Philippines: Drop perjury charges against Philippines Civil Society Organisations
FORUM-ASIA is deeply concerned by the ongoing court trial on perjury charges filed by Hermogenes Esperon Jr., the former National Security Adviser in the Cabinet of Rodrigo Duterte, against civil societies, Karapatan the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) and GABRIELA as well as the systematic vilification and smear campaigns against them.
In July 2019, Hermogenes Esperon Jr. filed a Complaint-Affidavit for perjury with the Quezon City Office of the city prosecutor (QC OCP) against Karapatan National Council members, GABRIELA Chairperson and Secretary-General, and RMP National Coordinator and Northern Mindanao Region Coordinator. The former National Security Adviser claimed that the respondents committed perjury when they petitioned the Supreme Court for the Writ of Amparo and the Writ of Habeas Data.
Southeast Asia (SEA) is spiraling into a fossil future thanks to a massive fleet of gas projects and the financial institutions backing them, risking the region’s energy security, biodiversity, and any and all hope to limit global temperature rise to less catastrophic levels – a new report from civil society reveals.
Financing a Fossil Future: Tracing the Money Pipeline of Fossil Gas in SEA published by think-tank Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) and partners dives into projects and companies involved in fossil gas exploration and development, transportation, gasification, storage, re-gasification, pipelines, and power generation, and the institutions that offered them financial services from 2016 to 2022.
Environmental group pushes for stricter regulation as illicit trade of mercury-added skin lighteners prevails
BAN Toxics calls the attention of local authorities in Manila City after the group discovered the continued selling of Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene and Goree Day & Night Beauty Cream despite a public health warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA advised the public against the purchase and the use of Goree products which were tested and found to contain toxic mercury (Hg) levels beyond the 1 part per million (ppm) limit. Pursuant to Republic Act No. 9711, the manufacture, importation, exportation, sale, offering for sale, distribution, transfer, non-consumer use, promotion, advertising or sponsorship of health products without proper authorization from FDA is prohibited.
Groups Back Phase-Out of Toxic “Forever Chemicals” to Protect Women and Other Vulnerable Sectors
Various civil society groups have joined forces to call for a global ban on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) ahead of the World Environment Day. Also known as the “forever chemicals,” PFAS do not break down in the environment and build up in the bodies of humans and wildlife over time, resulting in adverse health effects.
At a webinar co-organized by the EcoWaste Coalition with the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP), Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS), Taiwan Watch Institute (TWI) and the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), the groups pressed for a ban on PFAS as a class while conveying support for PFAS-free clothing, food packaging, cookware and other applications.
Next Admin’s funding for Teachers’ Magna Carta sought
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) acknowledges the findings of the Senate Committee on Basic Education and its recommendation to fully implement the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670), a vintage law enacted in 1966. The group particularly commended Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, the committee chair for raising the matter in Senate’s plenary yesterday and expressed hopes that the next DepEd secretary, the Vice President-Elect Sara Duterte will at least consider the senator’s recommendations.
“We acknowledge the gesture of Sen., Gatchalian in Senate’s floor yesterday. By standing in the podium, he made our tiny and unheeded voices for more than 5 decades audible,” said Benjo Basas, the group’s national chairperson.
Basas said that the TDC has been in constant coordination with the leadership of relevant committees in both houses of Congress who expressed support for their advocacies.
“With the enthusiastic Senate Education Committee on our side, we are certain that the 19th Congress will use its oversight function and legislative powers in our favor. But we still need the proactive stance of the DepEd, the agency primarily tasked to implement the letters and spirit of the law,” Basas added.
Five reasons why gender-based violence against women should be considered torture
Gender-based violence against women (GBVAW) is the most systematic and widespread human rights violation worldwide. It includes sexual crimes such as rape or harassment but also forced marriage, intimidation, threats and physical violence. In this blog post, our expert presents five reasons why GBVAW is torture and should be legally considered as such.
Mylene comes from an impoverished area in the rural Philippines. As a young adult, she moved to Manila in the hope of a better future. Instead, she fell into the hands of traffickers and was forced into prostitution. Over the years, she experienced numerous forms of violence. For instance, the police arrested her for vagrancy and raped her in exchange for charges being dropped. Once a police officer detained her in an apartment for several days where he sexually abused her. One night she escaped naked from a car containing four police officers who, after forcing her to use illegal drugs, had taken turns raping her inside the moving vehicle. She also suffered frequent physical and sexual violence from those who sought her services.
Asian NGOs Call on Governments to Regulate Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) in Products
Non-government organizations (NGOs) from South, Southeast, and East Asia, including the Philippines, have called on national governments to adopt and strictly implement regulations to address endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in products. The NGOs are participating organizations of the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), a global civil society network working for a toxics-free world.
At a recently held EDC- Free Asia Conference, the NGOs discussed the results of a regional study undertaken in partnership with the Wonjin Institute for Occupational and Environmental Health (WIOEH), with support from the Financial Industry Public Interest Foundation (FIPIF), Korea to determine the presence of phthalates in erasers and bisphenol-A (BPA) in thermal papers and to promote regulatory reforms.
