Tag Archives: Politics

[Press Release] Personal grudge nor personal ambition can’t justify term extension – labor group -PM

Personal grudge nor personal ambition can’t justify term extension – labor group

Seeking a prohibited term extension out of personal bitterness against the Supreme Court would be erroneous if not a fatal political move for the sitting President, the labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) said in a statement.

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President Aquino the other day made it categorical that he is considering a second term via a constitutional amendment, purportedly to check on the powers of the Supreme Court which he claimed exercise restraint “more often” against the co-equal branches of the government.

The group likewise disclosed, based on reliable sources, that a broad movement aligned to the cause of extending the “tuwid na daan” will be launched soon to create an artificial clamor for continuing reforms and at the opportune moment PNoy will make a major announcement that he has listened to his “bosses” to finally seek a term extension.

This is the nth time PNoy vented his outburst against the Supreme Court after the latter declared his Disbursement Accelelartion Program (DAP) unconstitutional.

But for PM, pushing a personal political agenda out of personal grudge against the justices won’t justify a still non apparent social objective of reforming the entire political system.

“We, too, do not believe that the ‘Lords of Faura’ holds the paragon of righteousness in this country.  They are dressed in robes, as crook lawmakers are also clad in barongs, to cover their sins and partiality to the ruling class. Yet cleansing the whole system does not necessarily require having a second term. This is more the task of a revolutionary government, a power that his mother failed to exercise correctly in 1986,” said PM Chair Renato Magtubo.

Magtubo said workers have always been victims of delayed justice and unjust court rulings.  And similarly the two other branches of government consciously take the side of the capitalist class.

“This situation did not change under PNoy’s term.  For the past four years wala pang naitutuwid, wala pang naitatawid,” declared the group.

PM said workers have more bad things to say about the country’s rotten political and economic system.  But they will neither look at the term extension nor the plan to amend the Constitution based on personal desires of few persons and big corporations as a sound option,” said Magtubo.

PRESS RELEASE
Partido Manggagawa
14 August 2014
Contact: Renato Magtubo
PM Chairperson
09178532905

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[In the news] Santiago sees Palace hand in Gigi’s return -INQUIRER.net

Santiago sees Palace hand in Gigi’s return.
By TJ A. Burgonio, Philippine Daily Inquirer
April 21, 2014

It’s not farfetched that the Aquino administration has convinced Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes to testify against Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile over the alleged P10-billion pork scam in exchange for her acquittal, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said Sunday.

inquirer

Santiago said it would be logical for President Aquino to order government officials to bring home eyewitnesses in the “galactic corruption” to pin down its brains.

The former trial judge said Enrile was the mastermind who convinced Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. to take part in the scam.

If reports were true that Enrile was unaware of the abrupt return of Reyes, his former chief of staff, this could mean that they had “broken up,” said Santiago, who has a running feud with the former Senate president.

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/595941/santiago-sees-palace-hand-in-gigis-return#ixzz2zXXCTfJg

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[Blog] The Power of Love: Against All Odds By Jose Mario De Vega

The Power of Love: Against All Odds
By Jose Mario De Vega

I completely understand and I have no illusion whatsoever that the stand I am taking today will be met with paeans of criticism, condemnation, rebuke, mockery and barrage of renunciation by the bastard herds considering the very fact of the seeming abnormality, unconventionality and oddness of the case I am about to discuss and defend, no matter how indefensible it may seem.

Mario De Vega

A couple of days ago, a Filipino rock icon shocked the whole show business and perhaps, the entire nation, too.

The case: He is a sixty year old man who admitted to the whole world that he is in-love and seeing a sixteen year old girl.

Initially, due to my pressing tight schedule (it’s the finals week and I am marking volumes of bloody papers, recording and encoding a lot of grades) and the nature of the case, I’ve decided to stay away with the same, yet after seeing what in my view are strings and series of utterly unfair commentaries, super below the belt reactions and completely malicious and unjust accusations leveled against the said singer and his poor girl, I’ve decided to put away, so to speak my work for a while and come out into the open to take up the cudgel for them!

As a radical philosopher and an activist professor, I cannot keep my silence, especially seeing that a grave injustice and a great slander is being committed repeatedly and on a daily basis against this odd couple.

As already noted, Ka Freddie is one of our world famous artist and one of our Living Legend on the art and craft of music. Needless to state, the guy is so famous and so popular, not only here but also abroad.

Now, it seems now that he at present, perhaps the most detested man in our society and country.
Nonetheless, this writer is not concern here with popularity and personalities, but rather my aim is to somehow harmonize no matter how hard and difficult it is the substantive question of private and public interest.

As an independent observer and in a sense, a judge, I am not swayed by the opportunistic, moralistic and hypocritical bandwagonism of “hooting throng” and “moral drums” that may make us, in fact sadly, a great number of our people, to see things through the prisms of prejudice, ignorance, arrogance and conservatism.

I have no need for that and I completely renounce and denounce that!

As a social scientist, I always bear in mind that when I dissect, study and analyze an issue or an event or a problem for that matter that affects society and our community I must be governed by rationality, humanity and objectivity.

In doing so, I must cast all personal feelings aside, to be objective and fair in my social analysis and academic endeavor.

This shocking issue before us must be resolved with total objectivity and impartiality, on the basis not only of the established facts and the applicable law, but also of the higher question of individuality and humanity, and not of some holier than thou mentality, moral cartel, some so-called established convention, time-honored values, long held beliefs, historical traditions and fixed culture.

I admit that on the level of the law, the icon’s act is illegal. I also submit that that on the sphere of socially accepted norms and prevailing morality, his conduct is ‘immoral’ and socially unacceptable.

I say that with a heavy heart, but still I say them nonetheless; yet in admitting that the act that he committed is illegal and immoral; is there a sense in which wherein we can still somehow justify his act of defying the socially accepted norms and established traditions and beliefs?

I know that my contention is controversial, but I will argue that though the icon’s act is illegal and immoral, his act of loving a young woman is justifiable still in a certain extent, because love is blind and love is the most powerful feeling ever known to man.

On that sense, I will defend his act as being ethical! It is ethical in my view by virtue of that fact that he just followed what his heart is telling and/or commanding him and he did not violate anybody’s or anyone’s specific rights!

To love is to be human and to be truly human is to true to one’s self against the whole world!

The Question of Public and Private Sphere of Human Action

Indeed, “the laws of a society ultimately have an ethical purpose: to protect the members of a community from harm, to maintain a system of law and order so that tranquility will prevail, to provide wholesome conditions so that individuals can pursue their diverse purposes, to insure the general welfare, and to maximize the opportunities for happiness.”

All of these are being carried out by the state through its agency the government to protect the general welfare and defend the public interest.

Hence, any action committed or done by a citizen within the public sphere is exactly within the domain of the government.

Nonetheless, a society especially a democratic one is not unlimited in its scope of power and societal control in all the sphere of human activities and individual conduct, by virtue of the fact that not all actions are within the province of the public.

There are areas in human affairs in which the public and the state and the government have no right to intrude or invade. That domain or sphere is the zone or sphere of Individual Human Privacy.

Every time I say that the government has no right to legislate morality, I am specifically referring to private morality in contradistinction with public morality.

