalition’s bid for a TRO in a press conference held at the Bishop’s palace last Monday. He reported that they formed a “Save Mt. Kanla-on” Task Force in Manila and exerted efforts to bring the problem to the attention of various environmental forums and the national and foreign media. Flordeliza said he cannot take the issue sitting down, because he was born and raised in Canla-on City himself.

Flordeliza said that PNOC-EDC cannot give any assurance that their exploration activities in the Mt. Kanla-on buffer zone can immediately locate an ideal geothermal site, and once a site is located they cannot also guarantee that is will produce enough steam to operate a plant. Even after a plant is operated as they have already done before, they cannot further guarantee that it will produce enough power to answer the supposed deficiency in electricity in the province as they claim; they might even have to close it also as the previous one, Flordeliza emphasized. What is assured, however, is that more than 4,000 trees will be cut.

Flordeliza said that innovation and technology had developed within the 15 years that PNOC-EDC had spent on the project since 1993. “Are they not insisting to implement an outmoded proposal?” he asked “We are asking for a symbolic 15 month moratorium on the project, one month for each year that PNOC-EDC spent on it’” Flordeliza challenged. “This will give us enough time to beef up the entry of businessmen who will put up an independent power producing firm, using windmill technology, who will sell their power output back to the grid,” he added. “In a few months time, while they PNOC-EDC are still exploring, a windmill is already operational that can be put up without the government spending even a single centavo on it. Furthermore, not a single tree will be cut inside Mt. Kanla-on’s buffer zone or protected areas,” he concluded.

Other alternative sources of energy such as wind, solar and mini-hydro’s have long been pushed by various environmental groups. “There are alternatives that the government should have taken into consideration. Negros alone, being a part of the wind map of the Philippines, can produce 90 mega-watts of electricity by putting up windmills.” Green Alert said.

“Saving these 4,000 trees in Mt. Kanla-on symbolizes our way of investing for our children’s future. If we refuse to learn from lessons in the past, it will be our children who will pay the price in the end.” Green Alert said.

Papanagutin ang mga sundalong nagpahirap sa 6-anyos na bata

July 23, 2008

Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns
Saturday, 19 July 2008 23:32
var sburl5811 = window.location.href; var sbtitle5811 = document.title;var sbtitle5811=encodeURIComponent(“Papanagutin ang mga sundalong nagpahirap sa 6-anyos na bata”); var sburl5811=decodeURI(“http://www.mindanews.com/index.php?option=com_content&amp;task=view&amp;id=4765&#8221;); sburl5811=sburl5811.replace(/amp;/g, “”);sburl5811=encodeURIComponent(sburl5811);DAVAO CITY(Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns/17 July) — Mariing kinokondena ng iba’t-ibang organisasyong nagsusulong ng karapatan ng mga bata sa ilalim ng Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns ang ginawang pagpaso ng dalawang kagawad ng Air Force sa isang batang anim na taong gulang sa Davao City.

”Hindi makatao ang ginawang ito ng mga sundalo sa bata. Kahit ano pa ang ginawa ng bata,  hindi nararapat na siya ay parusahan sa napakalupit na paraan.” pahayag ni Alphonse Rivera, tagapagsalita ng Salinlahi. ”Ang ginawang pagpaso sa kanya  hindi lamang mag-iiwan ng marka sa kanyang katawan,kungdi maging sa kanyang kaisipan at sa kanyang buong pagkatao na kanyang dadalhin hanggang sa kanyang pagtanda”.Ayon kay Rivera, ang Air Force bilang bahagi ng Armed Forces of the Philippines ay dapat na nagtatanggol sa karapatan ng mga tao, ngunit sa mga nagdaang karanasan sila pa ang lumalabag nito. ”Marami nang mga bata ang naging biktima ng karahasan ng AFP. Ang kaso ng bata sa Davao ay isa lamang sa napakaraming bilang ng mga batang biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao at pasismo ng estado.”  Idinagdag pa niya na ”mistulang oryentasyon na ng mga militar, ang panghuhuli at pagtorture sa mga inosenteng bata”.

