Tag Archives: Philippine Star

[In the news] Lawmaker vows to reintroduce FOI bill -PhilStar.com

Lawmaker vows to reintroduce FOI bill
By Jess Diaz,The Philippine Star
May 26, 2013

philstar-logo-white1

MANILA, Philippines – Re-elected Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat yesterday said he would reintroduce and push for the approval of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill in the incoming 16th Congress.

“We should make FOI a priority in the next Congress as it is crucial in strengthening the tuwid na daan (straight path) advocacy. It is crucial in the administration’s campaign against graft and corruption,” he said.

Baguilat, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, said with more party members winning seats in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, major reform bills such as the FOI would have a greater chance of approval.

“The FOI bill seeks to make it easier for people and the media to access public documents, especially those related to bidding of government projects as well as expenditures. This way, there will be greater transparency in government affairs and the way taxpayers’ money is spent,” he said.

Read full article @www.philstar.com

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[Petition] Online Petition for the passage of the FOI bill now -www.ipetitions.com

FOI petition

Dear Friends,

Please sign the Online Petition for the passage of the FOI bill now at

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/please-pass-the-freedom-of-information-bill-now/

and please forward this appeal to all your yahoogroups and personal email contacts. We need a huge number of signatures to make an impact.

For those who want to read the bill, this is the link to the bill – http://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/www.opengovpartnership.org/files/Aquino%20FOI%20Bill.pdf

The importance of the Freedom of Information Bill is well established, yet it has been languishing in Congress for the past two decades and remains languishing in the House of Representatives two years after Pres. Pnoy won the presidency on a platform of government transparency; it is high time for the FOI bill to be passed. The FOI version in the Senate, renamed as the People’s Ownership of Government Information Act of 2012, was passed on third and final reading on Dec. 17, 2012. In the House of Representatives, the FOI bill formally known as House Bill 6766 has been passed on first reading. Congress will reconvene on January 21, 2013 giving them only nine sessions before adjourning on Feb. 9 for more than four months until after the May mid-term elections. Our window of opportunity is very tight, but let us make one more push for Congress to enact the bill into law in the 15th Congress. Time is of the essence.

Also, please write Pres. Pnoy an email at Pres. Pnoy <pnoy@noynoyaquino.ph>; titonoy@president.gov.ph; op@president.gov.ph- urging him to certify as urgent the passage of the FOI Bill.

Furthermore, please write House Speaker Belmonte, Jr at Speaker Belmonte <sonnybelmonte2011@yahoo.com>; and info-tech@congress.gov.ph and members of the House of Representatives, notably House Committee On Public Information chairman Rep. Ben Evardone, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzalez, Jr. and the representatives in your specific province, to pass this FOI Bill now. Log into the website of the 15th Congress House of Representatives, Congress of the Philippines, http://www.congress.gov.ph/ . Scroll down to the bottom of the home page and click on CONTACT US. On the next screen, “If you want to contact the chief of staff of your Congressman, please select from the list: (then click GO!)


The next screen shows a picture of your congressman. Click on Send email and this will take you to the next screen where you can write your email. Let us flood them with emails to catch their attention.

With the new year, let us resolve to do whatever we can do, individually and collectively, for a better Philippines – not just for ourselves but more importantly for the 26.5 % of our population classified in 2009 by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) as poor.

Have a very Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year!!!

Best regards.
Greg Mariano, Jr.
Hollidaysburg, PA

Some informative links:
http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2012/12/20/888050/foi-bill-wont-be-certified-urgent-palace-official – FOI bill won’t be certified as urgent – Palace official – By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 20, 2012 – 12:00am

http://pcij.org/blog/2012/12/02/a-hundred-voices-one-clamor-certify-foi-bill-as-urgent – December 2, 2012 – A hundred groups urge P-Noy, Congress: Certify FOI as urgent!

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.

[In the news] P-Noy defends human rights record -PhilStar.com

P-Noy defends human rights record
By Ana Marie Pamintuan, The Philippine Star
October 24, 2012

AUCKLAND – President Aquino yesterday defended the human rights record of his administration, saying state forces also have rights that must be respected and upheld.

“I keep saying that human rights is for everybody,” Aquino told Radio New Zealand in an interview here.

The interviewer noted that trade unions and church groups in New Zealand have said there are still “too many human rights abuses” in the Philippines.

