Tag Archives: Malacañang Palace

[Press Release] Death of Sec. Robredo a big loss to urban poor cause – Kilos Maralita

Death of Sec. Robredo a big loss to urban poor cause – Kilos Maralita

Urban poor groups will be missing a man who stirred the process of involving grassroots organizations in the formulation of a more humane policy in addressing the housing problems of informal settlers. The death Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary (DILG) Secretary Jessie Robredo, the groups said, is a big loss to the cause of the urban poor.

As DILG Secretary, Robredo also heads the inter-agency Technical Working Group created by President Aquino in 2010 tasked to formulate recommendations on how to address problems of the urban poor sector. With participation of Kilos Maralita and other urban poor groups, the TWG was able to formulate a new housing policy contained in a memorandum submitted to the President on March 15, 2011.

Said memorandum covers proposals for on-site/in-city relocation with people’s participation as a major element in formulating concrete
proposals for socialized housing projects. Unfortunately said memo has not yet been approved by Malacanang.

“Kumpara sa nakaraan, kakaiba ang naging karanasan ng maralita sa pamumuno ni Sec. Robredo. Nasa kanya ang senseridad at matibay na
paninindigan na malutas ang problema sa pabahay ng mga maralita sa mas makatao at maayos na paraan. Kaya naman napakataas ng respeto ng mga maralita sa kanya,” stated Kilos Maralita spokesperson Teody Gacer.

Kilos Maralita joined the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), the Caritas of Novaliches and other informal settlers in the 5:00 pm mass offering held at the St. Parish Cathedral in Commonwealth Quezon City.

Kilos Maralita and the Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP) opted to engage the TWG when it was formed on the ground that a new housing policy must depart from the previous policy of off-site relocation that denies informal settlers the right to the city.

At the moment and before the flooding and the untimely death of Sec. Robredo, urban poor groups under Kilos Maralita were in the thick of
preparing people’s proposals for in-city relocations of informal settler families living in the danger zones.

“Nakakapanghinayang lang na nawala si Sec. Robredo sa panahong ang proseso sa paglutas sa problema sa pabahay ng maralita ay umaandar na sa tamang direksyon”, added Gacer.

Gacer said urban poor groups do not want to see the TWG–led process stalled with the absence of Robredo. They appealed to the President
to assure the continuity of this process by approving the March 15 TWG recommendations and by assigning a likely-minded official in charge of the urban poor.

Kilos Maralita
21 August 2012
Contact: Bubuy Magahis
Coordinator, Kilos Maralita

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[Appeal] Letter to PNoy: Juvenile Justice Law must be effectively implemented, and the further recommendation that minimum age of criminal responsibility should not be lowered

His Excellency Benigno Simeon Aquino III
President, Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street , San Miguel, Manila 1005
Dear His Excellency President Aquino,

We, the Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center (CLRDC), an NGO that monitors, documents, investigates and provides direct services to cases of violence against children, with special focus on children in conflict with the law and child sexual abuse through our direct legal assistance and awareness-raising program on children’s rights and the law, write with grave concern regarding House Bill 6052, amending the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 (a.k.a. Republic Act 9344), specifically on lowering the age of criminal responsibility The said bill has already passed the third reading in the House of Representatives on 4th June 2012, when the whole nation was glued at the Corona impeachment trial.

The CLRDC, together with our nationwide networks of community-based NGOs that promote human rights of all people, were saddened and at the same time alarmed by the hastily passage of HB 6052 at the House of Representatives,
This HB 6052 undermines all efforts to build a child friendly juvenile justice system that supports rehabilitation and reintegration. Moreover the most marginalized and neglected group of our society, children from very low socio-economic backgrounds, would even more have to suffer from degrading and humiliating treatments by being locked away in detention centers or jails; often even together with adults. All this runs counter to the principle of the “child´s best interest” and against the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to which the Philippine government has acceded to.
The supporters of HB 6052 refer to unfounded and baseless reports that criminal gangs and syndicates are hiring minors in order to avoid arrest and prosecution. The logical solution would have to be to run after the gangs and prevent them from exploiting children by efficient police work, and not to punish the children. Why suffer the children for the ineffective implementation by the law enforcers of RA 9344.

