Tag Archives: RAPPLER.com

[In the news] Duterte gov’t ends 1989 deal barring troops from UP -Rappler.com

#HumanRights #Freedoms

Duterte gov’t ends 1989 deal barring troops from UP

The Duterte administration through the Department of National Defense (DND) ended the government’s decades-long accord with the University of the Philippines (UP) that prevented state forces from entering its campuses.

In a letter dated January 15, DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the accord was “terminated or abrogated effective this date.”

The accord, signed in 1989, prevented state forces from entering UP campuses without notifying the university administration. If the termination is implemented, this means police and military can enter UP campuses freely.

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[From the web] Philippine candidate unfit for UN women’s rights body -RAPPLER.com

#HumanRights #Women Philippine candidate unfit for UN women’s rights body

Screen grabbed from Rappler,com

In the coming weeks, 189 countries from around the world will elect 23 members to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) for the 2021-2024 term. The Philippine government recently nominated a career diplomat, Rosario Manalo, for another term on the committee. If elected, she would serve her fourth term in this UN treaty body. She was its chairperson in 2005-2006.

The CEDAW committee plays an influential role, interpreting the widely ratified Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which affects governments’ obligations protecting women’s rights. It also receives and responds to individual complaints.

While the Philippine government hails Manalo as a champion of women’s rights, her recent record is one of undermining human rights and attacking rights groups – which disqualifies her from continuing in this capacity.

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[In the news] Groups slam ‘overkill’ police presence at baby River’s burial -RAPPLER.COM

#HumanRights #PoliticalPrisoners Groups slam ‘overkill’ police presence at baby River’s burial

RAPPLER.COM

Various groups called for justice for baby River Nasino on Friday, October 16, the day her mother, jailed activist Reina Mae, bid her goodbye for the last time.

Baby River’s burial was scheduled for 1 pm Friday at the Manila North Cemetery. Although the funeral procession was meant to pass by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, the car carrying River’s body suddenly changed course and sped off to the cemetery.

This move had cut the procession short, preventing the kin from paying their respects before the burial. Dozens of policemen at the cemetery also guarded the vehicle carrying the casket. (READ: Baby River, who died in ‘cracks’ of justice system, laid to rest under tight police watch)

In a statement, the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) said that the “overkill contingent of police and military” hindered the family’s right to grieve in peace.

“Respect the rights of the family to a peaceful funeral and to mourn without fear of harassment. We condemn the continuing actions of state forces…to harass activists and deprive all of our rights even in such moments of grief,” CAP said.

There were 43 personnel from different jail units including police who were deployed for the burial, said Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Spokesperson Xavier Solda.

https://www.rappler.com/moveph/groups-statements-police-presence-baby-river-nasino-burial?fbclid=IwAR1nenZzKqDFmijdPLavvEmVtEQ4wpw3syN2Vm6ozmvH53NCptrSb1oTci4

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[From the web] Rest easy, soldier: Netizens cry #JusticeForWinstonRagos -RAPPLER.com

Rest easy, soldier: Netizens cry #JusticeForWinstonRagos

Filipinos online demanded justice for Winston Ragos, the soldier who was killed by a cop in Quezon City over quarantine rules on Tuesday, April 21.

On Thursday, April 23, Ragos’ mother Merlyn said his son, a Marawi siege veteran who was not mentally stable, would not have been killed if the police only managed the incident better – a sentiment shared by many others.

Ragos was formerly enlisted with the Army until January 2017, and had suffered schizophrenia and trauma from “war shock.”

Earlier this month, President Duterte ordered cops to “shoot dead” unruly violators of the enhanced community quarantine, which some netizens linked to the unfortunate killing of Ragos.

Many netizens also chided those who blamed the soldier’s family for not keeping him in the house and those who believed that the killing was justified since Ragos violated quarantine rules.

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[In the news] Cebu film writer arrested over Facebook post about coronavirus in Sitio Zapatera -RAPPLER.com

Cebu film writer arrested over Facebook post about coronavirus in Sitio Zapatera

A Cebu film writer and owner of a local bar was arrested early morning on Sunday, April 19 over a sarcastic Facebook post she made in relation to the coronavirus “contamination” of Sitio Zapatera in Cebu City.

Maria Victoria Beltran’s lawyer, Vincent Isles, confirmed the arrest to Rappler in a text message. (READ: Entire Cebu City sitio ‘presumed contaminated’ with coronavirus)

“It’s an egregious violation of her rights,” Isles said in a text message. 

