Tag Archives: dilg secretary

[Press Release] Amnesty International called on PNOy and new DILG Secretary Mar Roxas to investigate the killings of Indigenous Peoples in Zamboanga

Amnesty International called on PNOy and new DILG Secretary Mar Roxas to investigate the killings of Indigenous Peoples in Zamboanga

Amnesty International Philippines called on President Aquino and newly appointed DILG Secretary Mar Roxas to investigate the killing of 11 year old, Jordan Manda, eldest son of Timuay Lucenio Manda, a Subanen tribe chieftain in Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur, also wounded during an ambush attack by unidentified assailants early today, 4 September 2012.

“The killing of Jordan Manda and wounding of Timuay Lucenio Manda must be rigorously investigated so that the perpetrators of the crime will be brought to justice. The killing of Jordan Manda, groomed to be a next Timuay, is a painful reminder that Indigenous Peoples are not protected. Timuay Manda’s care for the Subanen’s ancestral domain and his position for a moratorium on mining concessions in Bayog might have led to the attack on him and his son. His family has continuously experienced violence even before the assassination of his cousin, Timuay Giovanni Umbang Manda ten years earlier. This is grave proof that the indigenous peoples rights have been left behind not only by the Aquino government but in the previous Arroyo administration. The lumads have been invisible in the eyes of the government and local authorities despite human rights abuses they experience in defense of their lands,” said Dr. Aurora Parong, Director of Amnesty International Philippines.

According to reports, the Subanen leader, also a member Amnesty International Philippines, was ambushed on his way to take his son to school. Unidentified assailants fired at the leader and led to the death of his son.

“Amnesty International supports Timuay Manda in calling for justice for his son and his people. He is highly involved in efforts against the destruction of their ancestral lands by logging and mining and has been working for the cooperation among Subanens in the Central Zamboanga Peninsula to protect their remaining contiguous ancestral domain. Together with other concerned groups, he joined the filing of a petition for the Writ of Kalikasan to protect the Pinukis Range Forest, among the last untouched forest region in the Zamboanga Peninsula which is unfortunately included in the mining claims of several companies. Mt. Pinukis is considered by the Subanen people of Zamboanga Peninsula as among their Sacred Mountains,” added Dr. Parong.

Reports of harassments allegedly by personnel of Toronto Ventures Inc. Resource Development (TVIRD) have been recorded in July. It was reported by the police that Wilbert Catampungan was fatally wounded by gun fires coming from TVIRD blue guards. TVIRD arrived on site in 2006 and has been exploring the area for a project of gold and silver extraction and allegedly resorts to various forms of violence against other small-scale IP miners established in the domain.

“Less than a month after the International day for Indigenous Peoples, a lumad boy is killed. Amnesty International Philippines is deeply concerned on reports that the local police do not act even when the Subanens seek for protection from multiple threats coming from the armed guards of the mining company. The killings in Bayog, and other parts affected by mining conflicts, must stop now! An immediate impartial investigation is urgently needed,” said Dr. Parong.

Amnesty International urges the government, especially the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and more importantly the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.

“Amnesty International calls on DILG Secretary Mar Roxas to lead the DILG including the police forces to stop the culture of impunity – the LGU and local police must address threats on the safety of IPs in mining-affected areas. The DILG must work with the Commission on Human Rights to conduct investigations on the reported extra-judicial killings and harassments. We call on President Benigno Aquino to pay attention to the resolution of the 36 killings of IP human rights defenders in his term as reported by CHR Pagadian. The Indigenous Peoples’ future depend on genuine efforts and concrete actions by the government to fulfill their duties in holding mining corporations accountable for any human rights abuses against the indigenous peoples or anyone. Respect and protect IP right must come first! People before profit!” Dr. Parong concluded.

Maria Edilyd P. Orias
Program Coordinator
Media Communication and Publications
+63 917 885 8634

http://www.amnesty.org.ph/news.php?item=news&id=268

Amnesty International Philippines
Press Release

4 September 2012

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

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

[People] Last lap for the RH Bill? By Walden Bello

Afterthoughts

Last lap for the RH Bill?
By Walden Bello

Philippine Daily Inquirer
August 27, 2012

With Congress resuming deliberations after the nation was united in response to the unending rains of early August and brought together in mourning the untimely departure of DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, the battle over the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill will again move to center stage.

Let me try to answer the most frequently asked questions on where Congress is at on the bill.

What is the status of the bill?

House Bill 4244, better known as the Responsible Parenthood or Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, is now being discussed in plenary, and we are in the period of amendments in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. It was reported out of the Committee on Population of the House as early as January 2011, but the anti-RH forces forced a very long period of interpellation. This ended only when President Aquino, at a special luncheon in Malacanang on August 6, pleaded with members of the House to vote to end the period of interpellation. With the House agreeing to the presidential request and voting viva voce to end the period of interpellation, we advanced to the period of amendments. The Senate has done likewise. But the process has again been delayed by anti-RH forces, like Senator Tito Sotto and Rep. Roilo Golez of Parañaque, who have been filibustering in an effort to prevent the amendment process from moving forward.

What is the strategy of the anti-RH group?