Sa darating na SONA ni Pangulong Gloria Arroyo, ani Rivera, tiyak na ipagmamalaki niya ang pagsulong ng kapayapaan at kaunlaran na tinatamasa ng mga bata na  siya namang taliwas sa tunay na kalagayan ng ating  buhay.  “Taon-taun patuloy na lumalaki ang budget na inilalaan nito sa pwersang militar kasabay ng pagwawalang bahala sa pagbibigay ng batayang serbisyo tulad ng edukasyon at kalusugan.  Kung kayat sa halip na pagkalinga ang tinatamasa ng mga bata , karahasan ang sagot ng ating pamahalaan”

Nanawagan si Rivera na gawaran ng kaukulang kaparusahan ang mga may kagagawan sa pisikal na pag-abuso sa bata. ”Bigyan ng kagyat na katarungan ang batang ito at ang  iba pang mga batang biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao,” pagtatapos niya.

Refence: Alphonse Rivera, Tagapagsalita

CEGP to UNP Administrators: The fight will continue until Tandem re-opens, repression ends

June 5, 2008

04 June 2008

PRESS STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Reference:

Vijae Alquisola, President, 09162034402

CEGP to UNP Administrators:
The fight will continue until Tandem re-opens, repression ends
This should be the prime agenda of today’s University of Northern Philippines Board of Regents meeting: to hold the violators of students’ democratic rights accountable.
The closure of TANDEM, the official student publication of UNP is nothing but a desperate attempt by UNP President Lauro Tacbas and his cohorts to prevent the issue of the “illegal” 33% tuition increase last year from reaching the students and thwart the possibilities of collective resistance against the said increase.
TANDEM members have been experiencing various cases of harassment from the school administration. Editor-in-chief Criselda Diocena was banned from taking her final examinations and was even charged with a baseless accusation of theft.
The CEGP strongly denounces the latter. The Guild considers the attack as part of a greater plan to further silence the TANDEM from voicing out different student issues inside the university and exposing the bleak future of the youth under the Arroyo regime.
Such move by the school administration leads to the illegal 33% tuition fee increase. This is a clear violation of the regulation that students should be made aware of such tuition hike. Instead, no consultation took place, which left the students totally unaware of this sudden increase. Aside from this, miscellaneous fees also increased.
For 33 years, the TANDEM has fulfilled its duty of being the vanguard of academic freedom and has never faltered in its commitment to the entire UNP community, which gained the publication numerous awards in campus journalism.
It has been steadfast in its task of informing students about different anomalies inside the university brought about by the evil schemes of this Arroyo government to hinder accessible and quality education.
This trend of silencing student papers has been imminent since the administration sees the power and ability of student publications to inform and mobilize the student population.
This issue does not call for a new student publication; thus the need for reforms in handling not only the publication but also the entire UNP community should be addressed.
UNP administrators should bear this in mind: freedom of speech and the practice of student’s democratic rights will never waver despite numerous attacks made against it. Such a move only strengthens and unifies the ranks of students against an oppressive administration.
This fight will continue until perpetrators are deemed liable, the Tandem re-opens, and repression ends. ###
COLLEGE EDITORS GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES
Rm 305, National Press Club Bldg., Intramuros,
Manila, Philippines
Tele Fax.: 524-3937
Email: cegpnational@ yahoo.com
“To Write Is Already To Choose”

Casiño asks CHED to rule in favor of Fatima students

May 31, 2008

News Release – 31 May 2008
Reference: Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, 0920-9035683

Casiño asks CHED to rule in favor of Fatima students

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño has taken up the cudgels for some 200 beleaguered graduating students of Our Lady of Fatima University-College of Nursing (OLFU-CN) in Quezon City who have been “unfairly and unjustly sanctioned and denied their rights as graduating students by the school administration. “

In a letter to CHED Commissioner Romulo Neri sent yesterday, Casiño said it was anomalous for OLFU to prevent the nursing students from graduating and to withhold their transcript of records for failing to pass an exam called the Terminal Competencies Assessment Program (TCAP) which, he said, was not part of the BS Nursing curriculum and “appears to be a mere assessment mechanism created by OLFU-CN as a way of gauging their students’ future performance in the nursing board exams.”