Instead of amending a six-year old law, inefficiency in the implementation by local and law enforcement and authorities must be reviewed, let alone the alleged cases of torture committed against Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL) while they are being arrested and / or while being detained.

CLRDC and its nationwide networks of children’s organizations support the recommendations of Germany and Norway in the recent Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Philippines by the UN Human Rights Council, when they pronounced that Juvenile Justice Law must be effectively implemented, and the further recommendation that minimum age of criminal responsibility should not be lowered. Further recommendations by the European Delegations and majority of States during the UPR stressed the promotion and protection of the best interests of the child.

In this regard, we kindly appeal to your Excellency, to give RA 9344 a chance to be effectively implemented, Amendment is not the solution for the State implementers’ failure to fulfil and discharge its human rights obligations. Violations committed against CICL such as torture, as well as their inhumane conditions in jails must be investigated. Under no circumstances that House Bill 6052 is fair to our children! Consequences such as higher numbers of child prisoners will be a step backward on our common goal towards the full enjoyment of human rights by everyone.

Please find attached briefing paper on RA 9344 as well as factual information why RA 9344 should not be amended.

Thank you very much and sincerely,

Rowena Legaspi
Executive Director

The Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center, Inc. (CLRDC) is the Convener-Secretariat of Children’s Legal Advocacy Network (CLAN)[1], a coalition of NGOs that promotes the human rights of children.

Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC)
Child Justice League (CJL)
Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center (CLRDC)
Children’s Rights Action Watch
Kapatiran Komunidad Peoples Coalition (KKPC)
KKPC Youth Federation
Kokyo Naki Kodomotachi (Children Without Borders) – Philippines
Kongresong Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod (KPML)
Legal Aid Center for Human Rights (LACHR)
Lingap-Kapwa Operasyong pang Dalita (LingKod)
Open Heart Foundation
Peoples Partner for Development and Democracy
Samahan ng Mamamayan – Zone One Tondo (SM-ZOTO)

[1] CLAN is a member of Juvenile Justice Partnership Network (JJPNet), a coalition of networks of networks that promotes the human rights of children in conflict with the law.

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[From the web] Bishop: Mining EO needs careful study -NASSA.org.ph

Bishop: Mining EO needs careful study

MANILA, June 27, 2012— A Catholic bishop appealed to President Benigno Aquino III to be considerate with the people opposing mining in their areas, saying that they are the ones who will suffer most of the consequence of mining.

Digos Bishop Guillermo Afable urged Aquino to study carefully before implementing the government’s new mining policy and seriously consider its effects to the communities and the environment.

“At the end of the day, for better and for worse, the local people will face the effects (of mining) and not those in Manila,” Afable said.

Aquino is set to sign on a new mining executive order, which Malacañang hopes to strike a balance between conflicting interests between the mining industry and environment.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., earlier said the final draft EO also attempts “to harmonize seemingly conflicting laws, rules and regulations – particularly national laws and local laws.”

This early, however, 40 governors have already questioned the upcoming EO, adding that it could set aside local ordinances against mining.

But Aquino yesterday stood by the upcoming EO and said he will not prevent anti-mining governors to question the new policy before the court.

“That’s why he (Aquino) should carefully study that EO first before signing and consider the effects of mining to the environment,” Afable said.

“Coordination is also important between the local and national governments and the local stakeholders,” he said. “We are also hoping that the new mining policy would give a clear guideline for all the stakeholders.”

The bishop clarified that the church is not against mining per se, but believes that measures to safeguard the environment, and protect indigenous communities’ rights should be required.

“We are not against economic benefits but we know for a fact that these are only temporary. It’s there today, gone tomorrow. And the negative effects of mining will be there permanently,” he said. [RL/CBCPNews] source: http://nassa.org.ph/?p=1390

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[Press Release] Teachers’ groups slam Malacañang for insisting K-12 -TDC

Teachers’ groups slam Malacañang for insisting K-12

The newly-formed education sector party, Ating Guro slams Malacañang today for deliberate disregard of the basic requirements for a successful implementation of the K-12 program, Aquino administration’s flagship program for education sector.

