Archive for the ‘youth’ Category

Youth Groups Call for Class Walk-Out on PGMA’s SoNA

July 27, 2008

Militant youth organizations are set to call for class walk-out in various schools and universities and would mobilize students for the ‘People’s State of the Nation Address’ that will be held simultaneously with the president’s SONA scheduled on July 28.

By JEFFREY OCAMPO
Contributed to Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 25, July 27-August 2, 2008

Youth organizations, led by Youth for Truth and Accountability Now! (Youth ACT Now!), Anakbayan (Sons and Daughters of the People), League of Filipino Students (LFS) and Student Christian Movement (SCM), are calling for class walk-outs in various schools and universities and are urging students to join the protest action on July 28, the date of the president’s State of the Nation Address (SoNA).

They intend to reveal the “real state of the nation and the youth,” according to Ken Ramos of Anakbayan.

Youth ACT Now! had previously staged successful class walk-outs this July as a means of carrying out the youth’s fight for “meaningful change.” More than 2,000 students from different schools in Metro Manila walked out of their classes last July 18. The July 18 walk-out was the second.  The first was held on July 10, in which some 1,000 students participated.

According to Ramos, education is fast becoming inaccessible as tuition hikes and imposition of exorbitant fees bombard the students. The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) recently suspended its Memorandum No. 14, which was supposed to provide a “tuition cap” for private higher education institutions (HEIs), while the supposed moratorium on tuition increases for public HEIs failed to take effect. “More and more students are forced to drop out of college because their parents, drowning in the worsening economic crisis, can no longer provide for their children’s needs in school,” he adds.

The youth groups also dispute the Arroyo administration’s claim that “progress is felt.” Oil prices, which now increase almost every week due to speculation in the world market and the deregulated environment in the Philippines, affect basic commodities and transport, thereby adding to the misery and economic devastation of Filipinos, according to the LFS.

Another reason for their call for a class walk-out is the “state terrorism” which victimizes youth. Of the 910 victims of extrajudicial killings documented by Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights) from January 2001 to June 2008, 23 belong to the youth sector. Ten cases of enforced disappearance, including that of University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, remain unresolved. According to the SCM, the Arroyo administration and its appendages in the military should be held liable for these “rampant human rights violations.”

Thus, these youth organizations call on their “fellow students to go out on the streets where the real state of the nation and of the youth shall be heard.” Contributed to Bulatlat

A Daughter’s Pain, a Mother’s Suffering, and their Quest for Justice

July 27, 2008

It was an unusual reunion of mother and daughter. Nanay Mely visited Hazel in Okinawa, Japan last week. After knowing the details of the sufferings Hazel endured in the hands of an American soldier, Nanay Mely would have wanted to bring Hazel home. But her daughter is determined to fight, and so is she.

BY RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat
Volume VIII, Number 25, July 27-August 2, 2008

Nanay Mely, together with Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Representative Liza Maza and other GABRIELA officers visited Hazel in Okinawa, Japan last week. Hazel, 21, was allegedly raped by an American soldier in an Okinawa City hotel, Feb. 18.

The Okinawa police identified the suspect as Sgt. Ronald Edward Hopstock Jr. of the 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment.

When she saw Hazel, Nanay Mely told Bulatlat, “Di ko napigilan, umiyak ako habang niyayapos siya.” (I could not control my tears, I cried as I hugged her.)

She said that Hazel was smiling; she asked her why. Hazel told her, “Hindi na ako iiyak, matapang na ako.” (I will not cry any more, I have become courageous.)

When she heard the details of the rape incident, Nanay Mely said, ”Grabe pala ang nangyari. Pakiramdam ko, malalagot ang hininga ko, kinukurot ang dibdib ko… Parang gusto kong sumigaw pero pinigilan ko sarili ko. Ipinapakita ko sa kanya, matapang ako. Iniinom ko na lang ng tubig.” (What happened to her is terrible. I felt I could not breath, my heart was aching…I wanted to shout but I controlled myself. I tried to show her that I am brave. I just kept on drinking water.)

Near death

On Feb. 17, Hazel went out with Hopstock together with five other Filipina entertainers and US Marines. Initially, she hesitated to join them but the other entertainers egged her on, saying they would just eat out and roam around the city.

They had dinner. Then, the US Marines invited them to go to the New Century Hotel in Okinawa. Hopstock refused and said he just wanted to go to a videoke bar instead. Because of that, Linaban related, he gained Hazel’s trust. Hazel thought she was safe with him.

The other Filipina entertainers told Hazel that they would meet later. When Hazel wanted to return to their apartment, Hopstock took her to the hotel saying that her friends were waiting there.

Unknown to Hazel, Hopstock had already reserved a room at the hotel. When they arrived there, she called up one of the Filipina entertainers. The Filipina said she would already sleep and they would meet at 6 a.m. It was already dawn.

Linaban said, ”Akala niya, mapagkakatiwalaan niya, natulog na siya. Nagising siya, pinupwersa na siya.” (She thought she could trust him so she slept ahead of him. When she woke up, he was already forcing himself upon her.)

Nanay Mely related, ”Pumasok siya sa CR habang iniisip kung anong gagawin, maraming dugo ang lumalabas sa kanya, buo-buo niyang dinadampot.” (She went inside the comfort room, thinking what to do. She was bleeding profusely. Clotted blood dropped out of her.) Nanay Mely showed her fist, saying the blood coming from Hazel was of that size.

She continued, “Nagmamakaawa siya, duguan. Wala siyang bihisan. Ibinalot sa kanya ang damit ng militar, iniwan siya nang makitang hindi maganda ang lagay niya.” (She was begging for help, she was full of blood. She had no spare clothes. The soldier wrapped his uniform around her but he left when he realized that she was in such a bad state.)

Before Hazel lost consciousness, Nanay Mely said that Hazel was able to get the name of the soldier from the hotel’s front desk. When Hazel regained consciousness, she was already in an ambulance.

Nanay Mely said the doctor told Hazel that she could have died from serious bleeding. ”Kung di malakas ang loob niya, mamamatay na sana siya.” (If she is not strong enough, the doctor said she could have died.) ”Kung namatay siya, hindi ko matatanggap.” (If she died then, I could never accept it.)

She said, ”Kawawa talaga, walang nag-aalaga. Mag-isa lang siya noon sa ospital.” (Her condition was miserable, nobody took care of her. She was alone in the hospital.)

Angry

When asked about what the government did to assist Hazel, Nanay Mely retorted, “Galit ako, hindi nila tinulungan ang anak ko. Kung naghintay lang ako ng tulong ng gobyerno, walang mangyayari. Kung hindi ako gumawa ng paraan, kawawa ang anak ko.” (I am angry, they did not help my daughter. If I waited for the government’s help, nothing would have happened. If I did not make a move, my daughter would be helpless.)

Nanay MelyNanay Mely related that when she first learned about what happened to Hazel, she did not know what to do. A reporter from a television network went to their house in Palawan and interviewed her. She asked for the reporter’s help and the latter told her to contact GABRIELA.

Nanay Mely said that the Philippine consulate asked Hazel to leave Japan on June 12. Her visa would have expired in three days. ”Iniyakan niya pa bago ibigay ang passport niya.” (She begged and cried before they gave her her passport.) A Filipino priest sponsored the extension of her visa.

Determined

Nanay Mely said that she asked Hazel about her plans. “Hindi siya makasagot. Hindi niya pa raw alam. Ang alam niya lang ngayon, lalaban siya, manalo o matalo, lalaban siya.” (She could not answer. She said she doesn’t know yet. All she knows right now is that she will fight, no matter if she would win or lose, she will fight.)

Nanay Mely said, ”Tinanong ko siya kung natatakot siya? Minsan daw pero wala raw mangyayari kung matatakot siya. Sabi niya, Mama, matapang na ako.” (I asked her if she is afraid. Sometimes, she said, but added that nothing will happen if she will be afraid. She told me, ’Mama, I have become brave.’”)

Nanay Mely said she would have wanted to take Hazel home with her. ”Ayoko na siyang mawalay sa akin.Pero sabi ko, ikaw ang masusunod. Habang lumalaban ka, gagawa ako ng paraan para matulungan ka.” (I don’t want her to be away from me. But I told her, ’I will respect your decision. While you are fighting, I will do everything to help you.) Bulatlat

Rape, Human Trafficking, Gov’t Neglect – the Travails of Okinawa Rape Victim Hazel

July 27, 2008

An investigation led by GWP Representative Liza Maza on the plight of Okinawa rape victim Hazel discovered that she was a victim three times over: of rape, human trafficking, and of government neglect.

BY RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat
Volume VIII, No. 25, July 27-August 2, 2008

It is an all-too-familiar story of an OFW who was lured by promises of a decent job abroad only to be herded to a different country without proper travel documents, and forced to work as a virtual slave and prisoner. To complete the story, when the OFW is already in a situation of distress, the Filipino community and migrants’ rights advocates come to the rescue while Philippine consulate and embassy officials claim that they cannot do anything and when pressured to give assistance, it always arrives too late. But this story is worse, this OFW was raped by a soldier of the US armed forces.

The investigation of a five-member team led by Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Representative Liza Maza on the plight of Okinawa rape victim Hazel discovered that not only was Hazel a victim of rape by Sgt. Ronald Edward Hopstock Jr. of 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment in a hotel in Okinawa, Feb. 18; she was also a victim of human trafficking and of indifference by Philippine consulate officials.

The team went to Okinawa on July 16. For five days, a series of dialogues ensued with Philippine consulate and Japanese government officials, Hazel’s lawyer and anti-US bases advocates and organizations. They were also able to talk to Hazel and to her custodian lengthily.

In an interview, Lana Linaban, deputy secretary general of GABRIELA and member of the Okinawa mission, said that Hazel was indeed raped and the “Philippine government officials in Okinawa clearly neglected her.”

Negligence and indifference

Linaban said that Hazel had no lawyer during the investigation of the rape case filed at the Naha District Public Prosecutor’s Office. She said a lawyer was later provided by the Philippine consulate in Okinawa but it was too late as the counsel began working on the case a mere three days before the last hearing.

Linaban related that since Day 1, Hazel has made it clear that she will fight. “She told the Philippine consulate that she needed a lawyer,” said Linaban. But apparently her request was ignored.

The hearings transpired on May 1, 8, 12 and 15. It was only around May 13 when the lawyer sent by the consulate worked on the case. On May 16, the court dismissed the case for ‘insufficient evidence.’ The Okinawa police submitted a 2,000-page of report to the prosecutor.

Linaban disclosed that in a dialogue, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reasoned out that the lawyer was intended for the trial. “Aminado silang wala nang silbi ang abogado. Na-dismiss ang kaso.” (They admitted that the lawyer would no longer be of help as the case has already been dismissed.)

Linaban said that no Philippine government representative attended Hazel’s hearings. Hazel was accompanied by her custodian, Fr. Rommel Cruz, members of the Okinawa police and the translator provided by the consulate.

Linaban said the prosecutor commented that there were inconsistencies in Hazel’s testimony. Linaban said that Hazel was not sure if the interpreter provided to her by the Philippine consulate efficiently translated her statements.
Hazel’s lawyer, Linaban added, does not speak English. She said, “They could not understand each other.”

Linaban criticized the Philippine consulate for not doing any legal or diplomatic action after the dismissal of the case.

Linaban said that during the team’s dialogue with Philippine Consul General Sulpicio Confiado, the latter’s standard answer was “I will check on it.”

She added that Honorary Consul Ako Alarcon of the Philippine consulate in Okinawa blamed Cruz for ‘grabbing custody of Hazel.’ Linaban said, “Kaya wala na raw silang alam.” (That is why, they claimed, they knew nothing about the case since then.)

Linaban related that the Filipino priest volunteered to sponsor the extension of Hazel’s visa which expired after the hearing. The Philippine consulate, she said, made no move to extend her visa.

In an interview, Nanay Mely, Hazel’s mother, said that the Philippine consulate wanted her daughter to just go home. Nanay Mely said that Hazel pleaded for her passport.

Alarcon, Linaban said, also told them that attending to Hazel’s case is not within her functions. “Trade lang daw ang sa kanya. Sa Philippine Embassy sa Tokyo raw ang labor.” (She said she just deals with trade-related matters. The Philippine Embassy in Tokyo is supposedly in charge of labor-related concerns.)

Linaban related that the Philippine government did not bother to provide temporary shelter for Hazel. She said that the Okinawa police investigators took Hazel to a Japanese shelter house but the maximum stay is only two months. Hazel was then transferred to a nun’s convent and later referred to Cruz, a Filipino Catholic priest in Okinawa.

A case of human trafficking

Hazel was fresh out of college when lured by a recruiter to work as a cultural dancer abroad. The offer was tempting as Hazel was in a hurry to contribute to the upkeep of the family. She is the eldest of six siblings and the first to graduate from college in the family. Her parents had no stable income: her father did odd jobs while her mother is a vendor.

Hazel and four other Filipinas underwent training in dance with the Cinderella recruitment agency. The aspiring OFWs were surprised when they were taught sexy dancing. They also did not undergo any pre-departure orientation. A representative of the recruitment agency told Hazel and four other Filipinas to get rid of all their documents except for their passports when they reach Taipei, Taiwan for a transit stop. On February 14, the five Filipinas left Manila.

When Hazel and the four other Filipinas arrived in Okinawa on Feb. 14, a certain Boyet fetched them and took all their passports. They were given a photocopy of their passports. Boyet then took them to three different bars.

While Hazel’s contract states that she would work as a dancer, Linaban related, Hazel was asked to do more, including drinking with customers. She was also asked to go out with a customer. Linaban said that these practices are considered illegal in Japan.

Filipinos in Japan informed the mission team that Boyet used to work as an employee of the Philippine consulate.

Linaban said that when she asked Alarcon if she knew that Filipina entertainers’ passports are taken by their employers, Alarcon replied that it is the standard operating procedure (SOP).

During the stay of the team in Okinawa, three Filipina entertainers were deported.

Maza, author of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act said she would call for a Congressional investigation on how the anti-trafficking law is being implemented. She also said, “The allegations from some members of the Filipino community that our representatives in Okinawa may have aided trafficking must be looked into.”

Maza said she would sponsor a resolution to investigate whether Philippine embassy and consulate officials are making business out of labor export.

Misleading

Linaban further chided the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for releasing “misleading” information regarding Hazel’s case.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Esteban Conejos was quoted in a July 2 article of the Business Mirror saying that “the US military has agreed to conduct court-martial proceedings against an American soldier accused of raping a Filipino woman in Okinawa, Japan.”

In the same article, Conejos further said, “The US military has taken cognizance, assumed jurisdiction of the case.”

Linaban said that no case has been filed yet at the US court martial. She explained that the Criminal Investigation Department of the US military court is still in the process of conducting an investigation. A report would then be submitted to the prosecutor then the judge advocate would determine if there is a case.

Linaban said that the legal assistant of Hazel’s new lawyer informed them that it could take four weeks before the initial investigation is concluded.

Distorted justice system

Linaban added that it remains uncertain if the charge to be filed against Hopstock – that is, if the court martial deems that there is sufficient cause to do so – would be rape. She said that Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (http://usmilitary.about.com/od/justicelawlegislation/a/art120new.htm) defines various levels of sexual assault.

Linaban cited the gang rape case involving four US Marines in Hiroshima sometime in October 2007.

Based on news reports, Lance Cpl. Larry A. Dean, 20, one of the four Marines who faced court martial was found guilty of “wrongful sexual contact and indecent acts” but was cleared of rape.

Linaban retorted, “Korte nila ‘yan eh.” (That is their court.)

She said that the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the US and Japan should not result to the surrender of Japan’s sovereignty.

Maza said, “In principle, sovereign states should have jurisdiction on cases/crimes committed in their territories. The presence of US bases and troops has distorted justice/criminal system such that perpetrators are able to get away from criminal liability. They are the ones who define the venue for justice settlement.”

Maza stressed, “This is inherently wrong…the US is usurping the sovereign rights of other countries.”

Linaban said, “The US wants to preserve the so-called integrity of their institutions and will always prove that these are but isolated cases.” She said that the US’ procedural mechanism to “discipline” their troops is political in nature. “The US intends to preempt the resurgence of strong anti-US bases campaigns,” she said.

Maza maintained that the Philippine government should pursue the rape case in the civil court.

Linaban said the Filipino people would not want the case to be resolved in the court martial. Maza and Linaban cited the case of Nicole where the rape case of the US soldier who raped her was tried by a civilian court. Unfortunately, they said, justice was not served in the end as the Philippine government eventually surrendered custody over the American soldier to the US embassy.

Nicole was raped just before midnight of Nov. 1, 2005 in Subic Bay. On Dec. 4, 2006, the Makati Regional Trial Court convicted Lance Corporal Daniel Smith of rape.

On Dec. 29, 2006, however, Smith was transferred to the US Embassy after DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo and US Ambassador Kristie Kenney agreed on the transfer of custody citing the provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

In the case of Hazel, Linaban said that the US may sacrifice Hopstock. “Politically, the strategic objective to maintain their forces and bases in Okinawa is definitely more important”

Support

Linaban related that the organization Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence has pledged their support for Hazel’s case. The Japanese group is campaigning against the construction of a new base facility in the Northern part of Okinawa.

Maza said they also met with at least 15 members of the Prefecture Assembly, counterpart of the Philippine Congress. Maza appealed to the Prefecture Assembly, to other organizations in Japan, and to the Filipino community to support Hazel in her quest for justice. Bulatlat

Youth Speak: Television invasion

July 26, 2008

By RONALD B. DULAY*

“The influence of world TV culture on the perceptions of foreign costumers is enormous.” — Trends Symbols, and Brand Power in Global Markets: the Business Anthropology Approach by Jeanne van Rij

Television has been changing lifestyles of almost all races in the world. Western culture has shaped and continues to shape the diverse culture in every country. This assertion is much justified by my observations in our locality.

I often see people preferring Western products over quality Philippine-made products. It may be the effect of the Westernization our local channels. Some Filipinos view that the best things on earth are only found in the West. This outlook in life hinders us from improving our identity and it debases our diverse culture.

Due to the domination of Western show and movies, we tend to adopt their language, actions and values. Filipino children and teenagers are the ones who are most likely to inculcate Western culture in their life. Without proper guidance, they might be incorporating foul languages to their vocabularies and use them while conversing with other people. Having a violent personality is also an adverse effect.

Western television culture also sets the standards of all things because of its domination. As an effect, some imitate and adopt the culture to meet their standards and be socially accepted. A very good example of this phenomenon is the localization of successful talent search and reality shows like the American Idol and Endemol’s Big Brother.

I do not discourage Western shows. Yet, we need to be critical in watching these shows. We must study and understand the underlying messages being conveyed to us. Violent actions and offending languages must be discarded. Positive and uplifting elements should be digested to stimulate self-improvement.

The preservation of our culture is not to be set aside either. The advancement of other cultures should serve as our drive in developing our own culture.#

* Ronald S. Dulay,17, is taking up AB Communication at the Saint Louis University in Baguio City. He is from Poblacion, Tuba, Benguet.(NorDis)

Cops, SWAT forces harass protesting youths

July 26, 2008

BAGUIO CITY — Members of the militant youth organization Anakbayan were harassed and violently dispersed during their protest action in the city’s public market.

Anakbayan members conducting a signature campaign and a short program at Kayang Street on July 12 against the weekly oil price hikes and the current economic crisis were surprised when local policemen tried to stop their program and asked for a permit.

While the negotiation was going on, police reinforcements arrived along with two Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) vans with around eight forces carrying long firearms.

Leaders of the youth group were still trying to assert their freedom of speech and assembly when police turned on sirens to muffle the protesters’ calls and crowded the immediate area while some officers started to drag the protesters, their flags and placards.

The protesters got support from vendors and market-goers who expressed their sentiments for them and questioned the presence of the heavily armed forces.

When some members of the media arrived, the SWAT forces hid their firearms at the back of their vans.

According to a statement released by Anakbayan, these “actions by the ‘Baguio’s Finest’ is clearly harassment and repression to progressive organizations voicing out views on the current economic state.”

“We could not help but wonder what justifies the violence done to groups collecting signatures in protest of government neglect on the concerns of the basic masses,” said the statement.

The protesters’ megaphone, the wires of their mobile sound system and placards were forcefully confiscated. # Cye Reyes(NorDis)

Marahas na dispersal, di makakapigil sa protesta ng kabataan sa Sona

July 24, 2008

HINDI mapipigilan ng pag-aresto at pananakit ng pulisya sa mga estudyante kamakailan ang malawakang pagkilos ng mga kabataan sa darating na Sona (State of the Nation Address) ni Pangulong Arroyo, pahayag ng LFS (League of Filipino Students).

Apat na estudyante ang arestado at limang naman ang lubhang sugatan nang marahas na buwagin ng mga miyembro ng Manila Police District ang piket na isinagawa ng mga grupong pangkabataan sa harap ng embahada ng US sa Roxas Blvd. noong Hulyo 24.

Hinabol ng pulisya hanggang T.M. Kalaw Ave ang mga raliyista na sumisigaw ng “Ugat ng Kahirapan, Imperyalismo Ibagsak!”