He said that they have no information on what the exact charges are and who issued the arrest warrant.

Brigadier General Albert Ferro, Central Visayas’ police director, told Rappler in a text message Beltran was being charged with violating Republic Act 10175, or the Cybercrime Law.

The cybercrime unit is under the Police Regional Office-7 (PRO-7).

The arrest stemmed from a post made by Beltran on Sitio Zapatera, in Barangay Luz, an area of over 9,000 residents, having the most number of COVID-19 cases in Cebu City.

Her post said, “9,000+ new cases (all from Zapatera) of Covid-19 in Cebu City in one day. We are now the epicenter in the whole solar system.”

To this, Mayor Edgar Labella replied in Cebuano: “This is FAKE NEWS and this is a criminal act. Just wait Ms Beltran, you’ll soon be caught by the PNP Cybercrime Unit. You’ll really be thrown in prison.”

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[In the news] Worker abuse rampant under Luzon lockdown – labor group -RAPPLER.com

The labor group gathers reports of unjust employer practices from 318 employees in 160 companies during the coronavirus crisis

ALBAY, Philippines – A labor group released a report on unjust employer practices during the Luzon-wide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Labor federation Solidarity of Unions in the Philippines for Empowerment and Reforms (SUPER) said the report is based on its two-part online labor survey conducted between March 19 and 22 with verified complaining workers from Luzon. (WATCH: Rappler Talk: Justice as the missing component in fighting coronavirus)

The labor group SUPER gathered reports of unjust employer practices during this crisis from 318 employees in 160 companies.

These include companies that are allegedly using the crisis to justify illegal termination of its workers (11 companies), workers made to work under the “no work, no pay” scheme but without transport being provided (81 companies), flexible work arrangements but with reduced pay (28 companies), suspension of work without pay (98 companies) coupled with refusal to apply for the financial assistance programs being offered by the Department of Labor (56 companies).

The report had been relayed in official correspondence to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and their respective local government units where the companies are located.

According to SUPER national president Luke Espiritu, the survey proves that relying on employer volunteerism is farcical because rather than cooperating with their workers at this time of crisis, the reported employers take advantage of the situation to deepen the precarious nature of work, adding that the national government has yet to offer aid for businesses.

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[In the news] ‘WALANG-WALA NA’ Poor Filipinos fear death from hunger more than coronavirus -RAPPLER.com

Rappler speaks with 6 residents from different poor communities. They tell the same story: President Rodrigo Duterte promised them food. But they have received too little to nothing at all.

If not by coronavirus, they believe death will come from hunger.

Two weeks have passed since President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Luzon on lockdown or “enhanced community quarantine” to contain the explosion of novel coronavirus cases in the country.

This means people are not allowed to leave their homes unless for “essential reasons” – which, for the government means, purchasing food or working to keep medical care and the supply chain of goods going.

For residents of poor communities, where most people do not qualify for exemptions, the lockdown signified less to no income.

President Duterte assured them they would be given food through their barangays, municipalities, and their city local governments. He even asked for unprecedented special powers from Congress to make it happen.

Rappler spoke with 6 residents from different poor communities, and their accounts point to a president failing to keep his promise. Some of them – neglected by their local officials – are from urban poor communities who have received help barely enough for their families. This has forced them to look for food elsewhere: the church, non-governmental organizations – others have taken to the streets.

Some 21 residents from the urban poor community of Sitio San Roque in Quezon City walked out of their homes on Wednesday, April 1, demanding that they be given help. Using the government’s guidelines against mass gatherings, cops arrested them.

The simmering frustrations of the poor are one of the major considerations in a crucial question for the Duterte government in these critical times: how can the government save people from both hunger and COVID-19?

Until the government answers this question, millions of Filipinos will continue to face the risk of starvation if not the infectious disease itself.

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[In the news] Rights groups slam Duterte’s ‘shoot to kill’ order: Prioritize lives, not violence -RAPPLER.com

Human rights group says President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement may lead to more abuses as Luzon remains in lockdown in the face of the novel coronavirus outbreak

Human rights groups on Thursday, April 2, condemned President Rodrigo Duterte’s “dangerous” shoot-to-kill order against quarantine violators amid the novel coronavirus outbreak in the Philippines.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that Duterte’s new threats should not be viewed as empty, considering the thousands killed under his anti-illegal drugs campaign.

“At the very least, Duterte gives the police all the justification they need to commit human rights abuses against people who may be violating these COVID19 regulations because they needed to find work or food,” Carlos Conde of HRW said in a statement.

