Category Archives: In the News

[in the news] CHR pushes for passage of bill protecting human-rights workers | Inquirer.net

#HumanRights #Protection

CHR pushes for passage of bill protecting human-rights workers

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has called for the passage of a bill that seeks to protect human-rights workers in view of recent attacks on activists and members of progressive organizations.

According to CHR, House Bill No. 9199 or the Human Rights Defenders (HRD) Protection Bill should be considered a high-priority legislation especially in light of various reports that rights workers and other activists are either being harassed or targeted.

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[In the news] Diokno: Even social media posts could be considered terrorism under anti-terror law -GMAnews

#HumanRights #ScrapTerrorLaw

Diokno: Even social media posts could be considered terrorism under anti-terror law

Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that even Filipinos who exercise their basic rights on social media may be considered as committing terrorism crimes under the assailed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

Diokno, one of a handful of lawyers representing 37 sets of petitioners in oral arguments, said the law is worded in a way that gives law enforcers the power to infer the “intent” behind protests, work stoppages, and other exercises of civil and political rights.

The law exempts these activities from the definition of terrorism, but only as long as they are “not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person, to endanger a person’s life, or to create a serious risk to public safety.”

Diokno said this places the petitioners, many of whom are activists, at the risk of being arrested and prosecuted based on the “subjective impression” of law enforcers of what their intent was.

He claimed that ordinary citizens exercising their basic rights are also in peril.

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[In the news] Loose firearms: Linchpin for gun-related violence -BM

#HumanRights #Violence

Loose firearms: Linchpin for gun-related violence

THEN the loud pop-pop-pop of a gun is heard, some people in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (Barrm) dive for their mobile phones.

Soft tick-tick-ticks form on a glowing screen. And when the typist hits send, the words reach the Critical Events Monitoring System, or CEMS, a SMS-based reporting system that captures conflict incidents and tensions in communities that may or may not lead to the eruption of violence.

Shooting incidents in BARMM stood out as the most common of reports transmitted to the CEMS as they tallied 424 cases for 2020 (or one case a day) even as figures have yet to include December.

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[In the news] Duterte gov’t ends 1989 deal barring troops from UP -Rappler.com

#HumanRights #Freedoms

Duterte gov’t ends 1989 deal barring troops from UP

The Duterte administration through the Department of National Defense (DND) ended the government’s decades-long accord with the University of the Philippines (UP) that prevented state forces from entering its campuses.

In a letter dated January 15, DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the accord was “terminated or abrogated effective this date.”

The accord, signed in 1989, prevented state forces from entering UP campuses without notifying the university administration. If the termination is implemented, this means police and military can enter UP campuses freely.

Read complete article @www.rappler.com

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[In the news] Angel Locsin: ‘Kung magkaiba tayo ng paniniwala, hindi ibig sabihin pwede mo na ako i-red tag’ -INQUIRER.net

#HumanRights #NoToRedTagging Angel Locsin: ‘Kung magkaiba tayo ng paniniwala, hindi ibig sabihin pwede mo na ako i-red tag’

“Kung mag kaiba tayo [ng paniniwala], hindi ibig sabihin pwede mo na ako i-red tag. Hindi tayo magkakalaban dito.”

(If we have different views, that doesn’t mean you can red tag me. We are not enemies here.)

This was what Angel Locsin said on Friday after Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. warned actress Liza Soberano and other celebrities to withdraw their support for women’s group Gabriela.

In his statement posted on Facebook, Parlade warned Soberano and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray not to “follow the path” of Ella Colmenares, who he alleged “took in the underground” is now a member of the New People’s Army (NPA).

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[In the news] Groups slam ‘overkill’ police presence at baby River’s burial -RAPPLER.COM

#HumanRights #PoliticalPrisoners Groups slam ‘overkill’ police presence at baby River’s burial

RAPPLER.COM

Various groups called for justice for baby River Nasino on Friday, October 16, the day her mother, jailed activist Reina Mae, bid her goodbye for the last time.