Prof. Rene C. Romero, a retired professor of Philippine Normal University (PNU) who is also the honorary president of Ating Guro criticized the K-12 program which according to him “is not the proper response” if the government is sincere enough in addressing the initial issues of high drop-out rate and the deteriorating quality of education especially in public schools.

Romero who spent four decades teaching at the country’s premiere teacher-training institution believes that “the perennial shortages in classrooms, teachers, books and other facilities should be addressed first by providing budgetary support of at least 50% of the current budget.”

Arsenio Jallorina, the party’s chairman says the implementation of K-12 for this year is haphazard.

“Based on our consultation in the field, even some of the field officials of the department are not convinced or at least do not have enough knowledge of the program. How could this project be successful if the implementers themselves do not support it?” Asks Jallorina.

Jallorina furthered “This program is set to change the decades-old system of public education and we should not do it abruptly. The system should be prepared so as not to sacrifice the welfare of teachers.”

Jallorina also expresses doubt over the reported result of SWS survey conducted last March that says 65% of respondents approve the K-12 program. “We are also doing our own survey and it reveals that most of the direct stakeholders- the teachers, parents and students are not convinced with this ambitious program.”

Ildefonso Enguerra, TDC-NCR Chair and teacher from Roxas High School in Manila echoed the sentiments of the group. He agreed that the DepEd is not prepared to launch the K-12 program and it was revealed during the opening of classes. He particularly cited report of DepEd that says that the book to student ratio for this school year has reached 1:1 level.

Enguerra says that “there are books that released to students and teachers but those books do not fit the desired learning competencies under the curriculum.” Other subjects like Filipino has no textbooks at all and the module or instructional materials for Grades 1 and 7 provided by the DepEd are for the 1st two quarters only.”

The groups again appeal to Malacañang to consider postponement of the program and initiate a wide consultation that would include the stakeholders or elevate the matter to a national debate. #
For details:
Arsie Jallorina: 0915-4874506
Nono Enguera: 0915-3785069

Teachers’ Dignity Coalition
“Unity of Teachers to Regain the Dignity of Teaching Profession”
SEC Registration Number: CN 2007-10645
117-C Matatag St., Bgy. Central, Quezon City
Hotline: (02)3853437 • Telefax (02)4350036 • Mobile: 0920-5740241/ 0920-4142614
Email: teachersdignity@yahoo.com.ph • Website: http://www.teachersdignity.com

June 19, 2012

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[Featured Photo] Women farmers from Negros chant slogans at the Mendiola Bridge. (Photo: Jimmy A. Domingo) -TFM

Women farmers from Negros chant slogans at the Mendiola Bridge. (Photo: Jimmy A. Domingo)

Source: Task Force Mapalad FB account

Farmers who marched from Bukidnon, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Negros and Batangas since June 1 urging President Aquino to complete CARPER implementation until 2014 trooped to Mendiola Bridge near the Malacanang Palace on June 8, 2012. Aquino ordered some of his cabinet members to meet with the farmers and bishops to thresh out the “doables”.

See more @ https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.373030512750247.95229.100001299031499&type=1

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[In the news] First human rights office in ARMM launched -PhilStar.com

First human rights office in ARMM launched
By John Unson Home
May 03, 2012

The CHR-ARMM field office is adjacent to the main building of the executive department of the autonomous region inside the 32-hectare regional government center in the city.

Acting ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman and CHR chairperson Loretta Anne Rosales led the inaugural rite, witnessed by representatives of different sectors and dozens of peace activists, who are involved in various peace-building activities that complement the Mindanao peace process.

Hataman said the Office of the Regional Governor (ORG), dubbed as the “little Malacañang of ARMM,” will support the operations of the CHR’s newly-established field office.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

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[In the news] Aquino strengthens urban poor commission | Sun.Star

Aquino strengthens urban poor commission | Sun.Star.