To illustrate: the government has no right to tell me how the hell I am going to live my life, but it is the primary business of the government to prohibit me from killing someone or raping someone or burning and/or destroying the property of another individual.

The former is within my right to privacy, while the latter is within morals of the public and the government based on the public interest rule does have the legal power and the political right to command me and all citizens for that matter not to do those nefarious things and criminal acts, because we are all member of the body politic.

What I am against is the herd mentality of the public opinion that “does not respect idiosyncratic styles of living and seeks to regulate or suppress them.”

The Private Domain of Human Act

To quote Professor Paul Krutz:

Society should respect the right of an individual to control his or her personal life. The zones of privacy that society should not intrude upon without good reasons are a person’s body, possessions, beliefs, values, actions, and associations, insofar as these pertain to his or her own private sphere of interest and conduct.”

It is my firm view that society has no right to meddle with the private lives of Ka Freddie and his girl. I do not see any violation of the public interest with regard to their relationship.

Nonetheless, I readily admit that by virtue of the fact that his girlfriend who happens to be a sixteen year old is a minor in the eyes of the law. Hence, the government can enter this issue to tell Ka Freddie that the girl is this a minor and he has to wait for another two years belong they can go on with their relationship.

My problem with these issues is the following:

1. Does the government have the right to tell the young girl what is good for her?

2. If the parents of the said girl gave the blessing of her relationship to that old man, what would be the violations?

3. Does the public interest in general shattered or violated or prejudice because of this case?

On number one: now, because of the spike of the crimes being committed by minors, some legislators wish to lower the age of criminal liability. Following the same line of reasoning, can we also lower the age for any individual when to fall in love?

On number two: does the government have the right to supersede the power or discretion or consent of the parents in the case under consideration?

Can the government say: “Hey, Mama, Papa, we know that you are the biological parents of this girl, but we are the political government and base on the public interest rule, we considered and viewed your consent as unwise and wrong, hence we are overriding your decision?

On number three: what aspect or part or domain or spheres of the public interest were violated by this odd case of these lovers?

The Power of Love

I do not want to be romantic about it, but how many times have we heard the expressions love is blind and love conquers all in our lives?

According to Professor A. C. Grayling:

“The Greeks had different words for love’s different manifestations. They spoke of agape, altruistic love (in Latin caritas, which gives us — but that with a cold ring — our word ‘charity’). They spoke of ludus, the playful affection of children and of casual lovers, and pragma, the understanding that exist between a long established married couple. They spoke of storge, the love that grows between siblings or comrades-in-arms who have been through much together, and of mania, which is obsession. And they have allied the latter with eros or sexual passion. They thought that love in all its forms was divinely inspired, in the case of the last by Aphrodite. But divine inspiration was not always welcome; manic eroticism, they said, was often inflicted as a punishment by the gods, and its unreasoning and distracting character interfered with what they most valued namely intellect and courage. Both Plato and Aristotle, in their different ways, therefore placed friendship at the summit of emotional life, and consigned the love that craves bodily expression to a lower plane…

“In making these distinctions the Greeks showed an alertness to the fact that close relationships subserve a variety of ends. People need emotional satisfaction of many kinds, but chiefly those that stem from giving and receiving companionship, affection, and the affirmations of being liked and approved. People might occasionally enjoy solitude, but never loneliness; they need to feel connected and valued. All of the six loves of the Greeks are connections, and all but mania bring a sense of self-worth.”

I have quoted liberally and at length from the Professor’s work to highlight to the people not only the different kinds of love but also its power and force.

The great French philosopher Blaise Pascal once said that: the heart has a reason which the mind does not understand.

To correlate the truthfulness of that pronouncement, let me quote Russell Crowe who played the role of Professor John Nash in that utterly brilliant and powerful film on love and reason, “A Beautiful Mind”:

“What truly is logic? Who decides reason? My quest has taken me to the physical, the metaphysical, the delusional, and back. I have made the most important discovery of my career – the most important discovery of my life. It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reasons can be found. I am only here tonight because of you…[looking at and speaking to Alicia]

“You are the only reason I am. You are all my reasons. Thank you.”

Another icon, Gary Granada said in one of his songs the following lines:

“Kailangang umibig, kailangang ibigin; kahit na dusa ang kakambal
Ang hahanapin at hahagilapin ng puso ay pagmamahal…”

To all those who condemn or criticize a person or an individual who is in-love are ignorant and idiots of the worst kind; wait till the day when they themselves fall in love and they will also do the bad and mad things that they previously criticized. History and Life has proven that again and again!

I am not condoning, but neither I am condemning Ka Freddie’s affection and feelings. I completely respect that! Who the hell am I to tell him that what he is feeling is merely a spurt of the moment and it is just lust? I am not him? And he is not me! Hence, no one but him can certainly say what the hell he is truly feeling!

I just hope that whatever he is feeling to his girl, it is not mania or eros!

I am hoping that it is somewhere between agape, ludus and pragma.

As Pink said in the opening line of her famous song, “Just Give Me A Reason”:

“Right from the start
You were a thief
You stole my heart
And I your willing victim
I let you see the parts of me
That weren’t all that pretty
And with every touch you fixed them…”

I am truly hoping that their love no matter how odd and peculiar it may seem may survive and grow against all odds!

As the time-honored saying goes: Love conquers all!

Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

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

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[Blog] Peti-Buorgeoisie and the Filipino Democracy by Rod Rivera

Peti-Buorgeoisie and the Filipino Democracy

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The increasing middle class of the Filipino society comprise those privileged with access to technology, connections to the affluent, gross income taxed by 30% or so, small to medium scale entrepreneurs, and have one more dollar-earning family member from abroad. They are active in the society being members of several clubs, associations and other organizations, as members and leaders.

In the history of class struggle, Marx and Engels argue that it is the proletariat – the working class who should strive to win the revolution against the existing economic system that rules the social and political spheres of nations. They pertain to those in the lower strata of the economic and social system, the underprivileged and marginalized. However, the role of the peti-bourgeoisie is also critical.

The middle class is assumed to be educated, well informed, economically able and influential in the community. Historically, the illustrado’s in the Philippines propelled the 1896 Philippine revolution. In modern times, EDSA revolutions were led by the prominent middle-class men and women. Such events are material evidences of the role of the middle class to lead their own and those in the lower strata of the society towards a political cause. All driven in the context of upholding democracy.

The poor and the underprivileged proletariat of the Philippines comprise the masses, a huge number in terms of population distribution. They include the farmers, the fisherfolks, the skilled labor, the contractuals and those taking mean jobs. They are huge in number and yet their political maturity doesn’t hold as a power to reckon with the ruling class. Their struggle is on a daily basis, food and the basic necessities of life.

Their knowledge of the larger economic and political system is also limited. Their access to information is scarcely by oral tradition. Their disposition about politics is distant to having participation in the democratic processes. They are trapped in the culture of patronage. They elect those who they feel popular and winnable or those who have given them the crumbs of what politicians have scoundrelled from the taxpayers’ money.

The Filipino proletariat are the same people used and abused by politicians and so by the capitalists. They work on minimum daily wage while the capitalist earn the bulk from their labor. They seek politicians who could give them a penny when they are in need. They rely more on others than in their own capacity. They are passive players in the political drama because they are apathetic to politics.

