Tag Archives: Aquino

[Statement] Apathy and alibis -NUJP

Apathy and alibis

It says much when the president of a country that time and again boasts of being a democracy insists that one of, if not the, worst wave of media murders does not constitute a national catastrophe.

nujp-logo

No, we don’t believe President Benigno Aquino III is in a state of denial about the three latest killings, which happened in all of two weeks’ time, bringing the death toll for media since he came to office in 2010 to at least 21.

We believe he is clearly aware of how serious the problem is. The problem is, he keeps on looking for excuses to play down what the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism has called the worst annual incidence rate under any president.

In short, he just doesn’t care.

In a meeting with Filipino journalists in Tokyo, Aquino, as reported in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, said he would not treat media killings as a national trend unless “somebody can say that there is some sort of an established policy to kill a journalist of this particular position, mentality.”

According to the PDI report, Aquino said a “’correlation’ must first be established: ‘What’s common among (the killings) besides (the reality) that somehow they are connected to media’.”

“’Now if you don’t identify the problem correctly, you will not come up with a solution. The point is … we are 95 million Filipinos. It’s difficult to see the intent, especially for those … some might really be wanton and merciless and totally wrong,’ he said.”

Evidently, Mr. Aquino has not been listening, if he ever did in the first place.

Mr. Aquino, in case you missed it, we have never claimed the murders of our colleagues were the result of any “established policy” unlike, say, the extrajudicial killings of activists, environmentalists, indigenous people and other dissenters that human rights experts both here and abroad have rightly linked to a murderous counterinsurgency program that deliberately targets members of legal organizations.

What we HAVE said is that these killings are the inevitable offshoot of governance by expediency, which has seen administration after administration, bar none, allowing the corrupt, the warlords, the crime lords to reign supreme in their respective personal fiefdoms in the regions and provinces in exchange for their support.

It is a system of governance that has allowed local tyrants to keep their populations cowed and silence any attempt to unmask them while the national government turns a blind eye for fear of losing their loyalty.

But of course, no self-respecting president, especially one who has staked his name on “tuwid na daan,” would ever admit to that.

Thus the search for alibis, like Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma’s describing some of the victims as “not legitimate” to justify describing the problem as “not so serious,” or the attempt by an investigator to explain the recent killings as the offshoot of the victims’ less than impeccable ethics.

Admittedly, Philippine media have their work cut out to improving ethical and professional standards. But before sanctimoniously dumping the blame on the individual practitioner, especially the grossly overworked and underpaid variety that populate our provinces, shouldn’t we look first to those who keep them so overworked and underpaid that not a few succumb to the blandishments of those would have the news slanted in their favor? And if corruption were to justify murder, shouldn’t we be wondering, given the surfeit of evidence, why our corridors of power continue to be populated by the foremost purveyors of graft and who, by all indications, are the most likely brains in the murders of our colleagues?

So there, Mr. Aquino, is the “correlation” you claim to seek, the problem identified to which you must now find a solution.

That is, if you even care a whit to.

For reference
Rowena Paraan
Chairperson

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] Pork Barrel Regime a bane to Filipino workers -NAGKAISA

Pork Barrel Regime a bane to Filipino workers

NAGKAISA! Labor coalition marched from España blvd to Mendiola bridge- File Photo by PhilRights

NAGKAISA! Labor coalition marched from España blvd to Mendiola bridge- File Photo by PhilRights

Official numbers and figures tell no lies—pork barrel, which include the Palace’s Special Purpose Fund (SPF) and Congress’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)–has reached all-time highs under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III. SPF, which are funds under the discretion of Mr. Aquino, is set to be pegged at more than P400 billion in 2014 and out of that, PDAF will be pegged at P25 billion.

The public coffer is overflowing with money, yet this huge amount of money is spent upon the discretion of whoever sits in Malacanang, with no transparency and direct engagement with the people in determining government projects. Such ill-transparency and fiscal dictatorship is ridiculously upheld through Mr. Aquino’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), a rip off from former dictator Marcos’ decree (PD 1177 of 1977) which seeks to fast track government spending, but again, under the discretion of one person that is the President, making him the chef of quick fry pork.

This has been the system in past administrations, and this, in the eye of Filipino workers, is the legacy of Mr. Aquino—the leader of the current Pork Barrel Regime fueled by the undemocratic spending of our hard-earned money.

With Mr. Aquino defending and upholding the pork barrel system in his nationally televised public address, and with him hitting anti-pork groups, we in Nagkaisa—the biggest labor coalition in the Philippines—join in the people’s call of scrapping ALL forms of pork barrel which, as government records show, is a major source of corruption in government.

We also the demand the filing of criminal cases against all government officials who have benefited, directly or indirectly, from the pork barrel. Justice and law enforcement must know no influence or position, and it must be dispensed without delay. Officials who determine the budget under the current system, such as Budget secretary Florencio Abad, Senate President Franklin Drilon, and House Speaker Sonny Belmonte must also be held accountable for crafting pork-filled budgets.

Instead of a Pork Barrel Regime, we want a government built upon genuine democracy, wherein working Filipinos who automatically pay their taxes are engaged in budgeting and policy making. Such participative budgeting system, in our view, is a major step toward combating corruption.

Finally, we in Nagkaisa demand the government to allocate our money, in the most transparent and democratic way, to social services and real jobs creation especially since the Filipino worker is getting poorer due to contractual labor and small wage.

Scrap all pork! Filipino workers, unite for a democratic, transparent, and accountable government! ###

NAGKAISA is the broadest coalition of labor groups in the Philippines to date composed of labor centers, federations and national unions, which include the Alliance of Filipino Workers (AFW), affiliates of the Associated Labor UnionsTrade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), members of SENTRO, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Confederation of Independent Unions in the Public Sector (CIU), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan (MAKABAYAN), National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU), National Mines and Allied Workers’ Union (NAMAWU), National Confederation of Labor (NCL), Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA), Philippine Government Employees Association (PGEA), Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), Philippine Transport and General Workers Organization (PTGWO), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority-Association of Concerned Employees (TESDA-ACE).

NAGKAISA Statement
November 7, 2013

Contact Persons:
Leody De Guzman (BMP) – 09205200672
Joshua Mata (APL) – 09177942431

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[From the web] Clipping the President’s fiscal powers: A short-term sacrifice to ensure the long-term gain of the people -Akbayan

Clipping the President’s fiscal powers: A short-term sacrifice to ensure the long-term gain of the people

Akbayan welcomes President Benigno Aquino III‘s attempt to elucidate some of the issues that have since surfaced because of the pork barrel scam in his recent public address. We also welcome his resolve to make accountable the pork barrel plunderers and apply the full weight of the law to all those who have robbed the people of their money. At a time when there are attempts to obfuscate the people’s anti-pork, anti-corruption campaign from those who stand to lose much from it, we are glad that President Aquino has heeded the public’s call for clarity and transparency by making himself open to public engagement.

akbayan_logo

In the same spirit of openness, Akbayan conveys to President Aquino some of the points where it diverges from his public address on the pork barrel issue. First, even as we recognize his effort to explain the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), we assert that this must go hand in hand with the commitment to clip the fiscal powers of the Executive to further reform the country’s budget system. We remind the President that the DAP is one the facets of such vast and unbridled fiscal powers of the Executive–powers that have been gravely abused in the past and coveted by
some of those who seek to replace him after his term.

