Tag Archives: Mar Roxas

[Press Release] Urban poor denounce Roxas’ for claiming that DAP benefitted informal settlers -KPML

Urban poor denounce Roxas’ for claiming that DAP benefitted informal settlers

REACTING to claims made by Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas that 10 billion pesos from the recently declared unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) were spent to relocate waterways communities, an urban poor federation leader says it is the exact opposite.


Roxas was reported to have said that, “The money was used for the welfare of the people. The interest of the people always prevails,” during the unveiling of the Zero-ISF Water Easement in Barangay Salapan in San Juan City.

“Roxas is trying his hardest but obviously failing to paint himself as to looking after the interests of the informal settlers when in fact, the relocation program of the government with or without DAP funds is not beneficial but also consequentially detrimental to the poor,” said Anthony Barnedo of Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod (KPML).

Barnedo branded that the socialized housing program of the government as “Rated: PG or Rated: Pure Gimmickry for all the housing officials want is to bulldoze us to far-flung areas for us to rot to death. It is not for the betterment of the poor when the government “saves” us from a danger zone, only to condemn us to a death zone,”

On Roxas’ statement, he clarified that, “It is categorically untrue that the usage of DAP funds were beneficial to the informal settlers along the waterways because the government’s housing units are not for free, poor families will still have to pay monthly mortgages out of their contractual jobs. The government will even profit out of our miseries through interests”.

“The DAP’s true beneficiaries are the real estate developers who cornered billions-worth of government low-cost housing contracts. The DAP is the milking cow of the likes of Noynoy Aquino’s former classmate, Chito Cruz of the National Housing Authority and Gerry Acuzar, owner of New San Jose Builders, Inc. and brother-in-law of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa,” the urban poor leader pointed out.

The KPML condemned Roxas for using the miseries of the poor to shield himself and Aquino from public accountability by justifying their usage of illegally juggled public funds.

“If there are available public funds and if both Aquino and Roxas truly stand for the welfare of the marginalized like they claim then provide free socialized housing and abandon their plans privatize public hospitals for indigents among others”, he asserted.

The militants believes that the government is heartless for it unjustly and forcibly uproots the informal settlers from their communities, work and school, only to be dumped to areas without even basic necessities and infrastructure such as schools, markets, day care centers, potable water, and steady supply of electricity and drainage pipes.

The most damaging, they say, “is the lack of jobs or opportunities to eke a living and pay their mortgages”.

The KPML together with ally Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino just recently announced that they are now calling for the ouster of Aquino and the establishment of a government of the masses and not the constitutional succession of the Vice President.

The groups vows to mobilize thousands of its members and affiliates on July 28, Aquino’s 5th State of the Nation Address.

Press Release
20 July 2014
Contact Person:
Anthony Barnedo 0949-7518792
Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod

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[Event] On human rights day, Light up 4 Yolanda victims, Light up 4 Rights.

Teaser light up copy
1. TAO Muna! Dahil dapat hindi na maulit ang kulang o walang kahandaan ng pamahalaan sa mga sakuna. Unahin ang kapakanan ng mga biktima at ng mga tao.

2. TAO Muna! Dahil dapat tayong tumindig at magkaisa sa pag singil sa pamahalaan sa kaniyang mga pagkukulang at hindi makataong polisiya sa pag-unlad na nagreresulta ng kapahamakan sa tao, sa ating kapaligiran at kalikasan .

3. TAO Muna! Dahil dapat karapatang pantao ang batayan ng pamamahala- ang pamamahalang sa karapatang pantao nakabatay,– good governance with transparency at accountabily.

4. TAO Muna! Dahil dapat may komprehensibo at strethikong polisiya at plano ang pamahalaan hinggil sa karapataang pantao . Dapat may National/Philippine Human Action Plan !

For more details pls contact Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) at 4362633 or Rose Trajano at 09065531792

Visit http://lightup4dec10.wordpress.com/

[Blog] The brat prima donna, the Good Guy and the Resilience of the Filipino People. By Jose Mario De Vega

The brat prima donna, the Good Guy and the Resilience of the Filipino People

I refer to the on-going ‘controversy’ concerning a so-called “veteran newscaster” as against a world renowned and widely respected international journalist, Anderson Cooper of CNN.

Mario De Vega

This pertains to the latter’s harrowing report on the ground which is being disputed by the “veteran newscaster” who did not even (up to this day) went to the calamity site (Tacloban).

To quote a portion of the report of Gil Cabacungan, Anderson Cooper-Korina Sanchez tiff goes viral on the Internet, PDI, November 16:

“Sanchez had criticized Anderson in her radio program on Wednesday afternoon on DZMM after he reported on the government’s less than stellar response to the needs of Yolanda survivors. Said the ABS-CBN news anchor: “Itong si Anderson Cooper, sabi wala daw government presence sa Tacloban. Mukhang hindi niya alam ang sinasabi niya. (This Anderson Cooper. He said there was no government presence in Tacloban. It seems he doesn’t know what he is saying).”

“Sanchez’s remarks became a hot topic on Twitter, something that Cooper was not about to let slip by. Said the CNN journalist: “Here’s what I actually said: As for who exactly is in charge of the Philippine side of operation, that is not really clear. I am just surprised. I expected on this Day Five, I thought I may have gotten here very late, that things will be well in hand; it does not seem like that. People are desperate, they do not have any place for shelter. It’s very difficult for people to get food, neighbors are helping out neighbors, water is in short supply, it is a very very bad situation here.”

