Tag Archives: Central Luzon

[Statement] Uphold and Fight for Dignity-At All Times & Situations -PAHRA

(Uphold and Fight for Dignity-At All Times & Situations)

Disyembre 10, 2013

Human rights spring from the dignity of each person. Since the first human rights day on December 10, 1948,these rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) have evolved and developed over time and different circumstances to show how they are to be respected, protected and fulfilled.

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And it is the State that is primarily obligated to do so not only on normal times but even, and especially, in times of emergencies, crises and even wars. The State is to be people-centered.

The Aquino government needs to specially focus especially, but not solely, on those affected by the earthquake in Bohol and by typhoon Yolanda (“Haiyan”), according to Science Secretary Mario Montejo: 6.6 million people in 171 municipalities, covering 4, 971 villages in an area of 25,000 square kilometres, of whom, as of November 30, more than 5,632 persons are dead, 26,136 persons injured, and 1,759 missing.

PAHRA stresses that in the course of rehabilitation, reconstruction and development:

1.TAO Muna! Dahil ang TAO ang sentrong dahilan at layunin ng pamahalaan at pamamahala , lalo na sa panahon ng krisis sanhi man ng kapwa-tao o ng kalikasan, kaya dignidad at ang naka-ugat na mga karapatang pantao dapat laging itaguyod, ipagtanggol at pangalagaaan.

Arugain at ipagtanggol, upang kailanman di mawala sa TAO, ang mga pinanggagalingan at pinagkukunan ng buhay at kabuhayan (sources of subsistence- Common Art. 1, UN ICCPR & ICESCR).

Ang bawat isa na bulnerableng tao, unahin at masinsin na paglingkuran ayon sa pangangailangan.

Responsibilidad ng lahat na tiyakin na ang mga obligasyon ng Estado o Pamahalaan hinggil sa karapatang pantao ay maisakatuparan at matamasa ng lahat nang taong sakop ng ating bayan.

2. TAO Muna! Dahil obligasyon ng pamahalaan na palahukin ang pinakamalapad na bilang ng mga mamamayan, katuwangin ang civil society at non-government organizations sa pagkaron ng malawak na konsultasyon sa pagpapasinop ng patuloy na relief at rehabilitation operations at sa pagpaplano ng lahatang-panig na rekonstruksyon ng buhay at sitwasyon ng tao at nakaakma sa nabagong klima at kapaligiran. Mga plano ng rekonstruksyon: i-sentro sa tao; ibatay sa desisyon ng tao.

Dapat din maging bukas sa pagtugon sa mga pagsubaybay at mekanismo ng paniningil mula sa mga organisasyon ng mamamayan sa equitableng paglagak ng pinasya at iba pang tulong sa mga biktima ng at nakaligtas sa mga sakuna. Walang isa man ang dapat malimutan.
Igiit ang mga obligasyon ng pamahalaan na maging bukas at makatotohanan sa kinakailangang impormasyon ng mga mamamayan.

3. TAO Muna! Dapat gawin bilang batayan at pamantayan ng pamamahala ang mga karapatang pantao, lalo na sa pagbangon, pagsasaayos sa buhay at planong pag-unlad ng lahat ng mga biktima at mga nakaligtas mula sa mga natural na kalamidad.

4. TAO Muna! Tiyakin na maisama ang isang komprehensibo at stratehikong patakaran tumutugon sa nasabing sitwasyon sa matagal ng nakabinbin na Human Rights Action plan. Isapubliko ang Human Rights Action Plan.

While national and international concerns and assistance are highly concentrated on the destruction recently wrought by a super typhoon and an earthquake, we should not lose sight of those whose lives and property have, to a large degree, also been gravely affected, as in Central Luzon, but have not commensurately been given attention and needed allocations for their own rehabilitation, reconstruction and development. It is government that has the obligations to ensure equitable assistance so as to uphold and protect dignity and human rights.

Finally, while we deeply grieve over the loss of so many lives by natural calamities which are now often intensified by human actions and policies done out of ignorance and disregard of our own rights to the environment, we also rage against and condemn the culture of impunity which claimed and destroyed lives of individuals, families and communities due to extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and destruction of sources of subsistence amidst a coercive environment.

Amidst Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Development, Assert our Dignity and our Rights.

No more unnecessary loss of lives and properties, fight for Climate Justice.

End the culture of impunity, bring the perpetrators to justice.

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[Press Release] Teachers offer assistance, ask for help for thypoon victims -TDC

Teachers offer assistance, ask for help for thypoon victims

Teachers offered their assistance to the victims of the Super Typhoon Yolanda thru volunteer work in humanitarian organizations and foundations that are doing relief operations for the areas hit by the strongest typhoon in recorded history.


Benjo Basas, national chairman of the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said that even “in this little way, we can show our compassion and sympathy to our fellow Filipinos who suffered the effects of perhaps, the worst natural calamity in our country.”
Recognizing the bayanihan spirit in every the heart of every Filipino, the group has offered their help in packaging the relief goods to non-government organizations and several media groups in Manila.

Basas added that much as they want to raise funds for fellow teachers in the calamity areas, they have no capacity to do so, and just ask the members to donate old clothes or any ready to eat food. However teachers and TDC members who wish to donate cash are endorsed to the mainstream organizations and institutions that can effectively handle such operation.