Baby River’s burial was scheduled for 1 pm Friday at the Manila North Cemetery. Although the funeral procession was meant to pass by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, the car carrying River’s body suddenly changed course and sped off to the cemetery.

This move had cut the procession short, preventing the kin from paying their respects before the burial. Dozens of policemen at the cemetery also guarded the vehicle carrying the casket. (READ: Baby River, who died in ‘cracks’ of justice system, laid to rest under tight police watch)

In a statement, the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) said that the “overkill contingent of police and military” hindered the family’s right to grieve in peace.

“Respect the rights of the family to a peaceful funeral and to mourn without fear of harassment. We condemn the continuing actions of state forces…to harass activists and deprive all of our rights even in such moments of grief,” CAP said.

There were 43 personnel from different jail units including police who were deployed for the burial, said Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Spokesperson Xavier Solda.

https://www.rappler.com/moveph/groups-statements-police-presence-baby-river-nasino-burial?fbclid=IwAR1nenZzKqDFmijdPLavvEmVtEQ4wpw3syN2Vm6ozmvH53NCptrSb1oTci4

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[In the news] Alarm over Duterte’s new anti-terrorism bill for Philippines -Aljazeera

Alarm over Duterte’s new anti-terrorism bill for Philippines

Proposed law includes provisions allowing for people to be held for longer without charge.

The Philippine Congress moved closer on Monday towards enacting a new anti-terrorism law that would allow longer detentions without charge, and give the executive branch more power against dissent, raising alarm among rights groups and the opposition.

The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 has been approved at the committee level and members of the House of Representatives are expected to debate and fast-track its approval before they go on a two-month break from June 6.

The Senate approved a similar proposal earlier this year, with only two members dissenting. Both chambers of Congress are controlled by allies President Rodrigo Duterte, whose administration has been pressing for the quick passage of the bill. On Monday, Duterte sent a letter to the Speaker certifying the bill as “urgent”.

By passing a bill identical to the one approved by the Senate, members of the House of Representatives skirt a longer process of reconciling the two versions and cutting the time to debate and question the merits of the law.

Among the most contentious provisions include the warrantless arrest and 14-day detentions of suspected “terrorists”, and the creation of an anti-terror council that would determine what is terrorism and order arrests without a warrant – a function usually reserved for the courts.

Read full story @www.aljazeera.com

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[In the news] QC cop who killed ex-soldier ‘followed instruction’ — PNP chief -PhilStar.com

QC cop who killed ex-soldier ‘followed instruction’ — PNP chief

The chief of the national police defended Thursday the actions of a Quezon City cop involved in the killing of a former soldier on Tuesday afternoon, saying he was simply complying with instructions.

Despite the Quezon City Police Department (QCPD) saying that the officer in question was facing criminal and administrative charges, PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa insisted that the cop was under threat by the suspect, 34-year-old army veteran Winston Ragos, and was prompted to shoot him twice.

Read more @www.philstar.com

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[In the news] Cebu film writer arrested over Facebook post about coronavirus in Sitio Zapatera -RAPPLER.com

Cebu film writer arrested over Facebook post about coronavirus in Sitio Zapatera

A Cebu film writer and owner of a local bar was arrested early morning on Sunday, April 19 over a sarcastic Facebook post she made in relation to the coronavirus “contamination” of Sitio Zapatera in Cebu City.

Maria Victoria Beltran’s lawyer, Vincent Isles, confirmed the arrest to Rappler in a text message. (READ: Entire Cebu City sitio ‘presumed contaminated’ with coronavirus)

“It’s an egregious violation of her rights,” Isles said in a text message. 

He said that they have no information on what the exact charges are and who issued the arrest warrant.

Brigadier General Albert Ferro, Central Visayas’ police director, told Rappler in a text message Beltran was being charged with violating Republic Act 10175, or the Cybercrime Law.