Isinisisi ng mga kabataan ang interbensiyon ng US sa ekonomiya ng bansa para sa papalalang krisis ng kahirapan.

Inaresto sina Vencer Crisostomo, 22, pambansang tagapangulo ng LFS; Ken Ramos, 22, pambansang tagapangulo ng Anakbayan; Marvin Serrano, 23, miyembro ng Anakbayan sa Intramuros; at EJ Aguirre, 18, miyembro ng LFS sa Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Lubhang sugatan naman dahil sa pamumukpok ng mga pulis sina Aaron Castil, Liberty Sardina, Jeffrey Domingo, Katrina Andres at Alex Belmonte.

“Hanggang patuloy na sumusunod ang gobyernong papet sa dikta ng US, susugurin at susugurin namin ang embahada ng US at (iba pang sentro ng kapangyarihan) ng rehimeng Arroyo,” ani Ron Villeges, pangalawang tagapangulo ng LFS.

Samantala, suot ang kanilang mga unipormeng pampalakasan, tumakbo patungo sa kani-kanilang mga paaralan ang mga estudyante sa University Belt sa Morayta, Maynila.

Ito ay bilang pagtutol sa mataas na presyo ng mga bilihin at 12% Value Added Tax.

Lumahok sa takbo-protestang pinamagatang “Takbo na, pa-SONA, patalsikin si Gloria!” ang mga estudyante ng University of the East, Centro Escolar University at University of Sto. Tomas.

Ilang-Ilang Quijano/ Mary Rose B. Retrita(PWeekly)

Misyon sa Okinawa: DFA nagpabaya sa kaso ni Hazel

July 24, 2008

NAPAG-ALAMAN ng pangkat na tumulak patungong Okinawa kamakailan na binalewala ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas ang kaso ni Hazel, biktima ng human trafficking at panggagahasa ng sundalong Amerikano.

Ayon kay Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza, na nanguna sa misyon, positibong ginahasa si Hazel ayon sa mga rekord medikal at sa paglalahad sa kanila ng biktima sa mga nangyari noong gabi ng Pebrero 18.

Ayon sa pangkat, nalaman ni Honorary Consul Ako Alarcon, konsulado ng Pilipinas sa Okinawa, ang panggagahasa kay Hazel nang maospital ito. Pero hindi umano nagbigay si Alarcon ng suportang ligal para malaman kung may probable cause ang kaso.

Ibinasura ng Naha District Public Prosecutor’s Office noong Mayo 19 ang kasong isinampa ni Hazel laban kay Sgt. Ronald Edward Hopstock Jr. ng 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment ng US Army na umano’y nanggahasa sa kanya sa loob ng isang hotel.

Sinabi pa ng pangkat na mag-isang humaharap si Hazel sa proseso ng imbestigasyon. Wala umanong alam ang biktima sa sistema sa Hapon, hindi nakakaintindi ng lokal na lengguwahe, at walang kakilala dahil tatlong araw pa lamang siyang dumating dito bago naganap ang insidente.

“Si Hazel ay nangangailangan ng hustisya. Kailangang hikayatin ng ating gobyerno ang gobyerno ng Japan na imbestigahang muli ang kaso. Ang soberanyang bansa ay mayroong soberanyang karapatan na manghuli, kahit na Amerikanong sundalo pa ang nagkasala,” sabi ni Maza.

Isa lang umano ni Hazel sa maraming Pilipina na biktima ng sex trafficking na ginagamit para sa “rest and recreation” ng mga sundalong Kano na naka-base sa Okinawa. Sakop ng baseng militar ng US ang 20% ng lupain sa probinsya.

Mula 1985 hanggang 2005, may 34 kaso na ng panggagahasa na isinampa laban sa mga tropang Kano na naka-base sa Okinawa.(PWeekly)

Walkout ng mga estudyante tuloy hanggang Sona

July 24, 2008

Soliman A. Santos

NAGSAGAWA ng sabayang pagwo-walkout sa klase ang Youth ACT Now! o Youth for Accountability and Truth Now! noong Hulyo 18 at nanawagan sa publiko na “manindigan para sa makabuluhang pagbabago sa lipunan.”

Nagdaos ng kani-kanilang programa ang mga estudyante sa mga pangunahing unibersidad at kolehiyo tulad ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, Politeknikong Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, University of Sto. Tomas, Adamson University, Far Eastern University, De La Salle University, College of St. Benilde, College of Lyceum, Colegio de San de Letran, Pamantasang Lungsod ng Maynila, Trinity University, Philippine Christian University, St. Scholastica’s College, Mapua Institute of Technology, Jose Rizal University, Technological Institute of the Philippines, Philippine School of Business Administration, Ateneo de Manila University, Miriam College, Sta. Isabel College, Philippine Normal University, St. Paul University, Arellano University, Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Technology, Manuel L. Quezon Univeristy at ilang hayskul sa Metro Manila bago nagtipon sa Kalaw sa Taft Avenue at UST sa España.

Pinangunahan ng mga organisasyong pangkabataan ang protesta kabilang ang National Union of Students of the Philippines, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, Student Christian Movement, Kabataang Pinoy, LFS (League of Filipino Students), Anakbayan, Karatula, Gabriela-Youth, Liga ng Kabataang Moro, League of Students for the Environment, Youth Revolt, Kristiyanong Kabataan para sa Bayan, Nnara-Youth at Bayan Muna-Youth.

Bandang ala-una ng hapon, nagmartsa ang mga estudyante papunta sa Mendiola para doon magprograma.

Ayon kay Vencer Crisostomo, tagapangulo ng LFS, “aternatibong klase sa lansangan” ang naturang protesta para mapalalim ang pampultikang edukasyon ng mga kabataan.

“Mulat ang mga kabataan sa mga isyung pampulitika at pang-ekonomiya na hinaharap ng ating bansa. Ang layunin namin ngayon ay ugatin ang pinagmumulan ng krisis at ilantad ang di-pantay na kalagayan sa lipunan natin ngayon, kung saan, pinagsasamantalahan ng iilan ang mayorya ng mga mamamayan,” sabi ni Crisostomo.

Importante rin umanong magdaos ng mga pag-aaral para maengganyo ang mga kabataan para lalo nilang maintindihan ang mga isyu nang sa gayon ay makabuo sila ng mga alternatibong solusyon.

Mula sa Plaza Miranda, nagmartsa ang mga kabataan patungo sa Mendiola bago dumiretso sa tinaguriang Black Friday na noise barrage sa Trabajo, España bandang alas-singko ng hapon.

Nagbanta pa ang mga estudyante na marami pang protesta ang magaganap bilang paghahanda sa nalalapit na State of the Nation Address ni Pangulong Arroyo.(PWeekly)

Photo Essay

July 24, 2008

Ex-actress’ alleged moves to force maid to withdraw case hit

July 23, 2008

By Marlon Ramos Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — Alleged machinations by a former actress and sister of a lawmaker to force her housemaid to withdraw the criminal cases that had been filed against her have been denounced by several groups.

“Mi-an,” 17, a native of Basi, Samar, lodged several complaints against Princess Revilla, younger sister of Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., for allegedly physically maltreating her with a broomstick.

The housemaid escaped from her employer’s house in the posh Valle Verde Subdivision and was “rescued” by village officials of Barangay (village) Ugong, Pasig City last June 11.

Irene Alogoc, one of the housemaid’s volunteer counsels, disclosed Tuesday that her client’s mother and aunt suddenly showed up during the preliminary investigation at the Pasig City Prosecutor’s Office last week and tried to convince the complainant to retract her affidavit.

Alogoc said they had filed cases of physical injuries, violation of Republic Act 7610 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act) and Republic Act (Anti-Child Labor Act) against Revilla, whose real name is Rebecca Bautista-Ocampo.

Alogoc said the victim’s mother, Erminia Arota, repeatedly asked her daughter “to just go home to Samar and forget about the case.”

She said the mother likewise tried to forcibly take her daughter away from the social workers who had been taking care of her since she fled Revilla’s house.

“The girl was very determined to pursue the case. She told her mother that she would not return to their province until her legal battle is over,” Alogoc said in a press briefing in Quezon City.

The lawyer also lambasted Revilla’s camp for allegedly peddling wrong information to the media in a bid to discredit those helping the housemaid, including the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Eva Lawas, DSWD social worker, said they were baffled by the presence of the complainant’s relatives at the preliminary hearing.

Lawas said they were surprised when they learned that Mi-an’s mother, sister, and two aunts boarded a plane from Samar so that they could attend the scheduled hearing last July 14.

She said the four were now staying at a hotel in Pasay City.

“Even the victim was puzzled by her mother’s attendance at the hearing. How could her mother afford to buy plane tickets and stay at a hotel when they couldn’t even buy a kilo of rice?” Lawas told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net.

Lawas, however, declined to comment when asked if Revilla might have contacted the victim’s mother and paid for her travel from Samar.

“I don’t want to speculate. But the girl said she was sure her mother already received a big sum of money from Revilla,” she said.

Meanwhile, Gabriela has thrown its support behind Mi-an after she sought the support of the militant women’s group.

Emmi de Jesus, Gabriela secretary general, said they received a handwritten letter from the victim asking for their assistance.

De Jesus said the victim’s experience mirrored the deplorable plight of more than 140,000 underage housemaids and child workers in the country.

“Social inequity battered [Mi-an] twice. First, instead of going to school, she was forced to work as a maid. Second, she had to endure the merciless torture in the hands of her privileged employer,” she read from a prepared statement.

‘Rise Up!’

July 21, 2008

PHOTO ESSAY
BY RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 24, July 20-26, 2008

Anger. Student leaders from various colleges and universities present their reasons for calling for Arroyo’s ouster. They simultaneously tore apart papers with Arroyo’s face.


Alternative street classes.
Students listen to a youth leader in one of the discussion groups at Plaza Miranda

Black. Graffiti artists use black ink for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s face; it depicts all the “evil things” she has brought the nation.

Different music genre, same sentiments. Rock and hip-hop bands perform to call for Arroyo’s removal. Water containers are used as percussion instruments.

Defiance. Blocked by police car patrols, protesters take the road leading to Nicanor Reyes Street. The front liners push with their bodies against the policemen’s shields.

Hand gestures. Students give a thumbs-down sign to policemen blocking them, and raised fists against the occupant of Malacañang.

Students Walk Out, ‘Rise Up for Meaningful Change’

July 21, 2008

More than 2,000 college and high school students walked out of their classes, July 18 to protest the worsening economic crisis. They vowed to conduct more of these actions until Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo steps down.

BY JEFFREY OCAMPO
Contributed to Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 24, July 20-26, 2008

On July 18, more than 2,000 students walked out of their classes and gathered at the Plaza Miranda in Manila to protest the worsening economic crisis

The Youth for Truth and Accountability Now! (Youth ACT Now!) called for class walk-outs in various universities and urged the students to “rise up for meaningful change.”

Vencer Crisostomo, chairperson of the League of Filipino Students (LFS) declared that July 18 was a “day of uprising.”

Students from the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman and Manila, University of Santo Tomas (UST), University of the East (UE)-Manila, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), Adamson University, Philippine Normal University (PNU), Philippine Christian University (PCU), Jose Rizal University (JRU), Manuel L. Quezon University (MLQU) and other universities and schools in the National Capital Region (NCR) participated in the protest action.

Students held simultaneous activities and programs in their respective universities before joining together for the protest action in the afternoon. About 700 students of UP Diliman assembled in Palma Hall lobby and encouraged their fellow students to join the protest action. PUP students, meanwhile, held noise barrage and snake rallies within their campus. UST students wore yellow headgears as they persuaded the Thomasian community to join them.

Nineteen students from JRU, who were suspended for organizing a noise barrage the day before, led their schoolmates to the activity.

High school students from Culiat, Sauyo and Quirino High Schools also joined the activity.

By 12 noon, the students had gathered at two assembly points in Kalaw and España. They proceeded to Plaza Miranda for the main program.

State of the youth

Kabataang Pinoy Spokesperson Dion Carlo Cerrafon said that the Filipino youth, despite being drowned by a decadent culture, must be informed of the economic and political situation of the country. The youth, he said, is an important part of the people’s movement for social emancipation.

Vijae Alquisola, national president of the College Editors of the Philippines (CEGP), pointed out that the Philippine educational system is not developing the youth to serve the country in the future.

Biyaya Quizon, national chairperson of the Student Christian Movement (SCM) said the youth are also victims of the Arroyo government’s terrorism. She recalled the case of Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, students of UP Diliman who were abducted by alleged military men. Quizon said that Arroyo and the military should be held liable for more cases of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and other rights abuses.

Unresolved economic crisis

Ken Ramos, national chairperson of Anakbayan, said that the economic crisis will not be resolved since Arroyo is not doing anything to alleviate the situation.

In the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey, 60 percent of respondents said they are dissatisfied by Arroyo’s performance.

Ramos cited Arroyo’s imposition of ‘anti-people policies’ such as Reformed-Value Added Tax (R-VAT and Oil Deregulation Law and her ‘puppetry to the government of the United States” as the reasons why the people want to oust her from her position.

Crisostomo urged the youth to integrate with other sectors of the society, particularly the workers and farmers, to form a ‘unified force that will end the Arroyo regime.’

Support from other sectors

Elmer Labog of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (May 1st Movement) told the crowd that the youth will always be the hope of the nation. He stressed the need for the youth to hone themselves to be able to serve the country in the future.

Representative Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna Partylist (People First) shared the experiences of the youth movement during the First Quarter Storm of 1970. He said that there is a need to take advantage of the economic crisis the country is experiencing to provide the people with “political education” that will encourage them to “act and aim for fundamental change in the society.” The significance of the youth movement, according to him, is an indispensable element to the people’s struggle for social change.

Other forms of protest

Cultural performances were also staged. UP Repertory Company, Sining na Naglilingkod sa Bayan (Sinagbayan) and local band form UE called Antigo were among the performers.

A San Francisco-based Filipino-American hip-hop group ALAY (Active Leadership to Advance Youth) demanded ‘access to higher education, dignified labor and true justice.’ They encouraged students to serve the people and fight “imperialistic countries (referring to the United States).

A group of graffiti artists from the College of Fine Arts of UP Diliman spray-painted the walls and streets as they marched with the protesters.

Kabataang Artista para sa Tunay na Kalayaan (Karatula or Young Artists for Genuine Freedom) said that “while popular culture is being used by the state (i.e. the government) as a way to subjugate the minds of the Filipino youth, the progressive culture can counter this and can be used as an educational tool and ‘catalyst for social change’.”

After the program in Plaza Miranda, the student marched their way to Mendiola. The Manila Police District (MPD) quickly set up a barricade at Morayta (Nicanor Reyes Street) to prevent the students from reaching their destination.

According to Maj. Virgilio Bag-id of the MPD, more than 200 police were deployed to “maintain peace and order.”

The students held a brief program before retreating to Espana. Ramos warmed the Arroyo administration that they will be coming back with more massive and intensified protest actions.

The students then marched along España and occupied the stretch between M. de la Fuente and Vicente Cruz intersections to conduct a noise barrage. They were joined by members of the Migrante International and Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage).

The “alternative street classes” continued as the students formed discussion groups while speakers persuaded the motorists to blow their horns as a sign of solidarity.

The announcement that there would be a P3 increase in diesel by midnight caused uproar among the militants, passengers and pedestrians alike.

Coincidentally, a Shell tanker was passing along España. A group of students stopped the tanker and wrote “Oil Deregulation Law, Ibasura” (Scrap Oil Deregulation Law), “R-VAT sa Langis, Alisin” (Remove R-VAT on Oil), and “Oust GMA” all around the tanker. They eventually let the tanker go after the driver blew his horn to sympathize with the protesters.

Youth ACT Now! declared that the protest action was successful and said that there will be more protests until Arroyo’s State of the Nation Address (SoNA) on July 28. Bulatlat

‘Psywar Used vs Gumanoy Siblings’

July 21, 2008

As the Court of Appeals (CA) denied the petition for writ of habeas corpus for the Gumanoy siblings held by the Philippine Army, human rights groupS and children’s rights advocates decried the use of psywar tactics against the two. They said that threat and exploitation of poverty belied military’s claims of ‘voluntary custody.’

BY RONALYN V. OLEA
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Bulatlat
Volume VIII, No. 24, July 20-26, 2008

The Court of Appeals (CA) denied the petition for writ of habeas corpus, July 16, filed by Maria Gumanoy for the release of her daughters Fatima, 17 and Rose Ann, 21 held by the Philippine Army.

The two have been staying at the Fort Bonifacio General Hospital since July 3.

Justices Sesinando Villon, Jose Catral Mendoza and Andres Reyes decided in favor of military custody for the two siblings.

For the meantime

At the hearing, Fatima was asked by the justices where she wants to go; she replied, “Sa ate ko muna” (I will stay with my older sister for the meantime.)

Fr. Dionito Cabillas of the Services Department of human rights group Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights) pointed out the word “muna” (for the meantime). “Ibig sabihin, gusto niya pa ring sumama sa nanay niya” (It means that she still wants to be with her mother eventually), he said.

Vices of consent

Atty. Ephraim Cortez, counsel for Maria and a member of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) said that based on the testimony of Fatima, there could have been vices of consent.

Cortez explained, “Kung pagbabasehan ang kwento niya [Fatima], kung nakatira siya sa apat na sulok na kwarto, kasama ang dalawang sundalo, obviously may effect na sa state of mind niya, kung paano siya magdedecide kung saan siya pupunta. Pagkagising sa umaga nandoon sila, bago matulog nandoon sila… Although ospital iyon, para silang prisoners dahil may gwardiya sila, military facility pa rin iyon” (Based on Fatima’s story, if she’s staying in a room with two soldiers, obviously, there is an effect to her state of mind, as to how she will decide where to go. Although it is a hospital, they can be considered as prisoners because they are closely guarded; still, it is a military facility), Cortez said.
Cortez said that women soldiers who identified themselves only as Weng and as Arcel have never left the two siblings. He noted that these women soldiers were also the ones who guarded Rose Ann when she was confined at the V. Luna Hospital in Quezon City.

Rose Ann was charged with rebellion when she was wounded in crossfire between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the New People’s Army (NPA). She has been released on bail last May 29.

He added, “In the light of those facts, we can say there are vices of consent. This means that it is highly possible that Fatima decided based on what these women soldiers were telling her.”

Cortez related that he moved to defer the examination of Fatima until the latter’s psychological state has been determined. He said it is important to know is the child is suffering from Stockholm syndrome or if a brainwashing occurred.

Wikipedia defines Stockholm Syndrome as a psychological response sometimes seen in an abducted hostage, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger (or at least risk) in which the hostage has been placed.

Before giving weight to Fatima’s testimony, Cortez said that the court could have asked an expert to determine first if there are vices of consent. “Unfortunately, the court decided it is no longer needed,” he said.

Cabillas believed that the two have been put under pressure. He related that when they visited Fatima and Rose Ann a day before the hearing, Ruby Dumpit from the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) told Maria, “Okey naman pala ang buhay ng dalawa, bakit ‘di mo na lang pabayaan na doon na lang sila” (The two seemed okay. Why don’t you just leave them there?)

Cortez criticized Dumpit’s comment, saying, “Something is wrong with their interpretation of what is normal for the children.”

Cabillas said that the DSWD reinforced the pressure on Fatima and Rose Ann. He said that Col. Agapito Nagrampa of Civil Military Operations (CMO) unit of the Philippine Army was saying the same line.

Marie Hilao Enriquez, Karapatan secretary general, suspected that the meeting at the Fort Bonifacio clubhouse a day before the hearing aimed to prepare Fatima and Rose Ann for the CA’s hearing. She noted that Fatima, before answering any question from the justices, would look at the government officials present at the Fort Bonifacio meeting. Aside from Dumpit and Nagrampa, Assistant Solicitor General Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and the director of the Fort Bonifacio General Hospital and were also there, she said.

Military’s choice

Enriquez said that the Gumanoy siblings have been denied access to a lawyer and a doctor of their choice.

Enriquez said that the military provided a lawyer named Randy Vega for Fatima and Rose Ann. Referring to the lawyer, Enriquez said, “Wala namang ka-ethics-ethics ito, Atenista pa raw kuno siya. He did not even seek out the nanay,” (He has no ethics at all. He even said he graduated from Ateneo. He did not even seek out the mother.)

Enriquez retorted, “Choice lahat ng military ‘yan. ‘Tapos sasabihin nila, desisyon ng mga bata. Sino ba nag-decide kumuha ng abogado?” (It’s the military’s choice, not theirs. Then they will claim that it is the decision of the children. Who decided to get that lawyer in the first place?)

Torn

Eileck Mañano, a licensed social worker and a volunteer for the Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC), said that Fatima could have been torn between her mother and her sister.

Cabillas said,“Takot siyang iwanan ang ate niya. Kahit kahapon pa, sabi naming sumama na siya sa nanay niya, ang sabi niya, ‘Eh paano si ate?’ Inaalala niya ang ate niya. Maunawaan naman natin ang kanyang katayuan” (She is afraid to leave her older sister. Yesterday, when we told her to come with her mother, she said, ‘How about my sister?’ She is deeply concerned with her sister. We understand where she is coming from.)