TDC Formally Submitted the 13-point Agenda to Bets
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) has now formally submitted the 13-Point Teachers’ Dignity Agenda to the candidates for president, vice president, senators, and some party-list representatives for the coming May 9, 2022.
According to Benjo Basas, the group’s chairperson, “the Agenda focuses on the rights and welfare of the teachers such as salary increase, implementation of the 1966 vintage Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, compensation for those affected by COVID-19, free post-graduate education, provision of free laptop computers and internet services, and the creation of a separate insurance system and hospital for teachers, among other long-overdue benefits. As well, we have demands on learning itself, such as improvements in the curriculum, reduction of class size, provision of books and other materials and facilities and adequate funding for the safe return to normal school operation”
Civil Society Groups Campaign for Children’s Protection from Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
As thousands of schools brace for limited face-to-face classes amid declining COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, two non-profit groups raised the alarm over the sale of erasers containing endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), particularly phthalates.
The EcoWaste Coalition and the Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) pitched for regulatory measures that will prohibit phthalates — a group of chemicals added to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic — in erasers and, hopefully, in more products other than toys that are marketed for children’s use.
This developed as the groups announced the detection of large amounts of phthalates in erasers they bought from retail stores located in 11 cities and shipped to South Korea for laboratory analysis.
Farmers in MacArthur Leyte demand stop to mining as main canal is destroyed
Farmers in MacArthur Leyte demanded that mining by MacArthur Iron Projects Corporation (MIPC) be stopped as they lamented how they lost their livelihood for a year now as the mining company destroyed the main canal and caused water to overflow in the farmlands.
The farmers testified before lawyers of the National Irrigation Authority who visited the mining site to inspect the canal, which the mining company earlier denied they destroyed.
“Ayuda not loans” – Labor NGO comments on Bayanihan 2 unused loan funds for MSMEs
Labor NGO Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research urges the government to provide ayuda instead of loans.
“Local businesses incurred severe losses due to the government’s ineffective lockdowns. Instead of loans, the government should give MSMEs unconditional aid to strengthen the domestic economy,” said EILER Executive Director Rochelle Porras.
In their comment on the recent COA report exposing the PhP 4.9 billion unused Bayanihan 2 loan funds for MSMEs, EILER highlights that only 4.9% of target MSMEs availed of the loan, citing the government lockdown and slow processing time as reasons for MSMEs to be discouraged.
Candidates Should Pledge to Free Jailed Senator
Duterte Critic Leila de Lima Marks 5 Years in Wrongful Detention
Candidates for the Philippines presidency should pledge to drop all charges against Senator Leila de Lima, who will start her sixth year in detention on February 24, 2022, Human Rights Watch said today. De Lima has been arbitrarily detained since February 2017 on politically motivated drug charges in retaliation for her criticism of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs” and other serious human rights violations.
De Lima was chair of the Commission on Human Rights when she began an investigation in 2009 into “death squad” killings in Davao City, where Duterte was the longtime mayor. After becoming president in 2016, Duterte quickly sought to sideline her politically. Duterte’s allies in the Senate removed her from committee chairmanship and his supporters in the House of Representatives and Justice Department initiated a misogynistic public attack against her. She was arrested on February 24, 2017, and has been held at the police headquarters at Camp Crame, where she faces baseless drug-related cases.
STATEMENT OF THE FREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE GROUP (FLAG) ON THE ARREST, DETENTION, AND WHEREABOUTS OF DOCTOR MA. NATIVIDAD CASTRO:
FLAG is gravely concerned as to the whereabouts of Dr. Ma. Natividad Castro.
On February 18, 2022, police officers took Dr. Castro from her home in San Juan, pursuant to an alleged Warrant of Arrest issued by RTC Branch 7 of Bayugan City.
FLAG was retained as counsel by Dr. Castro’s relatives when she was taken from her home. FLAG immediately sought access to Dr. Castro at the Intelligence Group, Camp Crame where she was reportedly brought and detained. Before this, Dr. Castro’s sister, who was also at Crame, was also not allowed access, as was another lawyer, who was a friend of the family.
Upon inquiry, police officers from the Intelligence Group informed FLAG that Dr. Castro was no longer at Camp Crame as she was supposedly “brought to the airport” to be “delivered to the court” in Butuan City. Family members proceeded to the airport but were not able to see her there. The scheduled flight to Butuan took off without any confirmation of Dr. Castro being on board. Requests for copies of the warrant of arrest, reports and documents relative to Dr. Castro’s arrests and transportation likewise went unheeded.
ATM, green groups back Baguilat, Hontiveros, Diokno, and de Lima senatorial bid
Alyansa Tigil Mina and allied environmental groups threw their support behind the senatorial bid of four green champions in an online green sortie where the groups publicly declared their endorsement of Cong. Teddy Baguilat, Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Atty. Chel Diokno, and Senator Leila de Lima.