Second, the President must realize that not all those who are expressing their concern on DAP are diverting the issue away from the PDAF plunderers. Even though there is a need to remind the public of the important and pressing tasks of the anti-pork campaign, it is wrong to dismiss DAP, more so the executive’s fiscal powers as non-issues in the over-all reform process. Of all people, President Aquino knows too well the dire consequences of the unregulated fiscal powers of the executive having filed a Budget Impoundment Control bill when he was still a Senator during Gloria Macapagal Arroyo‘s pillage of the people’s fund.

Lastly, President Aquino must understand the necessity of implementing under his term deeper reforms particularly those that address the Executive’s unregulated fiscal powers. It is not enough to say that he has not stolen a single cent from the nation’s coffers. It is also severely inadequate for the people to solely rely on an incorruptible leader to assuage their fears that the nation’s coffers will not be abused while our budget system remains prone to corruption and other abuses. President Aquino must make necessary steps to ensure that future administrations will not abuse the people’s fund to entrench their interests, such as what have been displayed in the past.

Thus, we reiterate our call to the President to certify as urgent the passage of House Bill No. 2256 or the Savings and Augmentation Bill, House Bill No. 2257 or the Budget Impoundment Control Bill and House Bill No. 3128 or the Budget Reform Bill to regulate the Executive’s fiscal powers
and further democratize the budget system.

President Aquino must not only persevere and be courageous in punishing the pork barrel plunderers. He must go beyond courage and make the short-term sacrifice of clipping his own fiscal powers to ensure the long-term gain of the people. ###

Source: akbayan.org.ph

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Video] President Aquino’s Address to the Nation on DAP, PDAF

President’s Address to the Nation 10/30/2013

Posted on YouTube by RTVMalacanang

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Press Release] Suspension of pork must lead to its abolition -Akbayan

Suspension of pork must lead to its abolition

akbayan_logo

Akbayan Partylist today said President Benigno Simeon Aquino’s decision to suspend the release of the pork barrel fund “must lead to its total and unconditional abolition.”

“We welcome President Aquino‘s decision to suspend the release of the pork barrel to lawmakers until the probe on the pork barrel scam is completed. This decision effectively abolishes the pork barrel since any effort to restore it will meet massive public opposition,” according to Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello.

“The decision also serve as a strong disincentive to many rascals who are entertaining running for Congress. We hope that suspension of the pork will not be a substitute for punishing those senators and congressmen who were Napoles‘ accomplices. They must go to jail,” Bello said.

However, Bello reminded the President that the suspension of the release of the pork barrel must lead to its complete phase-out.

“Suspension must lead to abolition. While the President has already categorically stated that he is not in favor of abolishing the pork barrel, we will not relent in persuading him to drop the pork. President Aquino must go further and scrap the PDAF completely,” Bello said.

Source: akbayan.org.ph

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] Human Rights Watch reaction on PNoy’s SONA 2013

Human Rights Watch reaction on PNoy’s SONA 2013

200px-Hrw_logo.svg

“We are dismayed that President Aquino, in his State of the Nation Address today, chose not to talk about the continuing culture of impunity in the Philippines. We are disappointed that he did not take the opportunity to communicate to the military and the police that they will be held accountable for human rights violations. President Aquino’s failure to denounce abuses against outspoken activists, environmentalists, clergy and journalists sends the wrong message to abusive security forces and corrupt politicians.”

James Ross
Legal and Policy Director
Human Rights Watch

Iboto ang iyong #HRPinduterosChoice para sa HR NETWORKS POST.

Ang botohan ay magsisimula ngayon hanggang sa 11:59 ng Nov 15, 2013.

Ikaw para kanino ka pipindot? Simple lang bumoto:
• i-LIKE ang thumbnail/s ng iyong mga ibinoboto sa HRonlinePH facebook, i-share at
ikampanya.
• Bisitahin ang post sa HRonlinePH.com (links sa bawat thumbnail) at pindutin ang button sa
poll sa ilalim ng bawat nominadong post.
• Most number of the combined likes sa FB at sa poll buttons ang magiging 3rd HR Pinduteros
Choice na kikilalanin sa 2013 HR week celebration.

Makiisa sa pagpapalaganap ng impormasyon hinggil sa karapatang pantao. Pindot na!

WHAT IS 3RD HR PINDUTEROS CHOICE AWARDS? https://hronlineph.com/2013/10/01/3rd-human-rights-
pinduteros-choice-awards/

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] Election 2013: The revenge of the excluded -INQUIRER.net

Election 2013: The revenge of the excluded
By Amando Doronila, Philippine Daily Inquirer
May 13, 2013

inquirerThirty-seven million Filipinos go to the polls today in a midterm election which President Aquino considers a referendum on his three years in office.

More than 50 percent of the registered voters are under 44 years of age. According to the voters’ profile based on a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, of the 45.5 million registered voters, those 18 to 24 years of age numbered 4.91 million (10.8 percent); 25 to 34 years old, 11.92 million (26.2 percent); 35 to 45 years old, 9.37 million (20.6 percent).

Whether this new generation of young voters will respond to the President’s call to give his administration’s Team PNoy senatorial lineup a 12-0 sweep of the Senate is far from certain.
In an election eve radio message to the nation, the President, through a Palace spokesperson, appeared almost pleading.

Read full article @opinion.inquirer.net

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] Filipino women resist renewed US military presence in Philippine territory -KAISA KA

Filipino women resist renewed US military presence in Philippine territory

Enough is enough!

Kaisa kaKAISA KA, a grassroots-based organization advancing women’s rights and empowerment and social change takes this day, the 102nd International Women’s Day as a fitting occasion to denounce the continuing US military presence in the Philippines.

The increasing rotational troop deployment and US Navy vessels that dock and sail within Philippine territory, in connection with the rebalancing of US forces, not only attract attacks from US’ enemies and undermine national sovereignty but also compromise and endanger the lives, limbs and dignity of Filipino women and children.

The 50,000 abandoned Amerasians, some of whom are joining women’s march today, and the deformed bodies of victims of US military toxic wastes are clear reminders of the gravity of the problem brought about by the more than 90 years of US military basing and presence – especially to the Filipino women and children.
It is appalling that the Aquino government has agreed to allow the US military to use Subic and Clark again. And it is saddening that when the announcement was made last year, some local officials in the areas concerned were just too happy for the business opportunities that the building of a marine base will bring.

These government officials know very well that these business opportunities are merely support services, most of which are related to prostitution. But they always try to drown the point that renewed military presence has enlivened prostitution and trafficking; will expose Filipinas to more military violence, HIV-AIDS infection, dangerous drugs use and addiction; and harmful wastes that can adversely affect reproductive health. These officials have also been blind to the problems of the neglected Amerasians.

We demand from the Aquino government to seriously reconsider its decision to open Philippine territory for the US’ plan to deploy the bulk of its troops and vessels in the Asia Pacific. The military aid that the Philippines gets, the assistance during disasters and the so-called training that the AFP gets from the “permanently visiting” forces cannot compensate for the negative impact of increased militarism in our country. In the first place, Philippine sovereignty and patrimony are not for sale!