“Cooper, who arrived in Manila on Monday, took a dig at Sanchez for not being on the ground to do her reporting. “Miss Sanchez is welcome to go there (Tacloban City) and I would urge her to go there. I don’t know if she has, but her husband is the interior minister and I’m sure she can arrange a flight,” he added.”

So, here is a local newscaster who criticized a foreign journalist, except that the former is reporting at the comfort of her news network, while the latter was precisely there at the scene of the colossal tragedy of massive proportions joining the thousands of the people, victims of this unimaginable catastrophe on their everyday hardships, miseries, woes and countless struggles.

The latter has seen eye ball to eye ball the aftermath of the super typhoon; while the former has only seen the after fact, after watching or seeing the live reports of her fellow crew from the television.

Who among these two individuals are credible and believable on their respective reports?

I believe without the shadow of doubt that only a moron, worst a complete idiot of the highest order would support the contention made or the assertion claimed by that local newscaster. This creature I likened to a brat prima donna of baseless broadcasting and good for nothing reporting.

What kind of reporting is that? Reporting inside the bloody studio?

What a shame!

In the scathing and strong words of Film Icon and Director Peque Gallaga:

“What our leaders tell us is contradicted by the reports from the international commentators who are understandably more objective and growing less dispassionate as they witness the horrors around them. What our leaders tells us is also contradicted by the victims in these areas who are slowly able to give us the true picture of the realities of the situation. And the reality is that people are starving. The dead still lie on the streets even five days after the event. There are anguished souls scavenging for whatever they can survive, as well as professional looters ambushing the helpless and relief caravans. It’s a warzone out there.”

This prima donna brat of local news casting has the galls and the think face to ridicule and criticize a good man, when in fact that man has the guts and the balls to go to the bloody field and report from there live, together with the survivors.

Again to quote Director Gallga’s rant and stinging criticism:

“So I very much care now where all this help is going. I read Marvin Xanth Geronimo who was there when Yolanda struck: that TV personalities and politicians like Mar Roxas and Ted Failon going to Tacloban for the photo op. they never helped; endless tracking video shots of flattened towns with people walking clutching a plastic bottle of water with no government presence whatsoever; Korina Sanchez calling Anderson Copper “misinformed”. Copper was in Tacloban. Korina was not; the US landing 5 planes full of goods and not allowing any politicians to touch any of it. How much more do we need for us to realize that the enemy was not Yolanda? Yolanda was just a force of nature. The enemy is our leaders. And the leader of our leaders is the President.”

Rather than criticizing those good for nothing leaders, who at most are only good at alarming and frightening the people prior to the arrival of the typhoon, yet so bloody slow, as slow as the snail to come, to respond and help after the typhoon has left, the brat has instead criticized unjustly a man who is rightly and greatly doing his job.

Rather than criticizing and calling the attention of the national leadership for somehow “abandoning” the other areas that were also hit such as Eastern Samar, Antique, Capiz, Panay Islands, Palawan, Cebu’s coastal towns and other far-flung remote areas (such as Homonhon Island), this local “news caster” instead has shown her bias and prejudice by attacking Mr. Cooper for something which he did not even say in the first place.

Rather than criticizing those politicians which the United Nations has specifically named by giving strict order to the US military that those donations and the relief goods was not to be touch, the prima donna instead has directed her bullet to a good man who is doing and carrying out his duties on the field.

How on earth would it be possible that a man who is on the field of battle could be misinformed and a creature is so informed when that creature has merely staying and reporting at the four corners of her bloody office?

Well, in fairness to this creature, it was reported that she went to Ormoc; yet I am wondering why she did not bother to go to Tacloban? She did not go to that place, yet she has the galls and the thick face to question the integrity and accuracy of the people who went to the place! Wow!

That is the heights of absurdity and the greatest mockery of all time! Shame! Bloody shame!

In criticizing a good man, in such a vulgar and baseless manner, this idiota has shown the whole world how idiotic and pathetic she is. She completely made a fool out of her foolish self!

I wonder what would be her reaction to the following observations and field reports of the other foreign press/journalists.

Consider the pronouncements/observations of the following members of the international media:

“There does not seem to be an effective operation to get help to those in need.” — Jon Donnison, BBC

“It is certainly not organized.” — Paula Hancocks, CNN

“There is no real evidence of organized recovery or relief.” — Anderson Cooper, CNN

“Minimal amounts of aid have reached the worst-hit areas”. — Tania Branigan, The Guardian

Is there a reasonable ground to believe, it possible that all of them are misinformed, too?

How about the sister of the President himself, Ms. Kris Aquino who also believes that the government is quite slow responding to the needs of the victim, will that brat newscaster also lambast her as “misinformed”?

The Resilience of the Filipino People

I overwhelmingly concur with the report of Luigene Yanoria of the Yahoo Southeast Asia Newsroom, November 15th, “International media laud Filipino reliance amid ‘worst disaster’ Yolanda”:

“When the world looks at the Philippines, they won’t remember the worst typhoon to hit the earth—they will recall how strong Filipinos are, too.

“Seven days on, the world’s eye remains on the Yolanda-battered nation as international media like CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, NBC, ABC, and CBS—dispatch their topnotch journalists to deliver updates on the record-breaking typhoon.

“Leading the pack of foreign journalists on the ground is CNN’s Anderson Cooper who’s been ironically making headlines of himself due to a report where he mentioned the lack of national government support in the badly-hit Tacloban City.