The cybercrime unit is under the Police Regional Office-7 (PRO-7).

The arrest stemmed from a post made by Beltran on Sitio Zapatera, in Barangay Luz, an area of over 9,000 residents, having the most number of COVID-19 cases in Cebu City.

Her post said, “9,000+ new cases (all from Zapatera) of Covid-19 in Cebu City in one day. We are now the epicenter in the whole solar system.”

To this, Mayor Edgar Labella replied in Cebuano: “This is FAKE NEWS and this is a criminal act. Just wait Ms Beltran, you’ll soon be caught by the PNP Cybercrime Unit. You’ll really be thrown in prison.”

Read complete article @www.rappler.com

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[In the news] Probe set for QC inmate’s possible coronavirus-related death -GMAnews

The Quezon City Health Department has started an investigation into the death of a male inmate at the Quezon City Jail, who may have been infected with the virus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to Saleema Refran’s 24 Oras report on Friday.

The death certificate of the inmate states that the immediate cause of death was acute myocardial infarction or heart attack.

However, listed as other significant conditions contributing to death is that the inmate may be a possible COVID-19 patient for two weeks.

The city health department said the inmate exhibited some flu-like symptoms.

“(The inmate was) complaining of parang difficulty of breathing. Dead-on-arrival yata siya ma’am. I’m sure hindi po siya na-test siguro,” Feliza Luna, a Quezon City Health Medical Officer, said.

Bureau of Jail Management and Penology spokesman Xaiver Solda said, “Nakita naman natin talaga ‘yung primary cause of death niya, no? May nakasulat doon na possible COVID-19 case.”

“Kung talagang positibo ‘yan siya at meron sapat na basihan ‘yung doctor, talagang sasabihin niya d’yan diretsya na this is a COVID-19 case. Pero hindi,” he added.

Read full atory @gmanetwork.com

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[In the news] Sitio San Roque residents finally get aid, believe it’s because of their protest -GMAnews

Residents of Sitio San Roque in Quezon City finally received on Thursday the long-awaited food packs from local authorities.

Officials of Barangay Bagong Pag-asa and some City Hall staff led the distribution of aid to residents, according to a 24 Oras report by Ian Cruz.

“Ngayon lang po, kung hindi kami nag-rally kahapon sa labas, hindi kami nabigyan ng pansin,” said Clara Vargas, a San Roque resident.

She joined her community in protesting along EDSA on Wednesday over aid promised by the local government that they had yet to receive.

Read full story @www.gmanetwork.com

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[In the news] Worker abuse rampant under Luzon lockdown – labor group -RAPPLER.com

The labor group gathers reports of unjust employer practices from 318 employees in 160 companies during the coronavirus crisis

ALBAY, Philippines – A labor group released a report on unjust employer practices during the Luzon-wide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Labor federation Solidarity of Unions in the Philippines for Empowerment and Reforms (SUPER) said the report is based on its two-part online labor survey conducted between March 19 and 22 with verified complaining workers from Luzon. (WATCH: Rappler Talk: Justice as the missing component in fighting coronavirus)

The labor group SUPER gathered reports of unjust employer practices during this crisis from 318 employees in 160 companies.

These include companies that are allegedly using the crisis to justify illegal termination of its workers (11 companies), workers made to work under the “no work, no pay” scheme but without transport being provided (81 companies), flexible work arrangements but with reduced pay (28 companies), suspension of work without pay (98 companies) coupled with refusal to apply for the financial assistance programs being offered by the Department of Labor (56 companies).

The report had been relayed in official correspondence to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and their respective local government units where the companies are located.

According to SUPER national president Luke Espiritu, the survey proves that relying on employer volunteerism is farcical because rather than cooperating with their workers at this time of crisis, the reported employers take advantage of the situation to deepen the precarious nature of work, adding that the national government has yet to offer aid for businesses.