The Filipino proletariat are hardly politicized to draft their course in the history of revolution. The heroes in the annals of Philippine history are mostly members of the middle class. They lead the proletariat in the successful revolts, against colonizers and against authoritative and dysfunctional governments. True, they have their participation when the Filipino took arms against Spain, or against dictators like Marcos, but those were reactionary to the leading of the middle class.

Read full article @rodrigo75.wordpress.com

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[Statement] Pnoy’s Midterm SONA: Highlighting Same Road to the Present Crisis -Kilusan

Pnoy’s Midterm SONA: Highlighting Same Road to the Present Crisis by Kilusan

Photo from Von FB

Photo from Von’s FB

kpd logo

On Monday, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino is expected to deliver the remainder of his road map for the second leg of his six-year term. Surely, he will give himself and his economic managers’ pats on the back for ensuring high economic growth, a bright green light for foreign investment.

But even as investors and big business applaud the rosy economic figures, Pnoy’s Social Contract with the Filipino people (according to his Philippine Development Plan): transparent, accountable and participatory governance; poverty reduction and empowerment of the poor and vulnerable; rapid inclusive and sustainable economic growth; just and lasting peace and the rule of law; and integrity of the environment and climate change adaptation and mitigation, has not quite reached its mark.

Indeed, Pnoy has proven who are his real bosses and its not us common folk.

Scarce Jobs and Contractualization

The quality of employment is unstable both in terms of wages and tenure. Job generation has been a sore spot for the Aquino administration. Almost four out of ten employed Filipinos (36.3 % or 13.772 Million out of 37.940 Million employed) are self-employed who are neither contractual nor regular, earning below the daily minimum even as they work more than 16 hours a day.

Meanwhile, six out of ten employed Filipinos (22,829,000 wage and salary workers) can be characterized as:, 2,123,000 or 9.3% are household workers receiving below the minimum wage and working more than 8 hours a day); 17,493,000 or 76.63% are employed in private establishments whose status is mostly contractual; and, 3,056,000 or 13.4% government employees that also include contractual employees.

20.9% (7.9M) are considered underemployed. These, along with the increasing number of contractual employees are clear signs that the means of livelihood of the majority of Filipinos are unstable and in fact, can be considered precarious.

This means that aside from the fact that jobs generated are not widespread and are mostly in the service industry, contractualization as a policy has been firmly entrenched in practice. For instance, the number of regular workers are shrinking relative to the ballooning ranks of contractuals.

As in the case of PLDT-Digitel share-swap integration, former employees of Digitel are redundated and are offered contractual positions at Digitel subsidiaries to do the same work, in the same work location for less pay and no security of tenure. Digitel employees bucked the redundancy and have been on strike since April 10.

If these workers were to lose this fight, even armed with a favourable Supreme Court decision, it will be another case guaranteed to further undermine organized labor in the country.

Poor, Hungry and In Danger of Demolition

According to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), the country’s latest poverty data, released in April, shows almost no improvement in the last six years. About 10 percent of Filipinos still live in extreme poverty, unable to meet their most basic food needs. This is the same figure as in 2006 and 2009, the previous years when poverty data was gathered.”

The board also estimated that 22.3 percent of families were living in poverty in the first four months of 2012, compared with 22.9 percent in 2009 and 23.4 percent in 2006.

Therefore, government estimates that there are more than nine million extremely poor Filipino households are not able to earn the 5,460 pesos, or $135, needed each month to eat.

Other reports confirm the government’s findings that poverty has persisted. In a survey by the independent Manila polling group Social Weather Stations, the number of Filipino families reporting that they periodically go hungry has increased in recent months. The survey found that 19.2 percent of survey respondents, about 3.9 million families, reported going hungry. This is up from 16.3 percent in December 2012, when a similar survey was done.

Meanwhile, the Philippines has slipped on the U.N. Human Development Index, ranking 114th of 187 countries in 2012 in categories like health, education and infant mortality. The country had a ranking of 105 in 2007.
The government has earmarked 50 billion pesos as Shelter Fund for the informal settler families in Danger zones in the National Capital Region and people’s organizations went through the exhaustive process of preparing and submitting people’s proposals as clear near city/ in city relocation alternatives to the offsite relocation favored by existing housing agencies. This intervention will surely be wiped out as emboldened local government units set to wipe out these informal settler communities independent of the DILG/ DPWH timetable with a token 18,000 subsidy to sweeten the forced eviction.

Surely, it exhibits the fact that government lacks the political will to root out and resolve the shelter problem, and are only interested in short term or ‘tapal-tapal’ solutions.

Fast Rising Income of the Rich

Cielito Habito has stated “the growth in the aggregate wealth of our 40 richest families in 2011—which Forbes Asia reported to have risen by $13 billion in 2010-2011—was equivalent (in value) to 76.5 percent of the growth in our total GDP at the time, which official data show to have risen nominally then by P732 billion, or around $17 billion. Meanwhile, according to Forbes, the number of Filipino billionaires grew to 11 this year. Fortunes of the country’s wealthiest individuals also generally grew in less than one year from as little as $200 million to as much as $4.1 billion.” Forbes added that “the wealth of the country’s top 40 corporations accounted for 76% of the country’s nominal gross domestic product (GDP).”

4Ps, Philhealth Negated By Privatization and High Cost of Living

The first three years of Pnoy Aquino also highlighted of more than three million of marginalized and poor people improving their living condition through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) which his government bankrolls with a P40 billion budget for this year. Definitely, the program have temporarily helped increased the income of the poor families but these are easily wiped out by the repeated increases of prices of oil and commodities.

The prices of oil and oil products keep on rising effecting increases in prices of basic needs: water, electricity and other utilities and services and cost of production. But nothing has been done by the government within its mandate, not even cushioning the impact of inflation. Immediately it could have suspended or reduced EVAT as suggested by some legislators. This could have been followed with the scrapping of Oil Deregulation Law and EPIRA and checking monopoly pricing by oil and energy cartels.

Staples like rice are in danger of shortage despite assurances of the Department of Agriculture (DA) that prices of milled rice are bound to increase during the lean season, from July to August. On the other hand, the National Food Authority (NFA) assured the public that there is no rice shortage given that the Philippines has enough rice supply for the next 71 days. Such pronouncement is shaky. Conventional wisdom teaches us that a condition of rice sufficiency limits if not denies the manipulation of prices by rice traders or rice cartels.

It is also not being admitted that the 4Ps is not immune from corruption and is a convenient way for politicians to build and sustain political patronage. The conditions that have to be met by the “beneficiaries” further promote mendicancy and non-productivity. In fact, reports say that some who have availed of the 4Ps are not poor!

Last June 21, Pnoy signed RA 10606 or the National Health Insurance Act of 2013. Among others, it will prioritize the health care needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, persons with disabilities (PWDs), and women and children and provide health care services to indigents. Under the law, the government will also shoulder the premiums for the health insurance of the indigent and informal sectors. Since the government has started with privatization of government hospitals, the indigent patient from the poor people are left with no choice but to pay for the high cost of health services. Even with Philhealth, a World Bank data shows an “increase in out-of-pocket of patients, reaching as much as 83.5% of the bill.