Cabillas said that the military uses the rebellion case of Rose Ann against the two. “Iyon ang ipinapangako kay Rose Ann, di siya makukulong” (That is what they promised Rose Ann, that she will not get into prison), he said.

Enriquez said that Rose Ann asked her, “Hanggang kailan n’yo masisiguro ang kalayaan ko?” (Until when can you guarantee my freedom?)

Cortez deemed, however, that the military would not immediately drop the case against Rose Ann.

Mañano, who met Fatima years ago when the Gumanoy children were still internal refugees, related that Fatima used to be a happy child, always smiling and always telling stories.

She shared her observations on Fatima during the hearing, “Malungkot siya, walang sigla ang mga mata. Hindi siya kumportable sa sitwasyon” (She is sad, there is no glow in her eyes. She was not comfortable with the situation.)

Exploitation of poverty

Enriquez condemned the military’s “dirty tactics.” Karapatan showed Bulatlat a copy of a leaflet conspicuously posted near the CA compound at the day of the hearing.

The picture shows Fatima and Rose Ann with two women whose faces were intentionally blurred. The façade of a mall in Taguig City serves as the backdrop. Below is a caption, “Ganito pala ang buhay, masaya sa labas ng kilusan. Si Rose Ann ay isang NPA na tumakas sa poder ng Karapatan sa Quezon dahil sa mga kasinungalingang ipinangako sa kanila na mabubuo ang kanilang pamilya at malupit na pagtrato sa kanya sa isang safehouse” (There is happiness outside the movement. Rose Ann is a member of the NPA who escaped from the custody of Karapatan in Quezon because of the lies promised her that her family will be reunited and because of the maltreatment she experienced in a safehouse.)

Enriquez said she is certain that the faceless women are the same soldiers guarding the two siblings. The soldiers bought new cellphones for Fatima and Rose Ann. “This is exploitation of poverty, ang lupit nga eh… Pinapapasyal, dinadala sa marangyang lugar, na wala namang capacity ang family na maibigay ang ganito. Ito ang pambulag sa kanila… Nakakaawa ang sitwasyon ng dalawang bata.” (… so cruel… They are being taken to malls, places for the affluent which the family cannot send them to. This is how they are being deceived… I feel sorry for the two children.)

She said the military also wants the children to forget what was done to their father. Eddie Gumanoy was killed in April 2003 by suspected elements of the AFP under the command of the Col. Jovito Palparan Jr.

These psywar tactics, Enriquez said, form part of the Arroyo government’s counter-insurgency program na Oplan Bantay Laya I and II.

Pattern

Cabillas said, “Ang pamamaraan ng military to take over, dukutin muna nila tapos sabihin nila, nag-seek ng voluntary custody sa kanila. Iyon ang tactic nila sa amparo actually” (For the military to take over, they first abduct the victims then they will say that the victims sought their custody voluntarily. This is actually their tactic on cases of amparo.)

He cited the cases of Bustamante at Roel Muñasque, Pagadian City, October 2007. Bustamante, Davao City. Cabillas said that in both cases, the victims’ testimonies showed that they were held under duress. They were soon reunited with their respective families.

Cabillas said that in the case of Fatima, the problem was that the mother and her daughter were not allowed to talk to each other. He said that Cortez’ first motion is to let Maria and her two children talk in private before the hearing begins. The court, however, denied the request.

Mother’s anguish

Maria was obviously upset with the court’s decision. She could not even eat after the hearing. She said repeatedly, “Ako ang nanay. Ako ang may karapatan sa mga anak ko” (I am the mother. I have the right to take custody of my daughters.)

Enriquez said that Attorney Cortez had to remind the justices that Fatima is a minor but the justices opted to believe the solicitor general who claimed that the two are not being kept against their will.

Maria was never given the opportunity to testify before the court.

In a statement, Helen Asdolo, GABRIELA-Southern Tagalog secretary-general, said, “Nanay Maria’s right as a mother has been violated. Fatima is a minor and Nanay Maria has every right to be with her.”

Asdolo criticized the collusion of CA and AFP.

Enriquez said, “Kung maayos talaga sila [militar], bakit nila ipinagkait ang pagdalaw ng nanay? Ang ginawa, tinago nila. Ang tanong ko, for what purpose? Gagawin niyo bang Jelyn Dayong iyan si Rose Ann?” (If the military have good intentions, why did they deny the mother to visit her children? They hid the daughters. I ask, for what purpose? Do they want to make Rose Ann another Jelyn Dayong?)

Dayong was captured by the military by the AFP after an encounter with the NPA in Surigao del Norte in 1999. She was later recruited to the AFP.

Tanggulan, a youth network for human rights and civil liberties, shared the same fear. In a statement, the group said that the AFP might be concocting a scenario by holding Fatima Gumanoy, a minor, under military custody in time for the United Nations Special Representative on Child Soldiers visit in the country this August.

Enriquez said that Karapatan could not be blamed for searching for Fatima and Rose Ann. She said that amid the spate of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, they fear that the two might be victims, especially after the military charged Rose Ann as an NPA fighter.

She asked, “Sino ang hindi titingin sa context ng counter-insurgency operations sa ginawa ng Army? (Who will not look at the context of counter-insurgency operations in the light of the actions of the Army?) Are the justices not aware that the military uses coercion against victims of human rights violations?” Bulatlat

Students protest vs. economic crisis

July 19, 2008

BAGUIO CITY — A thousand students marched the streets of Baguio last Thursday, July 10, airing one grievance after another under the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, promising that this will mark the beginning of massive youth protests in the city.


Let’s take this outside! Students walk out of their classes and into the streets to protest against the economic crisis. Photo by Myko Franco Chiong/NORDIS

Decked in red, the students pushed to Malcolm Square despite the rain and attempts of police to stop and block them – at least thrice in Session Road and Magsaysay Avenue. The youth protest was held as part of a national day of action calling on the Filipino people to fight poverty and corruption and remove Arroyo.

“Today, the youth walk the talk. The crisis is unbearable. We cannot afford to be confined within the halls of the academe when our future is at stake,” said Cori Alessa Co of the National Union of Students of the Philippines. Co explains that the participation of a thousand students is a strong statement of their resurging passion to serve the people. “In this terrible situation, we choose to take this outside, into the streets,” she said.


Photo by Myko Franco Chiong/NORDIS

Also in the march, Anakbayan believes that if the weekly trend of oil price hikes continue and 50-centavo fare hikes are approved, a student will need P392 monthly for transportation alone. They say it’s like sacrificing two meals per month compared to the previous P6.00 student fare.

“We need structural reforms, not cover-up solutions like subsidies for individual families,” says Sloan Ramos, spokesperson of Anakbayan. “What we call for is the scrapping of the Oil Deregulation Law so that the government can control oil prices in the country. Subsidies are worthless if prices of basic goods like rice are too high for the public to afford anyway,” Ramos adds.


Photo by Myko Franco Chiong/NORDIS

Meanwhile, College Editors Guild of the Philippines chair Anjo Cerdeña says students and their parents are burdened further with yearly tuition and other-fees increases atop the rising prices of basic needs. “With the prices of basic commodities at an all-time high, our parents’ savings would not be enough to cover our schooling,” he said.

Cerdeña said if the Arroyo administration is sincere in giving priority to education, it would “not just speak but act for a tuition moratorium at all levels, in both public and private schools.” More so, he said Arroyo must resolve the economic crisis before it’s too late, “before students drop-out because they have no money left for school projects and other needs.”

John Silverio Saligbon, University of the Philippines Baguio Student Council chair, promised to intensify the protest in the coming weeks. He claims there is no way out of poverty under a president whose main agenda is political survival. “There is no stopping the people, toughened by the youth, in removing a morally bankrupt government and replacing it with a pro-people program of, for and by the people,” he said.# Pau Pamintuan-Riva(NorDis)

TESDA attracts enrollees in “wrong” courses

July 19, 2008

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — Care-giving course continues to attract students despite a slump in employability of its graduates making it a major blunder in the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

In a Kapihan sa Benguet where TESDA Provincial Director Francisco B. Jucar was in the panel of discussants, he underscored the need to redirect the choices of trainees to more marketable courses like welding and slaughtering.

Jucar said many enroll in care-giving because of the prospects of getting a higher pay abroad. He said, however, there is a big market for Filipino welders abroad.

TESDA’s mandate includes the seeking of jobs through domestic and international market intelligence report to pinpoint specific job requirements. It shall find the right people who can be trained to fit the jobs in partnership with non-government organizations, social welfare agencies, school and community organizations.

TESDA also seeks to train people using standards of quality for technical vocational education and training (TVET) developed in consultation with various industry sectors. This pro-active matching process contributes to the best job-skills fit, according to the TESDA Direction.

As of December 2007, TESDA national records show that some 179 welders with both gas metal arc welding (GMAW) and shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) qualifications have been placed abroad. They are now working in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Russia, Australia, and Korea.

A welder gets P500 per day in the locality while he could earn as much as P20,000 abroad, according to Jucar.

Jucar laments, however that there is a limited training provider in welding and slaughtering. While TESDA-Cordillera opens opportunities for welding trainers, it sends its slaughtering trainees to Pampanga in Region III.

Other training courses for blue-collar jobs abroad include other construction-related skills masonry and carpentry; bar-tending; and seamanship.

Jucar encouraged the youth to avail of scholarships in cookery, bar-tending; slaughtering; food trades; welding and heavy equipment operation. These are equally commanding a high employment rate here and abroad, Jucar said.

He cautioned, however, for youth to stay in the country because if all of them leave the country to the older generation, it would not be good for the economy as well.

TESDA also focuses on increasing productivity of implemented training programs by assisting individuals or groups who prefer to go into micro-business, small and medium enterprises of entrepreneurship training.

TESDA is a member of the Alay Lakad Council of Benguet, which focuses on youth development harnessing private sector resources. # Lyn V. Ramo(NorDis)

Women’s Front: Innabuyog urges the Vicariate and CBCP to sanction erring priest

July 19, 2008

By INNABUYOG-GABRIELA

Today is the second year anniversary of Beth’s (not her real name) rape by Fr. Gabriel Madangeng of the Bontoc-Lagawe Vicariate. She was 14 years old at the time of the incident that happened in Natonin Mission Convent on July 8, 2006. She filed a complaint with the NBI-CAR office on December 27, 2006.

On August 3 will also be the second year anniversary of the Ana’s (not her real name) rape by the same priest. This happened at the Sta. Rita Parish Convent in Bontoc, Mountain Province. She was repeatedly raped, the last incident was in December 11, 2006. She filed a formal complaint with PNP in Bontoc on February 26, 2007.

Both cases are now in the courts in Bontoc, Mountain Province.

Innabuyog extends its support to the families of the victims and to those who are giving the moral support for them to pursue their cases. Both victims, including another one, are minors.

These cases of sexual offense are an affront to the dignity of a person, especially women. The offense is made heavier by the fact that the perpetrator is a man of the cloth, by that makes him a person in authority and who exploited the innocence and fragile state of the victims. The sexual offense, noting that the incidents were repeatedly committed outrage not only the physical but the moral sense as well. These acts reinforce women’s low status in society and the perception that they are weak, vulnerable and no more than a sex object.

In the victims’ pursuit for justice, wholeness and peace of mind, Innabuyog urges the Bontoc-Lagawe Vicariate, the Conference of Bishops in the Philippines (CBCP) and the Commission of Clergy to apply the Pastoral Guidelines on Sexual Abuses and Misconduct by the Clergy which the CBCP drafted in 1995. We urge the Vicariate to apply its blanket authority by immediately suspending the erring priest, do the needed disciplinary action on him as a man of the cloth and subject him to psychological evaluation and processing.

Considering the trauma that the minor victims continue to undergo, we urge the Vicariate to apologize to the victims, their families and the congregation as part of the healing process. The Vicariate must likewise look into the psycho-social re-estabilization of the victims and their families. Innabuyog believes that by doing so that the Vicariate upholds its mission at sustaining life and dignity of humanity. #(NorDis)

Pope’s Australia sex abuse apology not enough — critics

July 19, 2008

Agence France-Presse
First Posted 13:26:00 07/19/2008

SYDNEY — Pope Benedict XVI’s apology for sex abuse by Australian clergymen does not go far enough to address the problems of victims, critics said Saturday.

The pope earlier apologized fully to victims of predatory priests for the first time, saying in a homily in a Sydney cathedral he was “deeply sorry” and calling for perpetrators of the “evil” to be brought to justice.

But Broken Rites, a victims’ support group staging demonstrations during the pope’s visit for World Youth Day celebrations which have brought 200,000 pilgrims to Sydney, said the apology was inadequate.

“Sorry may be a start but we want to see a lot more,” spokeswoman Chris MacIsaac said.

“We want the victims to be treated fairly, we don’t want them to feel that they have been shut out, we don’t want them to be re-abused by church authorities,” she said.

The parents of two daughters abused by a priest in Melbourne described the apology as disappointing.

Anthony and Christine Foster had returned from a British holiday in the hope of meeting the pope to press for better treatment for victims.

The Fosters’ daughter Emma committed suicide this year aged 26, after struggling to deal with abuse by a Melbourne priest at a primary school.

Her sister Katie, who was also abused, turned to alcohol in her teens and was left brain-damaged after being hit by a car while drunk.

Anthony Foster said the couple’s first reaction to the papal apology was disappointment.

“They are only words — the same thing we’ve been hearing for 13 years. It is simply an apology, there is nothing practical there which is what we were looking for,” he said.

At a Sydney demonstration against Catholic church policies, Wayne Elliott, who said he was a victim of child abuse but not by priests, also condemned the apology as insufficient.

“It is frankly not worth the paper it is written on. They need to do far more than that and they should have apologized a long time before,” he said.

But the apology received support from the Premier of the state of New South Wales Morris Iemma, who told Sky News he hoped the apology would be a turning point.

“Hopefully it will be a sign of righting the wrongs of the past and of a better future and better treatment by the church of the victims and their families, said Iemma.

Broken Rites says 107 Catholic priests and religious brothers have been sentenced in Australian courts on sex charges, and Australian bishops apologized for past abuses in 2002.(PDI)

Bulnerable sa kampus

July 17, 2008

Kenneth Roland A. Guda

NAKITA sa dalawang prominenteng kaso ng gang rape ng dalawang babaing estudyante ng PUP (Politeknikong Unibersidad ng Pilipinas) sa Sta. Mesa at UPHS (University of the Perpetual Help System) sa Cavite kung gaano kabulnerable ang kababaihan sa sekuwal na atake sa loob ng kanilang mga kampus.

Pebrero 14 ginahasa diumano ng pinaghihinalaang mga kaeskuwela niya ang estudyante sa Cavite, pero kamakailan lang niya napag-alamang ikinalat pala ng mga salarin ang isang bidyo ng panggagahasa.

Samantala, sa PUP, noong Hunyo 25 at 26 diumano ginahasa ng humigit-kumulang 15 kaeskuwela ang freshman na estudyante sa loob mismo ng kampus. Ayon sa biktima, binidyo rin diumano ng mga salarin ang panggagahasa sa kanya.

Sa dalawang kaso, nakitang kumpiyansa ang mga salarin na hindi sila mananagot sa krimen kahit pa makita ang kanilang mga mukha sa bidyo. Para sa Gabriela, militanteng organisasyong pangkababaihan, ipinapamalas lamang ng dalawang kasong ito kung gaano kahina ang sistema ng hustisya, laluna sa mga kaso ng kababaihang biktima ng abuso.

Banta sa eskuwela

Bulnerable ang kababaihan sa pang-aabuso sa kapwa mga kaeskuwela sa UPHS na may kumpiyansang hindi sila mananagot sa panggagahasa. Pebrero 14 nang niyaya diumano ng mga kaeskuwela ang 17-taong-gulang na biktima sa isang piging sa labas ng kampus. Nilasing ang biktima at saka ginahasa ng apat na kalalakihang pawang menor de edad.

Ang masama pa, napag-alaman ng biktima sa isa pang kaeskuwela na kumakalat sa internet ang bidyo ng krimen. Sinabi pa ng kanyang ama na nakita at nakabili pa siya ng kopya ng bidyo sa tindahan ng piniratang mga DVD sa Quiapo.

Sa PUP naman, wala umanong pasok noong Hunyo 25, pero nagkita-kita pa rin ang mga magkakaeskuwela, kasama ang biktima, sa klasrum. Pinainom ng mga kaeskuwela niya ang biktima ng di-pa-matukoy na droga at saka ginahasa. Naulit pa umano ang panggagahasa kinabukasan.

Hulyo 3 nang pasukin ng nakasibilyang mga pulis, kasama ang midya, ang isang klasrum sa PUP. Kasama ang biktima, pinosasan, inaresto nang walang mandamyento at mistulang ipinarada sa kampus ang mga salarin. Ayon sa mga saksi, hindi itinuro ng biktima ang hinuling mga estudyante. Kinumpirma lamang ng pulis batay sa pangalan nila.

Kinumpirma ng mediko-legal na eksaminasyon sa biktima na ginahasa nga siya.

Imbestigasyon

Samantala, iginigiit ng pulisya na isang underground fraternity ang nagpasimuno ng panggagahasa. Sinabi ni Sta. Mesa Police Station Chief Superintendent Jimmy Tiu na sinabi sa kanila ito ng biktima. Ngunit hanggang sa pagkakasulat ng artikulo, hindi makumpirma ang ipormasyong ito.

Kung kaya panawagan ngayon ng Gabriela Women’s Party na masusing imbestigahan ang kaso at huwag magpadalusdalos. Ayon kay Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza, “Kailangang tiyakin ang mabilisan at masinsing imbestigayon ng pulisya at ng PUP University Committee sa kaso ng gang rape sa PUP. Dapat managot ang mga salarin.”

Iginiit din ni Maza na tiyaking maging “masinop at hindi padaskul-daskol” ang mga pulisya sa imbestigasyon lalupa’t pawang mga minor de edad ang mga sangkot at apektado.

Nagbuo ng fact-finding team ang administrasyon ng PUP para imbestigahan ang kaso, laluna’t nangyari ito sa loob ng kampus. Ayon kay Dr. Dante Guevarra, pangulo ng PUP, “Ito ang dahilan kung bakit nilikha ko ang isang fact-finding committee – para tingnan nang malalim ang problema na nakakaapekto hindi lamang sa loob ng komunidad ng PUP kundi sa buong akademikong komunidad din.”

Pero hindi basta-basta gustong palusutin ng Gabriela ang administrasyon ng PUP. Ayon kay Maza, “Hindi dapat makalimutang may pananagutan rin ang administrasyon ng PUP lalupa’t naganap ito sa loob mismo ng kampus.”

Sinabi ng Gabriela na repleksiyon lamang ang aksiyon ng mga salarin ng namamayaning pagtingin sa kababaihan bilang seksuwal na kasangkapan. Repleksiyon din ang dalawang kaso ng kainutilan ng sistema ng hustisya at kung papaano nagiging kampante ang mga kriminal na gumawa ng krimen dahil sa mahinang sistema ng hustisya.

Bilang panimulang hakbang, iminungkahi ni Maza na palakasin sa mga kampus ang “Women and Gender Desks.” “Magiging malaking tulong ang mga naturang tanggapan para tiyakin ang proteksiyon, counselling at pagbibigay hustisya sa mga kababaihang estudyanteng biktima ng sexual harassment, panggagahasa at pangmomolestiya,” sabi pa ni Maza.

May ulat sina Jean Campos, Rodalyn Capilo at Mary Rose Retrita(PinoyWeekly)

Pinagkaitan ng katahimikan

July 17, 2008

Ilang-Ilang D. Quijano

Ang menor-de-edad na si Fatima Gumanoy (kaliwa) at kanyang kapatid na si Rose Ann, parehong nasa kustodiya ng AFP.

MATATAG na tao ang pagkakakilala ni Maria Gumanoy sa kanyang 21-anyos na panganay na si Rose Ann. Katulad ng kanyang pinaslang na ama. Kaya inalagaan at ipinagtanggol ni Rose Ann ang kanyang pamilya nang hinaharas ito ng mga sundalo sa kanilang tinitirahan sa Quezon. Nang siya ay mabaril sa isang operasyong militar at kasuhan ng rebelyon noong Abril, hindi siya nakipagtulungan sa militar – sa kabila ng halos oras-oras na pananakot habang nagpapagamot sa V. Luna Medical Center. Nang dinukot siya at ang kanyang 17-anyos na kapatid na si Fatima noong Hulyo 3, hindi pa rin siya agad-agad na bumigay.

“Sa harapan ko mismo ay nakita ko na pinapipirma ng bantay na militar sina Rose at Fatima sa isang papel na nagsasaad na sila ay hindi dinukot at kusang loob na pumunta sa kanila. Sa kabila ng takot at kahit nag-iiyak, hindi pumirma sina Fatima at Rose Ann,” sabi ni Maria. Tinutukoy ni Maria ang pagbisita sa kanyang mga anak sa Fort Bonifacio General Hospital noong Hulyo 6, dalawang araw matapos umamin ang AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) na nasa pangangalaga nila ang dalawang kabataan.

