Tag Archives: Cebu City

[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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[From the web] The Philippines’ Pay-Per-Hit Police – HRW.org

Dispatches: The Philippines’ Pay-Per-Hit Police
By Phelim Kine

200px-Hrw_logo.svgThe newly elected mayor of Cebu City has an innovative approach to crime control in this central Philippine city: A 50,000 peso (US$1,080) bounty for each “criminal” killed by his police force.

Mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña announced on May 16 that he would pay that sum to any police officer who “legally” kills a “drug lord, robber, or any criminal” in the line of duty. Osmeña didn’t specify how police would determine the legality of such killings or the identity of the suspects. He justified the bounty as an “extra source of livelihood” for Cebu City police.

Osmeña’s comments may only be post-election bombast. But he has a troubling history of exhorting summary killings of criminal suspects. During a previous tenure as Cebu City mayor in 2005, Osmeña told police: “Go ahead, pull the trigger. As mayor, my warning to anybody doing a crime is I will see to it that you’ll be dead on the spot. If we catch you, you will be so sorry – you won’t be around.”

Such comments constitute de facto official support for extrajudicial execution as a solution to the serious problem of violent crime in the Philippines. It’s an issue that’s not limited to Cebu. A 2009 Human Rights Watch report investigated several dozen of the hundreds of reported killings of people – some as young as 14 – by so-called death squads in Davao City in the south and other urban areas.

The Davao City model of targeted killings as a crime-fighting strategy appears to have spread to other cities in the Philippines including Toledo, Carcar, and Tagum City. Human Rights Watch research revealed in 2013 that Rey Uy, mayor of Tagum City from 1998 to 2013, created his own death squad to purge the city’s streets of hundreds of perceived criminals and those he referred to as the “weeds” of the city – drug dealers, petty criminals, and street children.

Osmeña is not alone in advocating violent and unlawful approaches to crime control. Rodrigo Duterte, who was elected president on May 9, made promises of extrajudicial killings of “criminals” a key plank in his political platform. That rhetoric lends a dangerous credence to a widely held view in the Philippines that only tough-guy, “Dirty Harry” approaches can remedy the country’s crime problem. But providing financial incentives for police to kill criminal suspects is merely a repugnant attempt to legitimize the secretive death squads. Filipinos, who over the years have made great sacrifices for accountability and the rule of law, should resist these moves by their politicians.

Source: http://www.hrw.org

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[In the news] 41,000 informal settlers in Cebu City wait for land | Sun.Star

41,000 informal settlers in Cebu City wait for land | Sun.Star.
By Razel V. Cuizon, http://www.sunstar.com.ph
April 12, 2014

CEBU CITY — Years after the City Government started distributing lots to homeless constituents under its socialized housing program, at least 41,000 informal settlers are still awaiting relocation.

sunstar-network copy

Some of the beneficiaries who have settled in some of the city’s socialized housing sites have started a new life in the upland barangays.

Records from the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) showed that some 10,000 of the total estimated number of informal settlers used to live beside creeks or in the easement zones of the rivers, which were considered as danger zones.

Read full article @www.sunstar.com.ph

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[People] Eyewitness account of the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda. By Fr. Shay Cullen

Eyewitness account of the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda
by Fr. Shay Cullen

I flew into Cebu City, an hours flight from Manila and drove with two Preda staff starting 3 am to visit the northern towns of Cebu Island on Tuesday, 19 November. The goal was to reach Daanbantayan, Bogo,and Bantayan Island to assess the storm damage, visit their communities and understand the situation so as to know what the needs are and to deliver aid donations directly to the people in need. The other equally important goal is to spread awareness about the need to protect orphaned children from would-be abductors and traffickers posing as relatives.

325-fr-shay-cullen

After two hours driving, we entered the disaster zone and the glimmer of lights in the houses disappeared and we drove in total darkness brought on by the typhoon Haiyan. It is a total blackout and power lines are down everywhere. The moon gave an eerie sense of isolation. The remains of houses stood silhouetted and gave the appearance of a war-torn, bombed-out battle field. These were once home to over a thousand families and are now a scene of desolation and ruin. As the dawn light touched the horizon, the specter of devastation became all the more apparent and I began to realize that I was witnessing storm destruction and personal loss to millions of people. Recovery will take many years.

As the sun rose, I saw a bleak landscape of toppled power poles, once proud towering Acacia trees stripped naked of branches and leaves shamefully naked in dark outline against the dawn sky. Hundreds of tough coconut trees snapped off mid section, a rare sight of these typhoon hardened trees yet cut in half by a wind that reached unprecedented gusts of 240 kilometers an hour. Mango trees were toppled, their roots upturned to the sky, totally vanquished the remaining leaves dead. I was appalled at the extent of the destruction; only the strongest houses of the rich were left standing. I felt awe that all this could be done in the space of two to three hours as the ferocious wind and rain storm swept over the land alike a scythe in a field of barley cutting down all before it.

I have been through ferocious typhoons during my 44 years in the Philippines but have never seen or experienced anything like this for the sheer savagery of this destructive force of nature. The gigantic force of the wind churned and turned everything it could to flying debris, smashing and tearing at everything, ripping roofs apart and carrying the metal sheets, rafters and roofs into the sky with such force that even cinder block walls collapsed before the onslaught.

Then we arrived at Daanbantayan and were surrounded by wreckage. We met people, listened to the survivors with compassion and were awed as they recounted their terrible ordeal fearing it was the end of the world and were in the jaws of a devouring monster.

The survivors told me that the coconuts were ripped from the palm tops and fired like cannon balls smashing into roofs and walls. Their children were frightened and cried as the wind screamed and howled about them and the noise of debris smashing into the trees and roofs was terrifying there; food supplies were destroyed, and the water wells contaminated.