“While graduating students in OLFU are required to take a comprehensive exam under Pre-NCLEX Review 105 and NCM 105 Review, both items are actually equivalent to zero units as shown in the students’ registration cards. The TCAP itself is not an integral part of the academic requirements for a BS Nursing degree,” Casiño pointed out.

Some 900 out of more than 2,000 graduating students initially flunked the TCAP early this year. Flunkers had to pay the school P500 per retake, earning the school at least P450,000 in additional revenues.

“For a zero-unit credit, this certainly earned the school a whole lot of money. OLFU did not even show the students their TCAP scores or their corrected test papers. Only the names of the passers were posted by the school. To me, this could possibly be a nefarious moneymaking scheme,” he said.

Calling the TCAP an “unfair and profiteering modus operandi,” the Bayan Muna solon stressed that “The guarantee of academic freedom should not be used as a license to add unnecessary, capricious and, should I add, expensive requirements on our students.”

The CHED is scheduled to take up the case in its en banc meeting on June 2.

“I hope that CHED will not allow such irregularities by the OLFU administration to be overlooked. As the body tasked to oversee tertiary education in the country and to set standards in its curriculum, I think it is very much within CHED’s mandate to curb such abusive and unjust actions of a school administration against its students,” Casiño said. #

Vincent Michael L. Borneo
Political Affairs Officer
(Media and Public Relations)
Office of BAYAN MUNA Rep. Teddy A. Casiño
Rm. 508, North Wing Bldg.,
House of Representatives, Quezon City
Telefax no: 931-5911/ 09277968198

House probes Aussie mining firm’s ‘abuses’ in Nueva Vizcaya

May 31, 2008

House probes Aussie mining firm’s ‘abuses’ in Nueva Vizcaya
By Melvin Gascon
Northern Luzon Bureau
First Posted 16:19:00 05/30/2008
http://newsinfo. inquirer. net/breakingnews /regions/ view/20080530- 139782/House- probes-Aussie- mining-firms- abuses-in- Nueva-Vizcaya

SOLANO, Nueva Vizcaya — The House committee on cultural communities has launched an investigation into the alleged abuses committed by an Australian mining firm against indigenous people in an upland village in Kasibu town.

House Resolution No. 594, filed by Bayan Muna (People First) Representative Teodoro Casiño, seeks to look into the alleged illegal demolition of houses and ejection of Ifugao and Bugkalot residents in Didipio village as OceanaGold Philippines Inc. clears the land for its planned $117-million gold-copper project.

“Tribal residents have expressed disgust over the rapid loss of their rice lands amid the clearing operations by OceanaGold. Village officials have also denounced the alleged haphazard destruction of their water sources,” the resolution said.

The probe of OceanaGold is the second to be conducted by the House committee involving foreign-owned mining projects in Nueva Vizcaya.

In September, the panel began an investigation into the operations of Royalco Resources Inc., also an Australian firm, amid allegations of fraud and bribery, and the use of armed men against Bugkalot, Ibaloi and Kalanguya residents in nearby Pa-o and Kakidugen villages.

Nueva Vizcaya Representative Carlos Padilla said members of the House panel, chaired by Benguet Representative Samuel Dangwa, would visit the two mining areas on June 6 and 7 to conduct public hearings on the issues surrounding the mining activities. The hearings have been reset from May 29.

“The results of these investigations will allow us to look at the defects of the 1995 Philippine Mining Act. We can also recommend the filing of charges against these mining companies if they are found to have violated our laws,” Padilla said.

Since Sunday, the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of INQUIRER.net) has been trying to reach Ramoncito Gozar, OceanaGold vice president for communications and external affairs, for comment but he would not take calls on his cell phone or respond to text messages.

But in earlier interviews, Gozar said OceanaGold always welcomes investigations into its activities by government agencies to give the company the opportunity to clarify the issues.

He said the company’s activities are all sanctioned by the financial and technical assistance agreement (FTAA) granted to it by the Philippine government.