“Well, we can’t claim that there are no human rights issues within our country,” Aquino replied.

“But in the past two weeks, for instance, we’ve had a lot of abuses done on state agents. When they were enforcing, for instance, eviction notices… they were pelted with human waste. And a lot of danger has happened to our people.”

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

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.

[In the news] Petitions vs cybercrime law continue to flood SC -PhilStar.com

Petitions vs cybercrime law continue to flood SC
By Edu Punay, The Philippine Star
September 29, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – Protests against RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act continues to mount at the Supreme Court (SC) after a fifth group yesterday filed another petition seeking to stop implementation of questioned provisions in the new law.

A group of journalists, bloggers and lawyers led by UP law professor Harry Roque Jr. argued that five provisions of the law violate not only constitutional rights of citizens in cyberspace but also run counter to the contractual obligation of the government to the United Nations.

They slammed the government for criminalizing libel on the Internet when the United Nations had already pointed out that libel under the Revised Penal Code was “incompatible” with the Filipino’s freedom of expression.

Petitioners cited the findings of UN Human Rights Committee on the case of radio broadcaster Alexander Adonis, who sought relief from the UN after having been found guilty on the libel charge slapped by former House speaker Prospero Nograles and imprisoned for two years.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

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.

[In the news] ‘Put RH bill to a vote now’ -PhilStar.com

‘Put RH bill to a vote now’
The Philippine Star
September 09, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – Stop the dilatory tactics and simply put the Reproductive Health (RH) bill to a vote.

This was the challenge issued yesterday by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago to her colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives to determine once and for all which side – the pro or the anti – has the numbers.

Santiago also came to the defense of Sen. Pia Cayetano, her co-author of the bill, who was taken to task by anti-RH bill advocates Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Majority Leader Vicente Sotto for complaining about the delays faced by the measure.

Santiago said what was happening in the Senate deliberations over the RH bill was clearly dilatory.

She cited the decision of Sotto to avail himself of the turno en contra or rebuttal after the period of interpellation.

Santiago said the only time the turno en contra is even availed of is during deliberations on the general appropriations bill.

“But because it is his right, I don’t want to object. But other people who are also on his side rose up to say I want to interpellate my colleague on the same side,’’ she said.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

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.

[In the news] ‘Opponents of RH bill delaying amendments’ -PhilStar.com

‘Opponents of RH bill delaying amendments
By Jess Diaz, The Philippine Star
August 19, 2012

MANILA, PhilippinesAlbay Rep. Edcel Lagman yesterday accused lawmakers opposed to the Reproductive Health (RH) bill of delaying the process of introducing amendments to the measure.

Lagman, one of the bill’s principal authors, asked the House leadership to stop such delaying tactics.

“When the House voted to terminate floor debates on the measure, it was a decision to also start forthwith the period of amendments prior to voting on second and third final readings,” he said.

Lagman said those opposed to the proposed RH law are violating such mandate by delivering privilege speeches “to delay and derail the start of the period of amendments.”

“Why terminate the long-winding and repetitive interpellations only to temporize and hold hostage the legislation?” he asked.

The former minority leader appealed to House leaders “to foreclose the malevolent and dilatory filibustering and strictly enforce the rule on ‘questions of privilege’ because more than a right, this privilege to speak is subject to the permission of the presiding officer who shall determine whether the request is in order.”

Lagman invoked Section 101 of the Rules of the House, which provides that “questions of privilege are those affecting the duties, conducts, rights, privileges, dignity, integrity or reputation of the House or of its members, individually or collectively.”

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

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.

[In the news] Luisita farmers to next SC chief: Don’t tamper with land distribution order -PhilStar.com

Luisita farmers to next SC chief: Don’t tamper with land distribution order
By Rhodina Villanueva , The Philippine Star
August 14, 2012

Manila, PhilippinesHacienda Luisita farmers called on the next Supreme Court chief justice not to tamper with its April 24 decision that ordered the distribution of the controversial sugar estate to its farm worker beneficiaries.

UMA secretary-general Rodel Mesa said “regardless of whether a member of the high court or not will be appointed, the important thing is he or she would not tamper with the Hacienda Luisita verdict. Any attempt to hamper or to reverse the ruling would affect the institution’s credibility.”

He added they would assert the actual and physical distribution of Hacienda Luisita to its 6,296 beneficiaries.

“The delay of the distribution can also be attributed to the complications in the process being implemented by the DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform),” Mesa said.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

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.

