Tag Archives: Jejomar Binay

[In the news] OFWs allege abuse in Saudi immigration crackdown -INQUIRER.net

OFWs allege abuse in Saudi immigration crackdown.
Agence France-Presse
November 4, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – Thirty Filipino workers expelled from Saudi Arabia returned home Monday and alleged they were abused amid a crackdown on illegal migrants there.

inquirer

They were among an estimated 6,700 Filipino workers stranded in parts of the oil-rich Middle Eastern kingdom where an amnesty for undocumented foreigners ended over the weekend.

“They treated us like animals,” said domestic helper Amor Roxas, 46, who burst in tears while narrating her ordeal.

She claimed Saudi police rounded them up and placed them in a crowded cell for four days before they were paraded from the immigration center to the airport.

“Our feet were chained,” added Yvonne Montefeo, 32, in between sobs.

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[In the news] VP Binay seeks double prayers for OFW in Saudi Arabia death row -GMAnews

VP Binay seeks double prayers for OFW in Saudi Arabia death row
November 2, 2013

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Saturday asked Filipinos to double their prayers for overseas Filipino worker Joselito Zapanta, on the eve of the Nov. 3 deadline for him to pay blood money so he can escape the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

gmanewsonline

Binay, the presidential adviser on OFW concerns, said the staff members of the Philippine and Sudanese embassies are already working to save Zapanta.

“It’s already November and we still have to raise a big amount. We need to double our prayers for Joselito and his family,” he said in a post on his Facebook page.

“Let’s hope he will be given an extension or his blood money will be lessened,” he added.

Read full article @www.gmanetwork.com

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[Statement] Fund People’s Protection against Poverty and Inequality -KAMP

Fund People’s Protection against Poverty and Inequality

KAMP

President Benigno Aquino III’s pronouncement scrapping the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) could have been an affirmation of government’s subservience to people’s sovereignty, but the president chose to hoodwink the people and cheat on his own “matuwid na daan”.

He announced the abolition of the annual Php25 billion lump-sum appropriation and its removal from the discretion of lawmakers, but in the same breath offered it again as a multi-purpose fund for legislators. What makes this more suspicious is the president’s continued silence on his own and Vice-President Jejomar Binay’s discretionary funds of P450 billion and P200 million, respectively. Aside from the 7.8 % exclusionary GDP growth, this is another sign of PNoy’s misplaced priorities.

The Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP) denounces the president’s cheap tricks. People’s taxes are people’s funds and must be used for the benefit of the people.

Prioritize public spending on people’s protection against poverty and inequality

Official statistics show the country’s glaring poverty incidence and gross disparity in terms of access to resources and essential services. Measures should be implemented to ensure income and wealth redistribution, and protect the people already reeling from the financial crisis that threatens to get worse. PNoy should go beyond the confines of his current fragmented, temporary and palliative social assistance and institute a comprehensive and universal social protection program provisioning for a life of dignity for all. This includes:
Universal health care based on the primary health care principle that ensures the well-being of the citizenry and not limited interventions in times of illness;
Generation, not merely facilitation, of employment with living wages and of livelihoods protected against unfair competition and monopoly by big capitalists;
Guaranteed and quality education;
Living pension or subsidy for the elderly and the differently abled;
Socialized housing programs that guarantee adequate and humane shelter for all;
Access to and availability of basic services such as water, power and transportation.

Review budget laws and processes and ensure equitable sharing of national revenues

KAMP does not buy the line that only Senators and members of the House of Representatives know what development projects to propose and approve and how much of the people’s money should go to their favored districts and sectors. This lame excuse for patronage politics, in effect, continues to distort national economic planning and undermines development programs. Provided there are clear national priorities and responsive development plans, local development and resource allocations are best left to the local government units. This is based on the assumption that the pork barrel system is eliminated from the national down to the local level, and people’s participation is accepted as part of the political process.

Lump-sum funds or lawmaker-sponsored projects only foster increased reliance on favors from the president and the legislators. The question of ensuring that territorial and political subdivisions get equitable share of national revenues immediately calls for a review of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) formula and criteria to check if these are still relevant to the current needs of localities.

The pork barrel scandals involving public officials also point to the need to fix loopholes in budget laws and processes starting with the review and amendment of the Administrative Act of 1987. The national budget exercise has been corrupted to an extent that the “power of the purse” which used to be exercised by Congress to check and balance the president’s fiscal powers has been surrendered by legislators more concerned with getting a substantive slice of public funds.

Strengthen mechanisms for people’s participation; Pass FOI bill

PNoy administration’s bottom-up planning and budgeting approach is a welcome effort to encourage people’s involvement in determining projects responsive to their needs. The process, however, should be more inclusive of the wide range of civil society formations. Moreover, bottom-up planning and budgeting requires strong people’s movements and participation.

P-Noy’s statement on the PDAF seems to focus more on the Napoles P10 billion pork barrel scam by banning the NGOs from receiving public funds. Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg. What has scandalized the people to outrage are the extent and thoroughness of budget scams that have defrauded them of vital social services and protection, and the involvement of the executive and legislative officials, the bureaucracy, NGOs and even religious leaders. Implicated too is the judiciary by turning a blind eye to the scams. More than ever, the need to pass the Freedom of Information bill becomes more urgent, and tests the administration’s and legislators’ sincerity in addressing the web of corruption that has engulfed the entire political system.

Transparent and Thorough Investigation

All transactions related to the misuse and abuse of all discretionary funds, not just PDAF, must be investigated by the newly formed Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAAGCC). This includes appropriations and disbursements done under the administration of PNoy.