Privatization

What has happened with the two water concessionaires of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), Maynila and Manila Water, undoubtedly showed long term effects of privatization, one of the pillar program of neo-liberalism. Maynilad and Manila Water had allegedly passed on their income taxes to water consumers, which had reached P15.5 billion from 2008 to 2012 or P3.1 billion a year. The MWSS-Regulatory Office has allowed the two concessionaires to include in their operating expenses the cost of corporate income taxes, which they could recover from consumers through monthly water bills. This is on top of the system loss or cost of water pilfered that is also passed on to consumers.

The expose surrounding the MWSS has further highlighted the anti-people character of a Private-Public-Partnership (PPP) project.

Anti-corruption drive

After a noticeable delay, Pnoy finally ordered a “full, fair, and impartial” investigation on the P10 billion scam involving the pork barrel of five senators and 23 members of the House of Representatives. The people have long demanded the abolition of the pork barrel because it “reeks of corruption.” He has to placate the rising anger of the people.

His sincerity on weeding out corruption is suspect. He had continued with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the subtle term for the most hated pork barrel. Furthermore, he has not even brought to closure the various corruption cases against GMA and her subalterns. The stand of Pnoy is tantamount of abetting corruption in the country. His intention is not to do away with corruption altogether, only to check excessive corruption. Pnoy’s government has to draw savings and earnings from its anti-corruption drive and improve revenue collection as not to default its debt payments.

Human Rights

Pnoy has a three year dismal record in promoting and upholding human rights. While not as worse as the previous GMA regime, it remains inconsistent with the pronouncements by PNoy, and echoed by the AFP and PNP of “respecting human rights”.

According to Peter Koeppinger, resident representative of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, “the 2013 Impunity Index done by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) ranked the Philippines third worst in terms of unsolved murders of journalists, next only to Iraq and Somalia. In the 2013 Press Freedom Index done by Reporters Without Borders, the Philippines ranked 147th out of 179 countries.

More than that, the killings, enforced disappearances and arrests and detention of activists and journalists in different lines of advocacy from political to environmental causes– continue. This is a continuing insult and injustice because not one among those accused of perpetrating the extra-judicial killings (EJKs) and enforced disappearances from 2001-2010 is yet brought to justice. The most notorious of them, Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan is scot free even as he is charged in the case of two missing students from UP. And of course GMA, who honored Palparan as a “defender of democracy”, is free and a congresswoman again!

The promised closure of cases involving GMA, her family and their accomplices in government, police and military is far from being realized. The process which has been blocked in the past regime remains impeded still. And among the big impediments is the indecisiveness and sluggishness of the PNoy presidency. For instance, the cases of human rights violations, election fraud and the other cases of betrayal of public trust are grave historical injustices to the Filipino people.

Peace and order

The police institution that repeatedly claimed to be protectors of the people are currently mired in serious scandal to another. Rub-outs are regularly becoming a fixture in their bust operations against syndicates and criminal gangs, especially when its high officials are reportedly to be coddling such syndicate and criminal gangs. Its parasitic character has remained through the years.

The workings of the police establishment has continued to make the lives of the ordinary people more miserable – from innocent individuals, petty criminals and eyewitnesses.

Peace talks

A peace agreement for the battle-weary part of Mindanao is on the horizon after both the panel of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have just signed the wealth sharing annex of the framework agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB). Both have agreed on a 50-50 sharing on fossil fuels (petroleum, natural, and coal) and uranium. Since both the national government and the new Bangsamoro political entity are operating within the neo-colony semi-feudal set-up, the new agreement will further open the natural resources of Mindanao for plunder, creating again a favorable climate for investment. Foreign capital has long before set its direction for the lands who residents are predominantly Muslims. US, for instance, already knew about the natural gas in Liguasan marsh as early as 1950s.

As things stand now, it is undisputedly clear for whose interests that such peace talk is pursued vigorously in the first place. It remains to be seen whether another war is forthcoming. The history of Mindanao is such that after each comprehensive peace agreement, another armed entity will emerge.

Surrender of national sovereignty

The PNoy presidency has confirmed once again that the Philippines is not sovereign. It is a US neo-colony and the Philippine government is a stooge of this declining but very aggressive superpower. It acceded when the US said it wanted more military access to the Philippines. Particularly, it offered its territory when the US said it has to put radars to monitor ships in the South China. It opened the country to more military exercises and to the entry of more aircraft and vessels. Lately, it has offered basing access rights to the US and other allies like Japan.

Charter change

The clamor for charter change is resurrected again, using different focuses. One is to limit the charter change only to economic provisions of the constitution. A contrary position also suggests that “consistency in government policies would attract foreign investors more effectively than altering the economic provisions of the constitution. The other focus is on the political reforms.

Yet the last three years has exposed the resolve and capacity of P-Noy’s government to even suspend the operation of the law (constitutional provision on the ban of US bases) just to kowtow to the design of its imperial master. He has mastered in circumventing the law. He can go again against the wishes and interests of the ordinary people and become very un-democratic, if his real master demands it.

With or without charter change, Pnoy’s direction is a sellout of our national patrimony and sovereignty.

Conclusion

The masses of the Filipino people have suffered long and hard. They have been longing for liberation from the social ills. They elected a government that promised to be the alternative but has gradually faltered in uplifting the lives of the ordinary. The much vaunted P-Noy pronouncement that the Filipino people are his boss has repeatedly fallen flat.

Should they be failed again, the people would not cease from justly taking upon themselves the pursuit of liberation.

July 22, 2013
PRESS STATEMENT

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[From the web] Partial unofficial tally Elections 2013 -GMA News

elections 2013 senatorial

Partial unofficial tally as of 2013-05-14 07:50:43 representing 66.47% of the Nationwide Election Returns. (51958 of 78166 Election Returns)

See more @www.gmanetwork.com

Party list partial

Partial unofficial tally as of 2013-05-14 07:37:49 representing 66.33% of the Nationwide Election Returns. (51852 of 78166 Election Returns)

See more @www.gmanetwork.com

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[Blog] To the Filipino Electorate by Rod Rivera

To the Filipino Electorate
By Rod Rivera, DEKONZTRUKTSCHON
May 1, 2013

rodYou are empowered by the Philippine Constitution, under democratic principles, to run to any position you might like in the Government. Otherwise, you are empowered to put into positions of power anyone you might like among the candidates this coming election. Your vote is your power to change people in the government and to bring change to this country.

In this election, every candidate would like to win your favor. But the election is not like facebook post, that you could click because you feel good with it. Every election time, you will hear vote wisely. Wisely is not a candidate, if he is he would have won the change we all wanted.

You want this country to progress, to be back as an economic leader in Asia, to eradicate poverty, to have peace and justice, to be glorious and looked upon by other nations. Yet you keep on entrusting governance to those whose hearts are callous and whose minds are impiously corrupt.

Read full article @rodrigo75.wordpress.com

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[Blog] Criminality is the sign of society’s moral decadence, social poverty and economic inequality by Jose Mario de Vega

Criminality is the sign of society’s moral decadence, social poverty and economic inequality

by Jose Mario De Vega

Mario De VegaIt has been quite some time now that the prevailing issues, hot topics and shocking headlines of our newspapers and the dominant talk of the town is the apparent and seeming rise of criminal statistics and the rampant commission of various crimes, specifically those of economic in nature and background.