The anti-RH lobby knows that at the moment the pro-RH forces are likely to be in the majority. So their strategy is to prolong the parliamentary process and bring it as close as possible to the national elections in May 2013. There are two reasons behind this strategy. The first is that they hope some of the pro-RH forces will waver and decide against voting for the bill for fear that the Catholic Church hierarchy will tell their Catholic constituents to vote against them. The bishops are stoking the fear of legislators that though there may not be a significant “Catholic vote,” even if as low as three per cent of the electorate listen to their bishop, this can make the difference in close elections, which is often the case in congressional races. The other reason is that once we get to early October, it will be very difficult to muster quorums to take up legislation since most members of the House will be busy with their electoral campaigns.

What is the Church hierarchy up to?

The Catholic Church hierarchy is vehemently against the bill, and this is the reason the bill was bottled up in congressional committees for 14 years. It is only in the current 15th Congress that the bill has been able to reach the plenary. Despite the ecclesiastical campaign against family planning, surveys have shown that the population, more than 80 per cent of which is Catholic, is overwhelmingly in favor of family planning, including artificial contraception, and against efforts by the Church to interfere with couples’ personal decisions on family planning.

With things coming to a climax, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has stepped up its campaign of lies against the bill. For instance, it is attacking the bill as a measure that would lead to abortion. However, the bill is explicitly against abortion, and, if passed, would actually contribute decisively to reducing the estimated 450,000 abortions that now occur annually by giving people seeking to limit their family size access to contraceptives that would prevent unwanted pregnancies. The hierarchy is also asserting that RH would lead to immoral behavior, and that use of condoms would spread HIV-AIDs. These are just three of the many falsehoods and distortions the bishops have spread against the bill.

In addition to actively coaching the anti-RH legislators, the bishops have been mounting demonstrations “of the faithful,” though these have fallen flat in terms of numbers. They have even taken to lobbying Congress directly. Recently, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa City distributed statues of the Virgin Mary to pro-RH legislators, a move that many congressmen interpreted either as a threat or a bribe. My office returned the statue to Arguelles, as we would a monetary bribe.

How will the pro-RH forces cope with delaying tactics?

The pro-RH forces are not without weapons. We are halting the consideration of all other legislative matters, including privileged speeches, unless the bill moves forward to a vote. We will place the onus for the legislative stalemate on the anti-democratic dilatory moves of the anti-RH minority. Some of us are considering even suspending the consideration of the national budget, but only as a last resort, if the anti-RH lobby does not see the light.

What are the chances of the bill passing?

I estimate that we have about 140 sure votes and another 15-20 leaning our way. There are 285 House members, and of this, I think that the solidly anti-RH forces probably number no more than120. So we are battling for some 30-35 undecided or wavering forces. A majority of senators are for the bill. So it’s not the numbers we fear. It’s the delaying tactics, the move to prevent a vote from being taken at all. In my view, however, procedural derailment will not succeed, and we will be able to bring the bill to a vote before the end of September. I am confident that vote will be one that will uphold responsible parenthood, reproductive rights, reason, science, and the national interest,

*INQUIRER.net columnist Walden Bello represents Akbayan (Citizens’ Action Party) in the House of Representatives and is one of the main authors of the Reproductive Health Bill (House Bill 4244).

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

[Press Release] Tucuma residents welcome suspension of demolitions but wants moratorium extended till housing program reformed -Tucuma Federation

Tucuma residents welcome suspension of demolitions but wants moratorium extended till housing program reformed

The residents of the depressed community of Tucuma in Barangay Merville, Parañaque who have been preparing to fight off an eviction heaved a sigh of relief and welcomed the temporary suspension of demolitions ordered by DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo hours after they held a rally and sought a dialogue with his office yesterday.

“We however call on Sec. Robredo to extend the moratorium till the housing and even jobs policy of the government is reviewed and reformed,” Ramil Asturias, Tucuma Federation president said. This was in reaction to reports that the suspension will only last until the regulations on demolitions are assessed and affirmed.

Leaders of Tucuma Federation together with residents of NIA compound in Quezon City and West Bicutan who face similar land disputes staged the rally and were met with a DILG official named Clarion Paz-Tanghal who received the letter on behalf of Sec. Robredo. Asturias appealed to Robredo to facilitate negotiations between Tucuma Federation, the landowner Molave Development Corporation and Parañaque Mayor Florencio Bernabe.

Renato Magtubo, Partido ng Manggagawa chairperson, supported Asturias’ position and said that “Suspending demolitions until new rules are drafted merely scratches the surface of the problem. The government needs to address the root cause of lack of housing for the poor. The housing program is tied up with the jobs and wages policy. The low wages in the country, as attested by a recent report of the ILO, means that the poor have barely enough income for food much less rent or amortization on housing.”

Magtubo announced that a long march or Lakbayan from Calabarzon to Manila will be held on the eve of Labor Day and banner the call “Stop to demolitions, Housing and jobs for all.” Some 400 workers, youth and poor from Cavite, Laguna and Batangas will march from Zapote early in the morning of April 30 then merge with a contingent from Metro Manila by 3:00 p.m. in Baclaran and stay overnight at the Holy Trinity Church in Balic-Balic. On May 1, the “Lakbayan para sa Pabahay at Trabaho” will join the huge 20,000-strong “historic” rally by the newly-formed Nagkaisa, which unites the country’s major labor center for the first time since the 1980’s.

Magtubo revealed that the number of informal settlers was estimated at half a million families by a HUDCC study in 2007 while the housing backlog is assumed to be 3.7 million units. “Tucuma’s fight is the fight of all. Decent housing is a right not a privilege of all Filipinos. 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,” he insisted.

Press Release
April 28, 2012
Tucuma Federation
Contact Ramil Asturias @ 09178092807

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

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