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, said the four senators are the first senatoriables ATM is endorsing, as they have been known champions of green bills, particularly the Alternative Minerals Management Bill.
As incumbent legislators, Cong. Baguilat, Sen. Hontiveros, and Sen. De Lima have proposed the legislation of the AMMB, which aims to rationalize mining towards national development while protecting the rights and interests of communities.
J&T umatake na sa panggigipit sa mga rider
J & T umatake na ng panggigipit sa mga rider nito sa buong pilipinas.
Nagbaba ng kautusan (Memo) ang J&T management na nagbabawas sa Salary, incentives sa bawat parcel at gas allowance.
Kagaya ng ibang kumpanya unti-unti na nilang mas pinapahirapan ang kanilang mga delivery rider na silang nagpapakapagod para maideliver sa tamang oras (on time) ang bawat parcel na pinapadala ng mga costumer nito.
Ngayon ay inaalis o binabawasan ang mga dati ng natatanggap ng mga sariling rider nila na kapalit ng kanila pawis at pagod.
Dahil ba mga rider lang? at walang kakayanang ipagtanggol ang kanila karapatan ay gagawin na lamang ng J&T management ang lahat ng panggigipit kahit magresulta pa ito ng pag liit ng kita at pagkagutom ng pamilya ng mga manggagawang rider?
We need genuine universal quality education, not your paltry charity!
Last week, Senator Kiko Pangilinan filed Senate Bill 2495, or the “Bawat Pamilya May College Gradweyt Act.” The bill is meant as an amendment to the previous R.A. 10931, commonly known as the Free Tuition Law. Pangilinan recognized the economic barriers preventing the aforementioned law from universal application, with how low-income families have more difficulty attaining education. Pangilinan’s bill seeks to expand the free tuition law by ensuring at least 1 college graduate for every family, as well as other subsidies. Pangilinan’s bill however includes specific parameters that will decide which students are eligible for the program – making the effort an exclusive one, and not an affirmation of the universal right to education.
Jessica Soho interviews 4 presidentiables
There are many good things going for the three-hour GMA 7’s Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews aired Saturday night.
It started at exactly 6:15 and wrapped up at 9:15 at which time you realize you have just watched one hell of a TV interview involving at least four presidential contenders.
It was a refreshing experience because the state of the country’s talk shows has sunk so low after the disappearance ofgood TV hosts who lost the ratings war and pushed to late night slots.
For the Presidential Interviews, the subjects looked prepared- from Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Mayor Isko Moreno and Sen. Manny Pacquiao.
No justice, no genuine land reform 35 years after Mendiola Massacre—KMP
Justice for the victims of the Mendiola Massacre and the struggle for genuine land reform they died for remain a rallying cry for farmers 35 years after the bloody incident, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said.
The farmers’ group that led 20,000 farmers in a rally near Malacanang Palace on January 22, 1987, said the 13 victims who died in the bloody dispersal are yet to be given justice, as is their group’s call for an end to tyranny and for genuine land reform.
“The peasant movement pays tribute to Danilo Arjona, Leopoldo Alonzo, Adelfa Aribe, Dionisio Bautista, Roberto Caylao, Vicente Campomanes, Ronilo Dumanico, Dante Evangelio, Angelito Gutierrez, Rodrigo Grampan, Bernabe Laquindanum, Sonny Boy Perez, and Roberto Yumul who were martyrs of the Mendiola Massacre,” the KMP said.
Labor and Environmental Groups Push for a Stronger Anti-Asbestos Policy to Protect Human Health
There is an urgent need to modify and improve the Philippines’ twenty-one year old asbestos policy regulation on the manufacture and use of asbestos and asbestos containing materials in the country, said a confederation of labor unions and a coalition of environmental organizations.
According to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and the Ecowaste Coalition, the moribund Chemical Control Order (CCO) for Asbestos issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on January 6, 2000 needs serious improvement in its mandate to protect the public in the light of its passive enforcement, growing non-compliance to the regulation, and the unfettered importation into the country of raw asbestos and materials and products containing asbestos.
Amid the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, Teachers asked DEPED to retain their work from home status
Amid the rising cases of COVID-19 especially in Metro Manila, the Teachers ’Dignity Coalition (TDC) has asked the Department of Education (DepEd) leadership to publicly declare that the agency is compliant with its own policy on alternative work arrangements for public school teachers. In a series of Facebook posts this morning, TDC Chairperson called the attention of DepEd officials to reiterate the alternative work arrangement of public school teachers.
“Yung ilang schools/SDOs sa Reg 3 & Reg 4A na nagpapasok sa teachers physically, relax, ‘wag niyo na dagdagan ang exposure ng tao para hindi matulad dito sa NCR. Remote modalities ang teaching, remember?” Basas posted referring to some schools in Central Luzon and CALABARZON requiring the physical presence of their teachers despite the remote teaching modalities employed by DepEd.