We then drove to the ferry and took a one hour sea crossing to Bantayan island. There, we landed at Santa Fe, and witnessed more damage and destruction of homes and businesses. The churches had roof damage, yet the greatest damage was in the main town of Bantayan and the coastal area. We took a tricycle and went there. Along the way, we could see more damaged homes and buildings. The poultry industry was wiped out.

We met the Mayor and were impressed with the fast clean up, order and discipline in the town. “We saved many lives”, he said, “we ordered a forced evacuation of the fishing villages, the fisher folk were unwilling at first but then they agreed and were saved”. We have had only 16 dead but many were injured, they lost their fishing boats”.

The following day back in Cebu, we witnessed the resilience, courage and bravery of the many Filipinos that are rising above the tragedy. We met Anna and Jose in an evacuation center in Cebu. Jose is positive, hopeful and holding his new born baby that arrived during the evacuation flight. But Anna was sad and forlorn thinking of her missing father lost in Tacloban and likely dead. They put on a brave smile but underneath there was deep sadness. We discussed with officials the need to seek out unattached or orphaned children and document and register all especially orphaned children. We will send Preda social workers there to continue this work in all the evacuation centers.

The relief work goes on. Preda has donated rice and other goods to the victims and is working with the University of San Carlos, Cebu to deliver relief aid to the many victims. We thank the donors who are contributing to this work. Preda is also building awareness to protect orphaned children at risk. Every help is welcome. See photos on http://www.preda.org gallery, Email: shaycullen@preda.org.

Donations: via paypal (donate@preda.org, predainfo@gmail.com) or in pesos to Metro Bank Rizal Ave., Olongapo city with acct. no. 144-3-14452916-3 or euro donations to Preda Ireland in any Permanent TSB Branch, account number 87930352, sorting code 990604, swift code IBPSIE2D, IBAN IE251PBS99060487930352

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[Press Release] March, Mass, Prayer Rally against the Pork Barrel System Set for Sept. 29 -Cebu Coalition Against the Pork Barrel System

March, Mass, Prayer Rally against the Pork Barrel System
Set for September 29, 2013

Group offers potential alternatives

The Cebu Coalition Against the Pork Barrel System urges Cebuanos to join a massive interfaith rally on Sunday, September 29, 2013. Participants will assemble at the Fuente Osmeña circle at 1:00 PM, followed by a march down Osmeña Blvd. toward Plaza Independencia where a Mass will be concelebrated.

Cebu Coalition Against the Pork Barrel System

After the Mass, an Interfaith Prayer and Anti-Pork Barrel Program will ensue. Over 50 religious, civil society, academic, and business organizations have coalesced to form this protest event against the “pork barrel system”.

Heads of Cebu schools such as University of Cebu, Cebu Doctors University, University of San Carlos, University of the Visayas, St. Theresa’s College, and other Catholic schools will encourage their students and faculty to join the September 29 protest activities.

The rally will include leaders of different faiths praying for the well-being of the country by getting rid of the pork barrel system, patronage politics and corruption in general.

Several individuals from various sectors of society will speak up and share with others how the pork barrel scam has negatively affected their lives. Guest performers such as Budoy and the Sining Dilaab Tribal Progressive Band will entertain the crowd with their “pork barrel related” numbers. In addition, Ingko Alisyon (in coalition), will help inform and regale the crowd with very educational, yet simple parables and make this complex national tragedy much easier to understand.

The program also includes the reading of the Unity Statement in English and Cebuano, signing of the statement throughout the event, and a special candle lighting called “Ten Thousand Points of Light”.

If there is one thing that differentiates this rally among others locally or nationally, it is that a major focus of this event includes proposing potential alternatives or solutions to the pork barrel. These options will be introduced to the crowd and their collective response noted.

Right after the rally in the beginning of October, the Coalition has planned two educational fora highlighting constitutional and governance experts who will serve as resources regarding the potential solutions that had introduced to the participants. In fact, on September 25, 2013, the Movement for a Livable Cebu, a member of the Coalition conducted an education forum with Justice Gabriel Ingles on “The General Appropriations Act”. Following these educational sessions, core members of the Coalition will engage in a two day retreat (Oct. 5 & 6) to further work on the specific proposals for alternatives and solutions.

Msgr. Rommel Kintanar of the Archdiocesan Discernment Group of Cebu and Co-Convenor, stated, “We will not only say why we are against the pork barrel system, we will explain fully what we have stated in our Unity Statement, and most importantly, we will float some of our potential solutions and alternatives.”

Msgr. Kintanar added, “We appeal to people with good hearts and clean conscience, especially Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) beneficiaries who would be painfully affected by PDAF abolition: May they understand the gravity and urgency of this radical solution. May they bear and see this temporary sacrifice as the birth pangs for the emergence of a better way of managing government resources and of improving the delivery of government services.”

The sense of transformation is vividly present within the group. There is an impatience with the way politics has been conducted in the country and how such politics has caused so much suffering for people especially the marginalized. Marc Canton, of the Movement for a Livable Cebu and Coalition Co-Convenor, lamented, “We ache for a country where we count the number of Nobel Prize winners and Magsaysay Awardees, as opposed to how many plunderers have been convicted and put in jail”.

Cebu Coalition Against the Pork Barrel System

CONVENORS

Archdiocese of Cebu Discernment Group

Association of Major Religious Men Superiors of Cebu

Association of Women Religious of Cebu

Basilica del Sto. Nino SNAF

Catholic Women’s League

Cebu-Citizens Involvement and Maturation in People’s Empowerment and Liberation Foundation Inc. (C-CIMPEL)

Confraternity of the Lady of All Nations

Couples for Christ

Dilaab

Jesus is Lord Movement

Peace, Inc.

Redemptorist Center for Social and Ecological Concerns

Task Force for Life and Family

Task Force on Urban Concientization-AMRSP Cebu

Abante Barangay

Abolish Pork Barrel Movement-Cebu

Akbayan

Anakbayan-Cebu

Barangay Luz Urban Poor

Bayan-Central Visayas

Bosconian International Chamber of Commerce

Boy Scouts Cebu Council

Cebu City Federation of PWD

Cebu Medical Society

Farmers Development Center

Fuente Ta!

Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu

Jesus A. Avila Foundation Inc

Kabataan Partylist

Kahupayan Center

Kasama sa UP

KOGOS

League of Filipino Students

Magdalo Sugbo Chapter

Maghisgot Kita’g Politika Bay

Movement for a Livable Cebu

Nagkahiusang Kusog sa Estudyante

National Union of Students of the Philippines

Oasis of Love

Organization of Rehabilitative Advocates for Inclusion Inc

Pagbabago Cebu

Panaghugpong sa Kabos nga Tagadakbayan

Philippine Institute of Applied Politics

Philippine Nurses Association

Ramon Aboitiz Foundation

Sanlakas-Sugbo

UP Cebu Student Council

University of Cebu

T. Padilla Urban Poor

USC Community Extension/ Student Council

USC Political Science Center for Governance

Media Contact: Rudy Alix (0915 537 5613)

Convenors: Msgr. Rommel Kintanar (272-8091); Marc Canton (0923 925 9723); Marilu Chiongbian (412-1322)

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[Press Release] The Legacy of Abducted and Disappeared Redemptorist Priest Fr. Rudy Romano, C.Ss.R. for the Cause of Justice and Peace, Continues

The Legacy of Abducted and Disappeared Redemptorist Priest Fr. Rudy Romano, C.Ss.R.
for the Cause of Justice and Peace, Continues

Cebu Archbishop Most Rev. Jose S. Palma encourages the Archdiocese of Cebu parishes, religious communities and schools to make the people aware of the life and advocacies of disappeared and abducted Redemptoristpriest Fr. Rudy Romano, C.Ss.R.

In a letter to the clergy, religious and laity of the Archdiocese of Cebu, Archbishop Palma urged the local church to follow Fr. Romano’s example in addressing social concerns and legitimate human needs.

At Sunday Masses on July 7, 2013, all parishes are encouraged to read the Archdiocesan Statement on the Commemoration of the 28th Year of the Abduction/Disappearance of Fr. Rudy Romano, CSsR.

Redemptorist Center for Social and Ecological Concerns (RECSEC) Director Bro. Karl Gaspar, CSsR said, “It has been 28 years since the abduction Fr. Rudy Romano, C.Ss.R. on July 11, 1985; and 13 years since he was presumed dead, yet Cebuanos never cease to remember and to carry on his legacy.”

On July 11, 2013, to mark the 28th anniversary of the abduction/disappearance of Fr. Rudy Romano, the Redemptorist Province of Cebu will hold activities to relive the story and advocacy of Fr. Rudy.

At 8:30 a.m. on July 11, in Brgy Tisa,Labangon, Cebu City, the Redemptorists will lead a wreath-laying ceremony at the site of Fr. Romano’s abduction by the armed men of the Marcos Martial Law Regime.

At 5:30 p.m. of the same day, there will be a ‘Mass to Remember Fr. Rudy Romano’ in the Redemptorist Church. After the mass, there will be a short program and awarding of prizes to the winners of the poster-making and essay-writing contests participated in by students of Catholic Schools.The contests’ theme is “How the youth can help build the Church of the Poor following the example of Fr. Rudy Romano,CSsR”. A candle-lighting ceremony at the Redemptorist Church rotunda will conclude the day’s anniversary commemoration.

The Holy Father, Pope Francis has challenged the Faithful to focus on being agents of God’s mercy to the poor, the suffering, and those alienated from the Church.

Responding to this call, the Redemptorists and the whole Church strive to continue Fr. Rudy’s legacy in helping build the Church of the Poor; to follow his example in advocating human rights, justice, peace, and love.

For Reference:

Donald Bryan Angayan
Staff Member, Redemptorist Center for Social & Ecological Concerns (RECSEC)
Tel. No. 412-6903
09984564378

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[Statement] On the Commemoration of the 28th Anniversary of the Disappearance of Fr. Rudy Romano, CSsR- Archbishop Jose Palma

Archdiocesan Statement
On the Commemoration of the 28th Anniversary of the Disappearance of Fr. Rudy Romano, CSsR
July 11, 2013

My dear Brothers and Sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ,

The Fourth Diocesan Synod of Cebu in 1986 declared, “Option for the poor is a Christian option. Defending the human dignity of the poor and their hope for a human future is not a luxury of the Church. It is its duty” (Cebu Synod 4, The Servant Church, #6).

Similarly, our Holy Father Pope Francis, said that the Year of Faith should be “less preoccupied by non-essential rituals but more focused on our being agents of God’s mercy to the poor, the suffering and those alienated from the Church because the mercy of God is always victorious!”

He also expressed his wish, “Ah, how I would like a Church that is poor and that is for the poor.”

Our Holy Father would be happy to know that in the 1980’s, this was realized in the life and advocacy of Fr. Rudy Romano and other church people. Fr. Rudy and other church people defended the rights of the poor and the oppressed, “even when doing so meant alienation or persecution from the rich and powerful” (PCP II, 131).

The Archdiocese of Cebu notes that in 1986, the City Government of Cebu installed a marker at Tisa, Labangon, Cebu City to mark the place “where Fr. Rudy Romano, a Redemptorist Father and human rights fighter was abducted by armed men of the deposed Marcos Regime on July 11, 1985.”

Likewise, the Cebu Provincial Government in 1987, passed a resolution “Adopting Fr. Rudy Romano as a Son of the Province of Cebu” since even if he was from Samar, “prior to his disappearance, Fr. Romano contributed much in terms of promoting human rights, rendering concrete assistance and social service to less-privileged Cebuanos and in making Cebu a strong bastion of the people’s successful fight for freedom and justice during the dark years of the deposed dictatorship.”