We strongly remind the Aquino presidency to abide by the principles and policies of the Philippine Constitution regarding foreign military bases, troops and nuclear power. We admonish the Aquino government to give more weight to the safety, health, peace of mind and dignity of our women.

The Filipino women will ever assert their right to march as active agents and shapers of their own future and of Philippine society.

KAISA KA
Pagkakaisa ng Kababaihan para sa Kalayaan
#22-A Libertad Street, Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City 1501, Philippines
Telefax: (02) 7173262 Email: kaisa_ka98@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.kaisaka.org / http://www.kaisakakalayaan.org

Press Statement
March 8, 2013

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Blog] THE SABAH ISSUE: The Betrayal to the Republic of the Philippines of Mr. Aquino by Jose Mario De Vega

THE SABAH ISSUE: The Betrayal to the Republic of the Philippines of Mr. Aquino

Mario De VegaI concur with the statement of the Anonymous Philippines (February 28th) that President Aquino‘s February 26, 2013 statement on Sabah issue is problematic.

In fact, I will even argue that the pronouncement of Mr. Aquino is unpatriotic and treasonous. Whatever little respect I have in him is completely gone the very moment I heard him uttered those traitorous words!

Shame!

Where can you find a president whose allegiance is not with his people but with another state?

I also agree with candidate Dick Gordon that Mr. Aquino is courting an impeachment case against him for not “executing faithfully the laws of the land”. In failing to do so, he is betraying the “public trust and the public and patrimonial interest of the nation.

It is beyond dispute that “the context of this action by the Sultan of Sulu and his followers is beyond question. It is not a power-grab. Neither is it a land-grab. It is a reassertion of their historic, legal and moral right to be in Sabah, the vast track of land in Northern Borneo controlled by the Federation of Malaysia. It was for them the pursuit of a noble cause.”

Anyone can check all the available sources that they can find, whether it is an encyclopedia, atlas, almanac, Wikipedia, history books, etc. In all of them, Sabah can never ever be separated with the Philippines, specifically the Sultanate of Sulu.

Consider the words of Mr. Aquino:

“You are a leader of your clan, and every leader seeks the well-being of his constituents. These times require you to use your influence to prevail on our countrymen to desist from this hopeless cause.”

I wonder who the hell is his adviser on Sabah? Whoever the hell is that creature, he/she should be immediately shot on the spot. I also wonder why it is that this so-called President appears to be ignorant and blur on the whole issue?

Are those words quoted above, the words you want to hear from your so-called Chief Executive?

Hell no! I DO NOT THINK SO!

Following the line of his ‘reasoning’, if one can imagine or construe, what kind of ‘argument’ is that: why is he egging our people to stand up and fight and not be intimidated by giant and bullish China? Yet, when it comes to the Malaysians, he seems to be soft and apathetic?

This is a clear contradiction!

If the question of the ownership of Sabah is a hopeless cause then, how about our cause against China? Is that not a hopeless case, too? Again, that is following Mr. Aquino’s ‘mental mechanism’.

If our cause against China is not hopeless, then how come our cause against Malaysia is dormant?

The aberrant position of Mr. Aquino defies logic and mock reason!

Further, I would like to ask: what is the distinction in our Sabah dispute with regard to our conflict with China? Why in the latter, he is so eager to stand up with the giant (to the point that a newspaper in China and even here went to the point of tagging and calling him/us as a “trouble maker”) yet he is so cautious and soft with regard to the former?

I see no distinction by virtue of the fact that Sabah and
Scarborough Shoal, etc are both our properties and territories.
Why he is not afraid to irritate China, yet he appears to be uneasy to offend Malaysia?

Indeed, there is no shadow of doubt that “it must have been a totally disappointing and devastating feeling for Sultan Kiram and his followers to hear that their noble cause is, for the President of the Philippines, “a hopeless cause.””

Sad but true!

It is my considered view that Mr. Aquino’s call to the followers of Sultan Kiram: “To desist from this hopeless cause” is not merely an impeachable offense but undeniably treasonous and the heights of unpatriotism!

I am ashamed that he is the president of this country.

The duty of a true and valiant president is to be the first one to recognize the claim of the Sultanate of Sulu that “Malaysia has no ownership rights over Sabah and that such ownership rights belong to the Sultanate of Sulu over Sabah which is rightfully within Philippine territory. The position of the Sultanate of Sulu is, in fact and in law, exactly the international claim of the Philippines on Sabah against Malaysia.”

This argument is in conformity with Ambassador Lauro L. Baja, Jr. (A veteran Philippine diplomat. He was the Philippine Permament Representative to the United Nations (May 2003- Feb.2007). Prior to that, he was Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy) in his article ‘Don’t play into Malaysia’s hand’, VERA Files, February 27th, when we categorically state that:

Mr. Aquino’s “statements and actions give the unintended consequence of leaning on our own nationals over a foreign power. We may be playing into Malaysia’s hands who have been adopting a studied but cavalier attitude over the standoff. They are exercising acts of “effectivités” over Sabah during this standoff by their actions and even by their silence over our naive pronouncements.”

The “wisdom of doing it in public” (the President’s act of appearing on TV appealing and at the same time chastising and criticizing the Sultan of Sulu over the stand-off in Sabah) has clearly shows that he has no concern with our Sabah claim and that instead of taking the cudgel of our Filipino Muslim brothers, he let them down, worst he even appears to be the Malaysian spokesperson.

The whole thing exploded to his very face!

I strongly doubt if he could still recover the trust and confidence of the people and the public as a whole!

The reaction of the people is swift. Check the Yahoo online survey.

The latest is that Mr. Aquino is viewed by a greater number of our countrymen as pro-Malaysia. What a shame!

The so-called ‘president’ of daang matuwid became the pang-gulo ng kalsadang baluktot!

As Ambassador Baja said:

“The Sabah standoff should rouse the Philippine Rip van Winkle attitude towards our claim to the area. It provides the country with a unique but sensitive opportunity to revisit our claim. If the Philippines can deal with the situation with some diplomatic imagination and finesse it can correct some missteps of the past which led to the current state of helplessness insofar as the issue is concerned…

“The solid legal foundation of our claim still exists.

“In the transfer of sovereignty document which the Sultan of Sulu signed with the Philippine government, it was expressly provided that the transfer shall be deemed voided if the Philippines shall fail to pursue the claim. The sultan understandably feels he is now free to pursue the claim himself.”

Why? Because this President does not give a damn about them, hence I concur that the Sultan had no choice but to pursue their historic claim by themselves.

Indeed, “it is a sad commentary on the Philippines if our own nationals should run to the UN because their government cannot protect their rights. This is not the spectacle our country wants to portray to the international community.”

Professor Randy David is in point where he stated in his article, “The Real Sovereign”, Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 7th that:

The Sultan can very well file his private claims before a Malaysian or international court; he does not need the Philippine government’s consent to do this. Since the Philippine government has not actively pursued its sovereign claim over Sabah, the Sultan is free to seek help elsewhere.

One thing he cannot do is force the Philippine state to go to war for him.

Proposal

My suggestion is for the United Nations to intervene on this issue and assume jurisdiction.

I welcome their call this Thursday (finally, after weeks of silence) for the parties to stop from killing and wiping out each other.