The TDC leaders from Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Metro Manila will meet this Saturday, November 16 at Morning Breeze Elementary School in Caloocan to tackle the possible assistance the group can offer and the attendees are advised to bring their relief donations.

Basas also said the asked the Budget Department to immediately release teachers and government employees’ year-end bonus (13th month pay).

“If the DBM and our respective agencies can expedite the release of our year-end bonus, then we can help our relatives in the provinces. Also, teachers who are affected themselves will have, at least money for survival and other necessities.” He also asks the government loan agencies to facilitate emergency loans, “The granting of ‘no-interest loans’ from Pag-Ibig Fund and GSIS may also help the teachers and employees to cope up in these trying times.” Basas ended.

Normally, the year-end bonus of teachers comes ‘not earlier than November 16’ according to the policy but normally reach them after a week or two.

The TDC noted that there are several reports already from the field especially in Panay and Samar, however, their members and leaders in Leyte are until now inaccessible thru mobile communication and internet.

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[Event] National Conference on Peoples Energy -PMCJ

National Conference on Peoples Energy

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November 4-6, 2013, Balay Kalinaw Hall, University of the Philippines – Diliman, Quezon City
Convened by Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ)
In cooperation with Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)

The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) is a national coalition of 103 national and local organizations, national networks, peoples organizations, community organizations and NGOs currently doing work in the National Capital Region, Central Luzon Region, Quezon, Laguna, Samar, Leyte, Catanduanes, Cebu, Iloilo, Negros, Misamis Occidental, CARAGA region, Bukidnon, Zamboanga del Sur, SOCSARGEN Region, and Davao, .


Since its inception in 2009, PMCJ has been actively working on developing a national climate justice movement in the country. One of its aims is to build strong campaign centers and chapters in strategic regions across the country, to develop and escalate local, regional and national concerted actions on many climate related issues and key political moments in the country.

PMCJ’s work on addressing and contributing in solving the climate crisis requires a strategic shift in the balance of power, a comprehensive transformation of societies at all levels – local, national and global – and along the way winning urgently needed immediate and medium term victories that contribute in the overall goal of preventing catastrophic climate change.

A key element of its work is building strong national campaigns on transforming energy systems, as well as contributing in the regional (Asia Pacific) and international levels.

In 2010, PMCJ as a national coalition, started working on energy issues in the country. This year, PMCJ have focused on coal (mining and combustion), along with its alternatives, and launched its national campaign “Resist Coal! RE-Energize All!” to contribute in the fight against a particular dirty and harmful energy that the current government and coal corporations have been pushing heavily. Under this campaign, PMCJ last October 22, 2013 successfully organized a nationally coordinated action against coal and shift to renewable energy in 15 coal sites of struggles in 13 provinces across the country.

This year, PMCJ is also convening a national energy conference that aims to take stock of the current overall energy situation in the country and the government’s energy program and policies, and build consensus around a comprehensive Platform on Energy in light of:

1. Peoples’ right to universal access to energy and the obstacles to the fulfillment of this right
2. Issues and problems posed by dirty and harmful energy policies and projects
3. The urgent need to shift as quickly as possible democratic, equitable, renewable, clean and universally accessible Philippine energy system for people and communities
4. Facing the challenge of the climate crisis

The Conference is part of a collective effort to build and strengthen a Philippine movement resisting dirty and harmful energy, promoting peoples and community energy alternative systems, and linking energy campaigns to campaigns for climate justice.

Objectives of the Conference

The over-all goal is to lay the grounds for more intensive, larger scale and scope, coordinated and joint campaigning on energy in the country.

More specifically, the Conference will be an occasion for participants:
1. Gain an overview, exchange analyses and deepen collective understanding of the situation, critical trends and challenges in the energy sector in the Philippines; Examine the issues in the light of the climate crisis and the challenge of shifting to low-carbon, climate resilient, equitable and democratic development pathways and societies;
2. Take stock of ongoing local, national, including regional and global campaigns on energy ( against dirty and harmful energy; for peoples access to energy; for democratic governance of energy systems);
3. Build on existing unities and further develop a common comprehensive platform on Energy in the country, that also clearly addresses the climate crisis and is part of a broader Climate Justice platform;
4. Start developing a common action plan and mechanisms for pursuing coordination and collective actions
5. Put together movements and organizations who can serve as the active core that will drive and animate the process forward, reach out to others for broader, more inclusive convergences and collaboration in 2014 and beyond.

Conference Participants

The conference aims to gather about 50-60 representatives and leaders from PMCJ member organizations and allied organizations and networks working on energy issues from the different parts of the country.

Dates and Venue

The Conference proper will be held on November 4 to 6 at Balay Kalinaw Conference Hall, University of the Philippines – Diliman, Quezon City.

Resource Persons and Guests

Most of the resource persons will be coming from PMCJ, FDC and other allied organizations and institutions who have been working on energy for the past years in the country and who can also help update participants on national efforts and serve as resource persons on some of the topics.

Follow PMCJ @ https://www.facebook.com/ClimateJusticePH

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[Event] Global Month of Action Against Dirty and Harmful Energy -PMCJ

Global Month of Action Against Dirty and Harmful Energy


Join us as PMCJ spearheads the Philippine leg of the Global Month of Action Against Dirty and Harmful Energy on October 11 – November 11 2013, with Global Day of Action Against Coal on October 22, Global Days of Action Against Dams on October 12 and November 9, a Climate Justice Caravan on November 9-11 in Central Luzon and Metro Manila.