The abduction and disappearance of Fr. Rudy and a student leader, Levi Ybañez, 28 years ago have not been resolved. Meanwhile, until today, the poor peasants, fisherfolks, workers, urban poor and other marginalized sectors continue to strive for their human dignity to be upheld.

We are called to follow Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who “lay down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Fr. Rudy showed us how to be advocates for social renewal. He showed us how to be like Jesus, who loved the poor, lived and died for the salvation of all.

Non nobis Domine,
+JOSE S. PALMA, D.D.
Archbishop of Cebu

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[Press Release] Group calls on DOLE to promote decent work not just healthy living in BPOs -ICCAW

Group calls on DOLE to promote decent work not just healthy living in BPOs

ICCAW

A newly formed group of call center workers called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to promote decent work in BPO’s in the face of reports of violations of labor standards in the industry.

“We welcome the Labor and Health Departments’ campaign for healthy living among BPO workers. But we also call on the DOLE to uphold decent work among call center companies as e-sweatshops are proliferating in the industry. Sweatshop conditions not just stressful work are a problem of BPO employees,” said Sylvio Dorig, spokesperson of Inter-Call Center Association of Workers (ICCAW).

ICCAW is a DOLE-registered workers association for mutual aid and protection. Dorig issued the call as a group of call center workers complained of underpayment of wages and non-payment of benefits against their former employer. Six ex-employees of the Ortigas-based E-Global International Communications Inc. owned by Mr. Eugene Go filed cases at the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) last May 20 for violations of labor standards including illegal dismissal.

ICCAW is also supporting the fight of employees of Cordia Philippines, a call center based in Cebu City’s Asiatown I.T. Park. Earlier this year some 76 Cordia workers filed cases of illegal closure, non-payment of salaries and non-remittance of their mandated benefits at the Region 7 branch of the NLRC.

“We were paid only P200 a day for the five months that we worked at E-Global. Further we received no overtime pay, holiday pay, rest day premium, service incentive leave, 13th month pay and cost of living allowance,” averred Jiaffy Domingo, one of the E-Global call center agents. Aside from Domingo, the complainants are Janice Bicera, Rissa Joy R. Ricafrente, Maricel Gatoc, Bryan Dango and Walter Dango.

Yesterday several E-Global workers trooped to the Social Security System with the assistance of the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) and verified that the company was not remitting deductions. A notice will be sent to E-Global to comply within a month’s time after which a case can then be filed against the company.

PM national chair Renato Magtubo averred that “A sunshine industry and dollar earning sector like the BPO should have no room for sweatshops. The DOLE must strictly regulate this fast growing industry in the interest of more than 600,000 workers since E-Global and Cordia are not the only BPO sweatshops around.”

In July last year, some 600 employees were laid off overnight when the Cebu City-based Direct Access abruptly shutdown. After a few months of protests, the Direct Access workers got their money claims and separation pay. As a result of that labor dispute, ICCAW was formed to be “a voice for BPO workers regarding specific grievances and general concerns.”

Press Release
May 30, 2013
Inter-Call Center Association of Workers (ICCAW)
Contact Sylvio Dorig Jr. @ 09432733079

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sign petiton2 smallPhoto by TFDP

[Press Release] Call center workers demand reforms in BPO industry -PM

Call center workers demand reforms in BPO industry

pmLogo1On the occasion of the anniversary of the February 1986 EDSA uprising, a newly formed association of call center workers today demanded reforms in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry to protect labor rights. In a press conference in Cebu City, the Inter-Call Center Association of Workers (ICCAW) declared that “We are for a stable BPO industry so that we can have regular jobs that provide decent salaries and benefits but this cannot happen if the requirements and criteria for opening a call center company are so relaxed.”

The first public activity of ICCAW was occasioned by its open support for employees of Cordia Philippines, a call center based in Cebu City’s Asiatown I.T. Park. Some 76 Cordia workers have already filed cases against their former employer at the National Labor Relations Commission for illegal closure, non-payment of salaries and non-remittance of their mandated benefits.

Many of ICCAW’s pioneers were workers of Direct Access, another call center which closed down and left its employees with unpaid wages and benefits. But after months of protests, lobbying and the support of the militant Partido ng Manggagawa, the Direct Access workers were able to secure their monetary claims.

Ruben Josol, ICCAW spokesperson, averred “ICCAW is coming out in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Cordia. We are enraged that a call center company closes down, runs away from its obligations but then easily opens up a new company of the same nature and with its former clients. Some employers have been held accountable but majority are running scot-free and with impunity. We attribute this problem due to lack of strong state regulation in BPO industry.”

“We want a BPO company to be a better place to work with but if the occupational health of employees are compromised this industry will instead be a time bomb just waiting to explode. We are also asking candidates running in the elections to make workers demands part of their platform. If our so-called democracy is not just all form but has some substance, then the demands of the majority of the people must be met by those seeking the mandate of the voters,” Josol added.

A priority agenda of ICCAW is stricter government regulation of the BPO industry. It is proposing guidelines on requirements to set up call centers must be put in place and strictly implemented. This will reduce fly by night centers that are not financially equipped to run the business and does not respect labor rights, according to the group.

“We aim to be a voice and advocate for call center and BPO workers so that the 600,000 employees in the industry who are entirely unorganized can enjoy protection,” Josol insisted.

ICCAW is also calling for industry-wide standards for wages, benefits and entitlements that must be well above the minimum mandated by law and commensurate to the profitable dollar-earning nature of the call center industry.

Press Release
Partido ng Manggagawa
February 25, 2013
Contact Ruben Josol @ 09327518353

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[In the news] Use ‘pork’ for more housing -SunStar.com

Use ‘pork’ for more housing
By Princess Dawn H. Felicitas, SunStar.com
February 17, 2013

sunstar-network copyCEBU CITY — Urban poor families in Cebu City want aspiring senators and congressmen to allocate funds, if they win, to buy lots where the poor can build permanent homes.