The root causes of crime are already well documented and researched extensively. There is no shadow of doubt that crime is primarily the outcome of multiple adverse social, economic, cultural and family conditions. Henceforth, to prevent, to eradicate, to arrest, albeit to reduce and consequently to stop crime; it is important to have an understanding of its primary roots.

I concede that the factors involve are complex and interrelated, but we can summarized the primary root causes into three main categories:

Economic Factors/Poverty

The Greek philosopher, Aristotle aptly said that: “Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.” Hence, it is beyond dispute that there is a necessary connection or a corollary relationship between the economic system of the country and its criminality. What do I mean?

Let me further expound on my thesis.

The Question of the Economic Pie

I am specifically referring to the problem of the inequitable and unjust distribution of the economic wealth, financial benefits, material opportunities and other forms of society’s act of sharing the goods produced by the said body politic.

If this is the case, then, such society is unjust and its being unfair will create, in a certain section of the marginalized sector of society, a mass feelings of neglect, of deprivation, of abuse, exploitation, frustrations and injustices!

Social Environment

The dialectical relationship of the social sphere from that of the economic spectrum is indubitable. If logically follows, more often than not, that if the people as a whole is satisfied and utterly pleased in the way the government is spreading and sharing the economic pie, society at large is relatively peaceful, stable and free from discord, deviance, unrest and crimes.

However, as already noted, if there is no fairness and equal distribution of wealth and opportunities for all members of society in the economic sphere, sad but true, it follows that that the grim effects on our societal fabric is social injustice and economic inequality.

These are the dangerous ingredients for social unrest and mass discontent!

Thus, as Aristotle warned us thousands of years ago: social injustice and economic inequality are the very elements or the necessary requisites for revolution and crime.

Family Background

The same philosopher lucidly and clearly taught us, more than two millennium ago that our characters in a great sense are being mould, nurture and develop, undoubtedly first and foremost in the four corners of our home. He categorically stated that, our concept of ethics and our ideas of morality — we learnt from our parents. Therefore, if we did not learn anything good and noble from our family or from those who raised us; there is nothing good that would come out from us that we will share to society. In the sense, we could say that, if the source is corrupted; the product without a doubt is also contaminated!

These are the hard facts! There is no institution in the entire world that can/could teach a person to be kind, to be nice, to be good/to do good and be a virtuous individual!

It is not the primary duty of the school!

It is not the only duty of the government!

That is the ultimate duty and primordial obligation of our family!

We don’t come to school to be good, rather we are there to harmonize and to cultivate the goodness that is already there within us prior even to our very first day in the school. Prior to the school, our first ever school or training ground is our homes!

If we did not learnt/learned anything good in our ‘first school’, it is my firm position that the ‘second school’, the ‘third school’, etc. would all be useless.

Sad but true!

The Question of Social Solidarity and Responsible Citizenship

It is a basic elementary universal rule in any given democratic form of government that the its primary duty is to protect and defend the citizen’s right to life, liberty, property and its pursuit of happiness. Corollary to this rule is the corresponding obligation of the citizens to obey the laws and to help the government in executing the said laws for the swift, smooth and orderly functioning of the whole body politic for the benefit of all its members and organs. These two elements must concur to produce a well-ordered society and an utterly harmonious community!

Fighting crime is not the only job of the government, specifically the police. All of us as members of this society must be involve and should be doing our own part in facing and confronting this phantom menace that now bothers and pesters our community.

Finger-pointing will bring no good. Blaming and accusation is a waste of time. What we need is to forge our collective resources to address and suppress this social detriment. To complain is not enough, what we need is to act!

Am I sponsoring vigilantism? I heard the question and my answer is YES! I am calling for a wider social engagement, civic/collective participation and communitarian volunteerism!

What I am trying to drive at is, for us citizens to help the system work, by relying to our very selves! Because, end of the day, we are the system!

Please consider the following proposals/suggestions:

1. We, in our own neighborhood can organize the community to form a sort of a ‘village militia’. This is based on our culture of “Bayanihan” and “Barangay Ronda”. The function of this militia is not to kill the thieves, robbers, rapists and other criminals terrorizing our community but to catch them and bring them to the relevant authorities. Again, some apathetic and cynical creatures will say: “but that is the job of the police, isn’t it?” Agree! Yet, my contention is that: if the police cannot be there in our villages and neighborhood — all the time to protect us, we must take the initiative by protecting our very selves. We help the police by helping ourselves.
2. We must put into our school curriculum, the root causes of various crimes in whatever its nature and background; so that our students have an idea and a concept of what a crime is, why there are criminals and what’s the source of criminality.
3. The media also have a role to play in curbing and addressing this social issue. They must accurately report the true state of our crime rate and propose antidote thereof. Further, they must also highlight society’s victories against crimes and criminality in general.
4. We must make the effort to help and sponsor those unfortunate kids living at the various rehabilitation centers. We must show our love, care, concern and solidarity to them; so that they may grow not hating the world and they will not become menace to society due to our distance and coldness.
5. We must help those numerous NGO’s that seeks to rehabilitate and educate those youthful offenders, ex-convicts, habitual delinquents, deviant elements, and other lost souls who had formerly tread the dark side and walk the path of criminality.
6. We practice our being responsible citizens by being, first and foremost good and responsible parents.
7. We must fight and struggle for Social Justice…

Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

Philosophy lecturer
Polytechnic University of the Philippines
Far Eastern University

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[Blog] On Candidates Criminally Hugging Trees by Rodne Galicha

On Candidates Criminally Hugging Trees

by Rodne Galicha

Rod Galicha2On candidates wanted to be elected as public servants, I once asked this question: How many of our leaders now are willing to stand up selflessly for the general welfare, for a healthful and balanced ecology?

Once elected and sworn into office, these ‘chosen’ people, depending on the position won, shall either make or implement laws. How can we measure the seriousness of these people – their honesty? How can we expect them to really make and implement sensible policies? How can we be sure that they themselves will follow those policies enacted?

Simply, let us learn from the words of a Greek philosopher named Aristotle: “He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader.”

Once political wannabes signed their respective certificates of candidacy, they have sworn ‘to support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto.’ Significantly, affixing their signatures, they promised to ‘obey the laws, legal orders and decrees promulgated by the duly constituted authorities,’ and pledged to ‘impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion.’

The campaign period started in February for national candidates including partylists and last week of March for local ones. The city life becomes more colorful and the once lush green rural villages are now filled with a kaleidoscope of smiling images and super promises of heavenly lives. Literally.

Read full article @rodgalicha.com

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[Press Release] Anti-Epal Website Launched Against Epaliticians During Campaign Season -Dakila

Anti-Epal Website Launched Against Epaliticians During Campaign Season

dakila13 March 2013, Manila—The No More Epal Movement launched its website to help the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) monitor campaign violations, last March 14, Thursday, at De La Salle University Manila.

Similar to how people have submitted “epal” photos of politicians, the website encourages the public to submit photos of campaign violations by candidates. In January, COMELEC passed Resolution 9615 which “prohibits propaganda that include ‘any names, images, logos, brands, insignias, color motifs, initials, and other forms of identifiable graphical representations placed by incumbent officials on any public structures or places.’”