“But for the veteran journalist who has so far covered the world’s biggest disasters, Filipinos show incredible strength even when aid seems bleak.”

As Anderson Cooper said in the November 15 broadcast of AC360:

“The Filipino people–the people of Tacloban, and Samar and Cebu and all these places where so many have died—they’re strong not just to survive the storm; but they are strong to have survived the aftermath of the storm…

“They have survived for a week now often with very little food, with very little water, with very little medical attention…”

Response to President Benigno Aquino III’s comment

The President appealed to the (practically the international) media for them “to use your role to uplift the spirits of the Filipino people — to find stories of resilience, hope and faith, and show the world just how strong the Filipino people are” and to observe accuracy in reporting. Mr. Cooper underscored that that is also what they strive for as well.

As he stated categorically: “Accuracy is what we care most about here at CNN.”

The Question of Accuracy, Credibility and the Truth

Mr. Cooper said in narrating the horrendous aftermath and also highlighting the resilience of the Filipinos:

“They have survived for a week now, often with very little food, with very little water, with very little medical attention.

“Can you imagine the strength it takes to be living in shock, to be living, sleeping on the streets next to the body of your dead children? Can you imagine that strength? I can’t. And I’ve seen that strength day in and day out here in the Philippines. And we honor them with every broadcast that we do…”

The brat prima donna meanwhile has yet to even set foot on Tacloban and smell the stench of death on the air.


Again, to reiterate the point: who do you believe between these two individuals?

Mr. Cooper is a foreigner, but after what he did, doing a fine job and that is reporting the truth, no matter how painful it is, no matter how inconvenient and uncomfortable it is to the powers that be, I, on behalf of the Filipino people is hereby adopting him, now as a part and as a member of the Filipino people!

Mr. Cooper, maraming-maraming salamat po! Mabuhay po kayo!!!

Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

Philosophy lecturer
College of Arts and Letters
Polytechnic University of the Philippines

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[Featured Article] 28 killed in alleged political killings in Escalante under mayor’s term By Merck Maguddayao

28 killed in alleged political killings in Escalante under mayor’s term
By Merck Maguddayao

escalante poster

They always left their gates open.

In this rural village of Libertad in Escalante City, Negros Occidental, the only forbidding entity for village chief Fernando and wife Teresita Damalerio were the neighborhood drunks who, after long drunken stupors would engage in shouting matches, chases, and fistfights. Being the elected peace maker, Fernando would step in to settle the tipsy men, most of the time within the gates of his home.

Other than those occasional fracases, the people of Libertad lived their life slowly by tending their own farm or construct projects in good old bayanihan (collective labor) fashion, unlike the atomized atmosphere of the Metro. That’s why in the peripheries of urbanizing Escalante, it is okay to leave the gates open.

But not until November 8, 2007. Elected a month earlier as barangay captain, Fernando, together with his son Ferjun and kagawad (village councilor) Neptali Narvasa, went to the Commission on Elections branch office in downtown Escalante to file his statement of campaign expenses. At nightfall, as they approached home, violence occurred, but not the type carried out by drunkards.

In an interview, Teresita Demalerio narrated in a mix of Cebuano and Filipino that six armed men emerged from a curve at the corner of their house.

“One person approached our gates, went straight to Fernando who was on his way home, aimed his gun at him while shouting ‘Hapa! Hapa!’ (lie down) My husband raised his two arms and tried to thresh the matter out with the gunman. A second man entered our gate,” Teresita narrated.

Moments later, Teresita witnessed the first gunshot. It felled her son, Ferjun.

April 20 mobilization against killings in Escalante. Photo from Merck Maguddayao

April 20 mobilization against killings in Escalante. Photo from Merck Maguddayao

“Ferjun went out of the gate with his arms raised and uttered ‘Unsa may problema?’ (What’s the problem?) but was unable to finish his question when he was shot on the chest,” she continued.

In a snap, Fernando shoved the gunman who was aiming at him, and ran for cover inside his compound to his house. He was shot on the waist but the wound was miraculously shallow as his belt seemed to have dissipated the impact of the bullet.

Teresita followed her husband and while on her way, she noticed one of the gunmen lying down on the ground, who most probably was accidentally shot by his comrades during their attack, according to her account. She noticed a grenade in the hands of the felled assailant, picked it up, ran inside the house through a backdoor, and handed it to Fernando, who threw the grenade at the three other assailants. They disappeared after the blast.

The couple survived the ordeal, but not their youngest son Ferjun, who was a fresh college graduate with a degree in customs administration. He was felled down by a seemingly emerging gang of vigilantes, who would kill 27 other men in a span of six years leading to the May 2013 elections, which included Teresita’s brother Sergio Villador, who was killed a few months later.

September 21, 2013 Mobilization against killings in Escalante. Photo from Merck Maguddayao

September 21, 2013 Mobilization against killings in Escalante. Photo from Merck Maguddayao

28 felled men in six years, under two consecutive terms of incumbent and newly-elected mayor of Escalante City, Melecio “Beboy” Yap. The common denominator of the killings is that 18 of the felled men, as well as their surviving immediate relatives, were supporters of former mayor Santiago “May-May” Barcelona, whose term expired in 2007 but ran and lost in 2010 and 2013. Ferjun, though not an active supporter of Barcelona—his parents are—was an unfortunate fatality who absorbed a cheap but fatal shot from a trigger-happy gunman. Nine other victims were para-military volunteers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, locally known as Cafgu, who were likewise killed in an organized manner.
Yap has continuously denied responsibility of the killings, repeatedly saying in local news reports that it is mere demolition job against him.