Kaya nang humarap sa isang press conference si Rose Ann kasama ang mga opisyal ng AFP noong Hulyo 10 para pabulaanan na dinukot sila ng militar at sabihing kusa silang lumapit dito para humingi ng proteksiyon, alam na ni Maria ang nangyari. Natakot si Rose Anne para kay Fatima na ngayo’y mistulang “hostage,” ayon sa Karapatan, grupong pangkarapatang pantao na nangangalaga sa pamilya Gumanoy.

Anak sina Rose Ann at Fatima ni Eddie Gumanoy, tagapangulo ng Kasama-TK (Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan). Dinukot at pinatay noong Abril 22, 2003 ang kanilang ama, kasama si Eden Marcellana, pangkalahatang kalihim ng Karapatan-Southern Tagalog, habang nasa isang fact-finding mission sa Mindoro Oriental.

Binansagan ng militar na rebelde si Eddie bago siya tuluyang pinatay ng pinaghihinalaang mga tauhan ni Hen. Jovito Palparan. Pero hindi na pa rin natahimik ang pamilya Gumanoy. Patuloy silang inakusahang mga NPA (New People’s Army), tinakot, at tinugis. Rurok nito ang diumano’y ilegal na detensiyon ng isang menor-de-edad at pagkakait sa isang ina ng kanyang mga karapatan sa mga anak.

Sakit at takot

“Malapit si Rose Ann sa tatay niya. Nagrebelde ’yung kanyang kalooban nang pinatay ’yung tatay niya na hindi naman masamang tao at napakabait, pinatay nang wala namang dahilan…’Yun na nga ang nakapagtataka doon. Sundalo ang pumatay sa tatay nila tapos ngayon sasabihin na sa kanila humingi ng tulong. Ganun naman talaga ’yung militar. Binabaliktad (ang kuwento) dahil hawak nila,” ani Maria.

Walang dahilan ang AFP na hawakan si Fatima na walang kaso, maliban sa paliwanag ni Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner, tagapasalita ng AFP, na mayroon itong German measles (tigdas) kaya patuloy na ginagamot. Pero hinala ni Maria, anuman ang sakit na dumapo sa kanyang anak, kagagawan ito mismo ng AFP.

Noong Hulyo 3, makikipagtagpo sana ang magkapatid sa kanilang ina sa Metropolis mall sa Alabang. Galing sila sa General Nakar, Quezon kung saan nagpapagaling si Rose Ann sa sugat sa kaliwang braso. Si Fatima ang nag-alaga sa kay Rose Ann, mula sa V. Luna Medical Center hanggang sa mailipat siya sa Quezon Provicial Jail at makapagpiyansa noong Mayo 29. Nag-text si Rose Ann sa kanyang ina noong tanghali na “may sumusunod” sa kanila. Bandang alas-kuwatro ng hapon, nag-text ito muli para sabihing kinuha sila ng militar at nasa Camp Aguinaldo.

Kinabukasan, pumunta sina Maria at mga taga-Karapatan sa opisina ng Isafp (Intelligence Service of the AFP) para hanapin ang dalawa. Itinanggi ng Isafp na nasa kanila ang mga ito. Pero kinagabihan, inamin ni Col. Ernesto Torres, tagapagsalita ng Philippine Army, na hawak nila sa Fort Bonifacio sina Rose Ann at Fatima.

Hulyo 5, agad silang pinuntahan nina Maria. Mahigit tatlong oras silang naghintay bago hinarap ng isang opisyal na nagsabing nasa ospital ng kampo ang dalawa. Pero bago papasukin si Maria sa kuwarto ni Fatima, kuwento niya: “Kinapkapan ako. Hinatak pababa ang aking pantalon at panty, pati ang aking puwet ay tiningnan ng stethoscope at tinusok-tusok ng stick ang aking hita ng doktor na hindi nagpakilala.”

Dalawang sundalo na nakilala lamang sa pangalang Weng at Arcel ang nakabantay sa bata. Naghanda na ng gamit si Fatima para sumama sa kanyang ina. Pero nang palabas na sila, hinatak si Fatima ng doktor at sinabing hindi siya puwedeng lumabas. Dahilan ng di-nagpakilalang doktor kay Maria, may Urinary Tract Infection ang bata. Hindi niya pinayagan ang ina na ilipat na lamang ng ospital si Fatima, at sinabihang bumalik na lamang kinabukasan.

Pero pagbalik ni Maria, iba na ang hitsura ni Fatima. Nakaratay siya at maraming pantal sa katawan. Nangingitim ang labi, maputla ang mga paa. Kulay ube ang gilid ng kanyang talampakan, at malamig na malamig ang mga binti nito. Allergy raw ito, sabi kay Maria ng doktor—hindi German measles, tulad ng opisyal na pahayag ng AFP. Wala namang maipakitang medical record ang doktor na magpapatunay sa kung ano ang tunay na sakit ng bata.

Noon din nakita ni Maria ang sapilitang pagpipirma ni Weng ng affidavit sa kanyang dalawang anak. Kinuhanan din ng bidyo ang ina at kasamahan niyang mga miyembro ng Karapatan. Ayon pa kay Maria, “Bawat salita ni Fatima, nakatingin sa sundalo. Tapos ’yung sundalo ang sumasagot kahit hindi naman siya yung tinatanong ko, sinasabi niyang ‘ayaw talaga nanay sumama ni Fatima sa iyo.’ Samantalang di naman nagsasalita ang bata. Kaya yun ang (hinala) ko, na tinatakot si Fatima.”

Hindi na muling pinayagang pumasok si Maria sa ospital nang may kasama, kahit pa ang kanyang pinsan na si Emily na pinagbintangan ng mga sundalo na “pakawala ng Karaparatan.” Natatakot naman si Maria na pumasok sa ospital nang mag-isa.

Panghaharas, noon at ngayon

Ramdam na ng pamilya Gumanoy ang panghaharas ng militar bago pa man pinatay si Eddie, na aktibo noon sa laban ng mga magsasaka ng niyog laban sa resikada. Kaya napilitan silang umalis sa Quezon noong 2001. “’Yung ikaw lang ay magpahayag, ipaglaban mo ang karapatan mo bilang magsasaka, sa lupa, pinagbintangan na nila na NPA (ang asawa ko) hanggang sa mawala na siya. Hanggang ngayon malaki yung epekto sa amin ng pangyayari. Nasusundan pa rin kami kahit saang lugar kami magtago,” sabi ni Maria.

Noong 2004, bumalik muli sa Quezon ang pamilya. Naroon lamang ang kanilang tanging ikinabubuhay. Nakikisaka si Maria o di kaya’y nagkakaingin. Anim ang kanyang anak kay Eddie, lahat menor-de-edad maliban kina Rose Ann at 19-anyos na si Daniel. Natigil ang karamihan sa pag-aaral nang mamatay ang ama. “Si Rose Ann, maaalalahanin sa magulang at sa mga kapatid. Ganoon din si Fatima. Siya yung tumutulong sa akin noong hindi pa ako nag-aasawa ulit.”

Pero makailang beses silang binisita ng mga militar. Inaakusahan nilang NPA sina Rose Ann at Daniel. Hinahalughog ang kanilang bahay at pilit isinasama si Maria sa kampo. Noong Hulyo 2006, ayon kay Maria, kinausap pa siya ni Lt. Gerry Mangalos ng 16th Infantry Brigade na naka-base noon sa Mindoro Oriental. Umano’y inamin mismo ni Mangalos na yunit nila ang pumatay kay Eddie.

Muling napilitang lumikas ang pamilya noong Enero ngayong taon. “Sosonahin daw yung aming lugar tapos talagang hinahanap na talaga ako. Kung hindi ako umalis doon baka ako na yung hinawakan ng mga sundalo para lang sumulpot ang aking mga anak na basta ang alam ko, nasa Pampanga,” ani Maria.

Umano’y tumutulong ang dalawa sa tindahan ng kanilang tiyuhin doon at dapat sana’y pag-aaralin na. Bumalik sa Quezon si Rose Ann para ipamalita ito sa ina, nang siya ay maipit sa isang engkuwentro noong Abril 15 habang nasa bahay ng isang kaibigan. Sugatan ang mga sibilyan na sina Merie Carcer, 50, at anak nitong si Christine, 7. Napatay naman si Monica Carcer, 13, na inaakusahan ng AFP na rebelde.

Labag sa karapatan

Kinondena ng Karapatan, Gabriela Women’s Party, at mga grupong nagtataguyod sa karapatan ng mga bata ang detensiyon kay Fatima. Labag umano ito sa Article 10 ng Republic Act 7610 o Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act. Nakasaad sa Article 10 na “zones of peace” ang mga batang naiipit sa digmaang sibil at dapat iginagalang ang mga karapatan.

“Dapat kagyat at walang kondisyong pakawalan si Fatima ng AFP. Wala siyang kaso at di dapat hinahawakan ng militar. Kung totoo ngang may sakit siya, lalo niyang kailangan ang kalinga ng kanyang ina,” sabi ni Alphonse Rivera, tagapagsalita ng Salinlahi o Alliance for Children’s Concerns.

Ayon pa kay Eilek Manano, isang social worker ng Children’s Rehabilitation Center, hindi pa tuluyang naghihilom ang sugat ng pamilya Gumanoy dahil sa pagkamatay ni Eddie at panghaharas sa kanila ng militar. “Anong moral ground ng AFP para sabihing inaalala nila ang kapakanan ng magkapatid?”

Tuluyan namang nawalan na ng kumpiyansa si Maria sa militar. “Sobrang mapagbintang sila sa mga sibilyan na wala namang kasalanan. Di na lang nila hanapin ’yung tunay nilang kalaban, kundi sibilyan yung mas higit na naaapektuhan. Hindi pa nga nabigyan ng katarungan yung asawa ko, tapos yan na naman.”

Sa kabila ng positibong pagkilala ng mga testigo, ibinasura ng Department of Justice noong 2007 ang kaso laban sa mga suspek sa pagpatay kina Eddie at Marcellana na sina M/Sgt. Donald Caigas, Aniano “Ka Silver” Flores, at Richard “Waway” Falla.

Matatag man ang kanyang mga anak, alam ni Maria na bata pa rin sina Fatima at Rose Ann – may espesyal silang mga karapatan na matindi ang epekto kapag niyurakan. Sabik na siyang muling makapiling ang mga anak. At mabuhay nang tahimik ang kanyang pamilyang mistulang ginigiyera nang walang kalaban-laban.(PinoyWeekly)

Student’s movement commends CBCP stand on economic crisis

July 13, 2008

MANILA, July 12, 2008—As they joined the students’ walkout last July 10, members of the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) thanked the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for finally “breaking up their silence” about the current economic and political crises facing the country today.

In a statement sent to CBCP News, Biyaya Quizon, SCMP president, said that the members and officers of their group commend the CBCP leadership, through its president Jaro Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, D.D., for speaking about social justice and the moral and just demands of the impoverished.

“We believe, however, that there should be greater actions to show that Christians are not silent and are taking an active stand on all these issues,” Quizon said.

SCMP also asked, not only the CBCP, but other religions as well to declare July 28, the day when Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will deliver her 7th State of the Nation Address, a national day of prayer and action for justice, and called on all Christian students to “heed the call of God’s suffering people.”

“We should combine prayer and action, and journey with our people towards a new Exodus,” Quizon ended her statement.

Meanwhile, during the July 10 student protest, the young lay leader lambasted Arroyo’s impermanent solutions to the current social and economic problems that the Filipino people face today.

“It can only do as much like giving alms. Tomorrow, the poor will think again how to survive from hunger and poverty,” laments Quizon.

She also said that instead of heeding the suffering of the people, the Arroyo government insults them more with its actions and statements.

It’s easy for Malacañang to say that it cannot allow another wage increase now, but it cannot stop oil companies from increasing oil prices! It cannot bend its policies towards our people’s demands, while it wholeheartedly allows laws such as the Oil Deregulation to be implemented to the poor people’s demise,” Quizon exclaimed.

“The Arroyo government says that only the rich pay the VAT (value-added tax) while they are raking millions from every single commodity we buy and are only brought back into a one-time subsidy,” added Quizon.

Joining the said rally are students from Philippine Christian University, Jose Rizal University, University of the Philippines Manila and Diliman and University of Santo Tomas, which is the only university in the Philippines that bears the Papal seal. (Noel Sales Barcelona)

Gumanoy sisters’ mom maintains daughters were kidnapped

July 11, 2008

By Abigail Kwok
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 16:24:00 07/11/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The mother of two sisters allegedly abducted by the military maintained that her daughters were kidnapped and accused the military of “manipulating” her daughters to “cover up” the incident.

In a statement on Friday, Maria Gumanoy, mother of Rose Ann and Fatima and the wife of slain peasant leader Eduardo Gumanoy, said her daughters were only pressured by the military to deny the alleged abduction. Maria also accused the military of “drugging” her daughter Fatima, 17, who was confined at the AFP Medical Center in Quezon City.

“Fatima was lying in bed and was constantly guarded by the military. She could barely talk especially when the military was around. No doctor chosen by the family was allowed to see and check up Fatima,” Maria said.

Rosa Ann, 21, surfaced on Thursday at the Philippine Army Headquarters in Fort Bonfiacio to deny allegations that she and Fatima were abducted.

But their mother said Rose Ann’s appearance before media was only caused by her fear for her sister’s life.

“Rose Ann was threatened and was forced to cooperate with her abductors. I knew this would happen because my daughter feared the worst for her and her sister, Fatima,” said the mother.

Maria added that the military was “blackmailing” Rose Ann because they knew “she was very close to Fatima and I believed she could not bear to see her sister suffering what she had experienced in the hands of these perpetrators.”

Karapatan, the militant human rights group that accused the military of abducting the Gumanoy sisters, said the military was using the Gumanoy sisters to “clear their involvement in the death of Eduardo Gumanoy,” said secretary general Dorris Cuario.

“From the very beginning, we have already mentioned that the military will try to do everything to save again their neck for what they did to Rose Ann and Fatima. We are anticipating that the military will force the two to cooperate with them so that the military will be spared from further shame and damage,” she added.

“If the Philippine Army is serious in helping them, then the Gumanoy sisters must now be released to their family so that they can live free from fear,” Cuario said.

Grade School Participation Rate Plunges to 16-Year Low

July 11, 2008

Since it came to power more than seven years ago, the Arroyo administration has, among other feats, earned the distinction of bringing down the elementary school level participation rate to a 16-year low. The secondary school participation rate, meanwhile, has decreased by as much as 14.85 percentage points since 2001.

BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 22, July 6-12, 2008

Since it came to power through a popular uprising more than seven years ago, the Arroyo administration has, among other feats, earned the distinction of bringing down the participation rate (the proportion of the number of enrollees at the prescribed level of education for their age) at the elementary school level to a 16-year low.

The secondary school participation rate, meanwhile, has decreased by 14.85 percentage points since 2001.

According to the Department of Education (DepEd), elementary schools posted a participation rate of 99.10 percent for school year 1990-1991. It decreased to 85.10 percent the following school year, but rose to 85.21 percent in school year 1992-1993, continuously increasing until school year 1999-2000 when it reached 96.95 percent. It slightly decreased in school year 2000-2001, but went on another upward trend until school year 2002-2003 when it plunged to 90.29 percent from the previous school year’s 97.00 percent.

This was the start of a continuous downward trend. From 90.29 percent in school year 2002-2003, elementary school participation rates decreased to 88.74 percent in 2003-2004, 87.11 percent in 2004-2005, 84.44 percent in 2005-2006, and 83.22 percent in 2006-2007. The 2006-2007 elementary school participation rate is actually the lowest in 16 years. (See Table 1)

Table 1. Elementary School Participation Rates, 1990-2007

School Year

Participation Rate (%)

1990-1991

99.10

1991-1992

85.10

1992-1993

85.21

1995-1996

92.70

1996.1997

94.33

1997-1998

95.09

1998-1999

95.73

1999-2000

96.95

2000-2001

96.40

2001-2002

97.00

2002-2003

90.29

2003-2004

88.74

2004-2005

87.11

2005-2006

84.44

2006-2007

83.22

Source: Department of Education

At first glance, the statistics appear to be better at the secondary level. With the participation rate at 54.71 percent in school year 1990-1991 and 58.59 in school year 2006-2007, it could at least be said that the secondary school participation rate did not reach a 16-year low under the Arroyo administration.

However, the secondary school participation rate of school year 2006-2007 represents a 14.85-percentage point reduction since 2001. (See Table 2)

Table 2. Secondary School Participation Rates, 1990-2007

School Year

Participation Rate (%)

1990-1991

54.71

1991-1992

55.42

1992-1993

56.75

1993-1994

57.62

1994-1995

58.47

1995-1996

62.25

1996-1997

63.38

1997-1998

64.04

1998-1999

65.22

1999-2000

65.43

2000-2001

72.25

2001-2002

73.44

2002-2003

59.00

2003-2004

60.15

2004-2005

59.97

2005-2006

58.54

2006-2007

58.59

Source: Department of Education

What proved to be a continuous upward trend from 1990 to 2002 in secondary level participation rates was cut drastically in school year 2002-2003, which showed a steep 14.44-percentage point decline. The participation rate improved slightly in the next school year before going down again in 2004-2005. The 0.05-percentage point increase from 2005-2006 to 2006-2007 was not enough to even bring back the secondary level participation rate to the school year 2003-2004 level.

“If we compare the period from 2001 to 2007 to that of 1990 to 2000, we can see that the poverty incidence is higher now compared to the previous decade,” said France Castro, secretary-general of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and president of the Quezon City Public School Teachers Association (QCPSTA). “Basic goods have become so expensive that the parents of our students have become unable to afford even basic education. They now find it very difficult to send their children to school.”

“And even if basic education is said to be free, it’s not really free,” Castro added. “There are still many fees collected from students, like Red Cross fees and anti-tuberculosis fees, for instance.”

Castro said that there have been nominal increases in the basic education budget in both periods. However, she pointed out that the increases were bigger in 1990-2000 than in 2001-2007.

Estimates by the socio-economic think tank IBON Foundation show that the government now spends P2,000 ($44.00 at the July 4 exchange rate of $1:P45.45) per Filipino for education – or only 14 percent, in real terms, of what it spent in 1998.

The Philippine government currently spends 12.0 percent of its public expenditure and 2.1 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on education – way below the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) standards of 22.0 percent of public expenditures and 6.0 percent of GDP. Bulatlat

No Actual Tuition Hike Freeze; Students Find Even SUCs Prohibitive

July 11, 2008

More than one month after Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced a moratorium on tuition and other fee increases, students in four of Metro Manila’s state universities and colleges (SUCs) have not received any refund yet from tuition and other fee hikes. The rising cost of public tertiary education has aggravated the plight of many Filipino families grappling with the economic crisis.

BY RONALYN V. OLEA
BULATLAT
Volume VIII, No. 22, July 6-12, 2008

On May 26, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to put off any increase in tuition and other fees for state universities and colleges for the school year 2008-2009.

In her speech, Arroyo said, “The last thing that our parents need at this point to keep their children striving for college diplomas is another round of adjustment in tuition fees and other school expenses.”

On the same day, CHED Chair Romulo Neri issued a memorandum to the presidents of all SUCs (state universities and colleges) urging the governing boards to put off or defer planned increases in tuition and other fees. Neri added that SUCs that have already closed enrollment for the first semester may opt to either refund the students concerned or credit the amount to the tuition and other fees for the succeeding semester.

After more than a month though, Bulatlat visited four of the biggest SUCs in Metro Manila and found out that none has complied with the order yet.

Fake, useless

Students from SUCs hit Arroyo’s announcement as a mere lip service.

The University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman and the Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST) implemented tuition and other fee increases last school year.UP hiked its tuition last year by 300 percent, or from P300 ($6.50 at last year’s average exchange rate of $1:P46.15) to P1,000 ($21.67) per unit . EARIST raised its tuition from P15 ($0.32) per unit to P100 ($2.17) per unit. New fees such as the energy fee and development fee were also collected.

Fee increases imposed last year are, technically, not covered by the moratorium ordered by Arroyo.

Mikko Samson, a second year journalism student of UP Diliman, called the President’s announcement “fake.”

Diana Enera of EARIST said of the order, “Nakakainis! Walang silbi” (It’s irritating and useless.) Antonio Perdigon Jr., another EARIST student, added, “Pampalubag-loob.” (It is meant to appease us.)

Sophia Prado, student regent of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), said the order “intends to pacify the anger of the country’s scholars.”

Prado said that the PUP administration deferred the proposed tuition increase, not in compliance with Arroyo’s order but because of student protests.

In February, more than 5,000 PUP students walked out of their classes and stormed the CHED’s main office in Pasig City when they heard about the proposal to increase their tuition from P12 ($0.30 at last February’s average exchange rate of $1:P40.67) per unit to P100 ($2.46) per unit, Prado related.