IAGCC’s investigation must not result only in punishing the guilty and in recovering stolen assets. The council’s work must also aid in strengthening laws and processes on the utilization of public funds and point out the accountability—the sins of commission and omission—of concerned public officials in the performance of their duties. The list of robbers in government includes all those who feign public interest for personal gain and disregard the people’s will. PNoy joined this list when he attempted to cheat the people out of their victory over corruption.

Let the Million People March to Luneta and Mendiola on Monday, 26 August 2013, be a reminder to the president and all public officials that this government exists to serve the interest of the people and not the other way around.

Fund Social Protection Against Poverty and Inequality!
Life of Dignity for All!

KAMP is a broad, multi-sectoral and inclusive network that is focused on pushing for universal and transformative social protection towards attaining social justice. It pushes for a five-point agenda: employment guarantee, universal health care services, adequate food, humane housing, and social insurance particularly universal pension for the elderly and differently-abled, and agricultural insurance.

[Appeal] Panawagan para sa kalayaan ni RODELIO “DONDON” LANUZA, OFW on Deathrow, KSA -Barya Mo Buhay Ko

Panawagan para sa kalayaan ni RODELIO “DONDON” LANUZA, OFW on Deathrow, KSA -Barya Mo Buhay Ko

Pamilya ni Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza, kasama ng kanyang mga tagasuporta, ay patuloy na nananawagan sa gobyernong Aquino at sa lahat ng mga Pilipino sa buong mundo na siya ay tulungan na mailigtas sa bingit ng kamatayan.

Magugunita na si Dondon Lanuza ay namasukan bilang Draftsman ng Aramco sa Saudi sa edead na 22 anyos. Noong Agosto 10, 2000, sa edad na 25, siya ay nakulong sa salang pagpatay sa isang arabong kasamahan sa trabaho na nagtangkang gawan siya ng masama. Siya ay nahatulan ng parusang kamatayan sa pamamagitan ng pagputgot sa kanyang ulo. Noong Febrero 11, 2011, sa tulong ng Saudi Reconciliation Committee, si Dondon Lanuza ay nagawaran ng kapatawaran ng pamilya ng kanyang napatay kapalit ang 3M saudi riyals o humigit kumulang 35M pesos na blood money.

Sa tulong ni Mrs. Loida Lewis, isang Fil-American Philantropist, ay nakalikom na ng halagang 10.4M pesos. Sa kasalukuyan, patuloy ang apela ni Dondon Lanuza at nang kanyang ina na mapunuan ang kakulangan sa nasabing blood money. Narito ang liham apela ng kanyang ina:

Sa aking mga Kababayan,

Ako po si Mrs. Letty Celestino Lanuza, nanay ni Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza, na ang kalayaan ay malapit nang makamtan matapos ang labing dalawang taon sa bilangguan sa Saudi. Subalit ang kanyang kalayaan ay nanganganib kapag hindi nabuo ang blood money.

Ako po ay labis na nangangamba na ang lahat ng suporta, tulong pinansyal at panalangin ng mga tao ay mabalewala lamang kung siya ay tuluyang masentensiyahan. Nanawagan po ako sa Pangulong Noynoy Aquino at Pangalawang Pangulo Jejomar Binay na kami po ay tulungang maisalba ang buhay ng anak ko. Nananawagan din po ako sa aking kapwa Pilipino sa buong mundo. Bawat segundo po ay mahalaga para buhay ng aking anak. Nakikiusap po ako sainyo na patuloy ninyo siyang tulungan.

Maraming salamat at nawa’y pagpalain kayo ng Poong Maykapal.
Narito naman ang mensahe ni Dondon Lanuza:

Labing dalawang taon na ang nasayang sa aking buhay, labing dalawang taon na puno ng pagdurusa sa loob ng kulungan. Hindi ko inakalang ganito ang aking magiging kapalaran. Dinaranas ko ngayon ang bunga ng aking nagawa. Ipinagtanggol ko lamang ang aking sariling dignidad at buhay. Bawat segundo ng aking buhay ay taos puso akong nanalangin na ako ay mapatawad ng pamilya ng aking napatay. Labing dalawang taon na puno ng pag-asa na isang araw ako ay makakalaya at mapakapag simulang muli ng bagong buhay.

Dalawangpu’t limang taong gulang lamang ako nang makulong. Nasayang ang aking buhay, mga ambisyon at pangarap. Napunta ako sa maling lugar at pagkakataon. Kung alam ko lang na ganto ang aking sasapitin, sana hinayaan ko na lang na ako ay abusuhin. Pero kahit naman sinong taong nalagay sa alanganin ay talagang ipagtatanggol din ang kanyang sarili sa kapahamakan.

Dalangin ko sa Diyos na ako ay bigyan pa ng isang pagkakataon na mabuhay ng Malaya kapiling ang aking mga mahal sa buhay. Ako ay patuloy na nananalangin at kumakapit sa Diyos na isang araw makikita kong muli ang liwanag ng bagong pag-asa.

Muli po akong nagmamakaawa na ako ay tulungan mailigtas sa parusang kamatayan. Tulungan ninyo po akong mapunuan ang blood money. Maawa po kayo sa akin at sa aking pamilya. Sapat na ang labing dalawang taon para pagbayaran ko ang aking nagawang paglabag sa batas ng Saudi.