Such bloodbath last occurred in the City last September 20, 1985, when at least 20 farmer-activists were killed allegedly by state agents in a protest rally in commemoration of Martial Law in front of the town hall. It is forever immortalized in history as theEscalante Massacre. However, this seemingly second version of Escalante Massacre did not happen in a single event–the killings were organized and followed a pattern.

Activist Luke Espiritu of the socialist Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), who documented the killings and
assisted the victims’ families in filing criminal charges against Yap and his alleged henchmen, explained that this constituted “circumstantial evidence” to charge Yap for murder and frustrated
murder before the prosecutor’s office of Escalante.

“There is a pattern to the killings. Most victims were from the camp of Barcelona,” Espiritu said.

“The victims’ family will first receive a warning from an unknown source: Switch allegiance or death,” he continued. “And indeed, the victims followed this pattern of threat followed by actual execution.”

“You think those who killed my son were common village drunkards? They were armed, and most of them attacked in groups. The killing operations seemed to be organized,” he concluded.

From their end, Espiritu assisted four other families in filing multiple murder charges against Yap, retired Army Major Tupas, Angel Sinadjan, Santiago Rapiz, and several John Does.

As the killings escalated, some families of the murdered men and some survivors brought the issue to then Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary Jesse Robredo, who in 2011 created Task Force Escalante, an inter-government effort to investigate the killings and prevent possible killings. During this time, Yap was stripped of his police powers which he strongly opposed, claiming that the DILG’s measure was against his human rights. His allies from the pro-Maoist Bayan Muna even staged a rally in that year in support of Yap, branding Robredo’s order as a violation of Yap’s rights.

Task Force Escalante, though, withered away after Robredo’s untimely death in 2012 as current DILG secretary Mar Roxas seemed to have backpedalled in the investigation of the cases.

“We have sent follow-up letters to Secretary Roxas and even to PNoy (President Benigno Aquino III) but we have not received any action from the national government,” Teresita Damalerio lamented. “It was a far cry from Robredo’s response to our ordeal.”

Hopeless that their appeals for help fell on deaf ears, the victims’ families stumbled upon Bacolod-native Espiritu, who was busy in campaigning for PLM’s electoral bid in Negros Occidental.

“I think we were blessed to meet a man who took us seriously,” Teresita said.

News about the killings infuriated Espiritu as the number was alarming. But what made him angrier was the fact that the DILG and Malacanang seemed to have discontinued Task Force Escalante after the death of its initiator. Worse, he heard a common notion blaming the insurgent New People’s Army as the perpetrators of the killings.

“Many of these killings were dismissed as insurgency-related. Then case closed. This is an excuse not to undertake further investigation,” he lamented.

The new collaboration resulted in the formation of the local human rights formation Save Negros Movement (Save Negros), which held its first rally in front of Escalante City Hall last April 20 attended by at least 8,000 angry citizens of Escalante denouncing the purported atrocities of Yap and his men.

The gathered crowd called for the continuation of the pending investigation of the killings, the quick prosecution of Yap and the other suspects, and placing Escalante under the control of the
Commission on Elections.

“It seemed like People Power,” Espiritu recalled. “The people were angry, they seemed to want to barge in City Hall and take over the city.”

“They want Mayor Yap to answer the allegations, at the very least, air his side. But he didn’t, which made us angrier,” he said.

Despite this seemingly popular discontent against him, Yap won by a comfortable margin on 9,000 votes over Barcelona in the elections a month after the rally.

It seemed to have been a reaffirmation of the Escalante people’s trust to their mayor, but Damalerio begs to differ.

“We believe Barcelona’s machinery was severely weakened by the killings since 2007, so what do you expect? He became politically dead,” Damalerio explained.

Damalerio insists that his family’s support for Barcelona was because the mayor simply addressed their basic demands—agricultural infrastructure, healthcare, school buildings, and scholarship for
their children. This, she believes, was the reason for Barcelona’s erstwhile political success, having served for three terms from 1998 to 2007.

However, she and the victims, she asserts, have gone beyond being supporters of an ex-mayor. Currently the spokesperson of the Save Negros Movement and PLM-Escalante, she believes that the most viable way to end institutionalized violence in Escalante a movement independent from
traditional political rivals in their city.
Thus, she, along with more than a hundred relatives of EJK victims and some survivors, went beyond the human rights alliance Save Negros and joined PLM, as they believed that justice is served not in the courtroom, but through the direct empowerment of the Escalante masses. In a rally to commemorate the 1985 Escalante Massacre last September 21, the now PLM-Escalante chapter mobilized 300 of its members in front of the City Hall, calling for empowerment and direct democracy as the replacement of warlordist rule in the city. Still fearing for their lives, they braved the scorching weather and a possible rain of bullets.

“We still love Mayor May-May, and we are forever indebted to him,” Damalerio said, recalling her days as supporter of the former mayor. “But we victims have to unite as an independent force
in this city. The issue has gone beyond politics for our lives are at stake. The only way for us to move forward is to organize, no longer perceived as simply Barcelona supporters, but as an independent force of the oppressed.”

She still fears for her life and that of her husband and relatives, though.