Some urban poor groups submitted Saturday a four-page covenant for decent and affordable housing to Liberal Party (LP) candidate Paulo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, a first cousin of President Benigno Aquino III, during his visit in the city.

The same covenant will be given to other politicians running for office on May 13.

It asks the candidates to set aside one to three percent of their Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel, if they win, to purchase lots for the urban poor.

A portion, they said, can also be used for housing programs and livelihood.

Sought for comment, Aquino said he cannot promise anything yet, but that he is in favor of the idea.

Every year, a senator gets P200 million in project funds and each member of the House of Representatives gets P70 million.

Read full article @www.sunstar.com.ph

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[Statement] What one Government gives, another Government takes away

What one Government gives, another Government takes away

(Statement of Bishops and Priests of the National Clergy Discernment Group and the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group on the Barangay Luz, Cebu City Demolition)
October 17, 2012

Demolition in Barangay Luz, Cebu City Photo by Visayan Clergy Discernment Group

“To do all we can with what strength we have, however, is the task which keeps the good servant of Jesus Christ always at work: ‘The love of Christ urges us on’ (2 Cor 5:14)” [Deus caritas est, 35].

With these words of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, we, bishops and priests of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group and the National Clergy Discernment Group, give our full support to the legitimate and just cause of the families of 32 households facing demolition in Barangay Luz, Cebu City who are heirs of land given to them in the 1950’s by the government of President Magsaysay through Proclamation 394 on March 15, 1957. The barangay was then named by the people after his wife Luz Banzon Magsaysay.

More than 50 years later, another government takes away their land, through some technicality, as decided by the Supreme Court.

The Cebu City Council refuses to act on the Executive’s proposal for on-site relocation. The reason – the Council is dominated by the opposing political party. The usual trapo politicking results in more suffering for the people.

The judge who implemented the Supreme Court decision is now in a bind. The first nine families whose houses got demolished and he got evicted are told that their designated relocation lots are in fact already owned by other families. So, the evicted families are left to live under tents next to their own inherited land – ironic!

We hear them crying out, like Jesus on the Cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46) and we respond with collective voice in asking the Supreme Court to order the RTC of Cebu to postpone further demolitions until all the requirements of relocation are adequately in place; preferably that the heirs hold on to the land given to them by President Ramon Magsaysay.

Secondly, the bishops and priests of the NCDG urge the Executive and Legislative branches of the Cebu City LGU to lay aside partisan politics, and serve the people.

May the day won’t come that we would have to ask the Lord: “…When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and we would not help you?” And may we would not have to hear the Lord reply: “I tell you, whenever you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refused to help me. And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting” (Mt. 25:44-46).

SIGNED BY 86 PRIESTS FROM DIFFERENT DIOCESES IN THE COUNTRY AND SUBMITTED TO THE SUPREME COURT ON OCTOBER 17, 2012.

In behalf of the NCDG and VCDG,

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, D.D. (SGD).
Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro
Tel. No. (033) 3291625

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[In the news] House approves bill to uplift plight of poor -SunStar.com.ph

House approves bill to uplift plight of poor

August 10, 2012

MANILA — The House of Representatives recently approved on final reading the bill that aims to uplift the standard of living and quality of life of the poor by providing them with sustained opportunities for growth and development.

House Bill (HB) 4484 or “Magna Carta of the Poor” seeks to provide for the creation of employment and livelihood opportunities to help the poor meet their minimum basic needs.

Principal authors of the bill are Representatives Rachel Marguerite del Mar (Cebu City), Ben Evardone (Eastern Samar), Marcelino Teodoro (Marikina City), Rodante Marcoleta (Alagad party-list) and Peter Unabia (Misamis Oriental).

Evardone said the bill will “ensure consistency” in social programs introduced by the government.

“It aims to institutionalize all social services of the government because every administration has its own social programs. More often than not, social programs of the administration are normally discontinued if there is a new administration,” he said in a text message.

The poor are those families or individuals whose income falls below the poverty threshold as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority.

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[Statement] 7-11: Remembering the missing and the search for Justice -FIND

July 11, 2012

7-11: REMEMBERING THE MISSING AND THE SEARCH FOR JUSTICE

For the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND), July 11 is a significant date.

Eleven individuals were forcibly taken and disappeared by suspected state agents on this date as documented by FIND. Of the 11 missing, one was surfaced and located.

Prominent among the eleven was Redemptorist priest, Fr. Rosaleo “Rudy” Romano who was last seen on July 11, 1985 in Tisa, Labangon, Cebu City, never to be found up to this day –27 years past. FIND remembers Fr. Rudy as among those who firmly stood for justice and courageously fought for the well being of the poor even during the repressive years of martial rule.

It was largely in Fr. Rudy’s honor that FIND and the Redemptorist community here and abroad constructed the Flame of Courage Monument that stands on a portion of the Redemptorist Church grounds in Bacalaran, Parañaque City.

The monument symbolizes the hope of the families’ untiring search and quest for justice. It is a tribute to those whose commitment for freedom, truth and justice expressed through working with the underprivileged in defending and asserting their human rights had been the reason they were abducted to silence and never to be found.

Since then; 27 years after Fr. Romano was taken against his will, 18 years since the unveiling of the Flame of Courage Memorial, enforced or involuntary disappearances persist in the Philippines. Not even President Noynoy Aquino’s rallying call for Filipinos to take the “matuwid na landas” (straight or righteous path) could deter perpetrators in committing the atrocious human rights violation of enforced disappearance.

To date, under the present Aquino administration, 17 cases have already been reported with 12 victims documented by FIND. The numbers could very well increase for as long as there is no definite national agenda on human rights and until legislative as well as a international treaty protecting the people from enforced disappearance are codified and acceded.

There is no better way to discourage the commission of such inhuman act than for the government and the Filipino people to unite and affirm its adherence to the universal standards of human rights.