[Petition] Save our RH Bill! -AVAAZ.org

Dear friends across the Philippines,

In days, our Congress could take the pivotal step of securing universal access to birth control and maternal care for all Filipinos — but the powerful religious lobby and its political allies could kill it unless we act now. Sign this urgent petition so the House of Representatives secures birth control now — and then forward widely:

In days, our Congress could take the pivotal step of securing universal access to birth control and maternal care for all Filipinos. But the powerful religious lobby and its political allies could kill it unless we act now.

Over 70% of the Filipino population supports the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, but politicians fearful of Church pressure have for years been ignoring public opinion. The tide, however, may be turning. Experts say President Aquino’s brave endorsement of the Bill last week could convince other lawmakers to do the same – let’s tip the balance in our favor by telling Congress we won’t sit by idly while they kill the bill for the 14th year in a row.

The House of Representatives votes in 5 days and it’s likely to be close – if it dies here, we’ll have to wait one more year to even bring up the subject. Sign this urgent petition now and forward widely – when we reach 10,000 signatures, we’ll deliver it straight to Congress before voting begins:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_rh_bill_ph_a/?bSItwcb&v=16877

Passing the RH bill is crucial at this moment in history when birth control is out of reach for most women. The Philippines has one of the fastest growing populations in Asia, half of all pregnancies are unintended, and there are over 475,000 illegal abortions every year. Granting greater access to birth control could make all the difference in reducing abortions, improving maternal health, and even combating poverty.

But politicians and religious leaders opposed to the bill are distorting public debate by wrongly claiming that those of us who support the RH Bill are anti-life. The truth is millions of Catholics throughout the Philippines and around the world support access to birth control because it can save lives by reducing illegal abortion.

It’s time for our elected leaders to be fearless in representing the views of most Filipinos rather than cave in to pressure from outside lobbies. Let’s let Congress know where we stand. Sign the urgent petition now and send to everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_rh_bill_ph_a/?bSItwcb&v=16877

Contraception is vital for women everywhere, but especially where birth deaths are rampant, unplanned pregnancy rates are high and access to regular birth control is severely limited. Let’s stand together as Filipinos now and ensure our politicians vote for the future of our country.

With hope and determination,

Jamie, Laura, Ian, Dalia, Diego, Ricken, Maria Paz, David and the whole Avaaz team

Sources:

Congress urged to pass RH bill for the future (Manila Standard Today)
http://manilastandardtoday.com/www2/2012/08/02/congress-urged-to-pass-rh-bill-for-the-future/

House to decide on RH bll next week (The Philippine Star)
http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=833063&publicationSubCategoryId=63

Proponent unfazed, Palace appeals for support over RH measure (Business World Online)
http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Nation&title=Proponent-unfazed,-Palace-appeals-for-support-over-RH-measure&id=56114

Mention of reproductive health bill in Philippines’ president’s speech seen as endorsement (National Catholic Reporter)
http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/mention-reproductive-health-bill-philippines-presidents-speech-seen-endorsement

Congress leaders push RH bill passage, Charter amendment (Sun Star)
http://www.sunstar.com.ph/breaking-news/2012/07/23/congress-leaders-push-rh-bill-passage-charter-amendment-233512

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.

[In the news] 30 child laborers rescued from logging operation in Agusan Norte -InterAksyon.com

30 child laborers rescued from logging operation in Agusan Norte
InterAksyon.com
May 13, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – The labor department’s regional office in the Caraga region has rescued some 30 children from log hauling operations in Jabonga, Agusan del Norte, through its Sagip Batang Manggagawa program.

Quoting a report of DOLE Caraga Regional Director Ofelia Domingo, Labor Secretary Baldoz said the DOLE regional office’s Quick Action Team acted on a report by Philippine Star and Goldstar Daily reporter Ben Serrano about the prevalence of children allegedly being employed to haul logs in Bagang, a remote barangay of Jabonga.

Secretary Baldoz instructed Domingo to coordinate with the Department of Social Welfare and Development to see to the welfare and well-being of the children at home and in school.

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com

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[In the news] Phl observes 75th Woman Suffrage Day -PhilStar.com

Phl observes 75th Woman Suffrage Day
By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star
April 30, 2012

MANILA, PhilippinesFilipino women entered the world of politics 75 years ago, when they were allowed to cast their votes for the very first time.