“Heaven forbid, but when I return to Escalante, I might be a dead woman. Or maybe, one or two more will be killed.”

She concluded her story with these simple words: “Sending Yap to jail is not enough. Real justice is achieved by changing the system. Leave the masses alone to decide on their own fate, to decide on the fate of our beloved city, for we are the builders of this city.”

Six years may have passed since the death of Teresita Damalerio’s son and brother and the death of 27 others, but for the families of the victims of extra-judicial killings in Escalante, the fight has just begun. They continue to knock on the locked gate of justice while literally dodging bullets fired behind them.

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[Press Release] Measly wage hike is demeaning and cruel amid rising prices, pork scam—CTUHR

Measly wage hike is demeaning and cruel amid rising prices, pork scam—CTUHR

CTUHR logo

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights criticized the recent wage adjustment saying the it is “demeaning” and “cruel” to workers especially amid rising prices and the P10- billion-peso scam.

On September 6, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced the wage adjustment integrating P15 of Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) to basic pay and adding P10 of COLA. The new basic pay is now at P451.00 while the additional COLA will be effective only on January 2014.

Daisy Arago, Executive Director of CTUHR said, “Such measly amount is demeaning and cruel to workers and the poor as rising prices of basic commodities and utilities in the recent months have already depressed the real value of wages.”

The group further explained that the wage adjustment is negligible as wage levels will remain below half of the family living wage estimated at P1,039.

Arago added that the wage adjustment is both very insulting and cunning, “It is the lowest wage adjustment in NCR in the last decade however, the government is trying to present it as good news by saying the it is the first time that the regional wage board made a unanimous decision over wage hikes.”

“We are even more repelled by the Aquino government’s display of insensitivity by giving Filipinos token wage adjustments amid corruption scandals involving billions of pesos from people’s taxes being pocketed by a few,” Arago pointed out.

Arago also berated a recent statement of Malacañang spokesperson, Edwin Lacierda who belittled the 5-million peso controversy thrown at Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas, “It is extremely appalling that Malacañang is taking 5 million pesos as non-issue when the government is only giving workers 10 pesos in a time when most Filipinos are worried of the rising prices of rice which is now at P42 per kilo.”

In the end, the group challenged the government to support the workers demand for a substantial and legislated wage hike. The group said that a substantial wage hike will provide immediate relief to many Filipinos and a legislated increase will benefit all workers across the country.

7 September 2013

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[In the news] Calabarzon police chief, 23 others axed over killings -GMAnews.com

Calabarzon police chief, 23 others axed over killings
January 15, 2013

gmanewsonlineThe police chief of Region IV-A has been relieved from his post after two bloody incidents in his area, which caused President Benigno Aquino III to lose confidence in the police official’s leadership, Interior and Local Government Manuel Roxas II announced Tuesday.

At a press briefing in Camp Crame, Roxas said Chief Superintendent James Melad was removed from his post to give way to “impartial investigation into the series of killings in the region involving policemen.”

“Nawalan ng kumpiyansa ang Pangulo sa pamumuno ni General Melad. Quezon was in his command as well as Batangas. Para magkaroon ng malaya at hayag na imbestigasyon, minarapat na magkaroon ng pagbabago sa liderato,” he said.

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[In the news] Aquino backed suspension of cops involved in Quezon shooting – Palace -INQUIRER.net

Aquino backed suspension of cops involved in Quezon shooting – Palace
By Michael Lim Ubac. Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 15, 2013

inquirerMANILA, PhilippinesMalacañang confirmed on Tuesday that the preventive suspension of officials of the Police Regional Office 4A, as announced by Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, had the blessing of President Aquino.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte warned that those who would not cooperate with investigators of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) into the Antimonan, Quezon shooting, would be promptly relieved, too.

“(The) refusal to cooperate will not be tolerated. (Interior) Secretary Mar Roxas will be ready to relieve them,” said Valte, when asked about the reported refusal of some members of Police Regional Office 4A in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) to talk with NBI case investigators tasked to come out with forensic, autopsy and ballistic findings of the Atimonan shooting that killed 13 men on Jan. 6.

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[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


Amnesty International Philippines
Press Release

4 September 2012

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[Press Release] Labor groups to declare Aquino-Roxas tandem “Enemy of the Working Class” if they continue siding with tycoon Lucio Tan

Organized labor would declare the Aquino-Roxas tandem an “Enemy of the Working Class” if the two leaders continue to side with tycoon Lucio Tan in the escalating labor dispute between the management of Philippine Airlines (PAL) and its union, the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA).

According to the labor group, Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), this is in response to President Aquino and DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas’ threat of filing a case of economic sabotage against PALEA members who participated in Tuesday’s peaceful protest action that led to the cancellation of PAL flights.

“PNoy and Mar, who were both out of the country at the height of the labor dispute and the devastations of typhoon Pedring, came back looking only at the culpabilities of PALEA for that few hour of peaceful action, but not of Lucio Tan who had been battering the rights of PAL workers for more than a decade now,” stated PM chair and co-chair of Church Labor Conference (CLC) Renato Magtubo.

Magtubo said that instead of throwing their weight against the “capitalist wang-wangs”, PNoy and Roxas did not even dare to ask Lucio Tan why PAL significantly reduced its flights even prior to the Tuesday protest and the implementation of outsourcing plan in October 1, and why it shut down the system which effectively locked out the PAL workers beginning 1:30 PM of September 27, 2011.