Padilla said the House probe would enable the public to have access to important documents concerning the Didipio project.

“We have initial findings of numerous violations on the FTAA granted to OceanaGold. This will be proven once we get hold of these documents,” he said.

In his resolution, Casiño cited the growing opposition to the company’s operations in Didipio, led by Bishop Ramon Villena and the Catholic church, Didipio and Kasibu leaders, civil society groups and the provincial government.

“Villena, who also chairs the regional development council of Cagayan Valley, has opposed the Didipio project, saying it does not follow the Arroyo administration’ s goal of developing Northern Luzon as an agribusiness hub,” Casiño said.

Since last month, the provincial government and OceanaGold have been embroiled in a dispute over the latter’s refusal to pay around P28 million in sand and gravel taxes.

The company has stood firm in defying the April 9 cease-and-desist order (CDO) issued by Governor Luisa Cuaresma, citing a directive from Environment Secretary Jose Atienza to resume operations.

In his May 14 letter to Patrick Goodfellow, OceanaGold country president, Atienza asked the firm to resume its operations, including its earth-moving activities.

He said Cuaresma’s order was illegal because under the FTAA, OceanaGold is exempt from securing a quarry permit and that it did not have to pay sand and gravel taxes.#

Vincent Michael L. Borneo
Political Affairs Officer
(Media and Public Relations)
Office of BAYAN MUNA Rep. Teddy A. Casiño
Rm. 508, North Wing Bldg.,
House of Representatives, Quezon City
Telefax no: 931-5911

Palawan media engages in journ for development

May 21, 2008

By Cheryl A. Galili and Ines B. Tagacay

THE UNIVERSITY of the Philippines College of Mass Communication Foundation, Inc. (UP CMCFI), in cooperation with the Malampaya partners led by Shell Philippines Exploration BV (SPEX), successfully conducted a three-day training workshop on Journalism for Development: Media Skills Enhancement Course held at Dos Palmas Arreceffi Island Resort last May 9-11, 2008.

Around 46 media practitioners from Puerto Princesa, including government information officers, participated in the three-day training which aimed to further enhance and professionalize local media practice in Palawan.

Topics during the training included news writing: (print and broadcast), news gathering, understanding selected socio-economic indicators, the Art of Interviewing (what do to before, during and after the interview, how to become a good interviewer, preparing for the interview and useful pointers in conducting the interview) and journalism ethics.

According to Prof. Luis V. Teodoro, the media should be responsible in giving information to the public because they have an “awesome power” to influence the people in the community.

They have the power that can destroy and can change, whether political, economics, social or cultural something to be feared-or something to be desired. The medium can reach out far-flung areas.

He stressed that journalists should report true and factual information, fair, accurate, and balance to avoid confusion.

On the other hand, Prof. Che-Che Lazaro, in her lecture about the art of interviewing, emphasized preparedness before conducting any interview; double check the facts (make sure the name, title and double check date), be curious and observed proper attire. “I think these are important for us to remember. Actually ito’y para bang review of what an interview, how you can conduct some of the things, some of the do, and some of the don’ts, alam nating lahat yan pero I think we should be reminded. Sana tayong lahat ay magsikap na gawing patas ang pag-co-cover ng mga issue para iyong mga kino-cover natin ay hindi tayo maakusahan na unfair o kaya’y bias,” Lazaro said.

She said that this kind of observance is being neglected by the interviewer when conducting an interview.

Prof. Rachel Khan however, stressed that journalists should dig the information and researches the data thoroughly. In-depth reporting requires many sources, more time and more hard-work.