If you are interested to take part during the Global Month of Action Against Dirty and Harmful Energy please contact the PMCJ Secretariat at pmcj2012.sec@gmail.com or call us at (02) 9253036

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Reclaim Power! Global Month of Action on Energy
NO to dirty and harmful energy!
YES to renewable energy for people and communities!
October 11 to November 11, 2013
We face a planetary emergency and now is the moment to step up our efforts to transform our societies.
The Earth’s climate is destabilizing and the planet is in crisis. Climate change is already harming our food and farms, oceans and fish, our access to freshwater. It is causing the increase in frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events that lay waste to lives, homes and livelihoods.

All around the world people are rallying to respond to this emergency. We are harnessing our knowledge, our vision, our will, our compassion, and our solidarity – to fight climate change and its causes, and to build solutions that work for people and don’t destroy the planet. We are strengthening our communities for immediate and irreversible climate impacts and paving the way for new systems where all people lead lives of dignity and our planet is out of peril.

We need to do so much more — to reach and mobilize many more people and communities; to scale up and intensify collective actions; to strengthen the links between local and national struggles across all countries for powerful global actions — to address the causes and consequences of climate change and profoundly transform our societies.


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[Press Release] Teachers’ day demand: Teachers’ salaries over pork -TDC

Teachers’ day demand: Teachers’ salaries over pork

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) will join the DepEd-initiated celebration of World Teachers’ Day tomorrow at the Philsport Arena (Ultra). The whole day activity will be attended by some 7000 teachers from Metro Manila, Central Luzon and CALABARZON.


TDC will surprise the crowd with their flash mob, a synchronized upbeat dance of some 250 participants from all over Metro Manila with the theme of regaining the dignity and pride of the teaching profession.

“This time we will use dance to show the many faces of Filipino teachers and their prevailing condition. We will also challenge the authorities to prioritize teachers and public education sector especially in making policies for development and funding for social services.” Said Benjo Basas, the group’s national cahirperson.

TDC will use the songs “Sino ba ang Titser?” composed by educator-musician Bobet Mendoza and “Guro, Ilaw ng Dunong” regarded as TDC national anthem. This is the first time that a flash mob of teachers will be performed in a DepEd event.

“We join this celebration and festivities because we appreciate the National Teachers’ Month declaration, however we challenge the government to institute tangible programs for teachers and public education system.” Basas added.

Basas scored on the government which he said is putting more priorities to pork and other perks of those in power.

“While the budget department is putting very huge amount of funds for PDAF, DAP and other discretionary funds for executive and legislative officials, the resources for basic social services especially public education were left behind.”

Basas argued that for fiscal year 2013 and 2014 there is no increase in their salaries or incentives and their bonuses are tax deducted.

“If the government will keep on prioritizing the discretionary funds of politicians over teachers and education sector spending, the national teachers’ month declaration would remain empty and lip service appreciation.” Basas continued.
Reference: Benjo Basas- 09205740241

October 4, 2013

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[Press Release] Teachers ask DEPED to defer make-up classes -TDC

Teachers ask DEPED to defer make-up classes

logo TDC

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) appealed to the DepEd central office to consider deferment of the scheduled make-up classes in several divisions of Metro Manila, CALABARZON and Central Luzon. The group argued that the DepEd has yet to come up with a clear and uniform guidelines and the holding of make-up classes is contrary to its earlier pronouncements.

“While we recognize the authority of the schools division superintendents in imposing make-up classes, we would like to appeal to the DepEd Central Office to clarify the guidelines first for the purpose of fairness and uniformity.” Said Benjo Basas, the group’s national chairperson.

Basas said that based on the reports gathered by the TDC from the field, make-up classes differ in every school even those within the same district, division or municipality

“It creates confusion and comparison between and among the teachers in the field.” Basas continued.

Basas said the problem is due mainly to the policy of class suspension where the LGU executive has the authority to suspend classes in his jurisdiction while the DepEd field officials- from school heads, district supervisors, division superintendents and regional directors are empowered to impose make-up classes.

The group also asks the DepEd to clarify the use of buffer days.

“The school calendar since 2011-2012 up to the current school year declares 180 non-negotiable teaching and learning days or days where teacher is in full contact with the learners. It also sets aside buffer days for class disruptions, for SY 2013-2014, we have 21 buffer days out of 201 school days. How come that some schools and divisions are already having make-up classes? Are buffer days already consumed?” asked Basas.

TDC reiterates that make up classes may only be imposed once the 180 non-negotiable teaching days have been compromised. The DepEd in a statement on August 23 said, “The DepED annual calendar of around 200 school days already includes 20 days buffer for class disruptions. There may still be enough buffer days at this time of the school year so as not to require make up classes following the days lost this week.”

Basas said that th eDepEd is consistent with its position, in fact on October 24, 2011 press release on the clarification of semestral break, DepEd said, “Education Secretary Armin Luistro specified that the total number of school days shall be 202 while the total number of teaching-learning days shall be 180 days. The 22-day difference shall be for national and local events and celebrations, national, division and regional achievement tests and class suspensions due to calamities.

Basas reiterates that the scheduled make-up classes for tomorrow and on following Saturdays be defer until a clarification and unified guidelines from the DepEd Central Office have been issued.