Ako at ang buong pamilya ko ay taos pusong nagpapasalat sa lahat ng sumuporta at patuloy na sumusuporta sa akin at sa lahat po na nagdadasal para sa aking kaligtasan. Nawa po ay huwag kayong magsasawa na ako ay tulungan. Diyos na po ang bahalang gumanti sa inyong kabutihang loob.

Maaari po lamang na ihulog ang inyong mga donasyon sa:

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[In the news] Philippines, Saudi Arabia sign pact giving Filipino household workers higher pay -INQUIRER.net

Philippines, Saudi Arabia sign pact giving Filipino household workers higher pay.

By Tarra Quismundo, Fat Reyes, INQUIRER.net, Philippine Daily Inquirer
October 5, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines and Saudi Arabia have agreed to implement a “pioneering” standard employment contract for newly hired Filipino domestic workers in the Middle Eastern country, a document that would provide for higher compensation, better working conditions and benefits for household workers, officials said on Thursday.

This as Saudi Arabia, one of the largest receiving countries for Filipino domestics, resumed the employment of household service workers (HSWs) after a more than yearlong ban.

Early last year, the Saudi Arabian government stopped processing, verifying, and authenticating applications from the country’s domestic workers following disagreements in wages. The Philippines wanted the domestic workers to get a minimum monthly salary of $400 but Saudi Arabia found it too high, saying the average was only $200.

In a press conference on Thursday, Vice President Jejomar Binay said the new contract, which he helped negotiate for roughly a year, could serve as a model that Philippine labor authorities might pursue with other countries that have been receiving overseas Filipino workers.

“Hopefully, this will be a model for other countries to adopt. Through this contract, we hope our workers will be treated with respect and dignity,” said Binay.

Read full article @ globalnation.inquirer.net

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[Isyung HR] State of the Mokong Address

State of the Mokong Address

Babala: ang inyong mababasa ay pawang mga opinyon lamang, kathang isip at katuwaan. Ang mapikon… Mokong nga e.

Maraming salamat po. Maupo ho tayong lahat.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte; Bise Presidente Jejomar Binay; mga dating Pangulong Fidel Valdez Ramos at Joseph Ejercito Estrada; ang ating mga kagalang-galang na mahistrado ng Korte Suprema; mga kagalang-galang na kagawad ng kalipunang diplomatiko; mga kagalang-galang na miyembro ng Kamara de Representante at ng Senado; mga pinuno ng pamahalaang lokal; mga miyembro ng ating Gabinete; mga unipormadong kasapi ng militar at kapulisan; mga kapwa kong nagseserbisyo sa taumbayan; at, siyempre, sa akin pong mga boss, magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

Mokong: Maraming salamat po. Maupo ho tayong lahat.

Walang tumalima, kasi wala naman palang nakatayo.

Mokong: Senate President Gusto ko Happy ka, haping-hapi ako sa ‘yo. Speaker Sonny “Cha-Cha” Belmonte, mga dating pangulong “Philippines 2000” at “Erap para sa mahirap”; ang ating mga His/Her Excellency sa diplomatic community, mga pork barrel recipient, mga human rights violators at sa aking pong mga boss, magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

Ito po ang aking ikatlong SONA, at parang kailan lang nang nagsimula tayong mangarap. Parang kailan lang nang sabay-sabay tayong nagpasyang tahakin ang tuwid na daan. Parang kailan lang nang sinimulan nating iwaksi ang wang-wang, hindi lamang sa kalsada kundi sa sistemang panlipunan.

Dalawang taon na ang nakalipas mula nang sinabi ninyo, “Sawa na kami sa korupsyon; sawa na kami sa kahirapan.” Oras na upang ibalik ang isang pamahalaang tunay na kakampi ng taumbayan.

Mokong: Ito po ang aking ikatlong SONA at wala pa rin akong balak maglabas ng National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP), at parang kailan lang nang sabay-sabay tayong nagpasyang tahakin ang tuwid na daang para lamang sa iilan. Parang kailan lang nang sinimulan nating iwaksi ang wang-wang, hindi lamang sa kalsada kundi sa sistemang panlipunan.

Dalawang taon na ang nakalipas nang sinabi ninyo, “Sawa na kami sa korupsiyon; sawa na kami sa kahirapan.”

Taong kamukongan: (sumingit) Mokong highness sinabi rin po namin, sawa na kami sa Impunity!
Mokong: Oras na upang ibalik ang isang pamahalaang kakampi ng taumbayan.

Taong Kamukongan: Bakit san ka pupunta? Are you going to resign and let the kamukongan people reign?

Gaya ng marami sa inyo, namulat ako sa panggigipit ng makapangyarihan. Labindalawang-taong gulang po ako nang idineklara ang Batas Militar. Bumaliktad ang aming mundo: Pitong taon at pitong buwang ipiniit ang aking ama; tatlong taong napilitang mangibang-bansa ang aking pamilya; naging saksi ako sa pagdurusa ng marami dahil sa diktadurya. Dito napanday ang aking prinsipyo: Kung may inaagrabyado’t ninanakawan ng karapatan, siya ang kakampihan ko. Kung may abusadong mapang-api, siya ang lalabanan ko. Kung may makita akong mali sa sistema, tungkulin kong itama ito.