The PUP student regent, however, slammed the imposition of P100-tuition per unit for students enrolled at the PUP’s Open University and graduate school.

This semester, too, the PUP administration collected P250 ($5.65 at last June’s average exchange rate of $1:P44.28) from every student as development and modernization fee. Prado said that despite her manifestation of protest at the Board of Regents (BoR) meetings, the administration pursued its plan of imposing additional fees.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Normal University (PNU) hiked its tuition from P35 ($0.77) per unit to P100 ($2.20) per unit. Miscellaneous fees amounted to almost P1,000 ($22.00).

In an interview with Bulatlat, PNU President Atty. Lutgardo Barbo disclosed that they received the CHED memorandum regarding the freeze in tuition and other fees only after the enrollment.

Dr. Susan Declaro, PNU Vice President for Administration and Finance, said they have not received specific guidelines from CHED on how to implement Arroyo’s order.

Barbo said they are still studying whether to refund the tuition increase or to credit it to the next semester.

Alvin Peters, national president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), said that based on their monitoring, SCUs actually imposed tuition and other fee hikes. “Walang kaseryosohan ang gobyerno. In-announce kung kailan marami ang nakapag-enrol na. Hindi malinaw kung paano mababawi” (The government is not serious about it. It was announced after many students have enrolled already. It is not clear how the students will get their payments back.)

Peters also questioned the timing of the announcement. He said, “Nakapakete sa mga dole-outs, bahagi ng populist rhetoric na may ginagawa kunwari sa lumalalang krisis sa ekonomiya”  (It is packaged as one of the dole-outs, a part of populist rhetoric to show that something is done to address the economic crisis.)

Prohibitive

The rising cost of education coupled with the increasing prices of basic commodities has made education prohibitive for many students in SUCs.

Samson applied for Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP). After one month of processing the required papers, she has been moved to a lower bracket. From Bracket D with P600 ($13.20) per unit, she has been qualified for Bracket E, equivalent to P300 per unit of tuition. Still, she paid more than P7,000 ($158.08) this semester.

Samson lamented that UP’s bracketing system is erroneous. No one in her family is employed. They rely only on pension from the Social Security System (SSS). Her father died a few years ago.

She said, “Akala ng mama ko, makakatipid kami. Parang private na rin daw pala (ang UP)” (My mother thought we would spend little. She said later that UP seems like a private school.)

To sustain her schooling, her mother uses the SSS card as collateral for incurred loans. There were times, she said, when they had to do with P900 ($19.80) per month. She has two siblings.

Samson related they she knew students who passed the UP College Admission Test (UPCAT) but opted to enroll in other schools that offer scholarships or have lower tuition. She noticed, too, that most of her classmates came from private secondary schools.

EARIST’s Enera’s plight is almost similar. Her father used to be an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) but is now jobless. Her mother works as a laundry woman.

She took the entrance test at EARIST thinking that tuition is affordable. “Nagulat kami na mataas ang tuition” (We were shocked to know that tuition is expensive.)

Enera said that two of her siblings were supposed to enter college, too. “Huminto sila para pagbigyan ako. Hindi na kayang pag-aralin” (They stopped schooling to give way to me. Our parents cannot send all of us to school.)

Before the enrollment, she thought she herself would have to quit school. “Nangungutang na lang ng pantustos sa pag-aaral.” (We just borrow money to sustain my schooling.)

Meanwhile, Perdigon, a third year business student at EARIST who was not hit by the tuition increase, complained of the energy fee, the laboratory fee and other new fees imposed on upper class students. His family also finds it hard to keep him in school.

His father is the only breadwinner, working as a cook for a carinderia (eatery). Like Enera, one of his siblings who should also be in college stopped schooling.

PUP freshmen Roy Torongoy and Rodel Sumooc are no different. Torongoy’s father is a driver; Sumooc said his mother’s eatery is their only source of the family’s income.

Although PUP’s tuition is pegged at P12 ($0.27) per unit, both students paid P958 ($21.64) upon enrolment. Torongoy said, “Compared to other schools, mas mura nga rito pero bulok-bulok naman (ang) facilities” (Compared to other schools, it’s cheaper here but the facilities are dilapidated.)

PNU Student Arsadon Vera said that they did not expect that tuition and other fees have gone up to P3,450 ($77.91). Her sister Katherine, a PNU graduate, related she was compelled to borrow money from a friend during enrolment.

When Katherine entered PNU in 2004, tuition was pegged at P35 ($0.62) per unit. Although she heard about the impending hike, she was nonetheless surprised by the rate of increase.

State subsidy

Students from SUCs deemed that the government must increase state subsidy to education.

Samson said that UP education must not be commercialized. She called on the government to increase state subsidy so that poor but deserving students may enter UP. She also criticized the excessive spending for the UP centennial celebrations.

Enera and Perdigon said the EARIST administration used as justification the decreasing budget for tuition and other fee increases.

Even PNU President Barbo, also president of the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PAASUC) in the National Capital Region, said that government must pour in money to education. He deplored that the PNU, the oldest university and the country’s national university for teacher education, was not able to get increases in budgetary allocations in the past years. “We have always been lobbying for higher budget but nothing happened,” he said.

He said that most SUCs in the Philippines are not at par with the best universities in the world due to poor facilities. Barbo asserted that government earnings from expanded value-added tax (VAT) must be spent for the basic needs of state educational institutions. He also said that debt servicing eats up the biggest chunk from the national budget. “Let them [lending institutions] understand that we are already dying. How can we pay them?” he said.

Asked if he agrees on Arroyo’s order, Barbo said, “I think it’s a stop-gap solution, a band-aid measure.” He said that SUCs may defer increases this year but may always opt to implement hikes in the following years due to budgetary constraints.

Review policies

Peters said that from the start, they have been critical of Arroyo’s declaration of moratorium. “Government has no political will to regulate tuition… Pagpapapogi lang ni GMA sa panahon ng krisis”  (GMA only wants to earn good points amid the crisis.)

He added that education in the Philippines is essentially deregulated. Peters explained that the Higher Education Modernization Act (HEMA) authorizes governing boards of SUCs to fix tuition and other fees.

Peters also slammed Arroyo and the CHED for not controlling the tuition and other fee hikes of private higher educational institutions (PHEIs). He said that PHEIs have soaring tuition and other fees. He pointed out that the Education Act of 1982 has given school owners the power to increase fees.

The NUSP called on legislators to review policies on education. “These laws are the very reasons why the government cannot control the rising cost of tertiary education,” Peters said.

The Long Term Higher Education Development Plan (LTHEDP) reveals the government’s thrust on education, Peters said. “Malinaw na talagang nasa balangkas ng pagbabawas ng SUCs, pagbibigay ng fiscal economy na nagbubunga ng pagtaas ng matrikula at iba pang bayarin. Sa esensya, tinatalikuran ng gobyerno ang obligasyon sa edukasyon” (It is clear that the government is in the framework of reducing the number of SUCs, provide fiscal autonomy resulting to tuition and other fee increases. In essence, the government is abandoning its obligations to provide education to the Filipino youth.)

PNU President Barbo said, “The quality of education in any country is directly proportional to the vision of its policy makers.” He also called on the government to provide higher budget for education.

Peters also asserted that the Arroyo government should undertake substantial economic reforms. “Apektado talaga ang kabataan sa pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin, gasolina at pamasahe” (We are also affected of the increasing prices of commodities, oil and transportation), he said.

Prado said that PUP students are among those hardest-hit by the economic crisis. She said their parents come from the basic sectors of the society. “This is why we support the demand of workers for wage increase and the call of farmers for genuine land reform,” she said. Bulatlat

UPHOLD DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS! DEFY CAMPUS REPRESSION!

July 9, 2008

UPHOLD DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS!

DEFY CAMPUS REPRESSION!

All student councils, publications and organizations in the University of the Philippines were promptly abolished after the declaration of Martial Law on September 21, 1972. It was in 1974 when the campaign for the restoration of student councils began and the issue of the students’ democratic rights was again brought to the fore. Along the re-establishment of the UPLB student council, the first among the revival of other UP student councils is a decisive leadership that advocates upholding and safeguarding the democratic rights and welfare of the students and defying all forms of campus repression.

Today, UPLB students are again facing intensified attacks on their democratic rights and welfare.

The tambayan phase-out in the Institute of Biological Sciences last semester as well as the alleged phase-out of other student organization tambayans outside campus buildings as part of the UPLB administration’ s “grand plan” to construct mini parks in the campus is a direct attack to the students’ right to organize.

As if rubbing salt on wound, the administration directive not to allow student organizations to use campus buildings and other facilities after 7 PM, not to mention the high rental rates of these facilities beforehand, represses their right to hold activities and ensure the development of students into well-rounded individuals.

More so, students as well as other sectors of the University are usually deprived of democratic consultations in policy-making that directly affect student and other sectoral interests. The last 2 years bore witness to the approval of system-wide policies like the UP Charter and the UP Tuition and Other Fees Increase and local policies such as the jeepney rerouting scheme, driver’s ID system, downsizing of security guards and abolition of ambulant vendors with minimal or token if not no consultations at all.

On the other hand, campus press freedom and the right of the students to information are repressed due to the delay in the appointment of the Editor-in-Chief of the UPLB Perspective. Such resulted to the publication’s difficulty in processing its funds in order to release their first issue for this school year.

Along with these is the assault on our right to a democratic USC-CSC Elections enshrined in the USC-CSC Constitution. Five university college secretaries filed a complaint of gross misconduct and deliberate discourtesy to persons of authority against the incumbent USC Vice-chairperson and representative to the CEB without justifiable reason.

Most of all, the delay of the USC-CSC elections because of the disagreement between members of the CEB regarding the qualifications for candidacy is a deliberate attack to the students’ right to participate in campus elections, right to democratic representation to policymaking bodies in the university and have their grievances speedily redressed.

The student council is an important venue in raising the consciousness of the students and advancing their rights and interests. It is the primary institution leads the students in their struggle against continued repression and commercialization of education.

The assault to student institutions such as the USC, CSCs and the UPLB Perspective, heralds of the students’ rights and welfare, is a direct attack to the students’ democratic rights and aspirations. At the dawn of the UP centennial, we should establish ourselves as guardians of these democratic rights former UP students have paid for dearly.

Call for an immediate USC-CSC Elections!

Uphold Student Council and UPLB Perspective Autonomy!

Defend Student Democratic Rights!

No to Campus Repression!

July 1: University-wide CSL & Student Regent Consultation

(7 PM, SU Bldg.)

July 2: College-based CSL & Discussion Groups

July 8: Freshman Block Assembly (FBA)

July 3: Anti-TOFI Mobilization (Mass-up 3 PM, Humsteps)

July 10: Nationally Coordinated Walkout & Youth Protest Day

(Mendiola, Manila )

CHR rules police violated human rights of ‘Tagaytay 5’

July 7, 2008

By Jocelyn Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:13:00 07/07/2008

MANILA, Philippines—Policemen violated the rights of five farmers accused of trying to bring down the Arroyo administration when they allegedly abducted, arrested and arbitrarily jailed the suspected rebels in 2006, according to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

The suspects are still in detention.

The CHR, headed by newly appointed Chair Leila de Lima, finally put closure to the 2-year-old complaint lodged by the farmers, collectively known as “Tagaytay 5,” by handing down a resolution on Friday.

In a two-page ruling, the CHR recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges in the Office of the Ombudsman against the Cavite police and the Naval Intelligence and Security Force for human rights violations.

“For human rights violation involving abduction, unlawful arrest and arbitrary detention, the CHR finds the respondents guilty of the charges with case recommended to be forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman,” the ruling said.

Among those held liable were Supt. Rhodel Sermonia and Police Officers 1 Alvaro Amba Jr., Eugene Arellano, Marvin Mejia, Rommel Dimaala and April Jo Ambajia.

The farmers—Enrico Ybañez, Michael Mesayes, Aristedes Sarmiento, Axel Alejandro and Ariel Custodio—were arrested in Tagaytay City while, police believed, they were on their way to carry out a plan to topple the Arroyo administration on April 28, 2006.

Blindfolded, hogtied

According to the Tagaytay 5, more than 30 armed men—in different uniforms and in plainclothes—abducted them while they were traveling along Ligaya Drive in Barangay Sungay that night.

For seven days, the Tagaytay 5 claimed they were blindfolded and hogtied, interrogated without aid of a counsel, tortured and repeatedly threatened with electrocution and summary execution by the police.

Incommunicado

The Tagaytay 5 were held incommunicado for at least a week before they were finally charged with rebellion.

Later, the farmers filed a case of illegal arrest, arbitrary detention, torture, robbery and “incriminatory machinations” against the police.

The CHR, then headed by Purificacion Quisumbing, started an investigation of the complaint in June 2006, but it failed to resolve the issue.

Surprise visit

A month after her appointment in May, De Lima vowed to reopen the investigation upon the request of the complainants.

In its ruling, the CHR further noted that the farmers were entitled to humane treatment despite incarceration.

The resolution was handed down following De Lima’s “surprise visit” at the police regional headquarters in Cavite last month to check on the prison conditions of the five farmers.

Code of conduct violated

Based on her observation following the visit, De Lima said the detainees’ condition in the 20-square-meter custodial jail, where they have been locked up for two years, did not pass the United Nations’ minimum standard for treatment of prisoners.

The CHR resolution also stated that the police officials violated the code of conduct of law enforcement officials when they took the farmers into custody two years ago.(PDI)

Expelled student torches school

July 6, 2008

By Ruby P. Silubrico

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A 17-YEAR-old boy is presently facing arson charges for torching his school Wednesday.

Edwardo Leysa Jr. is under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of Barangay Caigon, Calinog, Iloilo, after he attempted to burn down six classrooms of Caigon Elementary School to take revenge on the school principal after she refused to accept him when he tried to enroll.

Arroyo Watch: Sun.Star blog on President Arroyo

Leysa admitted the crime, saying that he torched the classrooms by setting fire on the textbooks around 7 p.m. until the fire quickly spread to the principal’s office.

He added that prior to the incident he had a drinking spree with some friends.

He said when he went home later he passed by the school and thought of burning it down.

“I really didn’t plan it but when I passed our school it suddenly came in to my mind to burn it because I was really mad at the principal for not enrolling me,” Leysa said.

Leysa is supposed to be a graduating student of Caingon Elementary School. However, he was expelled for allegedly trying to kill his teacher last year and for being involved in a fist fight with his classmate.

“I begged my teacher to enroll me because I promised to myself that I will change but they still refused and I really got mad,” he added.

Leysa was arrested after the incident.(SunStarIloilo)

=============================

My Take:

I hate the guy.  Especially if the allegation that he tried to kill one of his teacher is true.

But he is a minor.  And the media has sworn to protect the names of minor involved in such incident, be it a suspect, or a victim.

This item is unethical (at least in journalist’s ethics).

PUP students walk out of classes, demand Arroyo resignation

July 5, 2008

07/03/2008 | 11:04 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Some 3,000 students from the Polytechnic
University of the Philippines (PUP) walked out of their classes
Thursday and called for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo.

The students said that the protest was a “dry-run” for nationwide
“walkouts” in the coming weeks in preparation for the upcoming State
of the Nation Address.

Anakbayan national chairperson Ken Ramos described the protest as a
“testament of the youth’s disgust in the Arroyo administration for
continuously burdening the people with price hikes and stagnant
wages.”

“PUP students have proven time and again the power of collective
action as means to attain their just and democratic demands,” Ramos
said.

Last week, the PUP administration was forced to refund the illegally
collected P250 developmental fee to students after almost 2,000
student rallyists marched from the PUP campus to the Commission on
Higher Education (CHED) main office in Pasig City.

In 2007, some 7,000 PUP students also prevented the PUP Board of
Regents from approving a proposed 500 percent tuition fee increase.

PUP’s tuition at P12 per unit remains the cheapest among state
colleges and universities to this day.

Ramos, however, warned that such victories would be “empty and but
temporary for as long as the educational and economic policies set by
the Arroyo administration remain in place.”

“In the end, we must work for the repeal of these burdensome policies
and demand accountability from the mastermind, Mrs. Arroyo, herself.
This can only be achieved through her immediate ouster from office,”
he said.

According to Ramos, the PUP walk out is only the start of similar
protest actions geared up in other schools nationwide.

Anakbayan, together with other member organizations of YOUTH ACT NOW!
(Youth for Accountability and Truth Now!), will spearhead nationwide
walkouts on July 10 and July 18. – GMANews.TV

Daughters of Slain Eddie Gumanoy of KMP, Abducted!

July 5, 2008

I got this one from my email.

From: carolina claudio <leanred@yahoo. com>
Date: Jul 4, 2008 3:18 PM
Subject: artforum> eddie gumanoy’s daughters abducted

rose anne and fatima, daughters of slain peasant activist eddie gumanoy were abducted yesterday afternoon. the last text sent to their mother was that they were picked up by military and were brought in camp aguinaldo. the gumanoy family is in camp aguinaldo searching for the 2 girls. for more info, please contact Fr. Diony Cabilas at 09267015635.

Youth Speak: My hero is Bonifacio

June 28, 2008

By CRISTINE MAE C. TALANAY

I admire Jose Rizal’s brilliant mind. It was through his pen that his love for the Filipinos was expressed. Indeed, he died in Bagumbayan for the Filipinos. He had this ideal way of fighting in the most peaceful way. He indeed is a hero…but for me, my national hero is Andres Bonifacio.

I believe that action speaks louder than words. Bonifacio’s way was more striking than Rizal’s during those times as I can see. I think the best way to release yourselves from people enslaving you is through struggle. Writings would not be enough especially when almost all whom you expect to read do not know how to read. At times, we need to struggle in order to live.

For example, a person placed in a box may catch attention by making noise but he may not move out from the box if he would not do some moves and struggle his way out.

I think Bonifacio should be the national hero because in my opinion, a hero is someone who is not afraid to take risks to save people and to fight for their rights…someone who uses his brains and arms. I would still say that there might have not been a Bonifacio without Rizal. They played major parts in Philippine history and they both deserve all the respect and gratitude from the people. #

Cristine Mae C. Talanay finished Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the Easter College, Baguio City.

Youth Speak: I am proud we had Rizal

June 28, 2008

By KRISTINE B. LEYGO

Rizal spent his life helping his country be it in the fight for freedom, curing the people, teaching the youth and building a home that is open for everyone. His being a hero is not based on how many battles he had been through but rather it is on how he helped Filipinos live on their own fight for independence and work with unity.

Rizal was the one who said that the youth are the hope of the nation. For me, this is an encouragement to every youth in any generation to begin life the best way they can. Truly, Rizal is a good inspiration to us to do well in our study, take every opportunity that comes our way and live our lives the best way we could. Through all of these Rizal teachings, many of us were inspired and made him a model that could be or must be followed.

His articles made the Spaniards aware that they are being fought by Filipinos for their independence. It was his writings that made most Filipinos, stand up and fight for their rights. Rizal wrote all his articles without fear of his life. He truly loved his country and he died for his country.

More than a century had passed but Rizal’s memories, his work and efforts are still commemorated for us to be proud of that once in our history we had a Rizal who stood up for our freedom. #

* Kristine B. Leygo finished Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the Easter College, Baguio City

Ilocos fiscal dismisses theft charges vs. UNP campus newshen

June 28, 2008

VIGAN CITY — A Vigan City prosecutor dismissed the theft charges filed against a student journalist of the University of Northern Philippines (UNP).

According to the Resolution signed by City Prosecutor Dedicacion Banua, the Criminal Complaint for Theft filed by . Nolito Ragunjan, coordinator for Student Publications of UNP-Vigan, was dismissed because the City Prosecutor’s Office finds no probable cause to hold Ma. Criselda Diocena for trial.

Said court resolution stated that the “taking” referred to in Art.308 of the Revised Penal Code, must be accompanied by the intention, at the time of the taking, of withholding the thing with some character of permanency.

“So if the taking is momentary as when the purpose of the offender is to return the things to the owner when he was apprehended, intent to gain is not present,” the resolution noted citing People vs. Visconde 75 Phil. 520.

Ragunjan charged Diocena and Rafal, editor-in-chief of Tandem and former student regent respectively, of robbery before the complaint was amended to theft charged solely to Diocena.

Intent to gain

The resolution upheld the stand of Diocena that she has the unlimited access to the Student Resource Center (SRC) where the alleged Central Processing Unit (CPU) is located.

“It is settled that the allegedly missing CPU is with the SRC of UNP and had been there since the report that the same was missing.” The resolution stated, and added that, “It was removed from one office only to be transferred to another office of the same University. Meaning, it is still within the custody of the University and not transferred to anybody, it is within the control and free disposal of the University.”

The resolution stressed that the elements of intent to gain and unlawful taking could “hardly be inferred”.

According to the Revised Penal Code, Theft has the following elements: a) Intent of gain; b) Unlawful taking; c) Personal property belonging to another; d) Absence of violence or intimidation against persons or force upon things; and e) without the consent of the owner.

Persecution campaign

Human Rights groups in Ilocos welcomed the decision of the City Prosecutor’s Office. In a joint statement issued by Tanggulan Youth Network for the Advancement of Human Rights and Ilocos Human Rights Advocates (IHRA), said that the decision only showed that attempts to hide the truth would succeed.