“We believe that there may be a need for make-up classes would be necessary to cover the lost learning days of our pupils and students, however, we appeal to all the field officials of the DepEd to do it in a proper manner and the clarification from the office of Secretary Armin Luistro would be necessary.” Basas ended.

The group formally wrote to DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro to act on the matter immediately.

September 6, 2013
Reference: Benjo Basas, Chairperson- 09205740241

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[In the news] Martial Law 40 years after -INQUIRER.net

Martial Law 40 years after.

By Philippine Daily Inquirer
September 1, 2012

His provenance nurtured his politics that spanned six decades of the nation’s historic past.

Saturnino Cunanan Ocampo was born to a family of landless tenants in  Pampanga in Central Luzon, the cradle of agrarian unrest, a background that predisposed him to a life of political dissent.

He became a student activist in the 1950s, and co-founded the Maoist youth group Kabataang Makabayan while working as a business journalist in Manila in the mid-1960s.

When martial law was imposed in 1972, he dove underground and eluded military dragnets until his capture in 1976. One of the longest-held political prisoners, Ocampo escaped his guards while on a pass to vote at the National Press Club annual election in Intramuros, Manila in 1985.

Amid the euphoria of the Marcos downfall in 1986, he surfaced and served as spokesman of the leftist panel in peace talks with the Aquino administration. But the role proved short-lived.

In early 1987, the peace talks collapsed after soldiers fired at militant farmers camped at Mendiola Bridge near Malacañang. Ocampo went underground again and was arrested in 1989.  He was released in 1992. In May 2001, he won a seat in House of Representatives as a nominee of the partylist group Bayan Muna. He served three terms, championing the cause of farmers, fisherfolk, the urban poor and other marginalized sectors.

In 2010, he ran for the senate, and lost. No matter; Ocampo has proven through six decades that a heartfelt pro-people politics will always prosper whether one is in the august halls of Congress, or in a quaint barrio in the hills.

SIM: What was your political involvement when martial law (ML) was declared?

Satur Ocampo (SO):  I was a journalist-political activist involved with the Movement of Concerned Citizens for Civil Liberties (MCCCL), organized and led by then Sen. Jose W. Diokno in response to the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in August 1971. In fact I was involved in the larger progressive protest movement that began in the mid-1960s.

Read full article @ lifestyle.inquirer.net

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[Statement] Where is the road that ends impunity? -PAHRA

“Ang mali – gaano katagal man ito nanatili – ay mali pa rin.
Hindi puwedeng “Oks lang, wala lang iyan.”
Kapag kinalimutan natin ang mga ito,
mangyayari lang ulit ang mga kamalian ng nakaraan.
Kung hindi magbabayad ang mga nagkasala,
parang tayo na rin mismo ang nag-imbita
sa mga nagbabalak gumawa ng masama na umulit muli.”

President Benigno Aquino III. SONA July 2011


President Benigno Aquino III, in his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) popularly well defined impunity. That which is wrong, no matter how long it remains, is still wrong. No way can anyone say after sometime that: “It already is OK. Let bygone’s be bygone’s.”

Victims of human rights violations and their families took heart at Mr. Aquino’s statement taken it to mean that he was setting a course to break from the past culture of impunity and embark on building a course that ensures the primacy of human rights and the rule of law. It meant a road built on truth, justice, as well as guaranteeing reparation and compensation for victims. It was also expected to include institutional reforms to make sure of non-recurrence of similar violations.

And yet, as gleaned in the following sample cases, impunity persists.

The families of six workers from Trento, Agusan del Sur, still await the fate of their members since the latter were abducted last October 14, 2000. A soldier witness testified to their being beaten to death by lead pipes, later buried and bodies burnt. This was a case personally presented to Mr. Aquino early in his Presidency which has no resolution till now.

In Dona Remedios Trinindad, Bulacan, Nicanor Mariano, a charcoal maker, was killed while sleeping with some family members in a hut during a military operation on July 19, 2011. Nicanor and his wounded son, Norman, were later labelled as NPA members. No justice has been obtained by the family till now.

In the same Central Luzon province, the Manalo brothers identified then General Jovito Palaparan, Jr. during their 18-month custody with the military since 14 February 2006 as the command responsible for their abduction and torture until their escape. Palparan is presently being sought for being responsible for the kidnapping and illegal detention of U.P. students, Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno. The students are nowhere to be found till now. Palparan’s whereabouts are also unknown till now.

Human rights violations may well recur again and again as, for the third year, there is no National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) that would guide this administration’s obligation of conduct and of result in ending impunity. The Chief Executive has command responsibility here.

The truth of human rights violations is blocked. People are deprived of the freedom of information. Impunity, not only against civil and political rights, but also against economic, social and cultural rights would be further entrenched.

Legislators are an integral force in ending impunity by passing laws, such as the one against enforced disappearance, as well as the passage for the compensation for victims of human rights violations during Martial Law. Both chambers of Congress must therefore strengthen our Commission on Human Rights (CHR) by fast-tracking the passage of its new Charter. The Senate, on the other hand, should already ratify the U.N. Convention against enforced disappearance.

Local authorities should resolve the impunity of juvenile crime not by lowering the age of criminality but exercising extraordinary due diligence in implementing the law on juvenile justice.

PAHRA calls on all human rights defenders to resolutely breakthrough impunity by making human rights our preferred values in governance, development and peace.

PAHRA demands from the Aquino government its obligation a plan to end impunity.

Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
July 23, 2012

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[In the news] DAR told to pay for Luisita lots -INQUIRER.net

DAR told to pay for Luisita lots
By Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon
May 14, 2012

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO— The Supreme Court has ruled that Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) is entitled to just compensation for the home lots it gave to farmers who will now get land on the company’s sugar plantation through agrarian reform.

In a resolution dated April 24 but released only last week, the Supreme Court said HLI should be paid since the stock distribution program that covered the home and farm lots in 1989 was revoked by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) in 2005 to clear the way for land distribution.

Each measuring 240 square meters, the home lots were considered part of the farmers’ benefits as shareholders in HLI, a company owned by the family of President Benigno Aquino III.

Resolving questions that arose from the revocation of the stock option, the court ordered the government to pay HLI, through the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), for the home lots.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

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[Press Release] Urban poor group condemns violent Paranaque demolition, use of deadly force -Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino

Urban poor group condemns violent Paranaque demolition, use of deadly force

The urban poor group Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino (AMP) and the labor party Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) condemned the violent demolition at the Silverio Compound in Paranaque and assailed the use of deadly force by the police. “Heads must roll for the death of one resident from police gunfire and the brutality accompanying the arrest of scores protesters,” said Ramil Cangayao, spokesperson of the AMP. AMP is an alliance of urban poor associations in Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon.

Meanwhile Renato Magtubo, PM national chair, asserted that “Violent evictions must be prohibited. Land disputes must be resolved through negotiations without the threat of violence, deceit or bribery. Residents must be relocated to better living conditions to ensure that negotiations end peacefully in agreement.”

Cangayao expressed the fear that violence may erupt once more in Paranaque since another demolition has been scheduled on Thursday at the Tucuma community in Barangay Merville. Ramil Asturias, president of the Tucuma Federation, declared that they will defend their community from any attempt at demolition.

The Tucuma residents are planning a rally at the Paranaque city hall tomorrow to appeal for a stop to the scheduled demolition. Tucuma Federation is an affiliate of the AMP.

Magtubo explained that one of the demands of the coming Labor Day rally is a moratorium on demolitions. Some 20,000 workers and urban poor under the umbrella of the newly-formed Nagkaisa will march along Espana to Mendiola to highlight the issues of job contractualization, low wages, high prices of oil and power and violent demolitions, among others. Some 40 labor organizations established the Nagkaisa, among them the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Federation of Free Workers, Alliance of Progressive Labor and PM.

Press Release
April 24, 2012
Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino

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[In the news] Parents dare Palparan: Face us -INQUIRER.net

Parents dare Palparan: Face us
By Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon
February 12, 2012

The families of missing University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño dared fugitive retired general Jovito Palparan to turn himself in and face them.

They want to confront Palparan about a statement he made through his lawyer on Friday saying that he would not surrender because the missing students were still alive.

The two students have been missing since 2006.

Lawyer Edre Olalia, counsel of the Cadapan and Empeño families, said Palparan should “stop putting [his own] lawyers on the spot… [by making them] trifle with the emotions of suffering mothers [when they issue] recklessly bare claims that their young and abused daughters are still alive.”

Palparan’s lawyer, Jesus Santos, wrote the National Bureau of Investigation on Feb. 1 to say that the missing students were alive.

Palparan’s statement also said that the fugitive retired major general would “try [his] best not to surrender since the filing of the cases against [him] was done illegally.”

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

[In the news] NEDA endorses P13.3-B infra projects for implementation – InterAksyon.com

NEDA endorses P13.3-B infra projects for implementation
by Christine Ubalde, InterAksyon.com
January 22, 2012

 MANILA, Philippines — The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has endorsed for implementation some P13.27 billion worth of projects for irrigation, flood control and education.

In a statement, the NEDA said its Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) recently approved the following projects: the P7.05-billion Casecnan Multi-purpose Irrigation and Power Project-Irrigation Component Phase 2, the P4.66 billion Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Measures in Low-lying Areas of Pampanga Bay Project, and the P1.56-billion Umayam River Irrigation Project.

China will finance at least 75 percent of the second phase of the Casecnan project, which would be implemented by state-run National Irrigation Administration. The project will irrigate 20,321 of the 37,200 hectares of new areas in the towns of Munoz, Guimba, Talugtog, Cuyapo in Nueva Ecija, and Anao, Ramos and Victoria in Tarlac. The project also would ensure irrigation to 40,000 hectares of the Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System.

“This project is consistent with the objective of the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 to improve food security and increasing household income in the countryside through agricultural modernization. It also addresses Central Luzon’s objective of making food affordable and sufficient in and out of the region,” NEDA Director General Cayetano W. Paderanga Jr. said.

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com

[In the news] Filipino president of US medical group helping poor in 120 countries – INQUIRER.net

Filipino president of US medical group helping poor in 120 countries
By Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon
January 8, 2012

 CLARK FREEPORT—A Filipino heads the Michigan-based World Medical Relief Inc. (WMRI), which supports public health care by collecting surplus medical resources and shipping these lifesavers to 120 countries.

This is the third year that George Samson, a nursing undergraduate and a native of Magalang, Pampanga, is serving as president of WMRI.

He currently oversees a mission that was initiated by Irene Auberlin in Detroit for orphans of the Korean War 58 years ago. Apart from his organizing skills, a high sense of ecumenism, and a level of discipline instilled at home, Samson believes his early close encounters with poverty in the Philippines have prepared him well for the job.