Mokong: Gaya ng marami sa inyo, namulat ako sa panggigipit ng makapangyarihan. Labindalawang-taong gulang po ako nang idineklara ang Batas Militar. Bumaliktad ang aming mundo: Pitong taon at pitong buwang ipiniit ang aking ama kaya hindi ako nagpapalaya ng political prisoners ngayon; tatlong taong napilitang mangibang-bansa ang aking pamilya kaya wala akong banggit ngayon hinggil sa OFW; naging saksi ako sa pagdurusa ng marami dahil sa diktadurya kaya hindi naipasa ang Compensation for all victims of Martial Law. Dito napanday ang aking prinsipyo: Kung may inaagrabyado’t ninanakawan ng karapatan, siya ang kakampihan ko kaya nga wala akong NHRAP. Kung may abusadong mapang-api, siya ang lalabanan ko kaya wala pang napaparusahan na human rights violators. Kung may makita akong mali sa sistema, tungkulin kong itama ito kaya nga may impunity.

Matagal nang tapos ang Batas Militar. Tinanong tayo noon, “Kung hindi tayo, sino pa?” at “Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?” Ang nagkakaisang tugon natin: tayo at ngayon na. Ang demokrasyang ninakaw gamit ang paniniil at karahasan, nabawi natin sa mapayapang paraan; matagumpay nating pinag-alab ang liwanag mula sa pinakamadilim na kabanata ng ating kasaysayan.

Ngunit huwag po nating kalimutan ang pinag-ugatan ng Batas Militar: Kinasangkapan ng diktador ang Saligang Batas upang manatili sa kapangyarihan. At hanggang ngayon, tuloy pa rin ang banggaan sa pagitan ng gusto ng sistemang parehas, laban sa mga nagnanais magpatuloy ng panlalamang.

Matagal nang tapos ang Batas Militar kaya matagal nang walang hustisya sa mga biktima. Tinanong tayo noon, “Kung hindi tayo, sino pa?” at “Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?” kalian pa maipapasa ang batas para sa kumpensasyon? Ang nagkakaisang tugon natin: tayo at ngayon na. Ang demokrasyang ninakaw gamit ang paniniil at karahasan, nabawi natin sa mapayapang paraan; matagumpay nating pinag-alab ang liwanag mula sa pinakamadilim na kabanata ng ating kasaysayan, kaya naman nakabalik na ang mga Marcos sa mahahalagang pusisyon sa gobyrno.

Ngunit huwag po nating kalimutan ang pinag-ugatan ng Batas Militar: Kinasangkapan ng diktador ang Saligang Batas upang manatili sa kapangyarihan at kasama pa noon ang ilang nasa senado at kongreso. At hanggang ngayon, tuloy pa rin ang banggaan sa pagitan ng gusto ng sistemang parehas, laban sa mga nagnanais magpatuloy ng panlalamang.

Abangan Itutuloy…

Visit more of kamokongan @ The Mokong Perpective

[In the news] Gov’t bringing home injured OFW from Saudi after netizens’ campaign-InterAksyon.com

Gov’t bringing home injured OFW from Saudi after netizens‘ campaign
InterAksyon.com
May 16, 2012

MANILA, Philippines — Two years after he suffered debilitating burns after he was electrocuted at work, and weeks after fellow overseas Filipino workers and netizens appealed for help on his behalf, Alfredo Salmos will finally be coming home, Vice President Jejomar Binay announced on Wednesday.

Salmos, said Binay, “is coming home in the next few weeks.”

Binay said ever since Salmos’ case was brought to his attention “a few weeks ago … I have been in constant communication with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah, and the Department of Labor and Employment –through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration — to bring a concerted effort in asking the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to grant Mr. Salmos clearance to depart the Kingdom.”

He explained that Salmos’ repatriation “was hampered by a lack of a final exit clearance from his employer, and a police clearance in connection with his involvement in a car accident that occurred a decade ago.”

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com

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[In the news] ‘Sendong’ victims to get houses from government -INQUIRER.net

‘Sendong’ victims to get houses from government.

Philippine Daily Inquirer
March 6, 2012

Vice President Jejomar Binay has approved the purchase of seven relocation sites in northern Mindanao and the Visayas for the construction of 15,000 new homes  for victims of Tropical Storm “Sendong.”

Binay, who is also chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), said his office and the National Housing Authority (NHA) had authorized the purchase of four properties in Cagayan de Oro City, two in Iligan City and one in Dumaguete City at a total of P237 million.

“The sites would be subjected to geohazard surveys to ensure that the communities that we will build are safe and environmentally sustainable,” said Binay  in a statement issued Monday.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

[In the news] PNoy to NHA: finish homes for ‘Sendong’ survivors before June 2012 – MindaNews.com

MindaNews » PNoy to NHA: finish homes for ‘Sendong’ survivors before June 2012.

By Violeta M. Gloria, MindaNews.com
January 26, 2012

  ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews/25 January) – President Benigno S. Aquino III today told officials of the National Housing Authority (NHA) to finish all the houses for suvivors of floods brought by tropical storm Sendong last month by June 2012.

“Dapat ipangako nyo na by June 2012, tapos na ang lahat na mga bahay dito,” (You should promise that by June 2012 all houses here should be finished) Aquino said even before he was through with his introductory greetings.

The core shelters for the survivors, who are still staying in evacuation centers and tent cities, will be built through “bayanihan ng bayan.”

The President’s visit coincided with the 40th day since the destructive floods that killed hundreds of people and wiped out whole communities in both cities.

Aquino arrived in Iligan with Vice President Jejomar Binay, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman and other heads of government agencies to inspect the relocation site for survivors who lost their homes to the floods.