“Pnoy did not even ask his labor officials who have prior knowledge of what aggravating factors transpired at PAL’s work stations few days before PALEA took defensive actions against the management on Tuesday,” added Magtubo.

The veteran labor leader said the crime of economic sabotage, he understands, pertains to illegal recruitment, syndicated estafa, and operation of black market, among others, and not for actions related to labor disputes. And if flight cancellations is a form of sabotage, then PAL is guilty of this crime

“We can only think of one explanation why President Aquino and Mar Roxas maintain a hostile attitude towards the workers despite the ligitimacy of their demands.  They both came from the country’s landed and elite capitalist class and who, in their lifetime, have never suffered the harsh conditions of life that confront ordinary laborers,” said Magtubo.

The Partido ng Manggagawa and the Church Labor Conference led today’s solidarity action for PALEA.  Some 300 members of PM-Cavite held a Lakbayan from Zapote Road in Bacoor to the Inflight Center near the gates of Centennial Terminal 2 where PALEA members are camping out.  Contigents from other labor and human rights groups have also joined the solidarity action.

Magtubo explained that the whole labor movement, the Church and human rights groups have all expressed their unequivocal support for PALEA’s struggle against mass layoff and contractualization.  He said the planned outsourcing defied the spirit of the Constitution, violates the Labor Code and ILO Convention’s guarantee on security of tenure, and undermines the PAL-PALEA CBA povision on prohibition of outsourcing.

The outsourcing plan will demote regular workers into contractuals, will cut their wage and benefits into half, and their security of tenure replaced by ‘fire-at-will” policy.

The labor group said Pnoy ang Mar simply ignored these facts in dealing with the PAL labor dispute.

Partido ng Manggagawa
30 September 2011

Contact:  Renato Magtubo

[Statement] On the creation of DOTC-DOE-DOJ task force: Government action or ploy? – PMT

Reacting to the nationwide protest actions spearheaded by transport groups held Monday, Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas announced the creation of a tri-agency task force to look into the pricing scheme of oil companies to determine if there is truth to suspicions they work as a cartel to control prices of oil in the country. Along with the Justice and Energy department, the task force will investigate complaints of overpricing and determine if price increases were just and reasonable.

“We find this announcement very suspicious. Was it meant to address the grievance raised by transport workers on oil prices or just another ploy to deceive us and the public?” said Dante Lagman, President of militant transport group Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon (PMT).

On September 14, 2011, the Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon (PMT) filed a complaint with the DOJ. They want oil companies, particularly the Big 3 (Petron, Shell and Caltex), to be prosecuted and penalized for collusion, overpricing and price manipulation.

“In our complaint, we asked the DOE-DOJ task force to act within the 30 day mandatory period. This task force is a mechanism created by the Oil Deregulation Law (ODL) to check abuses by oil companies, contrary to claims by government that they are powerless against patently unfair and unreasonable oil price increases. The wisdom of the 30 day period guarantees swift and decisive action to arrest the exploitative nature of the oil oligopoly. It’s just that this remedy was never exercised. Government opted to protect the interest of oil companies over the masses.” stressed Lagman.

“We fear that the tri-agency of Roxas aims to once again circumvent the law.It is a ploy to let the masses think that PNoy administration is doing something to solve the problems of the country. Worse, it will rule in favor of the oil companies and proclaim that deregulation can still work.”

“The PNoy administration should stop being an accomplice to unjust profiteering by oil companies. It should instead listen to the demands of its people – substantial roll back of petroleum prices, punish oil companies, remove the VAT and repeal the Oil Deregulation Law.” concluded Lagman.

PagkakaisangManggagawasaTransportasyon (PMT)
Dante Lagman

[In the news] Acosta appointed adviser for environmental protection – Philstar.com

Acosta appointed adviser for environmental protection
By Delon Procalla (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines –  President Aquino yesterday signed the appointment papers of former Bukidnon Rep. Neric Acosta as Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection.

Three months ago, Aquino said they were creating an office for Acosta, an ally in the Liberal Party, who lost in the senatorial elections last year.

Acosta is the second defeated party candidate to join Aquino’s Cabinet, the other being Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II – Aquino’s then running mate – who took the post after the resignation of his predecessor Jose de Jesus.

The ban on appointing losing candidates was lifted on May 11, a year after the national elections.

Earlier, there were speculations that Acosta would be placed in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Aquino denied this and appointed to the post Ramon Paje, a career environment official.

Aside from belonging to the same party as the President, Acosta was Aquino’s colleague at the House of Representatives when he represented Tarlac.

Aquino said Acosta will be tasked to coordinate ecological and environment concerns for a “coherent implementation of policy.”

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[From the web] Heredero by Ang Manggagawa

by hukbongmapagpalaya.blogspot.com

Si Benigno Aquino III ay isang heredero. Isa siya sa mga heredero ng 6,000 ektarya ng Hacienda Luisita at iba pang korporasyon. Heredero rin siya ng estadong produkto ng pag-aalsang EDSA na minsa’y minaneho ng kanyang ina, ipinasa kay Ramos, Estrada at Arroyo.

Sa kanyang isang taon sa poder, ipinakita niya sa kanyang mga kauri na siya nga ay karapat-dapat na maging heredero. Walang pagdududa ang ipinakita niyang katapatan sa mga kapitalista at asenderong kanyang kauri.