“(Auberlin) always said, ‘You help the sick and the poor because God loves them,” he said, citing the source of his inspiration.

He was introduced into this calling through his previous work in his home province.
His first attempt to get a job—as a company nurse at Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils Inc. (CCBPI) in the City of San Fernando—was a failure. But he returned to the company and joined its sales force after he finished a course in commerce. To earn the degree, he worked as a court interpreter during the day and attended classes at night.

Read full article @ inquirer.net

[In the news] NBI: Palparan no-show – INQUIRER.net

NBI: Palparan no-show.

Bureau waited for surrender of ‘Butcher’
By Tonette Orejas
Inquirer Central Luzon

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Expectations of retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. surrendering to authorities were dashed late Friday afternoon, with still no sign of the fugitive.

At 5:33 p.m., Ricardo Diaz, director of the National Bureau of Investigation office in Central Luzon, said: “For reasons unknown to us the alleged plan to give himself up did not materialize. Manhunt continues.”

Only half an hour earlier, Diaz said there was still “a possibility” that Palparan, tagged “Berdugo” (Butcher) by activist groups for his alleged link to extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances, would surrender Friday. “We are on standby just in case,” he said.

Diaz alerted the Inquirer to Palparan’s supposed planned surrender at 10 a.m. Friday but provided no details as to how the NBI was contacted.

The retired major general and three others are charged with kidnapping and serious illegal detention. Kidnapping is a nonbailable offense.

Two of the others charged, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado and S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio, are now in police custody in Camp Crame, Quezon City. But Palparan and the fourth charged, M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario, have eluded arrest since Monday, when warrants for their arrest were issued by Judge Teodora Gonzales of Regional Trial Court Branch 14 in Malolos, Bulacan province.

The case stemmed from the abduction of University of the Philippines student activists Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in Hagonoy, Bulacan, in June 2006, or three months before Palparan retired as commander of the 7th Infantry Division in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija province.

Cadapan and Empeño have not been seen by their families since then.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

[Press Release] Pnoy, BOKYA! Paglabag sa Karapatang Pantao Nagpapatuloy!—KPD

Manila— Members of Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD)
marched to Mendiola today bearing their rating for President Benigno
Aquino III in terms of protecting, promoting and respecting human
rights in his second year in office.

“Zero ang rating namin kay Pnoy, wala pang naparusahan kaya wala pang
katarungan para sa mga biktima,” this according to KPD Secretary
General Chester Amparo as members of the group carried ‘ANGRY BIRDS’
placards and a big ZERO.

According to KPD, civil and political rights continue to be violated
under the Aquino administration, extrajudicial killings continue as
well as enforced disappearances and even torture.

In Central Luzon, there have been 86 new incidents according to the
broad human rights network DEFEND–CL chaired by former Pampanga
Governor Ed Panlilio including eight cases of extra-judicial killings
as well as six incidents of enforced disappearance in 2010.

“No arrest, no conviction translates to no justice for the victims and
their families,” pointed out Amparo. He added that GMA’s arrest though
laudable visibly lacks mention of her bloody human rights record that
is marked by the rise of army officers like Palparan.

“Though an ex-president, she (GMA) still has to be made accountable
for her actions in terms of respect for human rights in the ten years
that she held the reins of power,” declared Amparo.

According to KPD,not only civil and political but economic rights have
also been attacked under Pnoy.

Issues like the right to food –high prices and oil hikes; right to
shelter – demolition without proper relocation; the right to decent
work- issues of contractualization and non-compliance to labor
standards like Hanjin Shipyard in Subic and even issues concerning the
environment – the rise of coal plants and more vigorous mining
investments using more destructive, labor-intensive and cheaper
extraction techniques.

“Due diligence must be exercised by the state to protect the rights of
its citizens.  We call on freedom-loving Filipinos to show their
indignation at Pnoy’s lack of seriousness in dealing with human rights
and lack of conviction to break the culture of impunity. Justice must
be served and the guilty punished,” ended Amparo

[Petition] Sign and Join a Global Campaign vs the International Climate Talks for Durban and Beyond- JSAPMDD

Dear JSAPMDD members and friends,

In the midst of many requests for sign-ons,  I almost apologize for sending yet another one. But this is truly important so I beg your patience and consider to this one asap!

In behalf of JSAPMDD, I  joined colleagues from other international  networks and organizations in collaborating on a call for a  “Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice” directed at all governments and the international climate talks.

As you all know, the international climate talks is not the only arena of our struggles for climate justice.  But we see it a crtical one in which we forget collective efforts with other groups to fight for the rights and well-being of our peoples and our planet.

We urge you to sign on your individual organizations as an expression of your commitment to this collective efforts.

We are happy that other participating groups have also agreed to adopt the JSAPMDD proposal to make November 20 to 26 a “Global Week of Action for Climate Justice”

Many thanks!



We are movements and organizations engaged in many struggles for a new world – a world in which the needs, interests, rights and aspirations of peoples everywhere have priority over the profit of corporations and the excess of elites. In the year ahead, our solidarity and collective action is extremely crucial.  Climate change is already having devastating impacts globally and is accelerating. The window for preventing the breach of tipping points and stopping climate catastrophe is rapidly closing.

Climate change is more than multiplying the sufferings of people already burdened by the global injustices of hunger, dispossession and violation of human rights. It is a crisis that also threatens to wipe out vast populations and profoundly change life on Earth.  We must act with clarity, cohesion and courage if we are to stabilize the Earth’s climate system and secure a just and sustainable world.