Read full article @ www.mindanews.com

[In the news] New offloading rule to boost anti-trafficking drive – Binay – abs-cbnNEWS.com

New offloading rule to boost anti-trafficking drive – Binay
abs-cbnNEWS.com
January 18, 2012

  MANILA, Philippines – The newly-approved offloading guidelines for international-bound passengers hopes to strengthen the government’s campaign against human trafficking.

“The offloading policy has contributed to our gains in the drive against trafficking, and as a result, our country was elevated to Tier 2 in the US State Department’s Trafficking index. This year, we hope to be elevated to Tier 1,” Vice President Jejomar Binay said in a statement.

Binay said the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) had directed a technical working group to come up with the guidelines to ensure transparency and consistency in the implementation of the offloading policy and remove any room for the exercise of personal discretion.

“We believe the new guidelines are more comprehensive since the IACAT already has a wider membership, which include non-government organizations. We made a point to incorporate all their inputs,” Binay said.

Binay said IACAT will remain open to the sentiments of travelers, especially overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“If there are still complaints stemming from an oversight in the guidelines, we will act and improve on them,” said Binay, who is also IACAT’s chairman emeritus.

The new guidelines outline the requirements for the assessment of international-bound passengers based on four categories, namely: tourists; Overseas Filipino Workers; immigrants and permanent residents; and special classes of passengers.

Read full article @ www.abs-cbnnews.com

[In the news] New hope for OFW on death row Dondon Lanuza – INQUIRER.net

New hope for OFW on death row Dondon Lanuza
By Monica Feria, Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 15, 2012

 Fate and luck may finally be working in favor of overseas Filipino worker Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza, who has been on death row in Damman, Saudi Arabia for the past 11 years. His tireless internet campaign for justice and assistance has caught the attention of a Filipino-American businesswoman and philanthropist, Loida Nicolas Lewis—as well as a Saudi prince whose identity remains a mystery.

Thirty-seven year old Lanuza, who has always maintained that his killing of a Saudi man in 2000 was an act of self-defense, was finally forgiven by the aggrieved family last February 2011. But he has so far been unable to raise the hefty P35 million (3 million rials or over $800,000) “blood money” required for his freedom.

Quezon City-raised Lanuza, an architecture student from the Manuel L. Quezon University, has been storming virtual heaven through online social networking sites for many months trying to raise the amount. But at the end of last year, friends and supporters of Lanuza had raised only $13,000 or barely two percent of the amount needed to give him a second chance at life. A desperate appeal to President Benigno Aquino last year has not gotten an encouraging response.

But new blessings might—just might—shine on Lanuza this year.

Last December, retail magnate Lewis joined the condemned OFW’s mother, Letty Lanuza, in a press conference in New York, reinvigorating the campaign to raise the blood money requirement by February, which marks one year since the pardon was offered.

Lewis has since revealed in a phone interview with the Inquirer that a Saudi prince, whose identity she will keep a mystery for the moment, has offered to match, dollar-for-dollar, the money that Lewis and Lanuza’s mother raise.

“I don’t want to mention his (the Saudi prince’s ) name yet,” Lewis said. Let’s see first how much money we can raise on our own. “But I can tell you this, he is a member of the Saudi royal family who has been very generous through the years in helping Filipinos, particularly in Mindanao.”
The campaign should be able to show a substantial effort and ground swell for Dondon’s cause.

Will gov’t contribute?

Lewis will fly to Manila next week to seriously push the fundraising campaign (www.helpdondon.com). She is hoping the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, of which Lanuza was once a member, will also contribute a substantial amount.

TWO MOTHERS Fil-Am businesswoman Loida Nicolas Lewis joined Lanuza’s mother Letty in a press conference in New York last month to reinvigorate the fund drive that could bring Dondon home.

When contracted, DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said a technical committee headed by Vice President Jejomar Binay was “still discussing” the issue of blood money for jailed OFWs. Their recommendations will be submitted to the President.

Read full article @ globalnation.inquirer.net

[In the news] Binay formula: Marcos burial with full military honors in Ilocos

Binay formula: Marcos burial with full military honors in Ilocos.

By Jerry E. Esplanada, TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Vice President Jejomar Binay has recommended to President Benigno Aquino III the burial of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos’ remains in his native Ilocos Norte, with full military honors, the Philippine Daily Inquirer has learned.

A Palace source, who asked not to be named, confirmed that Binay had made such a recommendation.

Edwin Lacierda, the President’s spokesperson, said Malacañang would issue a statement today. “We’re still studying the recommendation,” he told the Inquirer on the phone late yesterday afternoon.

Asked to comment, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. appeared warm to the idea.

“It would seem to be a reasonable compromise … a good compromise,” said Marcos, who acknowledged that it was among the options raised and did not express surprise at Binay’s recommendation.

Marcos said that while his family had pushed for his father’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani all these years, it was agreeable to a compromise.

“We don’t want to create problems. We would just like to bury our father in a way that he deserved,” the senator said in an interview.

After Reyes’ suicide

The Marcos family reiterated its appeal to have the late strongman interred at the heroes’ cemetery among former leaders and soldiers after the late Defense Secretary and Armed Forces Chief Angelo Reyes was buried there in February.

Reyes killed himself amid the controversy over purported corruption in the military.

Citing personal bias—being the only son of the late former President Corazon Aquino and the martyred former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., two of the strongman’s biggest political enemies—Mr. Aquino declined to make a decision and assigned Binay to the task.

Shortly after Binay was given the assignment, Senator Marcos and his sister, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, met with the Vice President to present their thoughts on the matter.