Read complete story @rappler.com

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[In the news] ‘WALANG-WALA NA’ Poor Filipinos fear death from hunger more than coronavirus -RAPPLER.com

Rappler speaks with 6 residents from different poor communities. They tell the same story: President Rodrigo Duterte promised them food. But they have received too little to nothing at all.

If not by coronavirus, they believe death will come from hunger.

Two weeks have passed since President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Luzon on lockdown or “enhanced community quarantine” to contain the explosion of novel coronavirus cases in the country.

This means people are not allowed to leave their homes unless for “essential reasons” – which, for the government means, purchasing food or working to keep medical care and the supply chain of goods going.

For residents of poor communities, where most people do not qualify for exemptions, the lockdown signified less to no income.

President Duterte assured them they would be given food through their barangays, municipalities, and their city local governments. He even asked for unprecedented special powers from Congress to make it happen.

Rappler spoke with 6 residents from different poor communities, and their accounts point to a president failing to keep his promise. Some of them – neglected by their local officials – are from urban poor communities who have received help barely enough for their families. This has forced them to look for food elsewhere: the church, non-governmental organizations – others have taken to the streets.

Some 21 residents from the urban poor community of Sitio San Roque in Quezon City walked out of their homes on Wednesday, April 1, demanding that they be given help. Using the government’s guidelines against mass gatherings, cops arrested them.

The simmering frustrations of the poor are one of the major considerations in a crucial question for the Duterte government in these critical times: how can the government save people from both hunger and COVID-19?

Until the government answers this question, millions of Filipinos will continue to face the risk of starvation if not the infectious disease itself.

Read complete story @www.rappler.com

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[In the news] Rights groups slam Duterte’s ‘shoot to kill’ order: Prioritize lives, not violence -RAPPLER.com

Human rights group says President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement may lead to more abuses as Luzon remains in lockdown in the face of the novel coronavirus outbreak

Human rights groups on Thursday, April 2, condemned President Rodrigo Duterte’s “dangerous” shoot-to-kill order against quarantine violators amid the novel coronavirus outbreak in the Philippines.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that Duterte’s new threats should not be viewed as empty, considering the thousands killed under his anti-illegal drugs campaign.

“At the very least, Duterte gives the police all the justification they need to commit human rights abuses against people who may be violating these COVID19 regulations because they needed to find work or food,” Carlos Conde of HRW said in a statement.

Read complete story @www.rappler.com

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[In the news] Group gives free fast food to poor barangays under Luzon lockdown -CNN Philippines

While the government tries to contain the COVID-19 pandemic with a Luzon-wide quarantine, a group has volunteered to help provide free fast food meals to the most affected communities.

The people behind the Facebok page “Pakainin ang Buong Barangay” has partnered with Jollibee Corporation and Jollibee Foundation in a project seeking to feed residents of poor barangays who may be experiencing hunger under the lockdown.

“People have no jobs and are getting very hungry. We realize this is a drop in the bucket but we need to do something,” said Gary Ramirez, who led the initiative.

“We have come to an agreement with Jollibee Corporation and Jollibee Foundation to help out in our own little way. We agreed that Jollibee Foundation will match whatever meals we order for the barangays,” the group, with over 800 members, said in one of its posts.

Read complete story @cnnphilippines.com

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[In the news] San Carlos bishop seeks release of political prisoners amid pandemic -INQUIRER.net

BACOLOD CITY — San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza has asked the release of political prisoners to decongest the jails in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alminaza pointed out in a statement released on Saturday, March 28, the looming possibility that coronavirus would hit the highly congested jail facilities in the country.

“We must muster courage to address the glaringly high-risk of a COVID-19 outbreak, now forced upon those behind bars,” he said.

To help decongest the jails, he said the more than 600 political prisoners in the country should be prioritized for release as they had been detained on “questionable and dubious charges.”