Huwag magtaka ang bayan na bumoto sa kanya kung bakit “di siya kumibo” sa mainit na usapin ng Hacienda Luisita. Kung bakit hindi maibigay sa mga magbubukid ang lupang para sa kanila. Labag sa interes ng kanyang pamilya at kanyang kauri mula Luzon, Visayas at Mindanao na ipamahagi ang lupa sa mga magbubukid kahit ito ay sinasabi na ng batas.

Sa usapin ng manggagawa sa PAL, ang kanyang bataan sa Department of Labor na si Josefina Baldoz ay nagbaba ng Assumption of Jurisdiction (AJ) upang di makawelga ang mga flight attendants and stewardess. AJ rin ang ginawa ni Patricia Sto. Tomas, dating Kalihim sa Paggawa ni Gloria Arroyo, nang magwelga ang mga manggagawa sa Hacienda Luisita noong 2004. Dahil sa AJ ni Sto. Tomas, minasaker ng mga militar ang piketlayn na ikinamatay ng 7 at ikinasugat ng marami. Kongresman na noon si Noynoy Aquino pero ni ha ni ho ay walang narinig mula sa kanya.

Nang lapitan siya ng mga miembro ng Philippine Airlines Employees Association para ireklamo ang iligal na pagtatanggal sa kulang 3,000 manggagawa, ang kinampihan niya ay si Lucio Tan, ang may-ari ng PAL.

Anak ng jueteng din ang gubyernong ito kagaya ng mga nauna sa kanyang naupo sa Malakanyang. Kahit malalaking tao na sa simbahan at mga taong alam na alam ang likaw ng bituka ng huetengan ang nagbubulgar na ang kanyang dating hepe ng pulis na si Hen. Versoza at mataas na opisyal ng Department of Interior and Local Government na si Rico Puno ay kumokolekta ng humigit-kumulang sa 8 milyong piso kada buwan, walang aksyon si Aquino. Kagaya rin ng kawalan ng aksyon nito sa mga iresponsableng opisyal ng gubyerno na nagpabaya sa kanilang tungkulin sa oras ng hostage-taking sa Luneta. Kaya pala’y ang kaibigan din niyang si Rico Puno at Mayor Alfredo Lim ang madidiin dito pero pinaligtas niya.

Interes ng kanyang pamilya. Interes ng kanyang uri. Interes ng kanyang mga kaibigan. Iyan ang ginagawa ni Aquino sa Malakanyang.

Kaya ang pinagkukuha niyang miembro ng kanyang gabinete ay galing din sa hanay ng malalaking negosyo gaya ni Purisima sa Finance Department, Singson sa DPWH at Domingo sa Trade and Industry at Mar Roxas sa DOTC.

Nilimot na niya ang mga pangako niya noong eleksyon.

Noong kampanya, laging ipinakikita niya sa telebisyon ang karumaldumal na kalagayan ng pampublikong paaralan. Pero nang maupo siya, di man lang nito itinaas ang budget ng edukasyon sa halagang 6% ng GDP para ibuwelo ang pag-ahon sa masamang kalagayan ng edukasyon sa bansa. Sa halip, pahahabain niya ng dalawang taon ang high school na lalong magpapalaki ng gastos sa mga naghihirap na magulang, lalong magpapalaki ng bilang ng drop-out. Para lamang pagbigyan ang napangakuan niyang mga kapitalistang edukador.

Noong kampanya, ipinangako niyang di magtataas ng buwis. Kabaligtaran ang kanyang ginagawa. Sa halip na buwisan ang higanteng mga korporasyon, ang binuwisan ay ang ordinaryong tao kagaya ng 250% na pagtaas ng toll fee sa SLEX at nakaambang pagtataas ng pasahe sa LRT at MRT. At ang mga kumpanyang dayuhan ay inililibre sa buwis.

Noong kampanya, ipinangako niyang bibigyan ng disenteng pabahay ang mahihirap. Kabaligtaran ang kanyang ginagawa. Wala siyang ginawa sa mga mararahas na demolisyon. Napilitang awatin ang demolisyon sa San Roque, North Triangle, Pag-asa, Quezon City dahil nagkataong kausap niya si Barack Obama na pangulo ng US. Ang mga lupang ito ay ibinenta at ibebenta pa sa mga malalaking korporasyon para pagtubuan.

Ang gubyerno ni Aquino ay walang malinaw na programa para walisin ang kahirapang laganap sa buong kapuluan. Ang PDP o Philippine Development Program nito ay halo-halong matatamis na salita na pawang magpapahapdi sa sikmura ng maralitang Pilipino. Minana rin lang niya kay Gloria ang PPP o public-private partnership o sosyohan ng gubyerno at pribado at conditional cash transfer o pamimigay ng pera sa pinakamahihirap sa bawat barangay. Ang P21 bilyong piso na ipinagmamalaki ng Kalihim ng DSWD na si Dinky Soliman—dating bataan ni Gloria—ay inutang sa Asian Development Bank (ADB) na mataas ang tubo na lalong magbabaon sa bansa sa kumunoy ng pagkakautang. Ang ganitong pamimigay ng pera (dole-out) kahit sabihing magpapagalaw sa merkado at ekonomya ng bansa ay paasahin lang ang tao sa limos kaysa manalig sa pagbabatak ng buto para mabuhay.