Marcos had earlier said that the burial of his father, who ruled with an iron hand for close to 20 years, should be seen as an opportunity for the “unification” of the country.

Yesterday, he said that the family had not changed its position that it was his father’s right to be buried in the Libingan “as a former President, as a former soldier, as a bemedalled soldier.”

Weekend meeting

The family, which also includes his mother, former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos, and his younger sister, Irene Marcos-Araneta, will likely meet this weekend to discuss Binay’s recommendation, Marcos said.

The senator said they would just “wait for the President” to decide, and take it from there.

“Let’s see where it takes us,” he said, adding that there was no “cut and dried” procedure on the matter.

“I don’t know how much room there is to negotiate. As a matter of fact we only learned about this from you,” he told the Inquirer.

And what if the President agrees to Binay’s recommendation?

Said Marcos: “Then we will carry on and plan.” But he pointed out that it was premature to say how the family would deal with Mr. Aquino’s response.

The strongman was overthrown during the Edsa People Power Revolt in February 1986.

He died in Hawaii on Sept. 28, 1989, and his remains were flown back to the Philippines during the administration of President Fidel Ramos, a distant relative.

His remains rest aboveground in a refrigerated crypt in Batac City, Ilocos Norte.

‘Very balanced’ stand

Early this week, Binay said he was hopeful that the President would announce “within the week” the government’s stand on the strongman’s burial.

He described it as “very balanced,” with “all sides considered.”

“Every opinion from every person who responded to the survey [conducted by the Office of the Vice President] was given consideration,” he said.

In April, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) sent out letters seeking the opinion of various groups and decision-makers on the issue. It also launched a text and e-mail survey to encourage public participation in the matter.

The OVP said it wanted to consult “as many people as possible” before Binay gave the President his recommendation on the best course of action.

Last month, Binay said lawmakers had not sent their official responses to the survey conducted by the OVP, “although some have already expressed their opinion through the media.”

“None of the 130 parties accredited by the Commission on Elections has so far replied to the OVP’s letter seeking their official stand on the issue,” he said.

But his office said it would still wait for “the official stand of the political parties.”

Binay had said he would submit his recommendation to Mr. Aquino in the first week of June.

The Vice President, also the housing czar, was to leave last night on an official trip to the United States that includes taking an international housing finance program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School; attending the Philippine Independence Day parade in New York City, the flag-raising program at the Philippine Embassy in Washington; the Rizal Day celebration in Monterey, California; and holding dialogues with leaders and members of Filipino communities.

‘Revisionism at its worst’

Sorsogon Representative Salvador Escudero has filed a resolution urging Malacañang to allow the burial of the strongman’s remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. As many as 216 congressmen have signed it.

Part of House Resolution No. 1135 states: “As the longest serving president of the republic, Ferdinand Marcos built the modern foundations of the Philippines.

“He remained a Filipino patriot to the end of his life and in death deserves to be honored as such.”

But the Makati Business Club (MBC) described the resolution as “historical revisionism at its deceitful worst in an attempt to recast the image of a disgraced leader.”

In a statement, the MBC said it was opposing the proposed burial of the strongman at the Libingan:

“In the end, titles and medals—especially those of dubious provenance—do not a hero make. No hero would deliberately bring suffering upon his people and ruin to his country.

“[T]he MBC believes that by virtue of his profoundly tainted record as the leader of our country, Mr. Marcos forfeited whatever rights he had to being buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

“The claim that he built the modern foundations of the Philippines is a gross distortion of the late dictator’s true legacy of autocracy, ruined democratic institutions, violent political repression, unprecedented wholesale corruption, shameless nepotism, crony capitalism, a crushing debt burden, and widespread social inequity and marginalization.”  With a report from Norman Bordadora

[In the news] 54 illegal recuitment victims rescued in Manila | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features

54 illegal recuitment victims rescued in Manila | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features.

MANILA, Philippines – Fifty-four illegal recruitment victims, including a 16-year-old girl, were rescued on Wednesday by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Blas F. Ople Center, Vice-President Jejomar Binay said.

Binay, in a press statement, said the victims, who are all women, were bound for Syria and Qatar “under anomalous circumstances.”

“I am glad that we were able to prevent our kababayans from leaving our country and falling victim to illegal recruitment,” Binay said.

“Once again, I call on all Filipinos to be vigilant and not to let themselves be victimized,” he added.

Binay said the women were rescued at a house in Singalong, Manila.  The women slept on wooden floors inside the house, he revealed.

The victims named a Syrian as the financier and head of the syndicate. They were allegedly recruited by different agents based in the Visayas and Mindanao.

They were promised jobs as household service workers with a monthly salary of US $200 a month, which violates the $400 minimum wage for domestic helpers abroad, according to Binay.

The women said they were also offered jobs as household workers in Syria, where a deployment ban is currently in place due to armed conflict in the country.

“Under these conditions, we cannot allow them to leave the country. It is our duty to ensure and protect their well-being,” Binay said.

[In the news] Ochoa take on Marcos burial sought – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos

Ochoa take on Marcos burial sought – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos.

By Jaymee T. Gamil
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Paquito-Ochoa people.info.ph

E.S. Paquito Ochoa people.info.ph

MANILA, Philippines—A Manila trial court has ordered Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. to respond to a petition seeking a ruling on the constitutionality of burying the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

On April 18, lawyer Samson Alcantara filed a petition in Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 1 asking Judge Tita Bughao Alisuag to resolve various constitutional issues posed by the burial controversy.