I also call upon the Organization of Islamic State (OIC) to mediate between the followers of the Sultan of Sulu and Malaysia to engage in a dialogue.

Further, I certainly believe that the intervention of the Sultan of Brunei, as the original historical owner carries some moral and persuasive effect to the contending parties.

The Sabah “invasion”

How could be the act of the followers of the Sultan of Sulu be considered as an “intrusion” or invasion” when said land subject of the dispute is their land?

If Malaysia owned the land, as they are claiming then why the hell up to now they are paying rent, no matter how nominal and small the amount to the Sultan of Sulu?

The use of excessive force

I concur overwhelmingly with Professor Harry L. Roque, Director, Institute of International Legal Studies of the University of the Philippines Law Center that:

“The use of modern fighter jets and air strikes against the followers of the Sultanate of Sulu is illegal. Under human rights law, the use of force in police operations should be absolutely necessary and strictly proportional to the threat posed by the Filipinos in Sabah. Moreover, Respect for the right to life of a police suspect requires that the nature and degree of force used be proportionate to the threat posed by the suspect to the safety and security of the police officers, other individuals and society as a whole. Malaysian Law enforcement officials should, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to force, and in particular, the resort to airstrikes.

“Since the use of force against the Filipinos involved in the standoff is illegal, Malaysia has committed an internationally wrongful act. Accordingly, the Philippine government, in addition to espousing the rights of its nationals, should also demand that the international community should ask Malaysia to cease and desist from further breaching human rights law. It should later be asked to pay compensation to the victims of its use of disproportionate use of force.”

According to the Malaysian authorities, they have already defeated the ‘militants’, yet even their senior police officer is doubting that that is the case. Further, the so-called “mopping operations” have yet to produce the dead bodies of the “intruders”. Hence, what ‘victory’ is this?

The barbarity of war

I condemn Malaysia for using excessive force, in the same vein that I also condemn to the highest degree the acts of the followers of the Sultan of Sulu (if the reports are true) that they engaged in torturing and beheading the police and/or soldiers that they caught!

This is a shame!

Both sides are wrong on this score!

Yes, there is an on-going conflict, but as the American philosopher William James said, there should be a certain degree of morality, even in war.

Why? Because if both sides will engaged in acts of barbarism, then there would be no distinction between the two and the two of them would be no different from animals and scoundrels.

The Cyberwar

It saddens me that the on-going stand-off in Sabah has already spilled to the cyber world!

According to the reports, Malaysian hackers hacked the site of Globe; thereupon in an immediate retaliation, the Anonymous Philippines Cyber Army also hit back and hacked numerous Malaysian sites!

This pierces my heart profusely!

On this juncture, I would like to thank and commend the Anonymous International in their intervention and call for both the Filipino and Malaysian hackers to stop this unnecessary cyberwar.

As they said in an official statement:

“Let us help both The Philippines and Malaysia unite, not find a reason to fight…”

We all have to find a way to stop this fiasco before, a more bigger and much sinister development happen!

According further to the reports, the ‘war-front’ that begun as a single area has now spread to other areas. Now, the front-lines of battle are on three different locations.

So, now how will the Malaysian authorities conduct the so-called mopping operation, if the delineation of the battle-fields is not clear?

I do not know whether the Malaysian authorities are aware of the consequences of its actions!

They claimed that the so-called ‘militants’ and/or ‘intruders’ are numbering from 100 to 300; then why not send 1, 000 to 2, 000 marines or soldiers to subdue them? Why bring in the tanks and the fighter jets?

Are they afraid to fight in a mortal combat those so-called ‘invaders’?

It was also reported that one Malaysian fighter jet instead of hitting the position of the ‘militants’ rather wrongly bomb their own soldiers. Is this a case of a ‘friendly-fire’ or due to some human error or can we attribute this to the stupidity of the pilot?

Yes, they can wipe out and kill all of those ‘intruders’, yet I doubt if that would be the end of the problem!

Do they not know that the sons and daughters and the heirs of those ‘militants’, ‘invaders’, ‘intruders’ will not cease from continuing what their ancestors have struggled for!

The heirs of those ‘martyrs’ will not stop from fighting what they believe righteously belongs to them…

The ‘war’ will not end and this is because of the fault both of the governments of Malaysia and the Philippines…

WE ARE ALL LOSERS HERE! SAD BUT TRUE!

Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
March 8, 2013

Lecturer
College of Arts and Letters
Department of Humanities and Philosophy
Polytechnic University of the Philippines

Institute of Arts and Sciences
Department of Humanities, Literature and Philosophy
Far Eastern University

The writer has a Master’s degree in Philosophy, a law degree and a degree in AB Political Science. He was previously teaching Philosophy, Ethics and Anthropology at an institution of higher education in Nilai University College at Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

As of the moment, he is preparing to publish his first book entitled “Dissidente”. It is a collection of his articles, commentaries and op-ed published by various newspapers in Southeast Asia, including the Philippine Daily Inquirer

Iboto ang iyong #HRPinduterosChoice para sa HR BLOGGERS POST.

Ang botohan ay magsisimula ngayon hanggang sa 11:59 ng Nov 15, 2013.

Ikaw para kanino ka pipindot? Simple lang bumoto:
• i-LIKE ang thumbnail/s ng iyong mga ibinoboto sa HRonlinePH facebook, i-share at
ikampanya.
• Bisitahin ang post sa HRonlinePH.com (links sa bawat thumbnail) at pindutin ang button sa
poll sa ilalim ng bawat nominadong post.
• Most number of the combined likes sa FB at sa poll buttons ang magiging 3rd HR Pinduteros
Choice na kikilalanin sa 2013 HR week celebration.

Makiisa sa pagpapalaganap ng impormasyon hinggil sa karapatang pantao. Pindot na!

WHAT IS 3RD HR PINDUTEROS CHOICE AWARDS? https://hronlineph.com/2013/10/01/3rd-human-rights-
pinduteros-choice-awards/

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] PNoy wants ‘further study’ on proposed PCGG abolition -InterAksyon.com

PNoy wants ‘further study’ on proposed PCGG abolition
By Philippine News Agency
January 3, 2013

InterAksyon logo2MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III has tasked the Office of the President (OP) to study the proposed abolition of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, in a press briefing on Thursday, confirmed a meeting was conducted on the proposal, “but the President wanted further study.”

“The OP is still studying that particular recommendation. The President tasked OP to study that particular recommendation and so there are a number of details that need to be vetted,” he said.

Lacierda, however, stressed that the government is bent on pursuing the ill-gotten wealth cases of the Marcoses — assuming that Congress would abolish the PCGG.

“Just to make it clear, the pursuit of ill-gotten wealth will continue even if the recommendation will be acted upon by the President,” he said.

Read full article @interaksyon.com

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] Quiet signing of RH law marks beginning of ‘reconciliation’ – Lagman -InterAksyon.com

Quiet signing of RH law marks beginning of ‘reconciliation’ – Lagman
By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, InterAksyon.com
December 29, 2012

InterAksyon logo2MANILA, Philippines — The lack of fanfare with which President Benigno Aquino III signed the Reproductive Health law is Malacanang’s way of starting a reconciliation process to ensure the support of all sectors for the new statute, its principal author in the House of Representatives said Saturday.