April 4, 2012

MANILA — President Benigno Aquino III has issued an Executive Order (EO) to further strengthen the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP), Malacanang said on Wednesday.

The PCUP is the government agency tasked to coordinate the speedy implementation of government policies and programs for the urban poor.

In a press briefing, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said EO No. 69, which the President signed last March 29, boosts the mandate of the PCUP “to achieve the strict observance of the law and the Ten-Point Covenant of the President with the urban poor.”

Under the EO, the PCUP, which was formerly detailed under the Department of Agrarian Reform, will now operate under the Office of the President.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

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

[Press Release] Palace wage hike computation flawed, misleading — CTUHR

Palace wage hike computation flawed, misleading — CTUHR

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights strongly criticized Malacañang’s recent statement rejecting the P125 wage hike pointing out that the Palace’s computation is flawed and misleading.

CTUHR Executive Director Daisy Arago said “Malacañang is misleading the public by multiplying the proposed wage hike to 38 million. The total Php 1.6 T is definitely flawed because not all employed Filipinos are wage and salary workers. In fact, nearly 50 percent of the employed population are own account and unpaid family workers who do not get wages for their work and are therefore not covered by the proposed wage hike.”

Arago also criticized President Aquino for contradicting his earlier speech saying that workers’ needs and welfare should be considered by employers, “It is utterly contradictory, if not mere lip service to the workers, to say on the one hand that workers’ welfare is paramount but on the other hand reject their call for substantial wage hike.”

Arago was referring to a speech delivered by President Aquino last March 16 in an Anvil event where he “virtually lectured” employers about the value of keeping the workers’ morale high by considering their needs and welfare. A few days later, Malacanang made a statement saying that the proposed P125 wage hike which is now being heard in Congress for legislation, is “too high” and “not practicable.”

“President Aquino should listen to his own words and see how big companies in the country have greatly profited at the expense of the working poor,” Arago avers. She further explained that a P125 wage increase is possible if only companies would be willing to slash their profits. She cited a study of Ibon Foundation that showed that a P125 across the board wage hike is only 17 percent share of the companies’ overall profits in 2010.

Very much needed increase

“Needless to say, a substantial wage hike is very much needed by the Filipino workers especially now that oil prices have gone up 9 times already since January 2012. The daily cost of living in the National Capital Region is already Php 1008 and the minimum wage of P426 does not even cover half of it.”

Arago also shared that most of the workers they have interviewed complain that their meager income can no longer afford a nutritious meal for their family. Most of the families have also converted to using coal for cooking instead of LPG because LPG prices are now as much as P1000 per tank.

“Poverty alleviation programs of the administration,” Arago said “did not significantly improve the lives of the poor. Proof to this is the continuous increase of hunger incidence in the last quarter of 2011 from 21.5 percent to 22.5 percent. Definitely, 4Ps is not the alternative to the workers call to higher wages. Some of the CCT beneficiaries we have talked to, especially those residing in remote areas, said that the amount they receive is only enough to buy rice for a few days.”

Arago insisted that a substantial wage hike is just and timely and that aside from this, the government should also lift or at least cut the EVAT on oil products and other basic commodities, “These are just and doable demands of the people. If the Aquino administration will remain obstinately against these demands, then it is true that the straight path he promised do not lead to the betterment of the majority of the Filipinos.”

Pre-empting legislation

Arago also expressed worry that Malacanang’s statement in opposition to the P125 wage hike is pre-empting the legislation of Anakpawis sponsored House Bill 375, a bill that proposes to increase minimum wages by P125 across the board. “After many years, the 125 wage hike bill is finally gaining ground in Congress and we are pleased that the [HOR] Committee on Labor is seriously considering its passage into law. It worries us though that the executive, by expressing their opposition—however crude their argument has been—is seemingly signaling its allies in Congress that the bill should not pass legislation.”