Undoubtedly, expediting a bicameral conference to iron out and finalize the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act of 2011 earlier approved by both Chambers and the signing and accession to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance is one righteous path the government could take.

We challenge President Noynoy Aquino to lead and substantiate his pronouncements.
——————

Hulyo 11, 2012

7-11: PAG-ALALA SA MGA IWINALA AT ANG PAGHAHANAP NG KATARUNGAN

Para sa mga pamilya ng mga biktima ng sapilitang pagwawala (FIND), ang Hulyo 11 ay isang napakahalagang araw.

Sa mismong buwan at petsa na ito, may labing-isa ka tao ang dinukot at iwinala ng mga pinaghinalaang ahente ng estado ayon sa dokumento ng FIND. Sa 11 na iwinala, isa ang natagpuan at inilutang.

Kasama sa mga ito ay ang redemtoristang pari na si Fr. Rosaleo “Rudy” Romano na dinukot at huling nakita noong Hulyo 11, 1985 sa Tisa, Labangon, Cebu City na magpahanggang ngayon ay hindi pa rin natatagpuan —27 taon na ang nakalipas. Itinuturing ng FIND si Fr. Rudy bilang isa sa mga matibay na nanindigan sa ngalan ng hustisya at walang takot na nakikiisa at lumaban para sa kapakanan ng mga maralita maging sa panahon ng mapanupil na martial law.

Sa alaala ni Fr. Romano, kaya itinayo ng FIND kasama ang komunidad ng mga Redemptorista sa bansa maging sa ibayong dagat ang monumento ng Flame of Courage na matatagpuan sa loob ng simbahan ng Baclaran sa lunsod ng Parañaque.

Ang nasabing monumento ay simbolo ng katatagan at pag-asa ng mga kaanak sa kanilang walang pagod na paghahanap at pagkamit ng katarungan. Ito ay alay para sa lahat na naninindigan para sa kalayaan, katotohanan at hustisya, mga prinsipyo na kanilang binigyang anyo sa pamamagitan ng pakikibaka kasama ang mga pinagkaitan sa lipunan nang sa gayo’y karapatang pantao ay kilalanin at maisakatuparan na naging sanhi upang sila’y dukutin, patahimikin at di na muling matagpuan.

Mula noon, 27 taon mula nang si Fr. Romano’y tinangay laban sa kanyang kagustuhan at 18 taon mula nang buksan ang Flame of Courage Monument, ang sapilitang pagwala ay nagpapatuloy sa Pilipinas. Maging ang panawagan ni Pangulong Noynoy Aquino para sa lahat ng mamamayan na tahakin ang “matuwid na landas,” ay hindi nakatulong upang mapigilan ang mga insidente ng ganitong uri ng paglabag ng karapatang pantao.

Sa kasalukuyan, sa ilalim ng pamunuang Aquino, mayroon nang 17 kaso ang naiulat na may kasamang 12 biktima ang naitala. Ang mga bilang na ito ay maaari pa ring tumaas hangga’t ang pamahalaan ay walang malinaw na pambansang direksyon sa usaping karapatang pantao at walang mga nasyunal o internasyunal na pamantayan at kasunduan na naglalayong pangalagaan ang karapatan ng mamamayan na isinasabatas, sinasangayunan at nilalagdaan ng ating gobyerno.

Wala nang kasing-husay na pamamaraan upang pigilan ang mga nagnanais gumawa ng enforced disappearance maliban sa isang sama-samang pagkilos ng pamahalaan at ng sambayanang Pilipino at magkaisa sa pagkilala at pagpapatupad ng pandaigdigang pamantayan ng karapatang pantao.

Walang duda, ang pagpapabilis ng isang bicameral conference ng kongreso upang pag-isahin at pagtibayin ang Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act of 2011 na nauna ng inaprubahan ng dalawang kapulungan at ang paglagda at pagsang-ayon sa International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance ay tunay na hakbangin tungo sa isang matuwid na daan na dapat ay ginagawa na ng gubyerno.

Ito ang aming hamon kay Pangulong Noynoy Aquino, na ang mga pahayag na kanyang binitawan ay pangunahan at patotohanan niya.

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[Statement] Disappeared Fr. Rudy Romano is Found among the People of God who Work for Justice and Peace -TFUC-AMRSP Cebu

TASK FORCE ON URBAN CONSCIENTIZATION
A Mission Partner of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines
(TFUC-AMRSP Cebu)

Press Statement (July 9, 2012)

Disappeared Fr. Rudy Romano is Found
among the People of God who Work for Justice and Peace
(TFUC-AMRSP Statement on the 27th year of Fr. Rudy Romano’s Abduction on July 11, 1985)

We, priests, women and men religious, seminarians and laity of the Task Force on Urban Conscientization, Mission Partner of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (TFUC-AMRSP Cebu), remember Fr. Rudy Romano’s unfading example of selflessness and sacrifice, through the commitment to continue his work of love, justice and peace.

Fr. Rudy Romano, CSsR, obeyed the greatest commandments of loving God and loving the least of our brothers and sisters. He lived the exhortation of the Vatican II, “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties… especially of those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.”

27 years since Fr. Rudy Romano’s disappearance, we have witnessed a renewed vigor in the local Church of the Archdiocese of Cebu, led by the Cebu Archbishop Most Rev. Jose S. Palma, in journeying with the poor, to be with them in their hopes, dreams, griefs and anxieties.

Last February 14, 2012, Archbishop Palma formed the Archdiocesan Discernment Group (ADG) composed of priests, religious, seminarians and laity to help him address the cry for help from the marginalized sectors such as the urban poor, fisherfolks, farmers, labor and others.

Nearly 3 decades ago, Fr. Rudy linked arms with the urban poor to stop the demolition of urban poor homes in Barangay Luz; and today, we witness the Cebu church people, praying and discerning with all sectors concerned to seek for a humane resolution to the dispute of land acquisition affecting more than 30 households in Sitios Lubi, Nangka and Mabuhay in Barrio Luz, Cebu City.