According to election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, April 30, which has been declared as “Woman Suffrage Day,” is a historic day for Filipino women.

“Today is the 75th anniversary of that historic and momentous day when Filipino women voted for the first time,” Macalintal said.

In 1907, when the first election law took place, the right of suffrage was limited to male citizens of voting age.

“Women were not allowed to vote as they were regarded as mere extension of the personality of their husbands or fathers,” Macalintal noted.

However, advocates of woman suffrage who showed courage and dynamism insisted on their right to vote and to run for public office.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

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[In the news] Memoirs on PHL Martial Law to hit US bookshelves -GMA News

Memoirs on PHL Martial Law to hit US bookshelves
April 17, 2012

Retrospective memoirs on Philippine martial law in the ‘70s are hitting the bookshelves.

“Subversive Lives” is a family’s memoir about the Marcos years written by siblings Nathan Gilbert and Susan Quimpo. In a YouTube interview, Nathan Gilbert provided a snapshot through a revolutionary thread running through the Quimpo siblings’ lives.

Of the 10 Quimpo brothers and sisters, he said seven were involved in the underground movement. Of the seven, five were arrested and detained during martial law, including some of their spouses. Of those arrested, three were tortured, and one was sexually molested.

One brother who joined the New People’s Army was killed, another brother has disappeared with “no trace” of him. One brother was a political exile in France.

“It is important to come out with this story,” said Nathan Gilbert.

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

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[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] EDITORIAL – Empowering rural women -PhilStar.com

EDITORIAL – Empowering rural women
The Philippine Star
March 8, 2012

International Women’s Day is marked today with the theme of empowering rural women as a means to end hunger and poverty. The theme for 2012 resonates even in a country that has had two women presidents and where there are tough laws promoting gender equality. As important as the theme, particularly in this country where there are strong laws but weak enforcement, is the Women’s Day message of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “Invest in rural women. Eliminate discrimination against them in law and in practice.”

The message is relevant in the Philippines, where millions of impoverished women are unaware of the tough laws that have been passed to protect them from various forms of abuse and discrimination. Women and their children continue to suffer from domestic violence despite the enactment of a law specifically targeting the crime. Women and young girls continue to be trafficked for sex and illegal forms of labor. Male lawmakers and the male-controlled Catholic Church have long stood in the way of legislation to give all Filipino women, including the poor and less educated, access to reproductive health care, despite the country’s commitment to achieve the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. UN studies also show that only a third of rural women in developing countries receive prenatal care compared to 50 percent in developed regions.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[In the news] Luisita farmers ask SC to start land distribution -PhilStar.com

Luisita farmers ask SC to start land distribution
By Edu Punay, The Philippine Star
March 6, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – A group of farm workers of the Cojuangco-Aquino- controlled Hacienda Luisita asked the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday to execute its decision ordering the distribution of the 4,915.75-hectare sugar estate in Tarlac to the beneficiaries.

In their motion for clarification and partial reconsideration, the farm workers said Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) had not contested the order for land distribution and only raised issues on just compensation and stock distribution option.

“Apropos of the foregoing disquisition, the matter with respect to the placement or acquisition of the subject land under the CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program) through the compulsory or mandated land acquisition scheme is no longer a bone of contention so to say,” read the motion.

“Absent any question about the acquisition and redistribution of the land under the CARP, the matter is therefore deemed resolved and it can now be considered executory.”

Seventeen farm workers signed the motion, which was filed in the absence of a lawyer.

A bigger group of farm workers belonging to the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) has been regularly holding a rally in front of the SC to call for the dismissal of HLI’s appeal.

The SC had recalled and set aside the option granted to farm workers to remain as stockholders of HLI in a decision in July last year.

The justices had unanimously agreed that the contested land should be distributed to the original 6,296 farm workers pursuant to an order of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) in December 2005.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[From the web] Confidence building -PhilStar.com

EDITORIAL – Confidence building
The Philippine Star
March 02, 2012


What happens when a member of the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front is “suspended” by its leadership? Does it include being temporarily disarmed? Will the suspended member follow the lead of MILF commander Ameril Umbra Kato and simply form a breakaway group? And who can verify if the suspension has truly been carried out?