Arago thus appealed to the members of Congress to continue supporting the bill despite Malacanang’s categorical opposition to a legislated wage hike, “We call on the members of the Congress to be one with the workers and immediately pass this bill. The Filipino workers have long demanded for a substantial wage hike. It is a legitimate call and it is the most effective relief our Filipino workers can get amidst increasingly difficult times.”###

25 March 2012
for Reference: Daisy Arago, Executive Director, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, +632.411.0256

[In the news] Don’t push workers against wall, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines tells Malacañang | Sun.Star

Don’t push workers against wall, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines tells Malacañang | Sun.Star.

March 11, 2012

THE Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) urged Sunday the national government not to push the workers against the wall amid the rise in prices of basic commodities.

In a phone interview, TUCP president Democrito Mendoza scored Malacañang for immediately discounting the possibility of having a salary adjustment granted amid their announcement of a plan to file wage hike petitions.

“Malacañang should protect the interest of workers and their families not push them against the wall,” said Mendoza.

If it continues to do so, the labor leader said they may have no other recourse but to instigate protest actions.

“If workers’ needs are not met now, workers will have no recourse but to seek redress on the streets,” said Mendoza.

On Saturday, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte stressed that it would be impossible to implement wage hikes since there is a one-year ban in between adjustments of minimum salary rates.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] ‘Bill scrapping oil tax not a priority’ -PhilStar.com

‘Bill scrapping oil tax not a priority’
By Delon Porcalla, The Philippine Star
March 12, 2012

MANILA, PhilippinesMalacañang rebuffed yesterday persistent lobbying by militant groups led by Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño to scrap tax on oil, saying their pet bill is not among those being prioritized by the Aquino administration.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that House Bill 2719, which Casiño claimed was filed as early as August 2010, was not even included in the list of 23 bills that the Palace turned over to the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).

“I don’t know if that has been discussed. To my knowledge, it wasn’t discussed when the President had the meeting with LEDAC. I don’t remember it being discussed in the list of bills that would be considered as priority under the Aquino administration,” Valte said over state-run radio dzRB.

She said it would be up to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to pass measures they want to pass, especially because the House leadership has its own set of priorities, which the Palace cannot dictate on.

Valte also apologized to Casiño, now on his third and last term, for not being aware of the “entire legislative history” of the bill he is pushing.

Casiño said that a bill seeking to scrap VAT is already gathering dust in Congress.

He said HB 2719 has not been given attention by members of the House of Representatives until now and lamented that it was still pending in the ways and means committee despite the clamor of many sectors to repeal the unpopular law.

He also challenged Davao Rep. Isidro Ungab, ways and means committee chair, to fast-track the bill and defy Malacañang’s marching orders “to prioritize the interest of big oil companies while ignoring the plight of our people.”

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[In the news] Malacanang appreciates group’s recognition of proposed Freedom of Information bill -Balita.ph

Malacanang appreciates group’s recognition of proposed Freedom of Information bill
February 15, 2012

MANILA, Feb. 15 — Malacanang expressed appreciation over the move of the ‘Right to Know, Right Now’ coalition to welcome the submission of President Benigno S. Aquino III‘s administration of its proposed substitute Freedom of Information (FOI) bill to the Lower House.

“We undertook our task in good faith, and we very much appreciate the coalition recognizing this,” Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Undersecretary Manuel L. Quezon III said in a statement which was read by Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday.

The Right to Know, Right Now coalition, a network of 150 civic and media groups, is pushing for the passage of an FOI law.

“From the very start, as we who comprised the Study Group told the coalition, we hoped that the process of engaging civil society and media as we undertook our work, would serve as a confidence-building exercise,” Quezon said.

“Together with the coalition, we look forward to the House and the Senate in turn doing their part to make FOI legislation one of the crowning achievements of the 15th Congress,” he added.

Read full article @ balita.ph

[From the web] What’s in the Palace version of the FOI bill? – RAPPLER.com

What’s in the Palace version of the FOI bill? – RAPPLER – Philippine News | Multimedia | Citizen Journalism | Social Media.


February 3, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – Here are some things you need to know about the proposed version of the Freedom of Information bill, sent by Malacañang to the House of Representatives on Thursday.

This FAQ is based on the “Q & A” from http://www.gov.ph/foi.