Fr. Rudy helped organize the farmers and fisherfolks; and today, priests, nuns and laypeople journey with all sectors to address the issue of the Cordova Reclamation Project which affects the livelihood of fisherfolks.

Fr. Rudy was with the workers in the efforts to form genuine labor unions; and a year ago, we have seen how Cebu church people overwhelmingly participated in the conference of church people and workers seeking to “reclaim the dignity of human work.”

Fr. Rudy’s sacrifice was not in vain. As martyred Archbishop Oscar Romero said, prophets “plant the seeds that one day will grow…”

Today, we find the disappeared Fr. Rudy, in the people of God who collectively work and sacrifice so that God’s Kingdom of love, justice, and peace will be realized.

In Christ the Redeemer,
Fr. Cris Mostajo, CSsR (SGD.)
Cebu Chair
TFUC-AMRSP
Tel. No. 412-6903
Email: tfuccebu@yahoo.com
—————

 

Press Statement (July 9, 2012)
Ang Nawala nga si Fr. Rudy Romano Makaplagan diha sa Katawhan sa Dios
nga Naglihok alang sa Hustisya ug Kalinaw
(TFUC-AMRSP Cebu Pamahayag sa Paghandum sa ika-27 ka Tuig nga Kasumaran sa Pagdagit
kang Fr. Rudy Romano niadtong Hulyo 11, 1985)

Kami, kaparian, relihiyoso, mga seminarista ug layko sa Task Force on Urban Conscientization, mission partner sa Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (TFUC-AMRSP Cebu), naghinumdom sa bulawanong panig-ingnan ni Fr. Rudy Romano sa pagsakripisyo ug pagsalikway sa kaugalingon. Gihinumdoman nato siya pinaagi sa lig-on nga commitment sa pagpadayon sa iyang gimbuhaton alang sa gugma, hustisya ug kalinaw.

Si Fr. Rudy Romano, CSsR, mituman sa mga kasugoan sa paghigugma sa Dios ug sa “paghigugma sa pinakaubos” sa atong kaigsoonan. Iyang gipuy-an ang deklarasyon sa Vatican II, “Ang mga kalipay ug mga paglaom, ang mga kaguol ug kabalaka, labina sa mga kabos o nasakit, kini mao usab ang mga kalipay ug paglaom, ang mga kaguol ug kabalaka sa mga sumusunod ni Kristo.”

27 ka tuig human sa pagkawala ni Fr. Rudy Romano, atong masaksihan ang subling kadasig sa lokal nga simbahan sa Artsidiyosesis sa Sugbo, pinangulohan sa Arsobispo sa Sugbo Most Rev. Jose S. Palma, sa pag-uban sa mga kabos diha sa ilang mga paglaom, mga damgo, mga kasakit ug mga kabalaka.

Niadtong Pebrero 14, 2012, gitukod ni Arsobispo Palma ang Archdiocesan Discernment Group (ADG) nga gikomposar sa kaparian, relihiyoso, mga seminarista ug layko aron sa pagtabang kaniya sa pagtubag sa singgit sa pakitabang gikan sa mga napadaplin sa katilingban sama sa mga kabos nga taga-dakbayan, mananagat, mag-uuma, mamumuo ug uban pa.

Dul-an sa 3 ka dekada ang milabay, si Fr. Rudy nagkapit-bisig uban sa mga kabos aron sa pagbabag sa demolisyon didto sa Barangay Luz; ug pagkakaron, atong masaksihan ang mga tawong simbahan sa Sugbo nga nag-ampo ug namalandong uban sa tanang apektadong sector aron sa pagpangita og maki-tawhanong kasulbaran sa suliran sa kapuy-an sa labaw 30 ka bubong sa Sitio Lubi, Nangka ug Mabuhay sa Barangay Luz, Cebu City.

Si Fr. Rudy nitabang pag-organisa sa mga mag-uuma ug mananagat; ug pagkakaron, ang kaparian, kamadrehan ug layko nakig-uban sa tanang sektor alang sa pagtubag sa isyu sa Cordova Reclamation Project nga naka-apekto sa panginabuhi sa mga mananagat.

Si Fr. Rudy nikuyog sa mga mamumuo alang sa pagtukod og tinud-anay nga mga unyon sa pamuo; ug usa ka tuig ang milabay, nasaksihan nato ang madasigong pagsalmot sa mga Sugboanong tawong simbahan sa kumperensya nga nagduso sa “pagbawi sa dignidad sa tawhanong pamuo.”

Dili kawang ang sakripisyo ni Fr. Rudy. Matod pa sa martir nga si Arsobispo Oscar Romero, ang mga propeta “nagtanom sa mga liso, nga sa umaabot, motubo…”

Pagkakaron, atong makaplagan ang nawala nga si Fr. Rudy, diha sa katawhan sa Dios nga hiniusang naglihok ug nagsakripisyo aron ang Gingharian sa Dios nga puno sa gugma, hustisya ug kalinaw moabot dinhi sa yuta.

In Christ the Redeemer,

Fr. Cris Mostajo, CSsR
TFUC-AMRSP Cebu Chair
Tel. No. 412-6903/ Email: tfuccebu@yahoo.com

 

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[In the news] Recruiter jailed for detaining, mauling woman -Cebu Daily News

Recruiter jailed for detaining, mauling woman.

May 22, 2012

AN overseas job recruiter was sentenced yesterday by the court to six to 13 years in jail for detaining and mauling a woman inside his office for six hours.

Regional Trial Court Judge Soliver Peras of Branch 10 said Salvador Rosal was guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the charge of slight illegal detention.

Rosal’s lawyer Salvador Solima said he will contest the decision.

Buena Tariman complained that the recruiter detained her in his office along F. Ramos Street in Cebu City on July 3, 2010.