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the late dictator’s son, is seeking the transfer of his father’s remains to the Libingan.

President Benigno Aquino III, whose late father was assassinated by military men during the Marcos years, has referred the matter to Vice President Jejomar Binay for study.

Named as a respondent in the petition was Ochoa as “the alter ego” of the President.

Read full article @ inquirer.net

[Blogger] The Marcos question: What makes a hero? – Dekonztruktschon

by Rod Rivera
Dekonztruktschon

April 11, Malacanang, was in qualms to agree in giving the former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos a space in the heroes hall. The reason is that he was awarded a medal of valor for his honorable military service, by President Diosdado Macapagal. Likewise, PNoy ordered Vice President Jejomar Binay to come up with a recommendation whether to allow the former president burial at the Libingan ng mga bayani.

April 20, just a week after, the lower house is pushing House Resolution 204, backed up by 190 strong liberal party members to favor the burial of the late president whose waxed body is in a mausoleum in his ancestral house. Representative Salvador Escudero of the 3rd district of Sorsogon justifies the move that despite Marcos was ousted he has served the country well.

Columnist Godofredo Roperos writes up on the Marcos question as a gleam of national political reconciliation that requires political wisdom and understanding of our political memory and history. On the other hand, political groups do not find any value and denounce giving the ‘dictator’ a heroes burial, as they remember the historical pain and agony of those who fought for democracy under the Marcos’ martial rule.

The question on Marcos’s burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani brings more questions to challenge the political memory, values and social moral and nationalist spirit of the Filipino people. All these are symbolic acts. From Saussure’s semiotic traditions, what those questions bring attacks our views about our identity as people.

Every culture has heroes, and these heroes are representations of the identity and the ideals of one’s culture. The values that we share, our precepts that guide our norms and social behavior become embodied in the traits and characteristics of our heroes. As Geert Hofsteede informs, our culture is manifested in our symbols, heroes, rituals and values, and at the deeper structures of our culture is our identity as a nation as group of people sharing common national interest.

A hero to represent the Filipino nation or its culture cannot be legislated and it never has been. The academics with their rich understanding of our history, culture and nation, play an important role in appraising, appreciating and recognizing what counts heroic and who should be entitled to the abstract social symbol of a ‘hero’. Laws may grant honor to a hero, or honor to anyone, but laws should not turn anybody to a hero for a hero is a people’s expression.

However, the National Heroes committee, as formed by former President Fidel V. Ramos, arrived at some criteria for confirming a national heroes title. The committee declares that “1) heroes have concept of nation and they aspire and struggle for the nation’s freedom; 2) they have define and contribute to a system or life of freedom and order for a nation; and 3) they contribute to the quality of life and destiny of nation (Corpuz, 1993, in NHC document pp. 2-3).

The National Heroes committee extends this criteria with three other measures, stating that a hero: “1) is a part of the people’s expression; 2) thinks of the future and defines the future of generations; and 3) the choice of hero involves not only the recounting of an episode or events in history, but of the entire process that made the particular person a hero” (Lagmay, 1995, in NHC document p. 3).

True, Marcos was awarded a medal of valor, but that was just an episode in his life and outside the decades long struggle of the Filipino people against suppression of their basic rights and freedom. True, he built grand infrastructures that are visible and usable till now, but that is his duty as the country’s leader. True, he placed the country in the economic map of Asia, but it is also true that his family accumulated ill-gotten wealth from the nation’s coffers.

Laying his remains in the Libingan ng mga Bayani is a symbolic act to entitle Marcos a hero, whereas he falls shorts of the criteria to be entitled with such. Apparently, for a common kababayan of Marcos who voted for him several times even though she’s aware of how the dictator manipulated the country and suppressed the people’s freedom, my mother, a genuine Ilocana, would like Marcos’ remains to be kept where is now that is where he was from.

It is incredulous to think that burial of the former president in the Libingan ng mga Bayani would bring national political reconciliation. What is to be reconciled anyway between the Marcoses and the forgiving Filipino people. Is it not enough to be considered a symbolic act of reconciliation to allow them back and elect them in public offices?  Whatever issue between the Aquinos and the Marcoses there is, it is not a national interest. That is out of the Marcos question as a dictator to deserve hero’s burial in the graveyard of martyrs.

Read more of Rod Rivera’s writings visit Dekonztruktschon.

[In the news] Binay position on RH: Neither here nor there – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos

Binay position on RH: Neither here nor there – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos.

VP Jejomar Binay File Photo source: allvoices.com

VP Jejomar Binay File Photo source: allvoices.com

By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Filed Under: Abortion, Health, Legislation, Jejomar Binay

MANILA, Philippines—As one wiseacre puts it, it’s like advocating for the wearing of a condom but with a hole in it.

On an issue on which no Filipino these days can afford to be neither hot nor cold, Vice President Jejomar Binay would like to equivocate both sides of the reproductive health bill controversy.

Binay said he is both prolife and prochoice in the great debate over the RH bill, or the proposed Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development, now pending in Congress.

Read full article at Inquirer.net

“Malungkot na araw… Patay na po ‘yung tatlong kababayan natin,” -Vice President Binay

“Malungkot na araw… Patay na po ‘yung tatlong kababayan natin,” Vice President Binay said in an interview with media.

HROnlinePH extends our condolence to the relatives and friends of Sally Ordinario-Villanueva and Ramon Credo and Elizabeth Batain.