“Unlike the rage and controversy which attended the congressional debates and approval of the measure, the bill was signed as Republic Act No. 10354 in the privacy of the President’s study room without the anticipated ceremony in order not to exacerbate the conflict with some Catholic bishops and start the reconciliation process to ensure widespread support in the implementation of the RH law,” Albay Representative Edcel Lagman said.

Aquino signed the law on December 21, a day after he received the enrolled measure.

Read full article @www.interaksyon.com

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] Women’s group shows there’s life after Luisita -INQUIRER.net

Women’s group shows there’s life after Luisita
By Fernando del Mundo, Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 26, 2012

HACIENDA LUISITA, Tarlac City—It is harvest time in the sugar plantations.

Trucks laden with freshly cut sugarcane lumber along MacArthur Highway on their way to Central Azucarera de Tarlac, the sugar mill in Hacienda Luisita owned by the family of President Aquino.

On any given day in this nippy season of good cheer, hundreds of these trucks are parked, as far as the eye can see, in the vicinity of the sprawling mill. They wait for their turn to disgorge their cargoes into the maws in the Central to be crushed and refined into white sugar.

Smokestacks from the factory belch clouds in the sky and compete with the majesty of Mount Arayat in the background, where, folks say, Noah’s Ark rested during the biblical deluge. Telltale contours of the vessel are said to be etched atop the peak, a refuge for insurgent guerrillas since World War II.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Blog] The Casiguran Marchers, tired and disappointed but not defeated! by Jofti Villena Delizo

The Casiguran Marchers, tired and disappointed but not defeated! “Wala silang utang na loob sa iyo”! My Personal Reflection on the Dialogue between Mr. Noynoy Aquino and the Casiguran Marchers by Jofti Villena Delizo Casiguran Marchers 2 joftiI am writing this under my name because what I am going to express in this reflection is not in any way sanctioned by my network, where I work as the project coordinator. Definitely, we are one with the Casiguran marchers in this advocacy against APECO.

I had to let several days pass by to think things through to be objective about what happened. However, even after a few days and after having watched the full coverage of the dialogue many times, my opinion remains the same about the Casiguran Marchers dialogue with Mr. Aquino. The actions of Mr. Aquino (I call him this because he’ll never be my President) have clearly proven how unbecoming of a President he is.

I am at a loss for words on how I felt when I saw how rude you can be, Mr. Aquino, to the 120 Casiguran Marchers who walked for 17 days under the scorching sun, heat, rain, and dust just to dialogue with you and register their complaints against the APECO project.

These people came with very high hopes because as simple Juan/Juana dela Cruzes they know that they are right and that they have done so much to fight for what is rightfully theirs in the first place as citizens and contributors to our society. They believed that talking to the most appropriate person in this country, which is YOU, Mr. Aquino, is enough to change things in their rightful favor. They think so much highly of you Mr. Aquino! And they thought that you could provide them with a clear solution, but you turned out to be a very, very big disappointment to all of us (the Casiguran Marchers and their supporters).

Why RUDE: 1. YOU MR. AQUINO CAME IN LATE and made the Casiguran Marchers wait for half an hour to 45 minutes. Maybe you forgot that you were to meet your bosses that morning. I am not so forgiving here even if you explain to me that you no longer use the sirens of your presidential convoy to avoid the Metro Manila‘s usual traffic. Surely, there are other ways to arrive on time to meet with the Marchers who walked for 17 days.

You are the President after all! If you will it, you can make it on time. That is, if you think highly of the Marchers and their welfare. In short, “mahiya ka dapat!” Then, you have the decency and the guts to tell to Fr. Joefran when he was still speaking that you have a 1:30 pm meeting. If you came on time in the first place, then there would be enough time for you to answer and not be irked at every question or comment thrown at you. Besides, you never APOLOGIZED for being late.

I found the whole dialogue so wanting of HUMILITY on your part!

2. Worse, YOU came in so unprepared! Where was your PMS-prepared ‘complete staff work’? You met with your Cabinet for 25 minutes on the issue of APECO a day before you met with the Casiguran Marchers! This was a complete disservice to your bosses! Maybe some of these marchers even voted for you in the last elections. But you gave a pittance to their valid and legitimate complaints against APECO. You already had the amendments to the earlier ASEZA lapse into law, then this! It’s already Saturday today (December 15). You promised us a one week preliminary result after the NEDA reviews APECO together with a representation “pa” coming from the Casiguran Marchers or at least their representatives in the review team.

HAVE YOU ALREADY COMPLIED WITH THIS?

In the first place, if you reviewed the amendments thoroughly and acted on it, maybe you could have done a better job. While it is true that ASEZA was not passed during your time as President, you still voted for it as a Senator and now, as the President, you allowed it to lapse into law (which made ASEZA become APECO).

You cannot pass on obligations to others especially if you have no plans of changing anything. You and your cabinet are the representatives of government, duty-bearers who have the obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of all our people.

REMEMBER MR. AQUINO, you accepted this job the moment you agreed to become a presidential candidate in 2009 and when you’re cabinet secretaries accepted their respective appointments! 3. Your coming to meet with the Casiguran Marchers instead of making them march all the way to Malacanang is your obligation! Don’t make them feel like it is their “utang na loob sa’yo” that you came to them.

In the first place, if they sent you word that they wanted to meet you while they were in Casiguran, would you have gone right away? I think we both know the answer to that. History shows that rights are always fought for and are never given on a silver platter by Malacanang! Thus, the need to march. The 340-km march they made was their right as citizens and their collective political expression to resist exploitation by APECO.

There’s nothing wrong with what they did! Maybe there were some gains when you went to them instead of making them march to the Palace (i.e. the full coverage of ANC and other media exposure, etc.). Malacanang is your turf not theirs.

However, the political expression and the opportunity to educate the public about this issue, especially on the streets, far outweighs the pros of you even coming to them.

This is my opinion. Well, there’s still time for them to do just that.

4. Specifically on DENR Secretary Paje on making the Casiguran Marchers clap for giving them an extension of their stewardship contract as ordered by the President, is not their “utang na loob” to you guys at all. It is your obligation as duty-bearers (as the current representatives of this government) to effectively carry out the Philippine State’s obligations as a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

This is to ensure that the economic, social and cultural rights of our people are fully realized. 5. MR. AQUINO, your demeanor during the entire dialogue was SO DISGUSTING! YOU acted like a true TRAPO, bereft of any principled human values!

“Pasalamat ka at magagalang ang mga taga-Casiguran. Tinatawag ka pang kagalang-galang at mahal na Presidente na kung tutuusin para sa ‘kin hindi ka naman karapat-dapat!”

On several occasions you cut off Frs. Jovie (emcee) and Joefran (parish priest of Casiguran) while they were speaking. What was your grade “ba” in your GMRC? It looks like you did not take this subject too seriously!

In conclusion, I may have given you the benefit of the doubt, but after I saw your actions that day, it showed clearly how little you see and think of the Casiguran Marchers while in fact they were the most educated and learned on this issue than you and your entourage of cabinet buffoons. The demands were so simple yet it was so hard for you to see that the Philippine Government enacted conflicting laws. This was proven by your refusal to do anything about it apart from a review, which should have been done a very long time ago.