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[In the news] After bleach thrown at personnel’s face, Sultan Kudarat hospital condemns discrimination -RAPPLER.com

The St. Louis Hospital utility worker was passing by the public market when he was attacked by 5 individuals

St. Louis Hospital in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat condemned the harassment experienced by one of its utility workers on Friday, March 27. (Editor’s note: We previously identified the hospital personnel as a nurse. We apologize for the error.)

According to the hospital’s Facebook post, the utility worker was passing by the public market when he was attacked by 5 individuals.

“Outnumbered and alone, he was helpless as these vile individuals splattered Zonrox (bleach) all over his face,” the statement said, adding that the crime could have resulted in irreparable and permanent damage to his sight.

Fortunately, the utility worker immediately headed to the hospital and was given prompt treatment. The case was then reported to the President Quirino Police Station.

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[in the news] Cops arrest homeless Lola who shouted at tanods warning about curfew -RAPPLER.com

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Police arrested Monday night, March 16, a 69-year-old homeless woman after she supposedly shouted expletives at barangay officials who were roving in the area to disseminate information about the looming curfew in Manila.

Dorothy Espejo, jobless and who lives on the streets in Leveriza, Malate, faces 3 charges including violation of Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code prohibiting resistance and disobedience to authority, and punishable by a fine not exceeding P100,000 and imprisonment of up to 6 months.

The 8 pm to 5 am curfew over Manila will take effect on Thursday, March 19, but according to the Manila Police District, Espejo was grumpy when she was woken up by the roving tanods at 8:35 pm on Monday.

“Upon being disturbed of her sleep the suspect shouted at them and hurl them invective words,” said the Manila Police.

Manila police added: “The barangay tanods tried to pacify the suspect but to no avail, she instead went on creating havoc that disturbed the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood, hence her arrest and turn over to this station for filing of appropriate complaint at about 1:00 AM of March 17, 2020.”

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[From the web] The flawed economics of Duterte’s partial Metro Manila lockdown -RAPPLER.com

To contain the further spread of COVID-19, on March 12 President Rodrigo Duterte put all of Metro Manila under partial lockdown (technically “community quarantine”) from March 15 to April 14.

Although certainly better than nothing, there are reasons to believe this partial lockdown – as designed by Duterte – will not be very effective in containing the disease.

Duterte’s partial lockdown also doesn’t provide any financial assistance for workers and businesses whose incomes and livelihoods will be wiped out by the resulting economic downturn.

‘Flattening the curve’

To contain COVID-19, epidemiologists around the world recommend “social distancing.”

This chiefly involves closing down schools, offices, malls and public places; banning mass gatherings; and encouraging or requiring people to go into home quarantine.

Social distancing works. Figure 1 shows that when done properly it spreads a viral outbreak over a longer period of time, but lowers the peak number of cases.

By “flattening the curve,” so to speak, we can prevent overwhelming our hospitals, exhausting frontline health workers like doctors and nurses, and preventing shortages of much-needed equipment like masks, gloves, and testing kits.

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[In the news] DOJ: Police can arrest violators of Luzon lockdown even without warrants -RAPPLER.com

MANILA, Philippines – No more ifs, and, or buts – the Department of Justice (DOJ) made it clear on Tuesday, March 17, that if you are found outside your house and you are not among the narrow exemptions of the Luzon lockdown, then you can be arrested even without a warrant.

“The offense a person may be committing and be held accountable for will depend on each case. But for so long as the en flagrante delicto doctrine is applicable, law enforcers will have a ground to arrest,” DOJ Spokesperson Undersecretary Markk Perete said on Tuesday.

En flagrante delicto is “caught in the act,” one of the conditions under the Rules of Criminal Procedure for state agents to arrest without a warrant.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier said that a warrantless arrest is only allowed if there is assault on the enforcing officer.

But as President Rodrigo Duterte puts the entire island of Luzon in lockdown, including for non-essential workers and with mass transport suspended, the DOJ’s warning is now without caveat.

“Under RA 11332, yes (mere violation is basis for warrantless arrest),” Perete said.

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[In the news] Senate approves anti-terrorism bill on final reading -RAPPLER.com

Senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan vote against the measure and warn of its possible abuse

Voting 19-2, the Senate approved on third and final reading the measure that would give law enforcers a stronger legal backbone against terrorism and would effectively repeal the 2007 Human Security Act.