“Epalism goes beyond tarps and taking credit for projects funded by taxpayers’ money. We recognize that these are just symptoms of greater problems in our politics and society. It’s easy to talk about ‘epalitics’ because you see evidence of it on almost every street corner, especially now that the elections are drawing near,” Betty Romero, No More Epal’s spokesperson, said.

The website will also give the public a chance to go further than simply submitting photos of campaign violations. They will also be given a chance to file a case against a candidate and testify before the COMELEC. The nomoreepal.org website will make it more accessible for citizens to file their complaints.

“If we begin to question ‘epalism’ which has been accepted as normal for so many years, than we can begin to question the different ways politics and elections are done in our nation and demand something better for our future. We are, at the core, a movement to empower the Filipino people to question and challenge things as they are, and then bring about needed change,” Romero added.

Additionally, the No More Epal website will be able to organize all the epal photos that were submitted to the organization’s facebook page. It will sort the photos by name, number of epal activities, date submitted, region, town, or province.

“Aside from hoping nomoreepal.org will do the job it is designed for, I am also hoping that the website serves as a call to other geeks like myself to volunteer their skills to movements they believe in, and finally, become a showcase as to how easily available open source technology can be used to help worthwhile grassroots efforts such as this,” Gary Mercado, nomoreepal.org’s website developer, said.

The launch was attended by artist/activist Mae Paner as her alter ego Congresswoman Juana Change, running for re-election in May, the No More Epal group, Comelec’s Education and Information Director James Jimenez, as well as different members of the DLSU community.

On their part, De La Salle University partnered with the No More Epal group to start forging a culture of vigilance among their students, which in turn will cause greater accountability and transparency among people in positions of power.

“Kung daig ng maagap ang masipag, daig ng Lasalyanong mapagbantay ang gumawa lang at naghihintay!,” Arnel Galgo, Advocacy Officer of COSCA in DLSU, said.

The No More Epal campaign was started in May 2012 by the No More Epal group, which consists of private citizens, individuals, and organizations like Dakila and the People Power Institute.

For more information contact: Betty Romero (“No More Epal) 0917 821 7227

Ayeen Karunungan (Dakila) 09175057055

Visit http://nomoreepal.org; email info@nomoreepal.org; visit http://facebook.com/nomoreepal
http://nomoreepal.org/rss
http://www.nomoreepal.org

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[Event] The Emergent Rights of Peoples and Individuals to International Solidarity: a Consultative Forum Towards a Declaration -CHR

INVITATION TO CSOs and HRDs

The Emergent Rights of Peoples and Individuals to International Solidarity:
a Consultative Forum Towards a Declaration

CHR logoMarch 18, 2013
12:00 noon – 5:00 pm
CHR Multipurpose Hall

main resource speaker:
Prof. Virginia B. Dandan
Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity

Please refer to attached documents for reference.
Will appreciate RSVP to:

Ms. Tess Antazo of CHR Gov-Link : tessantazo@yahoo.com and
cc: pahra@philippinehumanrights.org

[In the news] Group to Aquino: Declare right to adequate food a national policy -InterAksyon.com

Group to Aquino: Declare right to adequate food a national policy
By InterAksyon.com
March 3, 2013

InterAksyon logo2MANILA, Philippines – With more than three years left to the current administration, President Benigno S. Aquino III should declare right to adequate food a national policy in order to leave a legacy that is beneficial to the present and future generations, the National Food Coalition (NFC) said in a news release.

In an event dubbed “National Conference on the Right to Adequate Food: A Collective Action for Policy Reform,” Aurea Miclat-Teves, NFC convenor, said there is a need for the government to come up with an enabling law that will rectify existing incoherent, non-complementary and conflicting legal mechanisms.

The conference was attended and participated in by more than 100 human rights defenders, rural development advocates, pro-environment groups, indigenous peoples, people’s and non-governmental organizations from various parts of the country and representatives of different national government agencies last February 27 to 28.

Read full article @www.interaksyon.com

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[Statement] Reclaim EDSA from the Elite -SANLAKAS

Reclaim EDSA from the Elite
Sanlakas Statement on the 27th Anniversay Celebration of EDSA I People Power Revolution

sanlakas-logo2Sanlakas, together with the Filipino people, celebrates today the EDSA People Power I anniversary. But while it is an important milestone in the democratic struggle to end the tyrannical regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos, it is but a culmination of decades of sacrifice – in sweat, tears, and blood – of the Filipino working class.

Years before the fateful day of February 25, 1986, the working class has long been openly challenging Marcos through daring and innovative mass actions, the most famous of which is the daring La Tondeña strikes in October 1975. From this we learn an important lesson – victories are not won overnight, and it is through smaller collective actions that we build political revolutions. It is through smaller struggles that we set the conditions for quantum leaps in the movement for the advancement of our democratic rights.

Unfortunately, a section of the traditional political elite has successfully manoeuvred to claim the anti-Marcos struggle as their own, relegating in history books the role of unionists, indigenous peoples, and peasants to mere footnotes. The grand effort towards historical revisionism is so great that while anti-Marcos politicians from the Liberal Party bask in public glory and help themselves in partaking state power, scores of Martial Law-era political detainees continue to rot in jail without hope of release. The activists who fought for our democratic rights continue to be pursued, tortured, and incarcerated by the very government which existence had only been possible because of their sacrifice. Until now, the deaths of labour and student leaders like Ka Lando Olalia and Lean Alejandro, perpetrated by the military backers of post-EDSA regimes, remain to be without justice.

But it is not just the history of the struggle which the elite stole from the working class, it is also the outcome. The post-EDSA administrations have seen the return of traditional politicians which basically continued a foreign policy subservient to the imperial power of the United States. Land reform has been derailed by a landlord-dominated Congress, purchasing power of the working class consumers continue to decay even as inflation remains low, and every Filipino still owe P59,000 in debt. Meanwhile, the oligarchy which has been the target of Marcos’ “democratic revolution from the center”, and which Marcos himself perpetrated by creating new plutocrats from his pool of cronies, has further entrenched themselves through the purchase of privatized public utilities sold at the height of Ramos’ neoliberal frenzy. Nothing has changed in this respect.

This, while the section of the elite which took over has largely bungled in their mandate to make the Marcoses pay for their crimes. The Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG) recently announced that they are waving the white flag, even as they are yet to reclaim more than half of Marcos’ loot. The Marcoses themselves are back into power, with a Senator, Governor, and Congressman. The annual platitudes and self-congratulatory remarks of this elite must be put side-by-side with its two-decade long story of incompetence and impotence. But we suspect that goes beyond incompetence, and it just shows their insincerity and hypocrisy when they fought with the working class to put Marcos and his cohorts to justice.

Clearly, it is time that we reclaim EDSA from the elite. Sanlakas calls on the Filipino working class to remember its historical role in EDSA, and repudiate the elite which has stolen the victory from us.

February 25, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS STATEMENT
Contact Person:
Manjette Lopez, Sanlakas Secretary-General @ 0922-860-8863
Val De Guzman, Media Liaison @ 0919-965-7509

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[In the news] Aquino tells Norway, CPP-NDF: Time for peace talks to move forward -GMA News

Aquino tells Norway, CPP-NDF: Time for peace talks to move forward
GMA News
February 24, 2013

gmanewsonlinePresident Benigno Aquino III has relayed to the Norwegian government, the mediator in peace talks with the National Democratic Front, that it is time to have peace efforts with communist rebels move forward.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Saturday Aquino stressed this during a courtesy call by representatives of the Norwegian government, who included peace process facilitators, last Friday.