The government, which continues to explore long-term peace with the MILF, will just have to take the word of the group for it. The other day, the MILF leadership announced that three of the group’s commanders based in Basilan had been suspended for three months for their direct participation in the ambush of Army Special Forces and Scout Rangers in the town of Al-Barka on Oct. 18 last year. Nineteen soldiers were killed. The MILF’s chief peace negotiator said the three would undergo an education seminar on the peace process.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[In the news] More private schools hiking tuition -PhilStar.com

More private schools hiking tuition
By Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star)
March 03, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) reported that 70 private schools in Metro Manila are expected to hike tuition next school year.

The DepEd National Capital Region said the private schools that have applied for tuition hikes are 26 secondary schools, 27 elementary schools, 16 pre-schools, and one special education school.

The increase ranges from five to up to 15 percent.

Roosevelt College and Capitol Hills Christian School both in Quezon City have applied for a 15 percent hike in tuition for their elementary and high school students.

The National Teachers College in Manila sought a 14.71 percent hike for their high school and elementary schools, as well as a 16.70 percent hike in the miscellaneous fees for their high school, and a 13.15 percent hike for their elementary school.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[In the news] Journalists cry harassment in mining area; mining firm says story fabricated -MindaNews

MindaNews » Journalists cry harassment in mining area; mining firm says story fabricated.

By Mindanews
February 22, 2012

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/21 February)  — A group of media from Pagadian City cried harassment by the Special Cafgu Active Auxiliary of  TVI Resource Development (Phils.) Inc.  in Sitio Balabag, Baragay Depore  in Bayog town, Zamboanga del Sur on Monday but the mining firm on Tuesday denounced in a statement what it called a “fabricated story and imagined scenarios.”

“It is unfortunate that these reporters used the good name of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in their unfounded stories,” TVIRD said in a statement released by Ron Jabal, Public Affairs Director.

TVIRD is the Philippine affiliate of TVI Pacific, Inc., a publicly listed Canadian frim focused on the exploration and production of precious and base metals The NUJP sent out two alerts Monday, about the alleged harassment in the mining area covered by the Balabag Project Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) between TVIRD  and the government.

It quoted Hirohito “Jong” Cadion, Frontline Mindanao Balita publisher and Philippine Star correspondent,  as saying he, “together with 11 journalists and two others” went to the sitio Sunday night “to verify reports of an impending demolition of houses owned by civilians, mostly small-scale miners” residing near TVIRD’s exploration site.

Read full article @ www.mindanews.com

[From the web] EDITORIAL – The right against torture

EDITORIAL – The right against torture
(The Philippine Star)
February 10, 2012

In line with efforts to promote respect for human rights, the Philippine National Police has started requiring its members to recite to arrested suspects their rights against torture. The anti-torture warning will have to be read out to a suspect together with his Miranda rights. The PNP is distributing to its members an initial 15,000 cards prepared by the International Committee of the Red Cross, containing both the Miranda rights and the anti-torture warning.

The move is laudable, especially in the light of numerous cases wherein police officers were implicated in the torture of suspects. But the devil is always in the details. The PNP must see to it that there will be an effective system of monitoring compliance with the requirement, and a mechanism by which complaints of torture can be filed and verified. Some cases of torture have been recorded on video through mobile phones or closed-circuit TV cameras. CCTV units are becoming more ubiquitous in Metro Manila and other urban areas. But most arrests are conducted out of sight, and if a crime suspect complains of torture, it will usually be his word against an entire police team.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[In the news] Mobile kindergarten classrooms launched – PhilStar.com

Mobile kindergarten classrooms launched
By Czeriza Valencia, The Philippine Star
January 25, 2012

 MANILA, Philippines – The first unit of several mobile kindergarten classrooms of the Department of Education (DepEd) and Bagong Henerasyon party-list group was launched yesterday in a public elementary school in Quezon City.

The mobile unit is a customized truck equipped with furniture and classroom paraphernalia as well as air conditioning. It could service up to 24 students.

The first unit will be used at the President Corazon Aquino Elementary School in Batasan Hills, Quezon City but more units are expected to be rolled out to service schools with classroom shortage.

DepEd will provide teaching materials to volunteer teachers for the program.

The President Corazon Aquino Elementary School has 632 kindergarten students crammed in four two-hour shifts, with the fourth shift lasting up to 6 p.m. daily.

In a ceremony yesterday, Education Secretary Armin Luistro signed a memorandum of agreement with Bagong Henerasyon party-list group headed by Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy for the implementation of the project.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

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