————————————–

VP Binay confirms deaths of 3 convicted Pinoys in China – Pinoy Abroad – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News.

Source: ANDREO C. CALONZO, GMA News
03/30/2011 | 11:48 AM

 

Three Filipinos who were convicted of drug trafficking in China have been executed, Vice President Jejomar Binay announced Wednesday.

“Malungkot na araw… Patay na po ‘yung tatlong kababayan natin,” Binay said in an interview over GMA News TV.

Two of the convicted Filipinos, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva and Ramon Credo, were subjected to lethal injections in Xiamen, while Elizabeth Batain was executed in Shenzhen — all the executions occurred after the convicts were read their death sentence at 9:40 a.m. (Manila time).

Binay, however, said he did not know what time the actual execution took place. “Di ko alam basta ito ay official pronouncement na patay na ang tatlo (I don’t know. The only official pronouncement was that they have been executed)

He added that the government has yet to formulate plans on the repatriation of the remains of the three. Binay is in Qatar to engage in talks with labor officials over the situation of OFWs there.

Binay said he will make an official announcement about the matter later in the day.
Earlier, Noel Novicio, consul of the Philippine post in Xiamen City, said convicted Filipinos Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, Ramon Credo and Elizabeth Batain were brought to a “private place” where they will be executed after they were read their death sentence at 9:40 a.m.

“After promulgation, dinala sila sa isang pribadong lugar upang isakatuparan ang final na hatol,” he said in an interview over GMA News TV.

The three Filipinos — Credo, 42; Batain, 38; and Villanueva, 32 — were originally scheduled to be executed last February 20 and 21. The executions were put on hold following the humanitarian visit to Beijing of Binay, who is also the presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers’ concerns.

The Supreme People’s Court of China affirmed the death sentences on the three last February 11. Binay went to Beijing upon orders from President Benigno Aquino III on Feb. 18.

Ordinario-Villanueva was convicted for smuggling 4,110 grams of heroin on Dec. 24, 2008 into Xiamen, while Credo was convicted for smuggling 4,113 grams of heroin on Dec. 28, 2008 in the same city. Batain, meanwhile, was convicted for smuggling 6,800 grams of heroin on May 24, 2008, in Shenzhen.

Under the Chinese criminal code, smuggling of 50 grams of heroin or any narcotic drug into China is punishable by death. [See related: ‘Kindness’ makes Pinays vulnerable to drug rings]

Meeting with relatives

Hours before their scheduled execution, Villanueva and Credo met with their families in Xiamen, Philippine consul Noel Novicio said in an interview on dzBB radio.

He said Batain also met with her relatives between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. in Shenzhen before the promulgation of her sentence. The meetings were arranged with the help of two China-based Filipino priests, Novicio said.

Maylene Ordinario, Sally’s sister who is currently in China, said in a text message to her relatives in Quezon City that they were only given an hour to talk with the prisoners.

“Binigay na nila ang mga gamit ni Ate. Grabe, one hour lang talaga. Pababa na kami ng court. Wala sila awa,” the text message read.

Last-ditch appeal

On Tuesday, Binay made a last-minute appeal to Chinese President Hu Jin Tao for the suspension of the execution after the Philippine authorities uncovered evidence that could “break wide open” the illegal drug trade between China and the Philippines. [See related: After Vecina’s freedom, what about other Filipinos in jails abroad?]

Binay said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has taken into custody Mapet Cortez, also known as Tita Cacayan, whom convicted courier Villanueva had named in her sworn statement as the person who recruited her for a job in Xiamen and gave her “the empty suitcase” that later turned out to be lined with heroin.

“I appeal to the Chinese government to help us keep Villanueva and the two others alive to enable us to establish beyond any reasonable doubt whether at least one or two or all three of them are mere unwitting couriers, while the real principals are still at large in the Philippines,” said Binay in the letter dated March 28. — with a report by Kimberly Jane Tan/ VVP/YA/LBG, GMA News

Church prays for miracle for Pinoys on death row

Source: http://www.cbcpnews.com

 

Fr. Edwin Corros, Photo source: cbcpnews

MANILA, March 29, 2011— An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines called on the faithful to never give up praying as three Filipinos await execution in China on Wednesday.

Fr. Edwin Corros, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, made the statement today in the hope of a miracle to save the three convicted drug traffickers.

“The best that we can do now is keep on praying…we have been offering Masses for the three OFWs,” Corros said.

The CBCP official said there is a need to storm heavens with prayers so the fate of the three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will change.

“We are knocking on all doors. We are trying to storm heavens for a change on the fate of what will happen tomorrow,” said Corros.

The CBCP agency together with the Archdiocese of Manila Ministry on Migrants is holding a prayer vigil tonight at the Nuestra Señora de Guia Shrine in Ermita, Manila for the convicts.

“Tonight we continue to express our solidarity with (Sally) Ordinario, (Ramon) Credo, and (Elizabeth) Batain. We can only ask for a miracle most likely. Hopefully, we can get through this,” said Corros.

But the vigil, he said, is also for the hundreds of OFWs facing death row in China.

“Even now we are already in contact with some people whom we believe can be of help to us in terms of securing the life of the 100 others who are on death row in China,” Corros said.

Last February, the Supreme People’s Court of China affirmed the death sentences of Credo, 42, Villanueva, 32, and Batin, 38.

The executions were originally scheduled last Feb. 20 and 21, but it was put on hold following Vice President Jejomar Binay‘s humanitarian mission to Beijing. [CBCPNews]