Like other global crises, climate change arises principally from historically unequal economic and social structures, from practices and policies promoted by rich, industrialized countries, and from systems of production and consumption that sacrifice the needs of the many to the interests of a few. The affected peoples of the world bear little responsibility for the climate crisis yet suffer its worst effects and are deprived of the means to respond.

Addressing these challenges requires profound social transformation in all countries and at all levels – local, national and global.  It requires a rapid shift to systems and methods of production and consumption that are compatible with the limits of the planet and are aimed at meeting the needs of peoples rather than the relentless pursuit of profit.

Part of the process of profound social transformation is fighting for and achieving immediate concrete results in terms of drastic reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and enabling people to deal with the impacts of the climate crisis.

It is in this light that we are engaged in the fight for an international climate architecture that is rooted in science, equity and justice.  Governments meeting at this year’s UN Climate Conference in Durban must end years of delay and meet their moral, historical and legal obligations.

Rather than honoring their historical responsibilities and legal commitments, governments of rich industrialized countries have been trying to reverse Climate Convention principles and dismantle existing agreements. This effort started with the so-called Copenhagen Accord , was advanced by the Cancun outcomes, and may reach culmination in Durban.  Among other things, they are seeking to impose a domestic “pledge and review” system, deregulate multilateral climate rules and promote false solutions such as the expansion of carbon markets. Their efforts must be met with intensified resistance.

As part of a broader struggle to achieve climate justice, reparations for climate debt and a profound global transformation – we demand from all governments that if the international negotiations are to mean anything, they must deliver outcomes that will

·         Prevent catastrophic climate change and ensure just and fair sharing of drastic emission reductions. Limit temperature rise to well below 1.5º C and bring it down to 1º C as fast as possible. Rich industrialized countries to fulfill their existing legally binding commitments and undertake drastic emissions cuts without offsets in line with their fair share of the global carbon budget that takes into account historical per capita emissions. Offsets and other loopholes must be removed. The US must commit to comparable targets, based on its historical responsibility;

·         Stop false solutions. Stop the implementation and pursuit of false solutions such as carbon trading, market-based approaches to forests, soil and water, large-scale geo-engineering and techno-fixes, nuclear energy, mega hydro dams, agro-fuels, and clean coal; and

·         Ensure adequate and appropriate finance on the basis of countries’ responsibility for climate debt and obligation to make reparations to all affected peoples. Rich, industrialized countries to cover the full costs of enabling peoples of developing countries and other affected communities to deal with the impacts of climate change (including past, present and future losses), as well as the costs of enabling developing countries to shift to equitable, post carbon sustainable systems. Climate finance must not be in the form of debt-creating instruments and should be channeled through a democratic and accountable global fund that is independent of other international financial institutions and upholds the principles of direct access and country-determined, participatory decisions on the use of funds

·         Ensure appropriate technology transfers without intellectual property barriers. Developed countries must ensure free sharing of safe, appropriate and ecologically and socially sound technologies.

·        Advance the transformation to  Equitable, Democratic Post Carbon Systems. Take decisive steps towards the profound transformation of the system based on equity, science and the rights of peoples to live well in harmony with and respect for Mother Earth. Transform social and economic structures and technologies and re-orient policies to move away from profit-driven, growth oriented, high-carbon, elite-dominated exploitative systems and instead ensure a just transition to people-driven, equitable, democratic, post carbon sustainable development.

We urge all movements, peoples’ organizations, civil society groups and all concerned citizens to come together in a Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice. Let us kick off this campaign together with coordinated mobilizations in a  Week of Global Actions for Climate Justice on November 20 to 26!

Initial list of signatories and participants to this common campaign:

Pan African Climate Justice Alliance
Jubilee South – Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development

[Event] Blog Action Day for Climate Justice – FCAID

In solidarity with the victims of typhoons Ondoy (“Ketsana”), Pepeng, Frank and all other extreme weather events and disasters of the past here in Manila and all over the Philippines, the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) and the Freelance Writers of the Philippines (FWP) call on writers/bloggers/media workers to write their literary pieces, essays, tweets and slogans on “climate justice”. All these are to be submitted on September 26, 2011. See related FWP FB doc (Writers Unite) for details.

For those with blogs, you can upload your article in your own blogs and at the same time submit it on the day itself (platform or link to this site will be posted on Thursday). For those without blogs, you can submit your articles and pieces via climatejustice@groups.facebook.com. Also do follow us in twitter (@clim8justicePH) and flood it with your tweets on climate justice.

We see that writers can play a big role in this effort to best articulate the issue especially with political, manipulative moves by the rich, industrialized and overly-consuming countries (Annex 1), which don’t want to be accountable from their past actions on too much greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) brought about by unfettered industrialization and accumulation of profit. This hampers genuine actions to mitigate the impacts of climate crisis to the most vulnerable communities especially the indigenous people. We believe that writers can share the passion in spreading the message. Actions must be taken before the situation becomes even worst.

For the Philippine-setting, writers/bloggers can use the destruction of Sierra Madre Mountain Range in Central Luzon (forest and climate) and typhoon Ondoy as concrete examples where you can apply the concept of climate justice. There are many news articles, which you can use as source for these two cases. Aside from the 2nd year since Ondoy hit Manila, it’s also the Save Sierra Madre Day as proclaimed by Malacañang.