Rosal was the manager of Almustagbal International.

Tariman said Rosal refused to release the documents she asked for on behalf of her friend, who chose to drop her application for a job in Saudi Arabia.

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[In the news] Aussie to face TRAFFICKING charges -Cebu Daily News

AUSSIE TO FACE TRAFFICKING CHARGES.

Cebu Daily News
May 20, 2012

DOJ overturns fiscal on case

He may have been initially cleared of accountability by the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.

But the case of the 49-year-old Australian accused of molesting three boys didn’t escape the scrutiny of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who recommended the filing of qualified trafficking and child abuse charges against him.

Six counts of qualified trafficking and child abuse charges were filed last week by the Department of Justice against the Australian before the Regional Trial Court of Cebu. No bail was recommended for the case which may be raffled off this week.

In overturning an earlier decision by Cebu City Prosecutor Nicolas Sellon to drop the charges against the Australian, de Lima said “the accused took advantage of the victim’s vulnerability by dangling money to them for their services.”

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[In the news] Labor Day fun runs, job fairs, rallies in Cebu -Cebu Daily News

Labor Day fun runs, job fairs, rallies in Cebu.

May 1, 2012

RALLIES, fun runs and job fairs mark today’s observance of Labor Day in Cebu.

Separate rallies will be held by two labor coalitions to air their demands for a wage increase.

A coalition of 21 labor groups called Nagkaisa (United) kicks off their march rally at the Associated Labor Unions (ALU) office in Pier 1, Cebu City.

The rally will end at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) regional office at Plaza Independencia.

ALU area vice president Ferdinand Jumapao said they will renew calls for a P90 increase across the board.

The coalition said it supports the abolition of contractualization and the passage of the security of tenure bill for workers.

The National Coalition for the Protection of Workers’ Rights (NCPWR) will assemble at Fuente Osmeña circle, then go to downtown Colon Street for a program.

NCPWR convenor Casimero Mahilum said they seek the abolition of contractualization which they consider the “silent killer” of labor.

Mahilum said they also support the abolition of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board which he said was biased in favor of management.

He it’s better to have a legislated wage increase in order to avoid regional discrimination.

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[In the news] STC bars bikini photos students from graduation march -POC

STC bars bikini photos students from graduation march
by Merck Maguddayao, thepoc.net
April 2, 2012

Defying a court order, exclusive Catholic school St. Theresa’s College (STC) Cebu barred two graduating high school students who reportedly posted pictures of themselves in bikinis online, from marching during the school’s graduation ceremonies last Friday.

In a video report by GMA 7‘s 24 Oras, STC security personnel were seen closing the campus gate when the students arrived. Sheriff Manuel Jimeno of the Cebu City Regional Trial Court (RTC), who served the temporary restraining order issued by judge Wilfredo Navarro of Branch 19 on Thursday, was likewise barred by the guards from entering the STC campus.

It was reported that the STC administration filed a motion for reconsideration on the TRO, but one the student’s legal counsel, Enrique Lacerna, said that he has not received a copy of the motion. He said that he will consider asking the court to cite STC in contempt.

Navarro earlier penned that STC’s sanction would be “un-Christian and possibly illegal,” Interaksyon reports.

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[In the news] St. Theresa’s defends action -Cebu Daily News

St. Theresa’s defends action
Cebu Daily News
March 30, 2012

While St. Theresa’s College has “suffered a beating” in the public eye, school officials said they acted with “respect, kindness and civility” to the parents and five students who were not allowed to join yesterday’s high school commencement exercises.

School officials broke their silence last night in a press conference where they explained why and how they reached the decision to bar the students and their families.

To deprive the girls of the chance to march in the graduation rites would be “un-Christian” and “inhuman” said Regional Trial Court Judge Wilfredo Navarro in his earlier Temporary Restraining Order directed at the school.
Sr. Celeste Ma. Purisima Pe, high school principal and ICM directress, said it was unfair to say the school ignored its own procedures when it sanctioned the five girls.

The students, in a March 1 order, were barred from joining school activities which include the senior’s bash, graduation practices and the commencement rites.

The uproar over so-called “lewd” photos of the students in their Facebook account started in February, when other students called the faculty’s attention.

“It was brought to the school’s attention by students who were disturbed (by the photos),” said Lilu Aliño, Institutional Planning Officer.

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[In the news] Bikini photo controversy: Court orders Cebu school to let students march -thepoc.net

Bikini photo controversy: Court orders Cebu school to let students march
by Merck Maguddayao, thepoc.net
March 29, 2012

The Cebu City Regional Trial Court Branch 19 ordered Saint Theresa’s College (STC) to let two 16-year-old high school students march on graduation day after the exclusive Catholic school banned the two from attending for posing in bikini and posting their pictures online.

In a report on Inquirer.net, judge Wilfredo Navarro issued a temporary restraining order on the STC’s sanction on the two students.

In his order, Navarro penned that STC must “treat the minors with kindness and civility befitting true graduates of a respectable institution sans any discrimination for the entire duration of the commencement exercises.”

Inquirer earlier reported that the administration of STC, a private Catholic school, ordered the sanction because the girls violated five provisions in the school’s student handbook, including a rule banning the “posing and uploading pictures on the Internet that entail ample body exposure.” The photos were reportedly posted on social networking site Facebook.

“STC is a Catholic school governed by the teachings of the Catholic Church. We have to see to it that values are formed,” STC legal counsel Romeo Balili was quoted as saying.

The girl’s parents immediately filed a civil suit against STC because of the anxiety caused by the sanction.

Furthermore, Cebu Daily News reported that “four other female students executed an affidavit against the school officials after they were also prohibited from attending the [graduation] ceremonies.” Said students claim that the school administration labeled them as “having loose morals, drunks, and drug addicts.”

The STC high school graduation ceremonies will be held tomorrow.

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