However, they dismissed the thought that the harassments will stop.

These fabricated cases are meant to persecute the students fighting for the rights of the students. The statement noted stating that the dismissal of Diocena does not end the continuing persecution among student activists.

“As part of the educational system that is commercialized, colonial and fascist, it is expected that they will continue their vilification campaign against Diocena, Pelayo among others to demoralize the students in asserting their rights,” the statement stressed.

Diocena for her part, also welcomed the prosecutor’s decision, however, she feared that another trumped up charges are yet to come.

“According to Office of Student Affairs (OSA), there is still a pending case against me,” Diocena lamented. “With this continuing repression, my future is at stake,” she said.

As this developed, Diocena and the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) lobbied the issue to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and rallied in front of CHED’s national office last week to call for the reopening of Tandem and to stop campus press freedom violations committed by the UNP administration. # Rod Tajon(NorDis)

CEGP National Week of Action

June 27, 2008

 

July 7-11, 2008

 

July 7 – Unveiling of Giant Editorial, 11:00am, University of the Philippines, Philippine Collegian Rooftop, Vinzons Hall

                Let us collectively wield our pens and announce the Guild’s official stand through an editorial collaboratively written by editors and members from different campus publications.

                Theme: Campus journalists act now! Wield our pens against tyranny and corruption. Unite to defend the people’s rights and welfare.

                Mechanics:  Member publications and all those interested to participate are enjoined to contribute 1-2 sentences each for the collective editorial. Writing will be ‘rengga-style’ – one sentence/thought contributed will be followed by a corresponding sentence/thought from another contributor.  The National Office will provide a working outline as guide. Entries may be in English or Filipino.

                An egroup will be put up for this project. Please text in your email addresses to Karen, 09193078733 on or before June 25, 2008. Entries and contributions are welcome until July 4, 2008.

 

July 8 – Editorial cartoon exhibit launch, 11:00am, venue to be announced

                We are calling on all graphic artists to submit their editorial cartoons with socially relevant themes.

                Mechanics: Graphic artists must mount their entries on the black surface of a 1/8 size illustration board, plastic-covered, labeled with the name of the artist, campus publication and editorial cartoon title. Published or non-published editorial cartoons will be accepted. 

                Entries may be dropped at Rm. 305, National Press Club Bldg., Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, Manila, or contact Karla, 09273930753. Entries from the regions and provinces may also be mailed to the abovementioned address.

                Digital copies of your editorial cartoons must also be emailed (jpeg format) to cegpnational@ yahoo.com

                Please submit your editorial cartoons on or before July 5. Our target is to compile 77 editorial cartoons to commemorate the Guild’s upcoming 77th anniversary on July 25, 2008. The exhibit will run from July 8-July 25, 2008 in three different schools.

 

July 9 – Film showing and production work

                 SINAG, the official publication of UP Diliman College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, will sponsor a film showing and program for member publications. Details of the activity to follow.

                After which, members of the Guild are encouraged to join the production work of campaign materials, streamers and banners for the upcoming July 10 Youth Act Now! (Youth for Accountability and Truth Now!) National Day of Action.

 

July 10 – Youth Act Now! National Day of Action

 

July 11 – CEGP Cultural Night and Acquaintance Party, 6:00pm, venue to be announced

Student journalists decry press freedom, democratic rights violation

June 20, 2008

PASIG CITY — Student journalists denounced violations of campus press freedom and democratic rights in a picket-rally staged first week of June in front of the Commission Higher Education (CHED) in relation to the move by administration officials of an Ilocos-based government school.

Campus journalists belonging to the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) were joined by about fifteen (15) protesters from National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP) the CHED National Office protest during the recent meeting of the University of Northern Philippines (UNP) Board of Regents (BOR).

Said BOR meeting would tackle the approval of The Blazers to change Tandem as the new publication of UNP, as approved at the recent Policy Conference of the UNP administration last May. The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) has consistently pushed the Blazers since last year; however, the BOR did not approve said publication and recommended that the administration resolve the issue inside the university.

According to Ma. Criselda Diocena, editor-in-chief of Tandem, the official student publication of UNP, and convener of Defend Tandem, the UNP has launched blatant attacks to the rights to the students by silencing its voice in the publication and the student council.

“They closed the publication and used force to harass the student leaders and instill fear among the students.” Diocena stressed as she enumerated the cases of student’s rights and campus press freedom violations that the UNP administration allegedly committed.

Diocena was among the student leaders who was harassed and charged with theft after allegedly taking the Central Processing Unit (CPU) of Tandem to the Student Resource Center. To date, Diocena’s case is still at the City Prosecutor’s Office and the office of Tandem remains closed.

In addition, Diocena was not allowed by the College of Engineering (CE) to take up her final examinations, as the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) through Dr. Gilbert Arce did not issue her any clearance. Diocena has not yet enrolled.

Vijhae Alquisola, National President of the CEGP lambasted the UNP administration for creating a new publication to replace Tandem. “The BOR should look into the Tandem seriously, it should not resort to the closure of publication.” Alquisola noted and suggested that the BOR should see to it that the “democratic rights and campus press freedom of the student are upheld.”

Diocena is currently lobbying at various government and non-government agencies to support her call for the reopening of the publication and to stop political persecution to her and other student leaders. # Rod Tajon(NorthernDispatch)

Nursing dominates enrollment

June 20, 2008

BAGUIO CITY — Nursing and medical allied courses remain the most enrolled and graduate discipline in the Cordillera region in the school year 2007-2008, showed data from the regional office of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd-CAR).

From the 68,511 students enrolled in the higher educational institutions (HEIs) in this city, the top ten most enrolled courses are nursing and allied medical courses with 27,015 ( 39 %); Business Administration and Related 12,757(19 percent), Engineering and Technology 8,404 (12 percent), IT Related Discipline 4,141 (6 percent), Education Science and Teacher Training 3,736 (5 %); Service Trades 1,778 (3 %); Social and Behavioral Sciences 1,605 (2 %); Mass Communication and Documentation 1,286 (2 %); Law and Jurisprudence 1,240 (2 percent); and, Architectural and Town-Planning 932 (1 %).

The least enrolled courses are Fine and Applied Arts, Religion and Theology, and Mathematics and Computer Science.

Reportedly, the trend as to the most enrolled discipline will be the same this school year as Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) remains to be the top rank courses due to the demand of the international market.

The Ched-CAR data show that the 18 schools in this city have a total graduates of 10,218 in 2007.

The top 10 disciplines are Medical and Allied Course (dominated by BSN) 4,781 (47 %); Business Administration and Related Courses 1,906 (19 %); Engineering and Technology 939 (9 %); Education Science and Teacher Training 633 (6 %); IT Related Discipline 397 (4 %); Social and Behavioral Sciences 326 (3 %); Law and Jurisprudence 253 (2 %); Mass Communication and Documentation 163 (2 %); Natural Science 121 (1 %); and, Humanities 110 (1 %).

“The data for graduates show that nursing course is being patronized more to cater for the international market. While we have graduates, our health care system is not assured due to the labor export policy of the government. They should balance courses also for the needs of the people,” said Flora Belinan, chairperson of the Migrante-Cordillera.

Based on the Ched-CAR data, there are eight graduates in Agriculture, Forestry and fisheries in 2007 but no one graduated in 2008. “These courses for food security are no longer the priority of the government due to its thirst for dollar remittances by these future overseas workers,” pointed out Belinan, a graduate of Social Work who went to Hongkong as a domestic helper.

Enrollees in the 18 HEIs in this city increased to 68,511 (SY 2007-2008) from 68,481 (SY 2006-2007) while the graduates increased by 19 percent with the total 10,218 (2007) from 8,570 in 2006.

Baguio as educational center

The Ched-CAR data show that there are a total of 98,015 enrollees in the higher educational institutions (HEIs) in the region during the school year 2007-2008.

Some 68,511 (70%) students are enrolled in the HEIs in Baguio City, making it as the educational center of the north. There are 9,627 (10 percent) students enrolled in Benguet; 5,417 (6 percent) in Mountain Province; 4,851 (5 percent) in Abra; 2,867 (3 percent) in Ifugao; and, 2,146 (2 percent) in Apayao.

The data also show the disparity of urban-based HEIs from the provinces. There are 46 HEIs in the region which are distributed as follows: Baguio 18; Benguet 8; Kalinga 6; Abra 5; Ifugao 4; Mountain Province 3; and, Apayao 2. All the HEIs in Mountain Province, Apayao and Ifugao are state colleges.

From the 46 HEIs, 37 or 80% are privately-owned or controlled while the 10% are SCUs, said Patricio Dinamling, Education Supervisor of the Ched-CAR.

The nine State Colleges and Universities (SCUs) are distributed in the region as follows: Baguio 1; Kalinga – 3; Benguet – 3; and, Abra2. The data show the control of private institutions on the HEIs.

4.5-38.89% TFI for private schools

It was also learned from the Ched-CAR data that private-owned HEIs in the region had increased their tuition fees ranging from 4.5 to 38.89%.

The following HEIs in the region increased their tuition fees: Saint Louis University – 4.5 % with a minimum of P377.25 per unit; Baguio Central University – 6.5 % for higher years with minimum from 369.98.92 to 346.04 while 10 % for first years from P 431.83 to 475.10; University of the Cordilleras – 10 % from P 327.15 to 359.85; University of Baguio – 7.5 % from 351.90 to 378.29; Baguio College of Technology (BETI) – 5 % from P 282.85 to 296.99; Kalos M.A. College – 38.89 % from P 72 to 100; Divine World College – 13 % from P 219.15 to 248 but P 270 to P 305.10 for first year BSN students.

Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently suspended the increase of tuition and other fees in SCUs.

“There is no order received by this office so far for the suspension of school fees in SCUs,” Dinamling pointed out. “But the tuition fees for private HEIs are for implementation,” he added.

This reporter learned from Dinamling that the tuition fee application for AMA Computer College and International Christian Colleges were disapproved. He added that the said institutions failed to observe some of the provisions of CMO No. 13, series of 1998 and CMO No. 29, series of 1999 which were the basis for school fee increases. # Arthur L. Allad-iw(NorthernDispatch)

Militant groups stage “chain of protests”

June 20, 2008

BAGUIO CITY — Showing their disgust to the Arroyo government of the worsening economic crisis, different militant sectoral groups staged a “chain of protests” in key areas of the city’s central business district, here Tuesday.


RICE PRICE PROTEST. Passersby and people queued trying to buy the cheaper government-subsidized rice listen attentively to women protesters as they explain steep price hikes at the rice section of the Baguio City market Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Cye Reyes/NORDIS

Clad in apron while holding placards with calls of protest against the issue of rice crisis, members of Innabuyog-Gabriela and the Cordillera peasant group Alyansa dagiti Pesante iti Taéng Kordilyera (Apit-Tako) held a short program in the rice section of the market, where there was a long line of people trying to buy the cheaper government-subsidized rice.

The women protesters stressed that the “increase in rice importation made the country dependent on other countries to meet the local demand for rice” that eventually led to the condition of speculation and price manipulation.

“We are actually capable of producing our own supply of rice but thousands of hectares of our agricultural lands are now being converted into subdivisions and golf courses,” said Virgie Dammay of Apit-Tako adding that the country’s food security is also threatened by crop conversion where high-value crops such as oil palm and jathropa are substituted for palay.

Members of the urban poor organization Organisasyon dagiti Nakurapay nga Umili ti Syudad (Ornus) in their lightning rally at Km. 0 lower Session Road, showed their fury on the continuous oil price hikes resulting to the relentless increase in the prices of basic commodities.

“Mahal na ang bigas, mahal pa ang gas, kaunting kita lagas!” read the rallyists’ placards.

Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) Spokesperson Lito Wayas aired the sentiment of drivers and operators for the scrapping of the 12% expanded value added tax (EVAT) on oil and its by-products.

The urban poor sector pinpointed the oil deregulation law as the main culprit why multinational oil companies can have unlimited increases in the prices of their petroleum products.

The militant workers’ alliance Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) Cordillera chapter held a petition signing at the People’s Park calling for the enactment of House Bills 1772 and 1962 authored by the late Rep. Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran of Anakpawis Partylist.

The said House Bills are to legislate the P125 wage increase of workers and the P3,000 across-the-board wage increase of government employees.

“We intend to get as much signatures as we can before submitting it to the appropriate committee in Congress,” said Nida Tundagui of KMU-Cordillera.


Photo by Cye Reyes/NORDIS

Different youth organizations led by Anakbayan also gathered along Session Road on the same day to ventilate the people’s remorse to the present economic crisis, specifically denouncing Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s late pronouncement asking colleges and universities not to increase tuition and other school fees.

“There is no other way to help the students with the high fees than to review and reform the Commission on Higher Education’s (Ched) policies on education and allocate higher state subsidy to education,” said Anjo Rey Cerdeña, chairperson of College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) Baguio-Benguet chapter.

According to the statement of Tongtongan ti Umili “the economic hardship would not only lead to increasing number of poor and hungry Filipinos but also to the widening and ever-growing movement to assert people’s rights and protest against this anti-people regime.”

The protesters all gathered at the People’s Park and held a short program to signify their united call to oust Arroyo. # Cye Reyes(NorthernDispatch)

Binmaley mayor deplores sub-standard materials

June 20, 2008

BINMALEY–Upon seeing that substandard materials are being used to repair schools here damaged by Typhoon Cosme, Mayor Simplicio Rosario has immediately ordered a halt to the ongoing reconstruction work in two schools

Rosario, an engineer and a contractor prior to entering public service, said he personally saw, while he was distributing free school bags and notebooks to school children in his town, that the steel being used by the contractor of the Department of Education (DepEd) is only 9 millimeters in size which is not enough to hold trusses.

“This is not fit for building construction,” an angry mayor said, adding that it puts the children and the school staff at risk in the event another natural calamity, especially an earthquake, hit the town.

Stopped by the mayor were the rehabilitation of Binmaley Central Elementary School and Binmaley North Central School, two of the most heavily-damaged schools.

Rosario asked the contractor to present to him the design for the repairs, and he was told that the reconstruction blueprint came from the DepEd central office and no coordination was undertaken with the town’s engineer.

The mayor also stressed that while the town is grateful to the DepEd’s immediate assistance in the aftermath of the calamity, the department must not compromise safety of the schoolchildren.

Meanwhile, the school opening here went smoothly on Tuesday, June 10, despite the extensive damage brought by the typhoon on May 17.

Eduviges de Vera, principal of the Binmaley North Elementary School, told The PUNCH that they have adopted two shifts for the classes to accommodate all students owing to the lack of classrooms.

It was the school’s Gabaldon building that houses eight classrooms, the principal’s office, and the school clinic that was badly damaged.

De Vera expressed optimism that the rehabilitation will be finished soon. #

On Rizal bday, youth groups urge fellow youth to be ‘pag-asa ng bayan’

June 19, 2008

Offer flowers at Rizal monument in Luneta, stage human chain in Espana

YOUTH ACT NOW! (Youth for Accountability and Truth Now!) celebrated National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal’s 147th birthday today by urging the youth to be ‘pag-asa ng bayan (the hope of the nation)’ and take action for meaningful social change.

YOUTH ACT NOW! member organizations the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Student Christian Movement, Kabataang Pinoy, Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, youth artists’ group KARATULA , Youth Revolt, Kabataang Kristiyano para sa Bayan and the Liga ng Kabataang Moro spearheaded today’s activities to mark the event.

Youth and student leaders offered red roses at the Rizal monument in Luneta early this morning as a symbol of the youth’s commitment to continue Rizal’s legacy of vigilance and courageousness.

In the afternoon, youth and students from different schools and universities gathered in front of the University of Sto. Tomas in Espana and formed a human chain ‘underlining the youth’s unity and collective action against the ills of society.’

YOUTH ACT NOW! Spokesperson and NUSP president Alvin Peters said, “We urge our fellow youth to emulate Dr. Rizal’s heroism. Kabataan, maging pag-asa ng bayan. It is our noble duty to criticize when we see wrongs done, to take action when there is oppression and repression against our fellow youth and countrymen.”

For his part, CEGP national president Vijae Alquisola said, “Rizal once said, ‘There can be no tyrants where there are no slaves’. Our country is experiencing a new kind of tyranny, that of economic slavery and a government marred by corruption and lies. We enjoin our fellow youth to reject this miserable status quo and act for meaningful social change.”

LFS Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo said that ‘to relive Dr. Rizal’s heroism, the youth of today should diligently study and analyze the country’s situation and bravely face the challenges of the present. Mag-aral, mangahas, makibaka, this is Rizal’s legacy. Our elders are counting on us to be the young radicals of the nation, to once again create history by toppling the Arroyo administration and to build a future of good governance and social justice.”

YOUTH ACT NOW! announced that it would conduct weekly protests that would escalate towards a nationwide ‘walkout protest’ by July, before Pres. Arroyo’s State of the Nation Address. ###

Chalk + Talk = Physics?

June 19, 2008

The weak condition of science and math education in the country is a reflection of the underdevelopment of our economy and the skewed priorities of government.

BY REYNALDO V. LUNA
Prometheus Bound/Manila Times
Posted by Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 19, June 15-21, 2008

The economic growth of a country requires the development of skilled science and technology practitioners to serve the needs of a thriving domestic industry However, without a local industrial base, there will be no impetus to have an adequate number of technologically-skilled manpower.

The weak condition of science and math education in the country is a reflection of the underdevelopment of our economy and the skewed priorities of government. The training of graduates in science and technology should be towards the development of a local core of experts and not towards the continuing labor export. Adequate support should be provided to educational institutions, especially the state colleges and universities.

A case in point is the BS Physics program, which I recently finished, at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP). Ten years ago, I was offered to take up the course, with only a few freshmen enrollees and even fewer graduating students from the course. More than seven out of 10 freshmen Physics students did not choose this course willingly. Most took it because there were no more slots in other colleges or were advised by the school registrar. Our learning was through “chalk and talk” discussions with very little exposure to hands-on physics.

During our first and second years, we were able to use the remaining instruments like Vernier calipers, micrometers, beam balances and stopwatches; and standard experimental setups like the force table for studying vectors.

But as one advances to the third and fourth years, more and more experiments on higher Physics subjects are left to “chalk and talk” discussions as no equipment was available. The students move on even without exposure and familiarity with standard physics laboratory equipment. In my own field, acoustics, there were no oscilloscopes for experiments that are vital in visualizing sound waves.

Advanced experimental physics courses become a gedanken or thought (imagined) experiment. One discusses the concepts and the procedure; and the instructor just provides the data for the students to analyze since no setup could be used.

Although students had been paying laboratory fees, there are no computers for our numerical analysis subject. Programs on paper cannot be tested to compile since there is no space to type it in. Some students are able to test theirs on their home computers but those without one found it hard to grasp computer programming and were uncertain if their program will run correctly. Even the professors use the computers and projectors at their expense to be able to teach the class.
Before 2006, there was only one professor who handled nine subjects for Physics majors. This led to uneven focus on some of these subjects, undermining the understanding of the students regarding those subjects. New faculty were hired to bring new ideas and expose students to new physics researches but they eventually left the college because there were better job offers outside PUP.

Yet some alumni are bringing hope to PUP. Those who finished their Masters degree are returning to teach. They become thesis advisers and coordinators. They teach advanced courses and help widen the horizon and perspectives of the physics students with seminars and trainings to develop scientific skills.

Despite obsolete and outdated facilities and materials, students find other ways to gain knowledge and expertise by attending conferences, trainings and congresses. Student theses are being compiled and exhibited on cabinets to highlight a tedious and painstaking period of research. PUP physics students continue to bring pride and honor to the university in contests, winning the Champion and First-Runner Up slots in the 2008 Technological University of the Philippines Luzon-Wide Physics Contest.

The state of the physics program in PUP is a direct result of how the government has misprioritized education. Even with the recent incentives for students to enter science and mathematics, the corresponding support structures in universities, such as laboratories, teachers and classrooms, still need to be augmented. The BS Physics in PUP needs better physics laboratories, more qualified instructors and research collaboration with well-established institutions to reach its goal of becoming part of a recognized center of excellence in physics in the country.

The situation is not one to deter the PUP student. With our strong tradition of upholding our right to education, we actively participate in actions to promote quality and free education. We continue to strive and make science meaningful both to ourselves and to others. Manila Times/posted by Bulatlat

Mr. Reynold V. Luna, a new physicist member of AGHAM, teaches Physics in PUP and is taking up MS Physics at UP Diliman. He is the 2008 PUP class valedictorian and graduated magna cum laude in May.

opinion@manilatimes.net.

Students Plagued by Relentless Tuition Hikes

June 19, 2008

The Arroyo government’s directive for a freeze in tuition increases in state colleges and universities and its appeal for private colleges and universities to do the same are too late as schools, both public and private have already increased their tuition.

BY NOEL SALES BARCELONA
Contributed to Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 19, June 15-21, 2008

Jeff-Jeff, 22, an Accounting and Management student at De La Salle-Araneta (formerly the Gregorio Araneta University Foundation or GAUF), says seven out of 10 junior and senior students in his school are dropping out due to high tuition and miscellaneous fees.