The following sources can be used to understand climate justice: Jubileesouth Asia Pacific Movement on Debt & Dev’t (JSAPMDD), Climate Justice Now! (CJN) , Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), World Bank Out of Climate Finance!, Third World Network (TWN) and Friends of the Earth International (FoE UK).

This is an awareness-raising initiative to push people to take action against climate change by claiming climate justice.

In return for those who will contribute, all submissions are bylined, with back-links for the promotion of their blogs. As contributions come in on that day, names of contributors will be mentioned in the tweets of clim8justicePH. If the writer/blogger is affiliated with FWP, we request him/her to mention that he/she is a member of FWP.

PMCJ is a movement composed of the affected sectors and communities, CSOs and POs that stand united in demanding for what we call climate justice. It is a concept that dwells on the anthropogenic or human causes of climate change, demanding the rich, industrialized, overly-consuming countries (Annex 1) to be held accountable for their abuse of the atmospheric space due to their too much emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Although globally all countries must do their share in solving the climate crisis, PMCJ believes that those countries, which caused the most damage must do more and make a significant contribution in resolving the crisis.

PMCJ also brings forward the demands and amplify the voices of the most affected and vulnerable communities, which is a step towards claiming climate justice.

This initiative is also in partnership with the Faith-based Congress of the Philippines (FCAID) and the Freelance Writers of the Philippines (FWP).

[Press Release] Groups protest against DENR, reject mining policy – alyansatigilmina.net

Jaybee Garganera, Natl. Coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina together with other advocates protest inside DENR compound. Photos by ATM

Groups protest against DENR, reject mining policy
Indigneous peoples shout ‘no to mining our ancestral lands!’

Manila – About a hundred protestors held a rally in front of DENR yesterday, demanding that the government stop the entry of large-scale mining in ancestral lands of indigenous peoples.  The event coincided with the 4th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples or UNDRIP.

Indigenous peoples from the Cordillera region, Central Luzon, and the islands of Mindoro and Palawan are in Manila participating in the UNDRIP celebrations, and are holding national consultations on pending bills in Congress, including proposed laws on forestry, mining and land use.  Participants represented the various ethno-linguistic groups including Ifugaos, Aetas, Dumagats, Mangyans and Palaw’ans.

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[Press Release] Teachers push for higher education budget – www.teachersdignity.com

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) is bringing the teachers’ clamor for higher education budget to the plenary of the House of Representatives on September 16, the date when the lawmakers deliberate the proposed 2012.

“For the longest time, the legislators and the past presidents were all aware that the allocation for education sector is inadequate, yet there was no drastic or at least considerable move to resolve the perennial problem of shortages of classrooms and other facilities and the very minimal compensation to our teachers.” Said Benjo Basas, a teacher from Caloocan City and the group’s chairperson.

Basas said they had a dialogue with Secretary Armin Luistro last week where they argued the need for higher allocation to hire more teachers and build more classrooms instead of giving the funds for PPP (Public Private Partnership) scheme like the GASTPE or the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers of Private Education. However, he said that the DepEd defended its budget proposal and said it will secure the GASTPE budget amounting to 6.3 billion for 2012.

“The single most important thing to be considered for 2012 in line with the government’s program is the kindergarten system. It is very ironic that while the Aquino administration considers this K-12 program as a flagship for the education sector, it only provides very minimal amount of 1.9 billion for pre-school education. How can we hire competent kinder teachers and where will we get funds to build kinder classrooms to at least 1 group of pre-schoolers per elementary school? That is around 38, 000 kinder class.” Basas explained.

The group also hit the government for providing too much for GASTPE program while giving little concern for other necessities especially those for the welfare of teachers; hiring more teachers, providing benefits and other incentives including the teaching aid or chalk allowance.

“The government allocated 6.3 billion for GASTPE while it only set aside 2.9 billion for hiring of 13, 000 teachers. If we slash even half of it, we could hire another 13, 000 teachers and that would mean a drastic 26, 000 response to a shortage of 99, 000 teachers for this school year. The figure increases annually.” Basas furthered.

He said that some of the benefits are actually provided by the existing laws like the medical examination and hospitalization for teachers which under the 1966 Magna Carta shall be given free to teachers.

“For these reasons, we are bringing the issue of budget to the plenary. We will mobilize teachers on September 16 when the lawmakers open the debates in the plenary.”

Tomorrow, September 12, teacher-leaders from NCR, Central Luzon and CALABARZON will have a forum at the Conference Hall of DepEd NCR in Quezon City to discuss and analyze the budget and plan for September 16 mobilization. #

Reference: Benjo Basas, National Chair 0920-5740241/ 3853437

[Press Release] Human rights groups to P-Noy: Now Not Later is the Time to Act on Human Rights

PNoy Act Now! Before its too late again. Photo by John Alster Soriano/MAG

Rights groups to P-Noy: Act Now! Before its too late again. The group gave him a wristwatch to symbolize their call for action on HRVs. Photo by John Alster Soriano/MAG

Human rights violations are spreading out from Central Luzon to Basilan, where cases of torture and extrajudicial killings have begun to pile up, President Benigno S. Aquino III should now act and take concrete steps to resolve the human rights violations attributed to state security forces in pursuance of internal security policies, and to free all political prisoners unconditionally, human rights groups and non-government organizations said.
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