Senate on Wednesday, February 26, approved Senate Bill No. 1083 which seeks to provide law enforcers the legal tools to protect people from terrorism and at the same provide safety nets to protect the rights of those accused of the crime.

Senator Risa Hontiveros and Senator Francis Pangilinan both voted against the measure.

“We need a strong legal structure that deals with terrorism to exact accountability, liability, and responsibility. Those who have committed, are about to commit, or are supporting those who commit terroristic acts should be prosecuted and penalized accordingly,” said Senator Panfilo Lacson, the sponsor of the anti-terrorism bill.

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[In the news] Church leaders, advocates say human rights ‘deteriorating’ in Visayas -RAPPLER.com

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Human rights has deteriorated in the Visayas, human rights defenders and leaders from the Catholic Church said here on Tuesday, December 10.

“It’s deteriorating on all fronts,” Fr. Jose Bagadiong, a Catholic priest of the Society of the Divine Word, told Rappler on the sidelines of Task Force Detainees of the Philippines’ Human Rights Day event in Cebu City.

Abuse rampant

“Not just killings, but environmental [rights], socio-economic [rights], cultural rights, the rights violations are comprehensive,” the Cebu City-based priest added.

According to a report from TDFP, from the beginning of 2018 to December 2019, they recorded 104 documented cases of human rights violations.

Of those violations, 31 were cases of “alleged harassment, intimidation and vilification” against human rights workers. The other 58 were linked to the government’s drug war campaign, while 15 were allegedly politically motivated killings. “Of course, this is not all of them, but the victims who were willing to come forward,” Fr. Christian Buenafe, chairperson of TDFP said.

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[From the web] Manila city council declares Panday Sining ‘persona non grata’ -Rappler.com

Members of artist group Panday Sining have been declared as “persona non grata” by the Manila city council, the Manila Public Information Office announced on Friday, December 6.

“Manila City Council passes resolution declaring militant group ‘Panday Sining’ as persona non grata in the nation’s capital,” the office tweeted.

The resolution came after the group riled Manila Mayor Isko Moreno by leaving a trail of painted texts on the walls along United Nations Avenue and the Lagusnilad Pass – two high-traffic passages near Manila City Hall.

This is the first resolution by the Moreno-allied council which declared an entity as unwelcome in the city.

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[From the web] Duterte is making a big mistake – by Christian Gultia and Ernesto Neri

Political persecution and killings of activists and human rights defenders have been consistently at the top of the government’s agenda since Rodrigo Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016. To date, more than 2,000 human rights defenders have already been attacked through various forms including threat, intimidation, harassment, trumped-up charges, and extrajudicial killing. The massive crackdown against activists has transformed the Philippines into one of the most notorious countries for civil society.

War against dissent

The administration has been successful in orchestrating a systematic and organized campaign against dissenters and members of the opposition. The purest form of the strategy, which populists like Duterte use to stifle dissent, is the process that we call “othering” – a process of social exclusion, separating the “us” from “them.” To put it simply, the government made it a norm to exclude individuals or groups who are against the state’s policies and direction as “enemies” of change, and as a response, the government must get rid of them.

Drug dependents who have fallen prey to the war on drugs are victims of the process. The public has been conditioned to believe that those who are engaged in drug activities, especially those who engage in small-scale drug transactions, are irreformable. Any attempt to rehabilitate them would mean wasted state resources.

The same process is being used against dissenters and activists through red-tagging or branding them as communists. Only recently, offices of national democratic organizations were raided and their members were arrested.

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[From the web] CREATING A MARCOS? Reviving the anti-subversion law under Duterte -RAPPLER.com

In June 2006, two young women traveled to Hagonoy, Bulacan to see how farmers were toiling and tilling the land.

One was a student researcher, the other was a pregnant community organizer. They were drawn to the workers and their stories about their land and how somehow, they never seemed to make enough.

The young women were on a mission, hoping to change what they saw.

But they did not go far.

On June 26, Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan were dragged out of their rented house, blindfolded, pulled into a jeep by gun-strapped men wearing army fatigues. A farmer, Manuel Merino, tried to stop them, but he was also taken along with them.

The military said they had not the faintest idea where the two women were. What the major general who ruled over the area, Jovito Palparan, said was this: his men took two female communist rebels in Hagonoy, Bulacan, but they were not the missing women.

None of them have come home – daughters forever younger than 30 in the memory of their mothers, snatched on mere suspicion of having communist ties.

The story of Cadapan and Empeño comes to mind as the Philippine government mulls the return of the anti-subversion law, which makes arrests based on communist ideology – even mere suspicion of it – within easy reach of the police and the military.