Yes, there is a process and there’s the bureaucratic system to deal with but you are the President and you have the power to veto budgets and laws! “Hindi kami kasing tanga ng iniisip mo kahit hindi kami mga abogado!” It was not the Casiguran Marchers who were not open, but it was YOU, MR. AQUINO!

You were not humbled by the fact that the people know more than you do. Instead, you stood there so proud like the rest of your kind! Again, your CLASS really failed the Casiguran Marchers big time and you once again exposed your true CLASS character and exploitative economic agenda! I don’t know if a preliminary result of the NEDA review that may favor the Casiguran Marchers can even redeem you in the unwritten books of Philippine history!

P.S. The link to the ANC video coverage of the entire dialogue, the transcript alongside with all the facts, documentation, and infographics about this issue are provided for by the Laban Para Sa Casiguran FB page . Thus, I did not dwell on these anymore. I believe the facts can clearly explain why I support the struggle of the Casiguran Marchers. https://www.facebook.com/notes/jofti-villena-delizo/wala-silang-utang-na-loob-sa-iyo-my-personal-reflection-on-the-dialogue-between-/10151200606143167

Iboto ang iyong #HRPinduterosChoice para sa HR BLOGGERS POST.

Ang botohan ay magsisimula ngayon hanggang sa 11:59 ng Nov 15, 2013.

Ikaw para kanino ka pipindot? Simple lang bumoto:
• i-LIKE ang thumbnail/s ng iyong mga ibinoboto sa HRonlinePH facebook, i-share at ikampanya.
• Bisitahin ang post sa HRonlinePH.com (links sa bawat thumbnail) at pindutin ang button sa
poll sa ilalim ng bawat nominadong post.
• Most number of the combined likes sa FB at sa poll buttons ang magiging 3rd HR Pinduteros
Choice na kikilalanin sa 2013 HR week celebration.

Makiisa sa pagpapalaganap ng impormasyon hinggil sa karapatang pantao. Pindot na!

WHAT IS 3RD HR PINDUTEROS CHOICE AWARDS? https://hronlineph.com/2013/10/01/3rd-human-rights-
pinduteros-choice-awards/

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material. Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[From the web] Farmers occupy DAR Secretary’s office, urge Aquino to sack delos Reyes | Task Force Mapalad

Farmers occupy DAR Secretary’s office, urge Aquino to sack delos Reyes | Task Force Mapalad.

Photo source: taskforcemapalad.org

Photo source: taskforcemapalad.org

TFM14 Dec 2012 – MORE THAN 100 FARMERS belonging to Task Force Mapalad (TFM) occupied the office of Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes at noon today, December 14 and asked President Aquino to replace him.

The farmers from Negros Occidental, Davao Oriental, Bukidnon and Batangas stormed the main office of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) at Elliptical Road, Quezon City and, breaking through the security, massed at the secretary’s office at the fourth floor, brandishing placards and plastering the walls with posters describing De los Reyes as “ineffective” and a “disgrace” to the Aquino administration.

Enraged by the low accomplishment rating of the DAR on the land acquisition and distribution (LAD) component of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the TFM farmers asked that President Aquino himself take over the department.

Even the DAR Employees Association (DAREA) is demanding that De los Reyes be sacked for supporting the plan to abolish the department and transfer its functions to the Department of Agriculture (DAR). DAREA posted several posters all over the building and has these words: “Off The DAR is declared off limits to DAR Sec. Gil delos Reyes, et al.”

TFM also criticized De los Reyes for his dismal performance in delivering support services to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

In the afternoon of December 12, the same group of farmers massed in front of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) main office in Manila to urge the bank to speed up the valuation of land covered by CARP as the valuation of land in 119 claim folders (CFs) covering 3,629 hectares in Negros is still pending with the bank.

Compounding the problem is that the CFs covering CARP areas in Bukidnon and Davao Oriental are also languishing at LBP, with many of the farmers battered by the onslaught of Typhoon Pablo.

They are also demanding that Pico speed up the processing of P300-million in loans to them at a rate of 8.5 percent.

The allocation was released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in October yet.

They asked LBP president and chief executive officer (CEO) Gilda E. Pico to act on the valuation expeditiously, noting that De los Reyes also claimed that the delay in valuation has been hindering LAD.

The delegation farmers are in town to follow up on the promises made by President Aquino on June 14 that he will ensure the speedy disposition of cases handled by LBP under Pico, and hasten land acquisition and disposition (LAD) by Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes.

Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Task Force Mapalad-Negros (TFM-Negros) president Alberto Jayme said “this action is not only a follow-up on the President’s commitments. We are now demanding that Pico and De los Reyes show that they can make time and act with resolve. If they can’t abide by Mr. Aquino’s marching orders, then they have become part of the problem rather than the solution.”

While the President has delivered on his promise to provide P1-billion in loans to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), Jayme said “we are asking his subalterns to be as forthright as Mr. Aquino and deliver on what the administration had promised.”

“Hindi po tayo namamasko. Tayo po ay naniningil na sapagkat ipinakita ng Pangulo na ang pangako ay di dapat napapako,” he said.

This fund, Task Force Mapalad-Negros (TFM-Negros) president Alberto Jayme explained, is part of the P1-billion in financial assistance promised by President Aquino during a meeting with farmers in Malacanang on June 14.

“We urge Ms. Pico to work with dispatch in processing the 119 CFs and speed up the long-delayed distribution of 3,629 hectares to the farmers, consistent with the President’s directive. There is absolutely no reason for any bureaucratic delay,” Jayme stressed.

On the other hand, De los Reyes, who was at LBP when the delegation staged a picket, has been roundly criticized for underperformance, with his admitted LAD record of 42,234 hectares from January 2012 to August 2012 only constituting 25 percent of the target of 180,000 hectares for the entire year.

De los Reyes is under fire not only from TFM but from other farmers’ groups nationwide for offering excuses for failure to turn in a better performance in spite of President Aquino’s order for him to accomplish his target.

The farmers led by Jayme said they are in Manila to bring the bad news that by October 31, De los Reyes actually distributed only 45,392 hectares nationwide.

This would be cut down further to only 18 percent if the backlog of 74,653 hectares is added to the 180,000-hectare target, Jayme argued.

Worse, he revealed, De los Reyes has already admitted that DAR will not be able to distribute 321,974 hectares of land to farmers by June 2014, when the program ends.

In northern Negros Occidental, his LAD record by October 31 even slid to 4 percent, distributing only 1,099 hectares out of the target of 17,483 hectares, with only 871 hectares of CARP areas and 229 in non-CARP areas distributed.

In the southern section of the province, DAR only distributed a total of 1,226 hectares, or 780 hectares in CARP areas and 446 hectares in non-CARP areas, for an accomplishment rate of 8 percent. The target was 9,445 hectares.

http://taskforcemapalad.org/2012/12/farmers-occupy-dar-secretarys-office-urge-aquino-to-sack-delos-reyes/

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] P-Noy defends human rights record -PhilStar.com

P-Noy defends human rights record
By Ana Marie Pamintuan, The Philippine Star
October 24, 2012

AUCKLAND – President Aquino yesterday defended the human rights record of his administration, saying state forces also have rights that must be respected and upheld.

“I keep saying that human rights is for everybody,” Aquino told Radio New Zealand in an interview here.

The interviewer noted that trade unions and church groups in New Zealand have said there are still “too many human rights abuses” in the Philippines.