“The president talked about his resolve to move the peace process forward,” Valte said on government-run dzRB radio Saturday.

Read full article @www.gmanetwork.com

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[In the news] Edsa 27 -INQUIRER.net

Edsa 27

Philippine Daily Inquirer
February 24, 2013

inquirerIt cannot be denied that the second Aquino administration has done much in a concerted effort to revitalize the spirit of Edsa. But we must not conflate the legacy of the People Power Revolution with any administration, not even this one.

This is precisely the mistake the Edsa People Power Commission makes, when it blithely assumes that today’s 27th anniversary celebration is an occasion to spotlight President Aquino’s brand of “kayo-ang-boss-ko” governance. A key passage from the commission’s press release reads: “Approaching the midpoint of the Aquino administration, Edsa 27 will be an opportune time for all Filipinos to gather together as an expression of unity and support behind the unprecedented political, legislative and economic gains of President Benigno S. Aquino III.”

Actually, no. The Edsa anniversary, like the yearly rites we observe for Independence Day, the birth of Andres Bonifacio and the martyrdom of Jose Rizal, is not only resolutely nonpartisan; it is part of the necessary myth-making process that lies at the heart of our nation-building project. The myths that we need are not fabrications or noble fictions, but the larger truths of history: that we have the power of self-definition; that the freedom we are entitled to must be earned again and again, that it cannot be won without a struggle; that the face of the oppressor, the “manlulupig” and “mang-aapi” we describe in our national anthem, can assume the countenance of a fellow Filipino; that we have it in us to liberate ourselves, according to our fundamental dignity. The last line of “Bayan Ko,” the unofficial anthem of the anti-Marcos freedom struggle, phrases it well: “makita kang sakdal laya”—We long to see a nation that is truly free.

Read full article @opinion.inquirer.net

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[From the web] Karapatan and Bayan raise alarm on attacks vs activists via series of robberies, surveillance -www.bayan.ph

Karapatan and Bayan raise alarm on attacks vs activists via series of robberies, surveillance
February 22, 2013

bayan1Human rights group Karapatan and umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), together with members and leaders of several organizations today condemned in strongest terms the series of attacks against people’s organizations and partylist groups, disguised as break-ins and robberies. The groups decried what they described as the “rising and systematic forms of state repression and harassment of government critics”. They said that the recent incidents were made to appear as common crimes but were actually targeted attacks on activists and their organizations.

From March 2012 up until last week, Karapatan and Bayan documented twelve(12) cases of break-ins of houses of activists and peace advocates, and offices of progressive organizations; robberies involving items such as laptops, USB/flash drives, video cameras, and the like; and surveillance of known personalities and members of such organizations.

Read full article @www.bayan.ph

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[In the news] NPA twin attacks in Bukidnon violate human rights — AFP -GMA News

NPA twin attacks in Bukidnon violate human rights — AFP
Amanda Fernandez, GMA News
February 20, 2013

gmanewsonlineThe Philippine military condemned on Wednesday the twin attacks by suspected New People’s Army rebels on two plantations in Bukidnon on Tuesday night, describing the raids as violation of human rights.

In a statement sent via e-mail, Armed Forces spokesperson Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said the attacks violate Chapter III, Section 4, Item 2 of RA 9851 or the Act Defining and Penalizing Crimes against International Humanitarian Law which defines one of the ‘war crimes’ as the intentional attack against civilian objects or non-military personnel, and/or properties.

“It is also a clear and deliberate violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIL) to which the NPA is one of the signatories,” Burgos said.

Read full article @www.gmanetwork.com

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[Statement] Mutual defense, mutual respect for human and people’s rights:Not partnership for impunity -PAHRA

Mutual defense, mutual respect for human and people’s rights:Not partnership for impunity

pahra logo copyBeing both State signatories to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR), the Philippines and the United States of America have the trinity of obligations to respect, protect and fulfill the human and people’s rights of its own constituencies but also the people of each other’s country. The UDHR, since December 10, 1948, has become a main feature of international customary law. Many of the aspirations of the UDHR have come from the Constitutions of both countries. These aspirations which later evolved into international human rights laws were meant to enhance also its own laws and policies governing relations with each other.

The signing of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) in Washington, D.C. on August 30, 1951 forged a “common determination to defend themselves against external attack” as well as a “collective defense for the preservation of peace and security pending the development of a more comprehensive system of regional security in the Pacific area”.

The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) is an implementing agreement of the MDT.

Certainly, the MDT and the VFA are also obliged to mutually implement the trinity of State obligations, not tolerate human rights violations, much less put up with impunity.

The MDT and the VFA are not meant:

To have a death before a medical mission. On July 2004, a 54 year old Moro woman was reported to have died of heart attack when two helicopters suddenly landed in their corn land in barangay Manarapan, Carmen, North Cotabato. The two helicopters were used by the American troops in the clearing operations before the medical mission could be conducted in the barangay.

To refuse cooperation and transparency, by Filipino and American authorities, in deaths like that of Gregan Cardeno, a contract worker from Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay hired by SkyLink Security Agency, who was reported to have committed suicide last February 23, 2010 inside a military camp in Camp Ranao, in Datu Saber town, the home of the 103rd Brigade of the Philippine Army. Indications led Gregan’s family to think that Gregan was sexually abused due to his enlarged scrotum, the enlarged opening of his anus and the injuries of his head. The Bulatlat report further said that an autopsy by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), upon the request of the Cardeno family, revealed puncture wounds on Gregan’s right foot, on the left inner part of the leg and on the upper right arm. These could be signs of serious ill- and inhuman treatment.

To include massacres as part of a “joint exercise” as in February 4, 2008, wherein eight civilians, including three women and two children were killed when forces from the Army’s Light Reaction and the Navy’s Special Warfare Group attacked barangay Ipil, Maimbung, Sulu. US troops were said to be involved in the massacre.

To violate the Filipinos’ economic, social and cultural rights by wandering without updated guidance and consequently destroyed last January 17, 2013 the protected Tubbataha marine sanctuary, declared by UNESCO as one of the World’s Heritage Site.

Lives and rights – one too many have been sacrificed with impunity by the MDT and the VFA.

PAHRA will join those who work for the abrogation of both the MDT and the VFA.
PAHRA shall also contribute in forging Defense Agreements from a rights-based and an International Humanitarian Law approach which strengthens especially command responsibility, accountability and upholding Philippine sovereignty.
February 12, 2013

PAHRA

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[From the web] Youth leaders urge voters to junk trapos -akbayanyouth.wordpress.com

Youth leaders urge voters to junk trapos; support candidates who can sustain momentum of reforms
February 10, 2013

Akbayan youthTwo days before the official start of the campaign for the national and party-list elections, Akbayan Youth, the youth wing of Akbayan party-list called on voters to reject traditional politicians (trapos) and instead support “pro-change” candidates who can sustain the momentum of reforms.