Who can request for information, and what can be requested? Anyone who is a Filipino citizen can ask information about official acts, transactions, decisions, and government research data from all government agencies in all branches of government.

What information shall be kept confidential by the government? However, certain information, such as “Secret” documents, minutes of executive sessions, and sensitive information (such as defense and intelligence information) shall be excluded and will remain classified. Details are under Section 6 of the bill.

What’s different in the Palace version of the bill? The Palace version of the FOI bill has the following:

  • Expanded access to financial information, such as Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs), and other kinds of information regarding government transactions
  • Collation of legislative acts, executive and administrative orders, proclamations, and similar information in one website, the Official Gazette
  • Government agencies will be asked to translate information in major Filipino languages
  • All agencies and entities will have a “Freedom of Information Manual” to guide officials, employees, and the public

Read full article @ www.rappler.com

[In the news] Lucio Tan to sell majority stake in PAL at the right price – GMAnews.tv

Lucio Tan to sell majority stake in PAL at the right price
January 23, 2012

 Top-level negotiations are ongoing regarding the sale of a majority stake in flag carrier Philippine Airlines, owner Lucio Tan told reporters in an interview over the weekend.

“If the price is good,” then he is selling, the business tycoon said on the sidelines of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ annual reception for bankers.

“Some of my friends” are interested in investing in PAL, including corporate tycoons Ramon Ang of San Miguel Corp. and Manuel Pangilinan of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., noted Tan, but declined to comment on specific talks with any of the parties involved.

In Malacañang on Monday, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters that government welcomes such developments regarding PAL.

“We welcome the additional investment of whoever would like to buy PAL, because it would mean additional investments to the country,” Lacierda said.

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

[In the news] Mendiola Massacre: Survivor recounts horror 25 years later – GMA News

Mendiola Massacre: Survivor recounts horror 25 years later
January 19, 2012

 Shot between the eyes and declared brain dead, Bong Manlulu was not expected to come out alive from the Mendiola Massacre on January 22, 1987.

Then only 18 years old, Bong was among some 20,000 marchers who headed to Malacañang Palace, demanding distribution of lands to farmers and zero retention of estates by landowners. They were stopped at Mendiola Bridge.

The one sitting in Malacañang at that time was the late President Corazon “Cory” Aquino, mother of the incumbent President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Bong, now 43, said he was a student of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños (UPLB) when he joined Southern Luzon activists in going to Mendiola, where rallyists from different parts of the country were calling for “genuine land reform.”

Upon reaching Mendiola Bridge, however, the shocking happened. Government forces suddenly fired without warning at the marchers. Panic ensued and the marchers fled, scrambling to escape the bridge, a bloody sea of tattered streamers.

Bong, then an officer of the activist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) recalled, “We hadn’t even stepped on the bridge when there was a first round of gunfire that was directed at the rallyists.”

“Everybody ducked and the command was to stay down, and the idea was for our national leaders in Bayan, the likes of Jimmy Tadeo, to negotiate and allow us to move forward to Malacañang Palace,” he said.

Bong said there was confusion everywhere. “It was true, like in the cartoons, that you would see bullets flying above your head and hitting people randomly,” he said.

Suddenly, there was another round of gunfire and although he was quick to duck, he saw his classmate standing.

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

[In the news] Palparan must surrender if he’s innocent – Palace – PhilStar.com

Palparan must surrender if he’s innocent – Palace
By Aurea Calica and Edith Regalado, The Philippine Star
January 15, 2012 12:00

 MANILA, Philippines – Fugitive retired Army Maj. Jovito Palparan must surrender now and defend himself before the courts if he is really innocent of the charges against him, Malacañang said yesterday.

“If he really thinks he is innocent, he should come out and face the charges against him,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over dzRB.

The Palace was reacting to Palparan’s appealing the decision of the Malolos regional trial court to junk his bid to stop his prosecution for the disappearance of University of the Philippines student activists Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in 2006. Valte said Palparan is assured of fair trial.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[In the news] Freedom of info bill gets new look, new name – INQUIRER.net

Freedom of info bill gets new look, new name
By Christian V. Esguerra, Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 9, 2012

It’s loking good.