“Well, we can’t claim that there are no human rights issues within our country,” Aquino replied.

“But in the past two weeks, for instance, we’ve had a lot of abuses done on state agents. When they were enforcing, for instance, eviction notices… they were pelted with human waste. And a lot of danger has happened to our people.”

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] Teddy Casino to Palace: Human rights violations are Leftist propaganda? ‘Mahiya ka naman sa mga biktima’ -InterAksyon.com

Teddy Casino to Palace: Human rights violations are Leftist propaganda? ‘Mahiya ka naman sa mga biktima
By InterAksyon.com
October 24, 2012

MANILA, PhilippinesBayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño on Wednesday blasted Malacanang for what he said was its dismissal of the continuing human rights abuses in the country as Leftist propaganda.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, taking on the cudgels for the President in a brewing word war with Casiño, on Wednesday said the congressman shouldn’t take “personally” President Aquino’s earlier statements dismissing “Leftist propaganda” and Casiño’s low ranking in senatorial surveys.

Casiño on Tuesday had reacted to Aquino’s remarks with a cutting statement on how the President himself was “not considered presidential calibre” until his mother, the late revered former President Cory Aquino, died in 2009, and himself ranked lowly in polls.

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] The Marcos’ Legacy of Fraudulent and Illegitimate Debts -FDC

The Marcos’ Legacy of Fraudulent and Illegitimate Debts

Photo by Rapha-el Olegario PhilRights

As the nation remembers today the declaration of Martial Law and the imposition of the Marcos fascist dictatorship 40 years ago—we recall not only the crimes and abuses , but the valiant struggles of our people to end the tyrannical regime.

Today is a day of remembering, so that we will not forget this dark chapter in our nation’s history and will not allow it to happen again.

Today is a day of reckoning, as we continue to pursue justice and redress for countless victims of Martial Law abuses, including crimes and legacies that continue to hound and harm our nation and people.

One of these criminal legacies, is the regime’s fraudulent and illegitimate debts that were riddled with corruption and hardly benefited the people. In 1986, the dictator fled the country and left our economy in shambles, burdened with $28 B foreign debt, from $1B, at the start of the Marcos’ presidency. Reports have it that 33% of Marcos regime’s loans , equivalent to $8B went to Marcos and his cronies pockets. Estimates of the Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth ranged from a low $5B to as high as $30B. The plunder of our economy plunged the people into mass poverty. In 1975, 57% of the Filipino families reportedly lived below the poverty line, while Marcos, his wife and their cronies indulged in extravagance and opulence. Today, Filipino taxpayers continue to bear the cost of the regime’s foreign debts, until 2025.

Successive post-martial law governments starting from the Cory Aquino government, not only failed to deliver economic justice to the people, but honored and paid from the people’s money, the Marcos regime’s fraudulent and illegitimate debts. They continued, repackaged and even enhanced the same discredited, flawed and ill-fated economic policies and strategies of the dictatorship that deny development and dignity to the many while ensuring the benefits of the few and the powerful as well as of their foreign partners and backers.

The Aquino government affirmed the Marcos practice of automatic appropriations for debt servicing, at the expense of the health, education and basic social services that the government is duty-bound to provide for the people. This policy contributed to a perennial and seemingly vicious cycle of budget shortfalls and fiscal crises, continued debt and interest payments, increased tax burdens, increased debt burdens and severe reduction , if not criminal neglect of the welfare needs, economic and social services for the people.

The Aquino regime and successive governments, often used the budget and the debt crisis they inherited from Marcos as reasons to allow the imposition of neoliberal policies by the multinational and international financial institutions such as the IMF-World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in exchange for more loans and other measures to ride out of their fiscal problems. They embarked for instance on privatization and deregulation of essential public services like water and power, the cheap sale of government assets and properties and the imposition of regressive tax measures such as the 10% Value-Added Tax (VAT) which was later increased and expanded to the detriment of the majority poor consumers. In 1992, when the Aquino presidency ended, the country’s total foreign debt increased by $2B more, to $30B. Under Aquino’s term, the economy was weighed down by 17% inflation rate, 10% unemployment and 65% of Filipinos who considered themselves poor.

The governments’ stubborn policy of debt repayments and their inability to spend and invest have consigned our country not only to debt burden and debt trap, but also economic stagnation, relative to its ASEAN neighbors. Between 1990-2005 for instance, the Philippines’ average annual GDP growth rate was the lowest in the region, according to former FDC President Walden Belo. Between 1986-1991 the country reportedly averaged a negative $1.5 B transfer of resources to the creditor countries each year.

New loans were also being contracted by post-EDSA governments increasingly from financial markets. These new dimensions of indebtedness, render our economy more vulnerable to the complexities and vagaries of the global financial system.

Today, under the Noynoy Aquino government, with its “Matuwid Na Daan and Inclusive Growth” policies, the country’s foreign debt stands at a whopping $62.4 B. In its 2013 budget, the P-noy government has earmarked at least P333.9 billion in interest payments alone, for the government’s debt.

The continuing failure of the Pnoy government to prioritize the people’s needs and welfare over debt servicing, is not only a failure to rectify the Marcos misdeeds. It is also a continuing economic injustice to the Filipino people perpetrated by the subsequent post-Martial law regimes to this day. Every hard-earned peso of every Filipino taxpayer paid to service the country’s debt, means every peso of unfulfilled obligation of the government to its citizens and people .This social debt to the people by successive governments must be repaid! In 2008, FDC reported that each Filipino, from the new-born to the dying owed P43,487 in public debt and is forced to pay P7,012 annually to service the debt. The Philippine government is spending P1.1 million per minute of the people’s money for debt servicing.

Today, under Pnoy’s term at least 23.1 million Filipinos consider themselves poor, with the bottom 30% of our people subsisting on a meager P173/day.

Today, as Martial Law victims and survivors continue to demand justice and compensation for their sufferings, we at the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) join hands in calling for economic justice and freedom from debt bondage and burden for the Filipino people. No to automatic debt servicing at the expense of people’s rights and welfare! Yes to repayment of social debt to the people!

Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
September 21, 2012

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Press Release] Human rights group intensified calls for justice; highlights calls for livelihood and employment -Women WISE3

Human rights group intensified calls for justice; highlights calls for livelihood and employment

On its 4th anniversary, the Women Workers in Struggle for Employment, Empowerment and Emancipation or Women WISE3 intensified calls for justice following Malacanang’s claim of improving human rights situation.

In reaction to a Malacanang statement in Aug 30 saying that there are no cases of enforced disappearances under the Aquino government, Dylin Lauron, Women WISE3 coordinator said, “The Aquino government should stop denying that human rights violations like enforced disappearances continue to happen. Truth be told, the number of violations in the first two years Aquino are way more than the first two years of its predecessor.”

Various human rights group have documented more than 70 cases of extra-judicial killings beginning July 2010 while there are 11 cases enforced disappearances according to Karapatan. Various labor rights violations, as documented by the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, have victimized at least 10,000 workers in the last two years.

“Just like how it hides the real poverty situation by changing the [poverty] threshold, the Aquino government wants the people to believe that the human rights condition in the country is improving by sheer denial of facts. This is very alarming. What action can we expect from a government that denies the real situation?” Lauron pointed out.