Both print and broadcast journalists serve as resource speakers. They were Prof. Marinela Aseron, an instructor at the Department of Broadcast Communication of the UP-CMC and co-anchors Tinig ng Bayan on NBN Channel 4; Prof. Danilo Arao-an, assistant professor at the Department of Journalism of the UP CMC and member of the Board of Editors of Bulatlat Online Magazine and a regular columnist of Pinoy Weekly; Prof. Melba Estonilo, an assistant professor at the Department of Broadcast Communication of the UP CMC and has just been assigned news director of DZUP, the radio station of UP Diliman; Prof. Rachel Khan-the Chair of the UP CMC Department of Journalism and concurrently the VP of the Asian Congress for Media and Communication, a Southwest Asian organization of media educators; Prof. Cecelia “Cheche” Lazaro-the founding President of the Probe Productions, Inc. and anchor of “The Probe Team” the first Filipino investigative newsmagazine for television; Prof. Solita “Winnie” Monsod-an economist and columnist for Business World and the Philippine Daily Inquirer; and Prof. Luis Teodoro-a professor at the UP CMC and editor of the Phil. News and Features and editor of the Phil. Journalism Review and Journalism Asia.

Women’s Front: Militarization scars women and children in Abra

May 17, 2008

By INNABUYOG-GABRIELA

On the evening of March 12, 2008 the Charlie Company of the 50th Infantry Batallion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines enforced themselves in the little village of Pananuman, in Barangay Tub-Tuba of Tubo, Abra. This is part of a series of attacks to eliminate insurgency in the country as provided in the government’s Oplan Bayan II operation which is due on 2010.

The next morning, the soldiers then camped in the community, hanging hammocks under the people’s houses and residing on schools and even the “dap-ay”. Houses after houses, the army illegally searched for armaments and documents that would link the local residents to the New People’s Army (NPA). Men, women and children were interrogated, intimidated into admitting they are supporters or even NPA members themselves. For two days, these people suffered from the dread of being tagged as NPAs.

On March 24, the Charlie Company, headed by Leiutenant Dalven Abdul Rashid Avila started an open fire targeting the suspected lair of the NPA. Cannons and mortars were situated within the community, even as close as the resident’s backyard.. Aerial assault was also conducted. At least 48 bombs were recorded by the local villagers to have been dropped in just two days while the bombings actually lasted for almost five days. The tranquil small village of Pananuman was disturbed by blasts day and night, scaring the people as if the earth was crumbling down. Civilians are made shields in the middle of the military attacks.

Vast areas of fields were destroyed from the blasts. The crops were detroyed from the bombings and village folk were disallowed to go to their farms and move around their environs. The planting of new seedlings is also delayed due to the bombings and the constraint laid upon the residents. The destruction of their fields and forest products is causing worry among the residents on where to get their food supply. The people of Pananuman are even dismayed to tend their farms as they fear that the military will destroy it again. There have also been reports of theft by the AFP. Cows and other livestock were stolen. With the country’s worsening economic crisis, the destruction of their main livelihood puts the people of Pananuman to a greater destitute for a longer period of time.

Most of the people of Pananuman now suffer from trauma. The very limited opportunity to go in and out of the community is as good as being held captive.The constant threat of a misfire from the cannons surely left these people with sleepless nights. The women and children should not be frightened of their own haven.

Schools are a place for learning and playing and not as battlegrounds. Now, the children of Pananuman are too scared to go to school. The smell of gun powder still lingers in the air. These children are too afraid and they even worry about the safety of their parents after witnessing soldiers poking guns in their parents’ faces. The women of Pananuman fear for the safety of their family.

“I am having a hard time going back to the fields. I have the unshakable feeling that someone is still watching me”, exclaimed an old lady from Pananuman. The untended fields remind them of the terror of flying bombs crossing their village.

Innabuyog urges the media, the different organizations as well as the citizenry of the Philippines to be vigilant and stand firm against the government’s “terrorism” in this society. Let us not allow these barbaric acts to pursue and let us not wait to be victims ourselves. We add our voices to the women and children’s rights advocates in opposing the militarization in the countryside.

Innabuyog condemns the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime for this blasphemy. The militarization in the countryside depicts not the iron-fist rule of her government, but the cowardice of this government against the so-called threat to her throne. This bloodshed will never be fruitful. Hence, it is deemed to push the Filipino society further into misery.

We call for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to adhere to its mandate to protect the citizenry and not the otherway around. Listen to the women and children of Pananuman. Witness how their innocent minds are forever scarred by this violence.

Stop militarization in the countryside!

Stop State Terrorism!

Demand for the accountability of the GMA government for these human rights violations!

Oust GMA! #