The Freedom of Information (FOI) bill pending in Congress will get a “new look” now that Malacañang has finally come out with its version of the measure.

To be called the People’s Ownership of Government Information bill, Sen. Gregorio Honasan, chairman of the committee on public information and mass media, said: “What will now emerge from our committee is the ‘Pogi’ bill.”

“We are coining a new acronym in reference to one core component I would like to push,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview.

Honasan said the new name, which is Filipino slang for handsome, would promote the idea that in a democratic setting “all government information actually belongs to the people.”

The new measure “reverses” the main requirement of the FOI bill which is that a private entity would have to show in court why he or she needs a particular piece of information from a government agency in the event that that agency denies their request, the senator said.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

[In the news] PNoy on FOI bill: Push ahead- philstar.com

PNoy on FOI bill: Push ahead
By Jun Pasaylo, The Philippine Star
January 04, 2012

 MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III directed his communications group to “push ahead” with the much-delayed Freedom of Information bill, a Palace official announced today.

In a press briefing at Malacanang, Communications Group Undersecretary Manolo Quezon said the President has no immediate opposition on the draft of the FOI.

“His only intervention was the removal of the proposed Information Commission, which will (just) add another layer of bureaucracy,” Quezon said quoting the President.

“The President marching order (to us) is to push ahead with the FOI bill,” he said.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[From the web] Mindy’s Musings: Blog Action Day to end impunity – en.wikipilipinas.org

Mindy’s Musings

Hello WikiPinoys! It’s been more than two years since the last time I’ve blogged. I’m sure you guys have missed my musings.


I’ve come out from this long hiatus to remind all of you about an important commemoration on November 23, 2011. It is the International Day to End Impunity, the worldwide commemoration of journalists, media people, and information sharers against impunity, or the relentless repression and intimidation against the media and activists highlighted by the murder of 58 people, including 31 journalists, in the Maguindanao Massacre on November 23, 2009.

Impunity has been one of the grim legacies of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration. According to an editorial by the Philippine Online Chronicles: “President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo‘s ascent to Malacanang was, unfortunately, marked by the death of a prominent labor leader. Less than a month after Arroyo was sworn in as President on 20 January 2001, Filemon “Popoy” Lagman was assassinated by still-unknown forces, making him the first victim of extrajudicial killings under the Arroyo administration. Lagman’s demise was followed by at least 863 deaths as of 2007. At the tailend of her term, 57 people were allegedly murdered by a ruling political clan in Maguindanao.”

However, despite incumbent president Benigno Aquino III‘s promise of a shift toward good governance, impunity still exists as nine journalists have been killed in the 15-month reign of the current administration, according to Bulatlat.com.

Worldwide, the Philippines is ranked as third in Committee to Protect Journalists Impunity Index. This means that the Philippines is the third most dangerous place for journalists, just behind war-torn Iraq and Somalia. It is very ironic that our home country, which is regarded as Asia’s first democracy, is now one of the most dangerous places to live for people who are tasked to uphold democracy and freedom.

Read full article @ en.wikipilipinas.org

[Press Release] PALEA calls on House LaborCom to probe attack on protest camp

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) called on the House of Representatives Labor Committee (LaborCom) to investigate the daybreak attack by alleged hired goons on its protest camp which resulted in injuries to seven of its members and the death of a bystander. “We appeal to the LaborCom to inquire into the culpability of Philippine Airlines (PAL) in the attack in the interest of formulating policy reforms to protect workers right to peaceably assemble. Despite its vehement denials, PAL is the only party with a vested interest in having the campout dismantled,” asserted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.

Congress just resumed its session yesterday and was in recess when the attack on the PALEA campout occurred last October 29. In its last hearing on the PAL-PALEA labor dispute, the LaborCom issued a summons to PAL owner Lucio Tan to attend and answer questions. Malacanang also ordered the Department of Labor and Employment to probe attack on the protest camp.