Au, 21, a Political Science student at the City of Malabon University, meanwhile said a 100-percent increase in registration fees for Malabon residents and a 45-percent increase for non-Malabon residents prevented many incoming freshmen from enrolling. “They cannot afford to pay that much,” says Au, referring to the P3,000 and P4,000 registration fees, for Malabon and non-Malabon residents, respectively.

The fees exclude the uniforms, books, and other school needs—plus, the miscellaneous fees such as low-grade penalty, verification of grades fee, etc.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, faced by growing public concerns on the steep rise in prices of oil, power, rice and other prime goods and services, appealed to the state universities and colleges not to raise their tuition fees and give refunds for those that have already been collected.

CHED Commissioner Mona Ricafort said that since classes are about to start and enrollment is about to close, state institutions can just give refunds or credit the amount for the next semester. As for the private institutions, Ricafort said that all the government can do is to appeal to them not to increase their fees.

However, the private higher educational institutions have already increased their tuition and miscellaneous fees.

“In De La Salle-Araneta, they have already imposed a five-percent increase,” said Jeff-Jeff.

This is notwithstanding the deadlock that happened during the school’s consultation on tuition and other fees last May.

About 70 percent of college students are enrolled at private higher education institutions (HEIs).

“And these 1,363 private schools are the one notorious in increasing their tuition unjustly, precisely (because) the government refuses to regulate their collection of school fees,” said Vencer Crisostomo, national chairman of the League of Filipino Students (LFS).

According to Crisostomo, there is no reason to allow increases in tuition in private schools as most of the schools are raking in hundreds of millions of pesos in profits. He was referring to such schools as the University of the East (UE, owned by Henry Sy), Centro Escolar University (CEU), Mapua Institute of Technology (owned by the Yuchengco Group), Manila Central University (MCU), Far Eastern University (FEU, owned by the Montinolas), Feati University, National Teachers College (NTC), Cebu Doctors University, and Velez College which are consistently in the Top 1000 Corporations in the country based on data from Business World.

This year, 378 private HEIs have increased their matriculation fees by up to 10 percent on the average.

Catholic schools defended their tuition increases.

According to Joel Pagsanjan, the newly appointed executive director of Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), like the “suffering” public, private schools are also affected by the rising cost of living.

“It is important for private schools to have some flexibility,” said Pagsanjan in a statement, adding that market forces govern tuition rates.

This view was backed up by Manila’s Catholic Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, who said that the tuition increases imposed by the Catholic-run schools are not wrong.

“Tuitions fees are getting higher because Catholic schools are just trying to improve the standards of education,” the Cardinal said in a statement published in CBCPNews.com.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) reported that state universities have been increasing their tuition also at exorbitant rates.

The Philippine Normal University (PNU) now collects P100 ($2.25 at the June 13 exchange rate of $1:P44.41) per unit from its previous P35 ($0.76 at the 2007 average exchange rate of $1:P46.15) per unit, in tuition fees. However, since the tuition increase was ladderized, the PNU is expected to impose more tuition fee increases in the next five years.

In miscellaneous fees, there will be a 20-percent increase, for the period of two years, said Alvin Peters, NUSP’s chairperson.

In the University of Northern Philippines in Ilocos, there had been a P25 increase in units per subject, now making it P100 pesos per unit. Besides this, the UNP also increased their library, medical and dental, athletics and registration fees by P20 while charging P30 ($0.68) for the student handbook.

At the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Sta. Mesa, Manila, students are being charged P250 ($5.63) as developmental fee, which, according to Student Regent Sophia del Prado, is illegal.

Dr. Divina T. Pasumbal, public information director of PUP, said in an interview last June 2 that the said developmental fee is legal and has the go-signal of the Board of Regents.

“Does SAMASA (Sandigan ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Sambayanan, the student party to which Del Prado belongs) have the evidence that will support their claim about the non-legality of the developmental fee?” said Pasumbal.

The Constitution provides that: “The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels, and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all.” (Article XIV, Sec. 1)

Crisostomo said the government is continuously violating this provision. Contributed to Bulatlat

CEGP condemns adviser-meddling, harassment of Makati Collegian editors

June 18, 2008

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) denounces in strongest terms the adviser-meddling, violation of the Campus Journalism Act of 1991, and the harassment of editors of the Makati Collegian by the University of Makati administration.

The issue in the Makati Collegian sprung from the administration’ s unilateral designation of Dr. Teresa Solero as adviser of the Makati Collegian, in violation of the selection process stipulated in the CJA of 1991. The CJA of 1991 mandates that the incumbent editorial board of the Makati Collegian ‘shall make a recommendation of three (3) faculty members, and the administration shall choose a technical adviser from the recommended faculty.’ The editorial board, however, was not consulted on the designation.

The Makati Collegian rightfully refused to recognize Dr. Solero as adviser and this was when the University of Makati unleashed its attacks on campus press freedom and the democratic rights of Makati Collegian Editor-in-Chief Jeneffere Buenaventura and members of its editorial board Adora Joy V. Borja (Managing Editor) and Dannilyn C. de Castro (Associate Editor). (Attached herewith is the complainants’ complete account of the chronology of events.)

Last February 2008, the University of Makati, upon the order of Dr. Solero, renovated the publication office, making it impossible for Makati Collegian editors and staff to access the publication office. Not long after, Dr. Solero announced the establishment of the Studium Generale Publication (SGP) as the school’s official publication to replace the Makati Collegian and rendering it ‘defunct’.

What came after were a barrage of unfounded accusations and actions by the University of Makati administration through Dr. Solero:

  1. A sudden investigation of alleged complaints by students with regards to the Makati Collegian’s financial statements. Said complaints were never appropriately presented to the editorial board and copies were never furnished to them.

The mere fact that the so-called investigation against Buenaventura et al were merely jointly performed by Dr. Solero and Prof. Joselito Mendoza, the so-called designated Investigating Officer of the Studium Generale Publication, is illegal in itself. Firstly, they have no authority to conduct the investigation under Dr. Solero’s position as a mere technical adviser. Secondly, investigations should be a result of complaints filed to the student disciplinary committee, which Dr. Solero failed to produce. Thirdly, the respondents (Buenaventura et al) should be properly informed in writing of the nature and cause of the accusations against them. And lastly, the investigation should be conducted by a duly-constituted student disciplinary committee.

Moreover, the Makati Collegian editorial board has also submitted the financial statements for AY 2007-2008, albeit a bit late because of their difficulty to access the publication office. All remaining funds of the publication are still intact and accounted for.

  1. Insistence and forceful demand of Dr. Solero for the turnover of publication funds to her (i.e. the remaining funds for AY 2007-2008). The editorial board refused to turn over funds because the legitimacy of the establishment of the SGP is in question. Furthermore, the refusal to turnover funds is perfectly legitimate since the Makati Collegian is STILL the official publication of the university.
  1. When the editorial board refused to comply with abovementioned demands, the University of Makati released an order holding the enrolment of Buenaventura. It also allegedly released a memorandum from the Office of the University President stating such an order, but as of press time no such memo had been presented to Buenaventura.

Borja’s registration was also cancelled and de Castro’s academic credentials were withheld.

  1. Of all these, Dr. Solero failed to furnish Buenaventura and the editorial board with pertinent papers and formal written documents to support her accusations and actions. They were also not given the opportunity to air their side on the matter.

The CEGP condemns Dr. Solero and the University of Makati administration’ s grave abuse of discretion and authority resulting in the harassment of the Makati Collegian’s editors and the eventual closure of the publication.

The CEGP also criticizes Dr. Solero and the University of Makati administration for their deliberate and malicious disregard of due process and legitimate procedures.

The CEGP demands that Buenaventura et al be allowed to enroll. Regardless of accusations against them, the University of Makati does not hold the right, and in fact has no basis, to hold their registration for the present school year.

The CEGP has also already submitted a complaint to the Office of Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino, former CEGP President (1991-1994), requesting for an investigation of the illegal closure of the Makati Collegian, the harassment of its editors, Dr. Solero’s violations of the CJA of 1991, and the illegal establishment of the administration- led SGP.

The CEGP likewise urges the office of Makati Rep. Abigail Binay to look into the case. The University of Makati is a local government unit-run university.

The CEGP expresses its fullest support to Buenaventura and the editorial board of the Makati Collegian in their fight against what could be considered as one of the most blatant attacks on campus press freedom and students’ democratic rights.

Furthermore, the CEGP scores Dr. Solero for questioning the Guild’s concern in this case, accusing its leadership of ‘meddling’ in behalf of the Makati Collegian editorial board. For the record, the Makati Collegian is a member publication of the CEGP and the Guild willingly extends its support to any members who are under attack.

The CEGP has so far documented 297 cases of campus press freedom violations from 53 respondent campus publications last May. ###

Elian Gonzalez joins Cuba’s Young Communists

June 17, 2008

HAVANA – The Cuban boy at the center of an international custody battle eight years ago has joined Cuba’s Young Communist Union.

Communist youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde quotes Elian Gonzalez as saying he will never let down ex-President Fidel Castro and his brother Raul Castro, who succeeded Fidel earlier this year.

Now 14, Elian was 6 when Miami relatives lost their fight to keep him in the United States and he was returned to Cuba in mid-2000 with his father.

Elian had survived a boating accident off the Florida coast that killed his mother, who was attempting to get to the U.S.

Juventud Rebelde says in its Sunday edition that the boy was among 18,000 people who joined the group on Saturday.(YahooNews)

Modus operandi sa matrikula

June 14, 2008

pataas nang pataas (KJ Rosales)

PASASALAMAT sana si Auline “Au” Hipolito, 19-na-taong-gulang na anak ng mga manggagawa, na di na siya kailangang lumayo para magkolehiyo. Madaling lakarin sa araw-araw ang CMU o City of Malabon University, pamantasang matatagpuan sa pinakapusod ng maralitang komunidad sa Dagat-dagatan, at dating reklamasyong ipinagawa ni dating gobernador Imelda Romualdez Marcos.

Pasalamat sana siya, pero dahil na rin sa pagtindi ng krisis, nagiging mahirap ang manatili sa eskuwela. Senior na siya ngayon sa kursong Political Science, pero pinag-iisipan na ni Au kung kakayanin pa ng mga magulang niya ang magpaaral.

Itinatag noong 1992, nakatuon dapat ang CMU sa edukasyong pangkolehiyo ng kalakhan ng populasyon ng Malabon na binubuo ng mga mangingisda at ordinaryong manggagawa. Pero di kalauna’y tila “nahawa” na ito sa uso: pagtataas ng bayarin ng mga estudyante.

“Maraming freshman ang di na nagtuloy dahil malaki ang itinaas ng registration fee,” ani Au. Sinisingil ang mga residente ng Malabon na papasok ngayong taon ng P3,000 mula sa dating P1,500 lang. Para naman sa mga di residente, P4,000 mula sa dating P2,750.

Nitong nakaraang buwan, mayabang na idineklara ni Pangulong Arroyo na hindi puwedeng magtaas ng matrikula ang mga SCU (state colleges and universities). Di agad naisip ng Pangulo na nang ideklara niya ang pagbabawal, tapos na ang enrollment sa kalakhan ng mga pamantasan. Kung kaya, noong huling linggo ng Mayo, sinabi niyang ire-refund na lang sa mga estudyante ang binayarang dagdag sa matrikula.

Pero matrikula lang ang sakop ng deklarasyon. Sa kaso ng CMU – at marami pang SCU – nailusot pa rin ang pagtaas ng bayarin dahil maraming iba pang fee ang sinisingil sa mga estudyante.

“Sabi nila, hindi matrikula ang binabayaran namin dahil binayaran naman daw ito ng lokal na gobyerno. Pero parang matrikula na rin siya, di ba? Kasi, di ka naman makakapasok kung di mo siya mababayaran agad,” sabi pa ni Au.

Balik-bayad: kaya ba?
Hindi maiwasang magduda ng mga organisasyong pangkabataan kung kayang tupdin ng mga SCU ang balik-bayad na kautusan ng Malakanyang. Una sa lahat, ni wala pang malinaw na mekanismo kung paano ito gagawin.

Maging ang Ched, hanggang ngayon, tahimik pa rin sa kautusang balik-bayad sa mga paaralang pinapatakbo ng gobyerno.

Sa ngayon, wala pang ni isang SCU na nagtaas ng matrikula ang nag-refund alinsunod sa utos ni Arroyo. Sa NCR (National Capital Region), isa sa mga nagtaas ng matrikula ang programang Open University ng PUP (Politeknikong Unibersidad ng Pilipinas). Mula P12 kada yunit, itinaas ito sa P100. Tutal, nakatuon naman sa nagtatrabaho nang mga estudyante ang Open University, inisip marahil ng administrasyon, na kaya nilang pasanin ang mataas na dagdag-bayarin.

Pero ang masama pa, kapag itinataas ang ibang bayarin bukod sa matrikula, wala nang habol ang mga estudyante.

Sa mga eskuwelahang iniikutan ng NUSP (National Union of Students of the Philippines), alyansa ng mga konseho ng mag-aaral sa iba’t ibang kolehiyo’t pamantasan, di na madalas mapag-usapan ang tuition refund. Imbes na balik-bayad, nagiging taas-bayad pa. Hindi man nadagdagan ang matrikula, todo-larga naman ang pagtaas ng miscellaneous fee at iba pang bayarin.

Ang problema pa, wala namang deklarasyon ang Pangulo ng refund na sumasaklaw sa mga bayaring hindi matrikula.

Ayon kay Alvin Peters, pangulo ng NUSP, ito ang madalas na modus operandi ng mga eskuwelahang pangkolehiyo. Maraming halimbawa rito:

• Sa University of Northern Philippines sa Vigan, Ilocos Sur, mula sa dating miscellaneous fee na P75 kada yunit, nasa P100 na siya ngayon. Bukod pa sa dagdag na P20 sa mga bayarin sa paggamit ng library, serbisyong medikal at dental, athletics at maging sa registration fee.
• Sa Philippine Normal University naman sa Maynila, sinimulan na ang pagsingil para sa 400 porsiyentong taas-matrikula na nagkabisa noon pang 2003, dagdag ni Peters.
• Abala naman ang PUP sa kosmetikong “pagpapaganda” ng main campus nito sa Sta. Mesa, kaya itinaas nito ang sinisingil na energy fee, development and modernization fee, at iba pa. May ilang kolehiyong nagtaas ng miscellaneous fee. College of Computer Management, mula P500-600, naging P1000 ang miscellaneous fee.

“Sa amin naman sa CMU, may ganyang mga dagdag din. Mula sa admission test hanggang sa verification of grades. Huwag nang isama pa ang interes sa hinuhulug-hulugan mong mga bayarin na limang porsiyento. Kapag hindi ka nakaabot sa grade ceiling, may multa ka rin,” himutok ni Au.

Kung di maitatakda ang panuntunan at kung paano ipapatupad ang binabalak na balik-bayad sa sobrang singil sa mga SUC, malabong maisakatuparan ang kautusang ito ni Pang. Arroyo,” sabi pa ni Peters.

Sa eskuwelahang Katoliko…
Samantala, lusot din sa deklarasyon ni Arroyo ang pang-akademikong mga institusyong pinapatakbo ng Simbahang Katoliko – sa simpleng dahilang di naman sila maaaring diktahan ng gobyerno.

Katoliko ang marami sa pribadong mga pamantasan, pero tila hindi Kristiyanismo kundi kapitalismo ang pangunahing prinsipyong namamayani sa mga pamantasang ito. “Market-driven” o nakadepende kasi sa takbo ng pamilihan ang kanilang “produkto,” ayon kay Joel Pagsanjan, kahahalal na direktor-ehekutibo ng Ceap (Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines), samahan ng mga unibersidad at kolehiyong tuwirang pinapatakbo o may kaugnayan sa Simbahang Katoliko.

Binigyang-diin ni Pagsanjan na kung di sila magtataas ng matrikula, di mapapabuti ang mga pasilidad at maitataas ang suweldo ng mga guro na malaking salik para maiangat ang kalidad ng edukasyong ibinibigay ng kanilang institusyon.

Sa kasalukuyan, wala pang datos kung gaano kalaki ang itinaas ng matrikula sa pribadong mga pamantasan at kolehiyo. Gayunman, inamin ni Pagsanjan na karamihan sa mga ito ay inaasahang magtataas. Paliwanag ni Gaudencio Kardinal Rosales ng Maynila, “Tumataas nang tumataas ang bilihin kaya makatuwiran lang na magtaas tayo ng singil.”

“Pinagsusumikapan ng mga paaralan nating mapagbuti ang kalidad ng edukasyon. Isa pa, kahit mataas ang singil, marami pa rin namang nagpapatala sa mga paaralang Katoliko dahil sa de-kalidad na edukasyong iniaalok ng mga ito,” dagdag ng kardinal.

Masasabi marahil na may kalidad nga ang mga pamantasan at kolehiyong Katoliko, tulad ng Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle System, University of Sto. Tomas, Miriam College, at San Beda College. Pero di maikakailang malaki rin ang taunang kinikita ng mga pamantasang ito.
Samantala, sa ibang pribadong paaralan, gaya nang Emilio Aguinaldo College, sumisirit din ang halaga ng matrikula.

Patakarang gawing negosyo ang edukasyon
Isinisisi ng LFS (League of Filipino Students) at Kabataang Pinoy Party-list sa di pagsunod ng gobyerno sa itinatakda ng Konstitusyong 1987 ang patuloy na pagtaas ng halaga ng edukasyon sa bansa.

Ani Vencer Crisostomo, tagapangulo ng LFS, sa halip na ilaan ang pinakamalaking bahagi ng pambansang badyet sa badyet para sa edukasyon, patuloy pang kinakaltasan ang huli para mabigyang-daan ang aniya’y “komersiyalisasyon” ng pampublikong edukasyon.

“Itinakda ng Artikulo 14 ng ating Konstitusyon na dapat lumikha ng isang mapagkakatiwalaan at mahusay na sistema ng edukasyon ang gobyerno at dapat na maglaan ng mataas na badyet para rito. Pero taliwas sa mga itinatadhanang ito ng Konstitusyon ang nangyayari sa kasalukuyan,” paliwanag ni Crisostomo.

Hindi naniniwala si Crisostomo na walang kakayahan ang gobyerno, partikular ang Ched, na kontrolin ang taas-matrikula sa pribadong mga paaralan.

Aniya, itinatadhana rin ng Konstitusyon ang pagbibigay-kapangyarihan sa gobyerno na pamahalaan at lagyan ng regulasyon ang umiiral na mga institusyong pang-edukasyon sa bansa.
“Mismong pinakamataas na batas sa bansa ang nagsasabing dapat kayang-kaya ng bulsa ng mga Pilipino ang pag-aaral sa kolehiyo. Pero mukhang malabo ito dahil sa palpak na mga patakaran ng gobyerno,” aniya pa.

Binibigyang-laya ng mga polisiya ng gobyerno tulad ng Education Act of 1982 at Higher Education Modernization Act of 1998 ang mga administrasyon ng mga SCU na magtaas ng matrikula. Pero bukod pa dito, mahihinuha ang direksiyong unti-unting tinutungo ng mga SCU – ang pagsasapribado ng edukasyon, tulad ng pagsasapribado sa ibang serbisyong panlipunan ng gobyerno.

Mababatid sa mga SCU tulad ng CMU ang direksiyong gustong tahakin ng gobyerno. Gusto nitong tularan ang pribadong mga pamantasan, na nagsasabing kailangang magtaas para maging “de-kalidad.” May iba pa sanang maaaring tularan, iba pang alternatibo ng libre pero de-kalidad na edukasyon (Basahin ang kaugnay na istorya), pero di na ito tinatanaw ng mga SCU. Nakapailalim sila sa pangkalahatang polisiya ng gobyernong Arroyo.

Ito ang lagay ng pulitikang pang-edukasyon sa bansa, ang uri ng pulitikang natutunan ni Au sa labas ng mga klase sa Political Science sa City of Malabon University.

Alternatibo ng de-kalidad – pero murang – edukasyon

Tulad ng idinedeklara ng Saligang Batas ng Pilipinas, idinedeklara rin ng Saligang Batas ng Germany na responsabilidad ng gobyerno na papag-aralin ang mga mamamayan nito.
Pero kaiba sa Pilipinas, tinototoo ng Germany ang deklarasyong ito. Mula sa kindergarten hanggang unibersidad, may mekanismo ang mga estado ng pederal na gobyerno ng Germany na magbigay ng edukasyon.

Opsiyonal ang kindergarten sa Germany — ibig sabihin, hindi kailangang kunin ng bata bago makapasok ng elementarya. Pero sa mga may gusto, may mga eskuwelahan ang mga estado na nakalaan sa mga batang may edad tatlo hanggang 10. Magmula siyam na taon, required nang pag-aralin ng mga magulang ang kanilang mga anak – na hindi naman kaso, dahil libre ito.