Many of the country’s key democracy and human rights icons were charged with subversion during the Marcos dictatorship, including statesman Jovito Salonga – a senator who faced subversion charges after he was implicated in the Metro Manila bombings in 1980, but was cleared of crimes by the Supreme Court 5 years later.

It’s a push that did not come from nowhere. Consider the longstanding conflict of the Philippine government against communists. It has produced its own star lobbyist for the revival of the anti-subversion law, whose reputation for hunting rebels rivals Palparan’s.

Also consider the President, who has tried to patch up the conflict with the movement, but has instead been disgraced. (READ: The end of the affair? Duterte’s romance with the Reds)

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[From the web] Iceland 1, China 0: The diplomatic significance of the U.N. Human Rights Council vote on the Philippines -RAPPLER.com

The UNHRC vote was the first great test of Duterte’s diplomatic investment in China, and it proved disastrous: China simply could not deliver the votes

The denouement of the United Nations Human Rights Council vote instructing its High Commissioner to “prepare a comprehensive written report on the situation of human rights in the Philippines” was as ridiculous as the vote was significant. President Rodrigo Duterte was left uttering his most nonsensical remarks ever, saying that the reason Iceland, the main sponsor, filed the resolution was because “they have nothing to eat in Iceland but ice.”

Philippines’ worst diplomatic defeat

Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teddyboy Locsin was left spluttering about “far reaching consequences” for the governments that had voted for the resolution. The consequences for Locsin are, however, anything but ridiculous. Duterte does not like being made a fool of, especially internationally, and it will not be surprising if Locsin, an amateur diplomat who has led the Philippine government to its worst diplomatic defeat ever, were to be replaced by a more experienced hand, according to Department of Foreign Affairs professionals who could barely conceal their glee at their titular boss’ humiliation.

Equally as significant as the setback of the Duterte administration was the stinging defeat of its main backer in the UNHRC: China. The optics, for one, were pretty bad: Iceland, one of the world’s smallest countries, had, in David versus Goliath fashion, drubbed the world’s largest. To governments across the board, the vote showed that Chinese diplomacy was, to use Mao Zedong’s words, a “paper tiger.”

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[From the web] ‘Your fight is mine’: This dad’s pride story will leave you in tears -RAPPLER.com

Coming out and navigating life in a world that continues to be prejudiced against the LGBTQ community isn’t easy.

It’s even more difficult for many when they think about how their family – and parents, especially – would react. More often than not, it’s a journey.

And this pride story, of Twitter user “Isko Speaks,” proves that it’s a journey that can be worth it.

In a tweet that’s since been shared and liked by thousands, he talked about his dad’s experience while attending the 2018 Pride March in Marikina City.

“Isko Speaks,” who is bisexual, is in Japan for an internship, so his sister decided they would go to the Pride March for him.

“The moment my sister told me my parents went to the Pride March with her, I was already really happy. Still, a part of me thought that maybe my dad’s sole purpose of going there was to bring and fetch them, so I messaged him. Then for some reason he opened up, and talked to me about his experience,” he said in a message to Rappler.

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[From the web] A workers’ alternative for Hanjin -RAPPLER.com

The January 2019 collapse of the giant Hanjin shipbuilding facility in Subic, Zambales has precipitated a mad scramble for solutions to the crisis. The government frantically scours for new investors and 5 Philippine banks await to retrieve $412 million in unpaid loans.

Meanwhile, the plight of the 30,000 displaced Hanjin workers has been all but neglected. They have endured 13 years of precarious contractualized work, 40 work-related deaths and 15,000 injuries, unfair labor practices (including union-busting), poor health services and maltreatment at the hands of Korean superiors. On top of the massive job losses, the workers’ immediate demands for proper retrenchment benefits remain unfulfilled.

There is, however, an alternative solution that puts the workers at the forefront of the current impasse – that of workers’ control, also known as “workers’ recuperation.” Worker-recuperated firms are business enterprises that have failed or gone bankrupt “and put into operation once again by their workers under self-management.”

Workers’ control of abandoned companies has taken place since the start of the 20th century in different parts of the globe but waned in the 1970s with the ascendancy of the anti-labor neo-liberal policies of the Thatcher and Reagan administrations. However, in the wake of successive crises beginning with the Asian financial crunch of 1997-1998 and culminating in the global economic meltdown of 2007-2008, workers’ recuperation has seen a resurgence.

Read more @www.rappler.com

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