According to Akbayan Youth spokesperson JC Tejano, traditional politicians have perennially used the elections to further entrench their interests while also serving as a stumbling block to meaningful reforms.

“Instead of the usual crop of trapos, the voting public should be more finicky and elect leaders who will uphold their sworn oath to faithfully serve the public and continue the momentum of reforms that have been started,” Tejano said.

Issue-based elections

Akbayan Youth also urged voters to ensure that the election season becomes a campaign based on issues by demanding from the candidates their platforms, programs and their stand on various political, social and economic issues and also go beyond the gimmicky and cheap tricks often employed by trapos to attract votes.

“We should raise the public’s level of political awareness beyond mere gimmicks and flare for pageantry and into a serious discussion of issues and platforms,” Tejano said.

“The people must build on the success of the significant reforms we have achieved in the past two years such as the reproductive health, sin tax, kasambahay, overseas voting laws, among others,” Tejano said.

Protect RH law, support pro-RH candidates

Tejano also urged the voters to support pro-RH candidates saying the recently RH law must be duly protected and defended from those that want to transform it into an unfunded mandate.

“We must guarantee that Congress will provide sufficient yearly funding for the implementation of the RH law. And one of the best ways to ensure that is to elect consistent and dependable RH advocates in the House of Representatives and Senate,” Tejano concluded. ###

Contact Person:
Sigrid Sibug @ 09157690439

Source: akbayanyouth.wordpress.com

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[Blog] The Aim of Politics is Ethics and Virtue, the Promotion of the Individual Self Worth and the Common Good by Jose Mario De Vega

The Aim of Politics is Ethics and Virtue, the Promotion of the Individual Self Worth and the Common Good
by Jose Mario De Vega

Mario De VegaI refer to the letters of Hassan Talib’s “Is there ethics in politics?” (The Star, January 24) and Robert Lim’s “Hard to find ethical politicians as the world is not ideal” (The Star, Feb. 1) respectively and I sincerely wish to respond to the controversial propositions that they jointly advanced.

To the contention that we do not live to an ideal world, let me state that: the world is the world today because of who we are. We improve the world by improving ourselves. We deserve the kind of community, society and world that we have, because whether we like it or not, we are responsible to its creation.

Undeniably, Professor A. C. Grayling lucidly remind us:

“humanity is part of nature, and the beauties and pleasures of everything of everything natural are part of humanity’s inheritance. This was the view of the ancient Greeks, who saw in the exercise of man’s reason the source of his ability to recognize goodness. The Greeks extolled friendship, the quest for knowledge and the appreciation of excellence in all things, as the source of the greatest pleasure that humans can have. They sought to understand what should make a good society so that individuals within it could enjoy flourishing lives. The focus of their attention is on this world and its benefits, and they debated intelligently about how to enjoy them, share them, and get the best from them.”

As a close student of the ancient Greeks, it is my humble contention and in conformity to the Aristotelian view: that the very basis of politics is ethics.

Hence, the negative outlook and pessimistic view that there is no ethics in politics is without any foundation!

Inarguably, not only that there is a room for ethics in politics, the very aim or purpose (telos) of politics is the creation of virtues citizens, a good society where the citizens are responsible and truly living a happy life; because their interest is not simply their personal one but the interest of the whole for the promotion and the development of the common good!

I concur that “morality is hard to preserve and practise in politics”, nonetheless, it does not mean that being a moral and ethical politician is improbable! Yes, it is hard, yet it does not mean that it is impossible.

True, the English philosopher Francis Bacon said: “It is hard and severe a thing to be a true politician as to be truly moral.”

I would like to thank the writer for highlighting this quotation, because he also put into the forefront the thesis of my argument.

What does it means to be a true politician? The very idea or the concept of a politician as originally envisioned by the Greeks is very different from the conception of the politician that we, the so-called “moderns” now understood.

Etymologically, a politician is what the Greeks called as a polites. A polites is an individual whose main concern is the public welfare and the promotion of the common good!

We, the so-called “moderns” unfortunately has corrupted and bastardized a very noble concept.

With regard to those so-called “politicians” who does not give a damn to the people or who do not care about the public interest or those creatures whose interest is their only interest and use power not to distribute it but to further their nefarious and selfish aims; the term given to them by the Greeks is — an idiotes.

Those “politicians” who are in truth are the idiotes are those creatures quoted by our correspondents whose interest is their self-interest, those who are engaged in corruption (whether in money, position or power), those who do not care about the welfare of the people and don’t give a damn about problems of society.

Yes, they are idiots. They are idiots not because they are uneducated or unlettered or ignorant. Rather, they are what they are because they are blind and deaf with regard to what is the most important thing in life and in the public sphere.

They thought, idiotically and myopically that what is most important in life is money, power, position, privileges, etc.

They thought that the people exist to provide them with positions; they do not realize that instead their position exist to provide those people with freedom, justice, equity and to advance their wellbeing.

They believe that money is the most important thing, yet failed to discern that rather it is honor and virtue.

A fake “politician” thought that he or she is powerful and privileged when that individual is using it arbitrarily as against the wishes of the people; not knowing that he or she is powerless, because the true source of power is the power that comes from the people themselves.

Dr Farid captured the veracity of my claim when he himself said that: “Politics, in its true meaning, is praiseworthy”. The problem is, the idiotes of today corrupted and twisted the beautiful meaning of politics.

Now, politics is known universally as the so-called “realpolitik” which meaning is galaxy away from its original meaning.

Nevertheless, despite the negative connotation of “politics” in its general present form, politics, not merely as a profession but more importantly as a way of life can achieve a high ethical values if the very system in which politics arise have strong values as developed by the people or the citizens themselves.

The question is how? What’s to be done?

Aristotle stated that we cannot be fully be human and be a good citizen without participating in politics to create civic virtue which is utterly necessary to be a virtuous person and correspondingly a responsible citizen.

As testified by Professor Michael J. Sandel, “For Aristotle, the purpose of politics is not to set up a framework of rights that is neutral among ends. It is to form good citizens and to cultivate good character.”

To quote Aristotle’s key passage in his book the Politics:

“Any polis (society) which is truly so-called, and it is not merely one in name, must devote itself to the end of encouraging goodness. Otherwise, a political association sinks into a mere alliances… Otherwise, too, law becomes a mere covenant… “a guarantor of men’s rights against one another” — instead of being, as it should be, a rule of life such as will make the members of a polis good and just.”

Man by nature is a socio-political animal. We cannot do much if we are alone or in isolation, because if that is the case we will fail to develop both language and moral deliberation.

Hence, to be a good, virtuous human being and a responsible citizen, it is a condition sine qua non that we must participate and take part in everything that is happening in our politics.

In the categorically stirring words of Bertolt Brecht:

“The worst illiterate is the political illiterate, he doesn’t hear, doesn’t speak, nor participates in the political events. He doesn’t know the cost of life, the price of the bean, of the fish, of the flour, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all depends on political decisions. The political illiterate is so stupid that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The imbecile doesn’t know that, from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child, and the worst thieves of all, the bad politician, corrupted and flunky of the national and multinational companies.”

Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

Lecturer
College of Arts
Department of Philosophy
Polytechnic University of the Philippines

Lecturer
Institute of Arts and Sciences
Department of Humanities, Literature and Philosophy
Far Eastern University

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