Mahigpit ang Germany sa polisiyang kailangang mag-aral ang mga bata sa regular na eskuwelahan. Kung may seryosong sakit o disabilidad lang ang bata pinapayagan siyang mapasailalim sa home schooling.

Tumatagal ng apat na taon (at anim sa Berlin) ang elementarya. Pag tuntong sa sekundaryong pag-aaral, naihahanay ang mga bata sa apat na uri ng eskuwelahan: (1) Gymnasium, para sa mga batang may espesyal na abilidad; (2) Realschule para sa mga nangangailangan ng malawak na saklaw ng pag-aaral; (3) Hauptschule para sa mga mag-aaral ng edukasyong bokasyonal; (4) Gesamtschule para sa mga batang kailangan ang kombinasyon ng naunang tatlong klase. Mayroon ding Förderschulen para sa mga batang may problema sa pag-iisip o kapansanan.

Matapos ang sekundaryong edukasyon, may opsiyon ang mga estudyante na pumaloob sa sistema ng apprenticeship na tinatawag na Duale Ausbildung kung saan sinasanay ang mga estudyanteng matanggap sa trabaho sa mga kompanya ng Estado.

Kung may sapat na kakayahan ang estudyante, nariyan ang opsiyon ng pagpasok sa pamantasan. Karamihan sa mga unibersidad sa Germany, pag-aari ng Estado – libre ang edukasyon at mangilan-ngilan lang ang pribado.

Kinikilala sa daigdig ang matagumpay at de-kalidad na sistema ng edukasyon sa Germany. Katunayan, sampu sa 200 kinikilalang pinakamahusay na pamantasan sa mundo ang matatagpuan sa bansang ito.

Mga magandang malaman sa edukasyong Pinoy

• 60 porsiyento, o anim sa sampung mag-aaral sa kolehiyo ang nasa pribadong paaralan
• Doble ang itinaas ng matrikula, sa kabuuan, nang maupo sa puwesto si Pang. Arroyo noong 2001
• Pinakamura pa ring mag-aral sa PUP: P12 kada yunit. Pero may dagdag-bayad: P250 para sa proyekto ng pagpapaganda sa paaralan
• Pinakamahal mag-aral sa University of Asia and the Pacific: P124,800 ang kailangang bayaran sa loob ng isang taon
• Pangalawa sa pinakamahal ang De La Salle University (bagaman mura ang ilang kaugnay nitong kolehiyo gaya ng nasa Antipolo, Rizal): P110,447.82 para sa isang taon (trimester kasi)
• Bagaman pimakamahal kada yunit ang mag-aral sa Ateneo de Manila (P2,517), “mura” pa ring mag-aral dito dahil kailangan mo lang magbayad ng P90,613 kada taon, para sa 18 yunit na full-term
• Mahal na ring mag-aral sa UP dahil P1,000 kada yunit na ang kailangang bayaran, o P36,000 para sa buong taon
• Ang matrikula ngayon sa UP ay mas mahal pa kaysa sa San Beda College (P786 kada yunit) at sa College of Holy Spirit sa Maynila (P903.91 kada yunit)
• Kaunti lang ang lamang — P100 lang — ng UP sa bayarin sa FEU (P1,100); P40 naman sa UE (P1,040); P72.90 sa UST (P1,072.90)
• Dahil sa taas ng matrikula sa ngayon, inaasahang sa bawat dalawang papasok ng kolehiyo, isa lang ang makakatapos.

Noel Sales Barcelona(PinoyWeekly)

Friday the 13th noise barrage calls on youth to ‘drive away evils of society’

June 13, 2008

YOUTH ACT NOW! (Youth for Accountability and Truth Now!) participated in the metro-wide noise barrage protest spearheaded by concerned citizen groups later this afternoon.

Students from different schools and universities around Metro Manila converged in various protest points for the noise barrage. Among those who participated were students from UP, PUP, UP Manila, St. Scholastica, PNU, PLM, Lyceum, Miriam, JRU, TIP and PSBA.

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Student Christian Movement, Kabataang Pinoy, Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, youth artists’ group KARATULA , Youth Revolt, Kabataang Kristiyano para sa Bayan and the Liga ng Kabataang Moro participated in the noise barrage.

High school students and out of school youth from different urban poor communities also joined the activity.

“How fitting to conduct our opening salvo of students’ weekly protests today, Friday the 13th, a statement and commitment to drive away the evils of society,” said Alvin Peters, YOUTH ACT NOW! Spokesperson.

Bearing streamers and placards with the words, ‘Youth act now for meaningful social change!‘, the youth participants called on the government to address different issues ranging from political anomalies to the worsening economic crisis.

For his part, CEGP national president Vijae Alquisola said, “We have re-united our ranks since the school opening and we have resolved to up the ante of protests. There is a collective clamor among youth and students to demand accountability from this government not only for numerous corruption issues but also for the rising cost of education and the Arroyo administration’ s lack of political will to curb unabated price hikes.”

Peters said that YOUTH ACT NOW! will conduct weekly protests that are expected to escalate towards a nationwide ‘walkout protest’ by July, before Pres. Arroyo’s State of the Nation Address. ###

Dentistry cost limit enrollees

June 12, 2008

BAGUIO CITY — Pursuing a dentistry career is attracting more students as shown in the increasing enrollment in one of the colleges here. But the high investment in the course limits enrollees, according to Baguio City Dental Society officials.

In a special Kapihan at the Lion’s Club here, BCDS Public Relations Officer (PRO) Charles Baguilat said the tuition used to be P6,000 per semester at the Centro Escolar University in Manila. Now it is around P35,00 to P40,000 per semester, depending on the school.

“It is much cheaper in University of Baguio,” said Dr. Ruthgar Tecson, department head of the College of Dentistry, who said the tuition is around P560 per unit.

Tecson said UB freshmen classes in the College of Dentistry steadily grows each year and is starting to attract more. “Unlike in the previous years when enrollment really plunged because almost everybody wanted to be a nurse,” he said.

The Pines City Educational Institution charges P418 per unit on Dentistry.

A career in dentistry requires a two-year pre-dental course, followed by a four-year proper dentistry. Specialization in orthodontics or pediatric dentistry requires more years of proficiency training. Post graduate seminars and trainings are needed to renew the three-year professional license for dentists.

“Sometimes the trainings are held abroad that entails more expenses for dental professionals,” said BCDS incoming President Sylvestre Samson III. He said the long years of training for the dentistry profession makes the course expensive.

Besides long years of academic training Baguilat said, graduates in Dentistry have to put up their own clinic; procure their own equipment and clinic furnishings; and establish their own operation. “This (putting up a clinic) makes the dental course even more costly and difficult to pursue,” he said.

Besides, the entry into the College of Dentistry requires a dental clearance, Baguilat said. This is usually the problem with incoming freshmen, who are not properly advised about the dental checks-up and treatment done before they are admitted into the college.

“They either end up returning to their respective provinces to get more money for the needed dental check-up or they could not qualify due to some oral health inadequacies,” he said.

“Walang dentist na nagugutom,” (No dentist starves) Baguilat said, insinuating the profession offers a lucrative income and a comfortable life. “But dentists do not get rich,” he quipped. He said there are a lot of dentists in town for a limited market.

Standardization in the cost of dental education is yet to be achieved and is being worked out by dental associations. Like the cost of dental treatment, which depends largely on the academic and professional background of the dentist, the quality of service and the materials used in the treatment and the procedures, the cost of dental education varies depending on the school facilities, its faculty and the quality of education and training one gets, according to Samson. # Lyn V. Ramo(NorthernDispatch)

Church youth join leaders in call for truth, accountability

June 12, 2008

STA. CRUZ, Ilocos Sur — “Let these young people lead the way in our quest for truth and accountability.” These are the prayers led by the various church leaders in the Summer Youth Camp of the Ilocos Sur Ecumenical Movement (ISEM) at Sevilla, Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur last May 26-27, 2008.

Said youth camp was attended by more than 90 church youth from the Roman Catholic Church, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), United Methodist Church (UMC), Logos Full Gospel Church and Church of God.

With the theme, “Panagkaykaysa dagiti Agtutubo nga agpaay ti kinatakneng ken kinapudno kas bunga ti pammati ken Cristo,” (Unity of students which for integrity and truth as a result of faith in Christ), the said youth camp is an effort of the ISEM in support to the calls of church leaders for truth and accountability.

Fellowships and discussions of issues concerning the youth and people in biblical perspective are highlights of the summer youth camp.

Johanna Dela Cruz, National Auditor of the Kalipunan ng Kristyanong Kabataan sa Pilipinas (KKKP) said during her discussion that this is an opportunity to dialog, and experience learning, living, worshiping and struggling together, and redefining their perspectives in life to be of service to God’s people.

Dela Cruz challenged the delegates to see the affliction of the people and hear their cries. “With the worsening plight of the people, what is our role? Do you hear God’s voice speaking to us again? Journey with God’s people.” She stressed in her forum discussion on Youth for Truth and Accountability.

During the solidarity night, young leaders from the Roman Catholic Church, IFI, UCCP, UMC and Logos Full Gospel Church led a ritual where they ensured that the candle is balanced by the strings. This ritual, according to Rev. Marcelino Mariano, “serves a one light in the people’s journey towards Shalom”.

Appointed conveners were Jimarie Snap Mabanta (IFI), Rowanne Ursulum (UCCP), Marissa Taqueban (UMC), Jenielyn Habon (Logos Full Gospel Church) and Joanna Dawn (Roman Catholic). The ISEM Youth Conveners affiliated the organization to KKKP.

According to Jimarie Snap Mabanta, one of the conveners of the ISEM Youth and Diocesan President of the Youth of Iglesia Filipina Independiente (YIFI), said that this is the first time that youth in various Christian churches unite in their common faith in God. “We hope that this will serve as a venue for fellowship, study and interaction among us.” Mabanta furthered.

The ISEM initiated the Summer Youth Camp as part of their call for truth and accountability to the Arroyo government and in support to the expose’ of Rodolfo “Jun”Lozada on the NBN Controversy. Last March, about two hundred (200) church leaders and members attended the Ecumenical Service for Truth and Accountability led by the ISEM. # Rod Tajon

Protest meets Arroyo anew in Baguio

June 12, 2008

BAGUIO CITY — As President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo emerged from the Baguio Cathedral after the pontifical mass here, a group of protesters gave her another surprise rally.

Members of Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students and Progressive Igorots for Social Action tried to block and get the attention of the presidential convoy on its way to the Mansion House dinner. They chanted, “Papet, pasista, pahirap sa masa, patalsikin si Gloria,” (Puppet, fascist, burden to the masses, oust Gloria) while holding placards.

When alerted, the protesters were too quick for the police as they scattered as quick as they appeared. Instead, the few amused, more than surprised, police allowed the protesters to proceed down Session Road.

On March 18, several young students also surprised security in a lightning rally in front of the Mansion. Probably because of that, security in the Mansion was tightened today. But this time the protest was waiting for Arroyo right outside the Cathedral of the Holy Atonement.

Anakbayan said this is its way of condemning Arroyo’s lack of concrete action to solve the worsening economic crises like the continuing rise in prices of basic commodities like oil and rice, and in services like electricity.

“Hangga’t hindi pa siya umaalis sa pwesto, lalakas at lalakas ang pagkilos ng mamamayan para sapilitang tanggalin siya,” (While she does not leave her post, people’s actions to remove her from office will continue to strengthen) said Anakbayan Metro-Baguio’s John Voltaire Dalangin.

The group also said that this proves wrong the administration’s claim that Cordillera is behind her. “They could only claim the support of local officials, not the people of Baguio,” said John Panem of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP).

Earlier inside the Cathedral, members of Youth for Accountability and Truth Now (Youth ACT Now) wore t-shirts bearing “Ang masama ay masama” and a cutely-rendered devil face that looks like Arroyo. # Cielo Marie Bayson(NorthernDispatch)

“Prosti-tuition” rises with school fees

June 12, 2008

BAGUIO CITY — As tuition increase, more and more students are pushed to engage in prostitution to raise enough money for their schooling, thus the term “prosti-tuition.”

According to Theresa Manglicmot of Gabriela Youth (GY), students both male and female resort to this decadent practice because of the high cost of education and the perennial economic crisis in the country.

“It is a disturbing fact, but because of extreme poverty the students are forced to opt for this as their last resort just to finish their studies,” said Manglicmot.

In a study made by GY back in 2006, the number of students engaged in prostitution increase during enrollment and exam periods, the time when students need to pay their dues in school.

“Based on the interviews we conducted, it is a seasonal affair and one can really point out that their main concern for doing this is to be able to pay for their school fees,” said Manglicmot.

According to Manglicmot, the prostituted students are either seasonally hired by prostitution dens or by pimps, and earn through commission basis.

Most of the time the pimps wait outside school premises with a client to see the students and choose whoever the client wants to have sex with.

“But now, because of the advance in cyber technology, the Internet becomes a more lucrative means to earn extra money because they are directly paid by the customers for the cyber sex services they render,” said Manglicmot.

According to Director Rosario Marzo of the Office for Linkages and Exchange Programmes of the Saint Louis University (SLU) during a press conference, students are forced to resort to these activities because they have spent their money that their parents gave to them.

“These students resort to prostitution mainly because they misuse the funds intended for their school budget,” said Marzo adding that the lack of family values is the main reason why these students engage in prostitution.

Manglicmot on the other hand said “this increasing incidents of prosti-tuition is not based on the lack of family values but because of how the education system here in the country is becoming more of a privilege than a right, making it not accessible to those who cannot afford.”

Manglicmot also said Filipinos are driven by the hope to improve their economic status, thus they value education and view gaining a university diploma betters their chances for a more stable employment and brighter future.

“The status of the national economy and present government policies have however further constricted the right to and opportunities for education,” concluded Manglicmot # Cye Reyes(NorthernDispatch)

State School Tuition to Match Private School Rates by 2010

June 11, 2008

The leader of a youth group, citing the Philippine government’s own Long-Term Higher Education Development Plan (LTHEDP), said that tuition in state schools will match that of private schools by 2010.

BY BULATLAT
Vol. VIII, No. 18, June 8-14, 2008

The leader of a youth group, citing the Philippine government’s own Long-Term Higher Education Development Plan (LTHEDP), said that tuition in state schools will match that of private schools by 2010.

The plan prescribes the following targets for 2010: (1) the reduction of the number of SUCs by 20 percent; (2) the conversion of six SUCs to ‘semi-corporations;’ (3) the generation of income by 20 percent of SUCs through the sale of intellectual property rights and grants; (4) the establishment of active income-generating projects in 50 percent of SUCs; and (5) the collaboration with big business of 60 percent of SUCs.

One of the more controversial targets, according to Kabataang Pinoy chairman Dion Carlo Cerrafon, is the pegging of tuition rates at a level similar to that of private schools in 70 percent of state schools by 2010.

“These targets clearly go against present back-to-school government posturing on public tertiary education.”

He said incessant hikes in tuition in state schools, particularly at the University of the Philippines (UP), are clear indicators of the government’s resolve to meet the LTHEDP’s targets by 2010.

“Most state schools have already implemented the plan by increasing their internally-generated funds (IGF) through the privatization of auxiliary services and other revenue projects in the university. A number of SUCS, like UP and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), have already entered into joint ventures with profit-oriented entrepreneurs and big businesses, as already evident in the new ‘science and technology’ park being built in UP property Commonwealth avenue and call center offices and training center in PUP main campus,” he explained.

He added that in two separate memoranda by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in 1999 and 2000, 86 CHED supervised institutions (CSI) have been or are in the process of being integrated into SUCS. In six year, the number of SUCs was reduced by 154, from 264 in 1998 to 111 in 2004.

“LTHEDP slowly transforms state schools into efficient income earning entities with the long-term goal of making them self-reliant capable of running their institutions without government subsidy.

“Such policy not only justifies state abandonment of its responsibility to educate young Filipinos, but it also serves as the basis for schools to engage in money-making activities like joint ventures with corporations, selling of intellectual properties and other assets, income-generating projects, tuition adjustment and imposition of new fees. This ensures corporate dominance even in public education, making tertiary education the province of the elite,” Cerrafon pointed out.

“Unless we begin investing more on education and start reversing education policies that encourage commercialization, we will continue to see more students leaving college because of high fees and poverty,” he said. Bulatlat

More Students Transfer from Private to State Schools

June 11, 2008

But fee hikes, limited slots force transferees to dropout, says youth group

A growing number of the country’s college students are transferring from the private schools to state colleges and universities due to rising costs of private-school education. But state schools have been increasing their tuition and other fees in recent years. Because of this, thousands of college hopefuls might be forced to drop out of school this year.

BY BULATLAT
Vol. VIII, No. 18, June 8-14, 2008

A growing number of the country’s college students are transferring from private schools to state colleges and universities due to rising costs of private-school education. But state schools have been increasing their tuition and other fees in recent years. Because of this, thousands of college hopefuls might be forced to drop out of school this year.

Citing recent trends in enrollment, youth group Kabataang Pinoy revealed that due to the rising cost of education, more and more students enrolled in private higher education institutions are either forced to transfer to state schools or find themselves dropping out altogether.

Records from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) show that in 1980, only 10 percent of college students were studying in state schools. By 1994, the number went up to 21 percent and at present already accounts for almost 40 percent of the country’s tertiary-level student population.

“But many of these transferees will find themselves dropping out of college. The problem is, there are no more rooms in state schools either,” Kabataang Pinoy President Dion Carlo Cerrafon said.

“State universities and colleges (SUCs) are confronted by similar problems. Poor education spending and annual budget cutbacks force state schools to impose enrolment quotas and increase fees, forcing many state scholars to leave,” he added.
As a result, Cerrafon said, access to public higher education institutions, which is the last resort for students who want to obtain a college degree, has become impossible to many college hopefuls.

“While it is true that SUCs offer tuition lower than private schools, tuition rate and miscellaneous fees in state schools and universities have seen the biggest increases in recent years, thus making SUC education also inaccessible to ordinary students,” he explained.

Last year, the University of the Philippines (UP) increased its tuition by 300 percent, from P300 ($6.50 at last year’s average exchange rate of $1:P46.15) to P1,000 ($21.67) per unit.

Another state institution, the Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST) in Manila, implemented a 600-percent tuition hike, resulting in a 50-percent drop in enrollment last school year. From last year’s P15 ($0.32) per unit, EARIST now charges P100 ($2.27 at the June 6 exchange rate of $1:P44.14) per unit. Laboratory fees also increased from P25 ($0.54 at 2007 rate) to P500 ($11.33 at June 6 rate).

The Philippine Normal University (PNU) had already increased its tuition by 400 percent in 2003.

The country’s biggest state school in terms of population, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), was also poised to hike its tuition by 525 percent last year but was forced to shelve its plan due to massive student protests. It would have increased tuition from P12.50 ($0.27 at 2007 rate) to P75 ($1.62) per unit.

Cerrafon said state schools are also forced to accept only a limited number of students due to budget cuts.

Last year, the University of the Philippines (UP) Office of Admissions said some 66,000 high school graduates all over the country applied for the UP College Admission Test (UPCAT). But only an average of 12,000 applicants are admitted each year. For example, some 14,000 applicants on the average seek to enter the UP College of Nursing but only 70 or 0.5 percent are admitted.

The same goes with PUP. PUP has 16 branches and extensions in Luzon and each unit conducts its own PUPCET (Polytechnic University of the Philippines College Entrance Test). In PUP’s main campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila, more than 50,000 thousand students take up the entrance test every year but only 10 to 13 thousand on the average are admitted. One of the lowest passing rates in PUPCET history was recorded in 2006, when only 7,357 examinees passed the entrance test.

Cerrafon added that the increases in tuition and other fees would certainly have an effect on the enrolment of poor but deserving students coming from the provinces.

“Rising fees will certainly daunt bright students from depressed and remote areas of the country from enrolling in UP or other big state schools and eventually force them to settle for poorly-maintained state colleges in the provinces or worse, give up their college dream.”

Studies from private think-tanks and international organizations show the effects of rising cost of education, even in public higher education institutions. In June 2004, the Wallace report pegged college dropout rate at a staggering all-time high of 73 percent. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) National Commission of the Philippines, on the other hand, reported a measly 22-percent overall student survival rate from 1st to 4th year college. Bulatlat

Campus press expresses concern over three ‘missing’ journalists

June 10, 2008

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) joins other journalists and media workers in calling on authorities to ensure the safety of three ABS-CBN journalists reported to be ‘missing’ in Sulu.

ABS-CBN news anchor Ces Drilon along with her crew Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderama have been reported ‘missing’ in Sulu yesterday. Witnesses claim that they were allegedly abducted by armed men in the village of Kulasi in the town of Maimbung.

“We are greatly concerned with this news and pray for the wellbeing of our fellow journalists. We also appeal to authorities to do everything in their means to ensure their safety,” said CEGP national president Vijae Alquisola. ###

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My Take:

The mainstream commercial media is indeed not free.  It is being controlled by big business and political lords in many aspects.  Yet its prime-mover, the professional journalists are always facing the danger of being the messenger of news.

The whole Barangay RP is praying for the immediate and safe release of the 3 media workers.