Lauron also challenged Malacanang to expedite the resolution of human rights violations committed by the Arroyo government. “If Aquino is serious about making the past administration accountable to the people, he must also prosecute Arroyo for her grave human rights records.”

Lauron added that Aquino’s counterinsurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan, must be stopped to end the spate of human rights violations.

Meanwhile, Women WISE3 also highlighted calls for livelihood and employment for families of victims of human rights violations especially whose breadwinners were killed, disappeared, or displaced from their work, amid natural disasters and floods.

“Most families of victims of human rights and labor rights violations are left impoverished because oftentimes, they lose the family breadwinner or worker-victims find it more difficult to land on regular jobs. Their economic condition is aggravated by the natural disasters and floods which we experience more often nowadays due to global warming.”

“To wholly address these concerns, livelihood programs and better employment opportunities must also be extended to families of victims of human rights violations,” Lauron explained.

For reference: Dylin Lauron, Women WISE3 Coordinator, 0922.565.8886

PRESS RELEASE
02 September 2012

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] Justice for Marilou Valle, the 100th victim of extra-judicial killing under Pnoy administration! -TFUC

Justice for Marilou Valle, the 100th victim of extra-judicial killing under Pnoy administration!
July 26, 2012

One day before the State of the Nation Address of President Benigno S. Aquino III, a woman servant-leader in an urban poor community was shot dead by well-known killers in the area. Marilou “Malou” Bacani Valle, 43, elected President of KADAMAY Barangay 105 and resident of Sitio Damayan, Smokey Mountain II, Tondo, Manila died instantly due to three gunshot wounds she sustained in the left cheek, below her lower lip and on her lower right shoulder. The suspects was identified by witnesses as members of barangay tanod. The victim’s son Jomar de Jesus embraced his dying mother while cursing at the assailant who trained his gun at him, forcing him to flee for his life, and the bullet missed him. The crime which happened between 5:27 to 5:34 in the afternoon of July 22 in front of the victim’s house was witnessed by relatives and neighbors.

Right after the killing, the suspects went to the house of Malou’s elder brother Jerry Bacani and fired several shots. Jerry Bacani and son Ninoy Bacani were hit in the leg and foot respectively. Neighbors brought them to a nearby public hospital.

Prior to this incident, Malou filed cases of grave threat, gun-toting and child abuse before a Manila City Hall court on the third week of March against Raffy Tejas, Benjamin Tejas, Sonny Tejas and Conchita Tejas, wife of Raffy. The cases were triggered by the illegal entry of the Tejases into the house of Malou and the gun threat against her and her children Marjorie de Jesus, Jomar de Jesus and George de Jesus, Jr., all minors, on March 4.

On that day the Tejases confronted Malou for distributing leaflets to the community opposing the demolition and relocation plan and urging an on-site development.

On one hand, Malou had been a respected leader in the community. Residents sought her advice on whatever problem they may have, including the matter of residency in the area. She used to conduct social services for the community along with the local people’s organization called Samahan sa Sitio Damayang Nananambakan (SSDN)-KADAMAY, a local chapter of KADAMAY-NCR, an urban poor organization in the National Capital Region where Malou’s husband George de Jesus Sr. is an active member. She also used to help the churches whenever the latter conducted services or other activities in and for the community. The Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) tapped her services particularly in its 4Ps program (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) which gives cash to selected poor families. The National Housing Authority (NHA) also made use of Malou’s services.

On the other hand, the killers are well-known hoodlums in the community whom the people fear. It is believed that they are responsible for the many killings in the area. But they never got apprehended due to their strong connections with the authorities. According to the people, Barangay 105 Council designated them as Barangay Tanod (community guards) legitimizing their carrying of guns and being coddled by some police officers assigned in Tondo Precinct 1.

Her body lies in state temporarily at the Permanent Housing near Brgy 105 in Tondo Manila. People were threatened by the killers, in fact, a certain bishop who wanted to pay his respects to the dead was warned by a concerned community leader not to go because the situation was “still hot”, and that there is the likelihood that a grenade may be lobbed by the suspects during the wake.

We call on THE AQUINO administration to end impunity for human rights violations and all forms of political repression against the people and push for immediate action against the local authorities who may be involved in this heinous crime.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Fr. Charly Ricafort, MI
Chairperson

Fr. Rico Ponce, O‘Carm
Vice Chairperson

Sr. Maureen Catabian, RGS
Secretary

Fr.Melvin A. Ordanez, SMM
Treasurer

Bro. Ciriaco Santiago, CSsR
Auditor

Board Members

Sr. Victoria Chrisiley Lao, CMSSTCJ

Fr. Tito Maratas, MSC

Sr. Marissa Gallardo, MSM

Sr. Ester Maria Alunan, OSA

Sr. Odilia Bulayungan, OSB

Fr. Eugene Cañete, MJ

Sr. Fely Solatorio, MSM
Amrsp Board Liaison

Sr. Ma. Teresita Bravo, SFIC

Fr. Baltazar A. Obico, OFM

#5 14th Street, Brgy. Damayang Lagi, New Manila, Quezon City, Philippines
Tel # (02) 448-5963 Email: tfucmp@yahoo.com

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[From the web] Aquino’s warped sense of justice: GMA freed, torturer promoted, impunity ignored -Karapatan

Aquino’s warped sense of justice: GMA freed, torturer promoted, impunity ignored

“And so this is justice under Aquino — torturers are given plum positions in the military, and the rich, powerful and notorious human rights violators like Palparan and Arroyo are mockingly free as preying vultures. No wonder, Noynoy deliberately omitted anything on human rights and peace in his SONA, a tacit and dangerous signal for state security forces to continue to prowl, with terror and violence against the people.”

Thus said Karapatan spokesperson Cristina Palabay, after news came out on the court resolution granting bail for former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the designation of Morong 43 torturer Col. Aurelio Baladad as acting commanding officer of the 9th Infantry Division of the Phil. Army, shortly after Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA). In his SONA, Aquino heralded the state of “justice” under his administration.

Karapatan supported the Morong 43 health workers who filed criminal and civil charges against Arroyo and Baladad, and the mothers of Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno who also filed criminal cases against Palparan resulting to the issuance of an arrest warrant. The group also filed an opposition to the appointments of Gen. Jorge Segovia and Baladad at the Commission on Appointments based on the pending complaints against them.

“It is reprehensible that a former President and military generals, whose notoriety on human rights violations has been condemned by the Filipino and the international community, are now both walking free from accountability. The crooked path of impunity lies under Aquino,” Palabay added.

The group also scored the series of moves to cover up the liabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police in the extrajudicial killing of Italian missionary Fr. Fausto Tentorio and Dutch development worker Willem Geertman. Prior to Aquino’s SONA, the PNP investigators have stated robbery as the main motive behind the killing of Geertman, while paramilitary elements were excluded by the Dept. of Justice from the list of suspects in the killing of Tentorio.

“These are among the cases of extrajudicial killings that all remain unsolved under Aquino. Again, it begs the question: what kind of justice is Aquino harping on in his SONA? Clearly, it is the kind of justice that bears upon the poor and those working for meaningful changes in society, while promoting ‘justice’ for the moneyed and powerful,” Palabay concluded.

Source: www.karapatan.org

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

« Older Entries