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San Carlos bishop seeks release of political prisoners amid pandemic

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[In the news] After bleach thrown at personnel’s face, Sultan Kudarat hospital condemns discrimination -RAPPLER.com

The St. Louis Hospital utility worker was passing by the public market when he was attacked by 5 individuals

St. Louis Hospital in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat condemned the harassment experienced by one of its utility workers on Friday, March 27. (Editor’s note: We previously identified the hospital personnel as a nurse. We apologize for the error.)

According to the hospital’s Facebook post, the utility worker was passing by the public market when he was attacked by 5 individuals.

“Outnumbered and alone, he was helpless as these vile individuals splattered Zonrox (bleach) all over his face,” the statement said, adding that the crime could have resulted in irreparable and permanent damage to his sight.

Fortunately, the utility worker immediately headed to the hospital and was given prompt treatment. The case was then reported to the President Quirino Police Station.

Read full story @www.rappler.com

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[In the news] LGBT group sa Tabaco City lumikha ng 800 masks para sa COVID-19 frontliners -ABS-CBN news

Umabot sa 800 face masks ang nagawa ng grupong Tabak Sangre para sa mga health workers ng lungsod.

Ayon sa presidente ng Tabak Sangre na si Phem Baliwag, ito ang kanilang paraan para makapag-ambag sa pagpuksa sa pagkalat ng COVID-19.

Noong Miyerkoles ng gabi, nagtungo ang grupo sa ilang ospital sa lungsod para personal na mamigay ng face mask.

Sa ngayon, may mga nagdo-donate na daw sa kanila ng tela at garter na gamit sa paggawa ng face masks.

Read full story @news.abs-cbn.com

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[In the news] After backlash, DOH studying increase in health workers pay -RAPPLER.com

‘Humihingi rin po kami ng tawad kung ang impresyon na naibigay ng P500 daily allowance ay ganito lamang ang halaga na ibinigay natin sa ating health care workers. Hindi po ito mas lalayo pa sa katotohanan,’ says DOH

After backlash on their offer to pay P500 a day to volunteer health care workers, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Saturday, March 28, that it is now studying its supplemental budget to increase the compensation.

“Ngayon pong nabigyan na po tayo ng supplemental budget ng Kongreso, amin na pong inaayos ang paghahati ng pera para mapaglaanan natin ang mga importanteng bagay tulad ng compensation para sa ating health care workers,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

(Now that the Congress has given us a supplemental budget, we will be sorting out the allocation of our budget to fund important things like compensation for our health care workers.)

The DOH called out for volunteer health care workers to ensure sufficient staffing, as it implements an every 2 weeks policy for its current manpower. Health care workers would work for 2 weeks but they would have to be put on quarantine after, also for two weeks, and so on.

The DOH said it would pay volunteers P500 a day, which drew flak from the public for being too low an amount, and not commensurate to the risk they faced doing the job.

The current daily minimum wage in Metro Manila for the non-agricultural sector, which includes health workers, is P537.

Read full story @www.rappler.com

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[In the news] CHR raises alarm over arrests during COVID-19 quarantine -CNN Philippines

Violations made during the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon “should not be automatically meted with arrest,” the Commission on Human Rights said Friday.

CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia in a statement disclosed that they have received complaints of taxi drivers, a homeless senior citizen, and a number of minors being arrested for violating the curfew in some areas.

Cities in Metro Manila have imposed an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew while an enhanced community quarantine is in place in the entire Luzon – restricting the movement of people – to contain the spread of COVID-19. Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Damagoso on Thursday said 16 people have been arrested in the nation’s capital for curfew violations.

“In the first few days of the quarantine, many of these poor and homeless folks were arrested as many attempted to continue with their livelihood,” De Guia said.

While she called on the public to cooperate with the government’s guidelines, De Guia stressed that authorities should ensure that it is implemented as a measure to ensure people’s health and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read full story @cnnphilippines.com

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