Ang kanyang sentrong programang pang-ekonomya na PPP ay walang iba kundi ang lumang pribatisasyon ng mga ari-arian, serbisyo at korporasyon ng gubyerno na sinimulan ni Marcos at umarangkada noong nanunungkulan pa ang kanyang inang si Cory at siyang ipinagpapatuloy niya ngayon. Walang ibang ibig sabihin nito kundi ang pagbibigay sa mga malalaking korporasyong lokal at dayuhan ng mga negosyo at serbisyong mas madali at mas malaking pagtubuan sa anyo ng BOT o build-operate-transfer, pagbibigay ng prangkisa at iba pang moda ng sosyohan o tuwirang pagmamay-ari ng mga dayuhan. Minana rin niya ito sa nakaraang mga pangulo.

Iyan ang mga senyales ng susunod na limang taon mula ngayon.

Nasaan na ang “kayo ang boss ko!”? Nasaan na ang “tuwid na daan”? Nasaan na ang “walang korap, walang mahirap”? Kagaya ng “Erap para sa Mahirap,” ang mga salitang yan ay gimik lang sa eleksyon. Aasa ka pa ba sa heredero ng Hacienda Luisita at maka-dayuhang programang pang-ekonomya?

Ipinaskil ni Ang Manggagawa sa Ang Manggagawa noong 7/22/2011 06:47:00 AM

[In the news] ANALYSIS: Filipinos wait for Aquino to fulfill election promises – Interaksyon.com

ANALYSIS: Filipinos wait for Aquino to fulfill election promises – Interaksyon.com.

Manuel Mogato, Reuters

MANILA, Philippines – The question of whether deposed Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos should be buried in a cemetery for national heroes is one President Benigno Aquino III feels he cannot make for the nation that elected him to lead it.

So instead, people can SMS their opinion on where Marcos should be buried, like voting for an American Idol contestant, to help decide the government’s position. And it’s not the only decision Aquino seems to be having trouble making.

A reluctant president who won office in a landslide last year, Aquino has never really got out of campaign mode, fixated on pursuing the former administration and talking of major reforms without yet delivering a substantive agenda.

The danger is that this becomes yet another lost opportunity for the Southeast Asian nation, as investors’ initial optimism on Aquino fades and his main political strength of high personal support weakens.

The government is looking to raise billions of dollars to upgrade infrastructure around the nation of more than 7,000 islands, and says it will make the country more attractive to foreign investors, but details are yet to be fully explained.

“Aquino never really seems willing to expend any political capital on what he believes in or claims to stand for,” said Scott Harrison, managing director of risk consultancy Pacific Strategies & Assessments.

“Whether this is apathy or just another manifestation of his laziness, aversion to work and the rough-and-tumble of politics remains to be seen,” he said, although he did credit Aquino for instituting some ethics in governance.

The stakes are high. Asian Development Bank data shows foreign direct investment in the Philippines last year trailed well behind neighbors Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Weak employment and productivity growth means the country relies on exporting workers overseas, whose remitted income accounts for about 10 percent of gross domestic product. It also means poverty levels are rising, an anomaly in booming Asia.

The country ranks below most Southeast Asian countries, its main competitors for investment funds, on measures such as competitiveness, ease of doing business and corruption

“Against this backdrop, one key policy challenge is for the government to sustain the higher level of investor confidence built up last year by pushing ahead with policy and governance reforms,” the ADB said in a report last month.

“Another is to raise state revenue so as to fund the social development and infrastructure programs required to reduce poverty and underpin a stronger private sector.”

Aquino is limited to a single, six-year term. He was elected in May 2010 and took office at the end of June.

But it wasn’t until February that a committee to plan the government’s agenda and priorities bills over its term met – and the eventual list did not include bills Aquino had championed, including reproductive health and freedom of information.


“Aquino wanted to do a lot of things, but he has not done anything to carry out these things,” said Earl Parreno, analyst of Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms.

“Now is the time for action, and yet the people has not seen anything concrete from his government. There’s a growing public perception that nothing has changed from the past administration to his government.”

Aquino has been dogged in his campaign to investigate his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and has made some headway with the resignation of the ombudsman, which will allow him to appoint his own graft investigator.

But he seems to have backtracked or lost focus on other issues, and his public opinion ratings have fallen.

Apart from the budget, no major legislation has passed. Each week since July, tax evaders have been named at a weekly press conference, but so far only seven of 45 complaints have made it to court — and no trials have begun.

Last November, Aquino told a conference of potential investors the government would put in place mechanisms to protect their contracts in infrastructure projects, which the government planned to put out from tender from early 2011.

Six months later, no contracts have been awarded, and there has been no legislation to improve protection against regulatory risk – and so foreign investors remain wary for now.

Doubts are also emerging locally. Aquino’s purchase of a second-hand Porsche drew criticism from nearly half of people in an opinion poll, even though he used his own money to buy it.

His poll ratings on areas such as managing the economy, fighting crime and reducing poverty have all fallen, suggesting a broader discontent with his administration.

There could be some change coming. His unsuccessful running mate last year, Mar Roxas, can now join the administration after the expiry last week of the one-year prohibition of losing candidates being appointed to government jobs.

Roxas, an experienced operator who has served as a minister under two presidents, could become Aquino’s chief of staff and troubleshooter, local media report. That could provide Aquino the political smarts he needs to achieve his goals.

“Aquino may not be doing anything wrong, but he has also not done anything good,” said Bobby Evangelista, a cigarette vendor in Manila’s business district. “I haven’t seen any change at all. We remain poor and he has a new car.”