“In pursuit of its continuing investigation of the PAL-PALEA dispute, the LaborCom should look into the character of the service providers Sky Logistics and Sky Kitchen. PAL’s insistence on ingress and egress rights at the In-Flight Center (IFC) raises legitimate questions that these supposed independent companies are actually dummy agencies engaged in illegal labor-only contracting. PAL should have no more need for the IFC since it announced that it has closed down and outsourced the airport services, call center reservations and catering departments. Unless it is allowing Sky Logistics and Sky Kitchen use of the facilities of the IFC as PALEA has initially documented,” Rivera expounded.

PALEA is calling on the LaborCom to recommended reforms in Labor Code such as an anti-scab law and restriction on the free ingress and egress of strike-bound companies. “Violence inevitably breaks out when capitalists insists on using its facilities and employing scabs amidst strikes and disputes,” Rivera added.

He insisted that “PAL is trying to turn the tables on PALEA and crying harassment when facts point to their responsibility in the attack. The LaborCom can also ask a certain Johnny dela Cruz, one of the goons who was apprehended by PALEA members and then turned over to the police, to testify. He already made a sworn testimony to the police that they were paid to disperse the campout. Dela Cruz used the term management as the mastermind of the attack. Apparently PAL outsourced the dispersal to a goons-provider.”

PALEA has vowed to defend its protest camp in the face of continuing threats of dispersal. The union has also declared that its occupation of the IFC perimeter is a contribution to global movement against corporate greed and corruption.

Press Release
November 9, 2011
Contact Alnem Pretencio (PALEA VP) @ 09209543634
Bong Palad (PALEA Secretary) @ 09165740596

[Press Release] Lakbay-Hustisya gains support from workers and students on last day, ends in big protest at the PALEA campout

The Lakbay-Hustisya of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) garnered support from workers and students on the last leg of the three-day protest. It then ended in a big rally at the PALEA campout in MIA Road by late afternoon.

File Photo source: Pie Hirondo account

“We appreciate the warm support that we got from fellow workers, students and kababayans who we met in the three-day Lakbay-Hustisya. While Philippine Airlines asked for and got the assistance of employers organization, PALEA appealed to and received the solidarity of ordinary Filipinos. PAL is supported by the 1% but the 99% is in solidarity with PALEA,” asserted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

The march was met this morning at UST in Manila by various workers groups under the Koalisyon Kontra Koalisyon (KONTRA). Later in the afternoon, volunteers from the College of St. Benilde-La Salle welcomed the Lakbay-Hustisya and distributed water to the marchers as it passed Taft Ave.

From UST, the Lakbay-Hustisya marchers and the KONTRA labor contingent marched to Mendiola for a noontime rally. KONTRA is calling on the government to intervene in the labor dispute so the retrenched PALEA members can return to their regular jobs.

Renato Magtubo, PM chair, lambasted Malacanang’s announcement that they will keep a hands-off policy in the labor row. “While PNoy prefers to turn a blind eye to the escalating dispute, workers are getting injured and killed with the two dispersal attempts on the PALEA protest camp. While the Labor Department supposedly conducts an investigation, PAL continues to harass the campout by purposely putting rotting on the adjacent walls and gates aside from blaring loud noise. Contrast the inaction of the government to the PAL labor row with the Australian government’s rapid intervention in the Qantas lockout,” he explained.

PALEA is appealing for support from students as the second semester opens in the coming days. Yesterday, a forum on PALEA was held at the Holy Trinity Parish attended by some 500 high school students including teachers, parents, lay and community leaders. Several student organizations already launched a “Don’t fly PAL during the sembreak” campaign last October in solidarity with PALEA.

After the College of St. Benilde “salubong,” the Lakbay-Hustisya proceeded to the PNB Building in Macapagal Ave. where PAL holds its administrative offices. PAL employees on their 3:00 pm break participated in short program at the PNB driveway. At 5:00 pm, another “salubong”’ was staged as PALEA members in the campout met the Lakbay-Hustisya marchers in a big rally. The rally culminated in a 6:00 pm mass at MIA Road.

Contact Ginalyn Licayan (PALEA Board) @ 09158698104
Judy Ann Miranda (PM Sec-Gen) @ 09228677522

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