Tag Archives: sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Cops seize illegal mining equipment in Misamis Oriental -SunStar.com.ph

Cops seize illegal mining equipment in Misamis Oriental

By Annabelle L. Ricalde
August 10, 2012

THE government’s campaign against illegal mining has taken another step after police operatives confiscated four 24-horsepower hydraulic machines and 200-meter water pipe used for hydraulic mining during a joint operation along Iponan River Friday morning.

The operation was jointly conducted by forces of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office’s (COPC) Public Safety Company, Lumbia Police Station, and Opol Municipal Police Station.

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Police Senior Inspector Ericson Sabanal, station commander of Lumbia Police Station, told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that the operation was conducted at Sitio Inapasan in Barangay Bagocboc, Opol town in Misamis Oriental around 9 a.m.

Sabanal, however, said they failed to arrest the operators or owners of the mining equipment.

“Illegal miners have a spotter so they were able to escape easily, leaving their illegal mining equipment,” he said.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

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

Aquino strengthens urban poor commission | Sun.Star.

April 4, 2012

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

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

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

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

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

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

[In the news] Senator Francis Escudero wants local government units to enforce total log ban | Sun.Star

Senator Francis Escudero wants local government units to enforce total log ban | Sun.Star.

February 4, 2012

SENATOR Francis Escudero is urging local government units to police their own area to ensure the proper implementation of the total log ban.

This came after local government officials blamed the massive devastation brought by Tropical Storm Sendong in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities last December 2011 to illegal logging activities.

Escudero said President Benigno Aquino III had already issued Executive Order 23 calling for a total log ban in the country.

Under the order, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is restricted from issuing logging permits and contracts in all natural and residual forests, including renewal of tree-cutting permits in all forests nationwide.

Read full article @ http://www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Gays march in Manila vs discrimination | Sun.Star

Gays march in Manila vs discrimination | Sun.Star.

MANILA — More than 1,000 gays, lesbians and transgenders have marched in the Philippine capital to demand equal rights and an end to discrimination, and more support for an acquired immune deficiency syndrome (Aids) program.

The marchers carried a large rainbow flag during the annual Pride parade around Manila’s Malate district Saturday, some dancing to the beat of drums played by a band.

Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines spokesman Goya Candelario said they’re pushing Congress to pass a law against discrimination that they say denies them jobs and social services.

Jessie Dimaisip of the Akbayan political party, which supports gay rights, said they’re also seeking more funds for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-Aids testing and a support program.

The Health Department said 7,884 people have been infected with HIV since 1984, including 937 Aids cases. (AP)

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Cebu City Council acts on discrimination | Sun.Star

Cebu City Council acts on discrimination | Sun.Star.

By Princess Dawn H. Felicitas

CEBU CITY — People who will discriminate against others on the basis of disability, age, health, sexual orientation or gender identity, ethnicity, and religion will soon be penalized in Cebu City.

Six city councilors — Alvin Dizon, Margarita Osmeña, Nida Cabrera, Lea Japson, Augustus Pe Jr. and John Philip Po II — are sponsoring an anti-discrimination ordinance “to eliminate all forms of discrimination and abuse” in the city.

Dizon, who is the original proponent of the ordinance, said person with disabilities, senior citizens, and the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders, among others, should be protected from various forms of discrimination.

Under the draft ordinance, it is unlawful for anyone to deny any person access to public services.

It is also unlawful to refuse admission or to expel a person from education institutions on the basis of disability, age, health status, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity and religion.

It will be prohibited to refuse or to revoke the accreditation, formal recognition, or registration of any group solely on the basis of disability, age, health status, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity and religion.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Youth to help vs. human trafficking – www.sunstar.com.ph

Youth to help vs. human trafficking
By Rizel S. Adlawan

THE youth sector has been tapped to become active in the fight against human trafficking.

United States Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr. will attend the launching of Cebu Chapter’s Movement of Anti-Trafficking Advocates (Mata) by the Cebu Provincial Federation of Sangguniang Kabataan (SK).

It will be on Sept. 16 at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC).

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supports Mata.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said she’s not sure if the issue on cybersex will be discussed with the ambassador.

She said there will be a signing of a memorandum of agreement with the SK in the program of Mata, engaging the youth and the SK to actively campaign as well against human trafficking.

She said she had tasked the SK to be active in the campaign.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[in the news] Youth militants protest oil price hikes in Davao – www.sunstar.com.ph

Youth militants protest oil price hikes in Davao

MANILA — Militant youth groups on Friday held a protest action in Davao City following the series of price increases on various oil products.

Series of oil price hikes are being implemented by the three big oil firms (Petron, Shell and Chevron) on Friday, 35 centavos for unleaded gasoline and 50 centavos for regular gasoline, respectively.

These are the 20th oil price increase for this year and the 31st since President Benigno Aquino III took power in June 2010.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines urges government to pursue peace talks | Sun.Star

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines urges government to pursue peace talks | Sun.Star.

AS THE Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rejected the government’s proposal to grant its autonomy, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has urged the government to pursue the peace talks in Mindanao.

Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, chairperson of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Inter-religious Dialogue, said there is nothing wrong if the government decides to bring the peace negotiations beyond the representatives of the MILF.

“I think, maraming (many) Christians and Muslim communities that are also aspiring for a lasting peace process,” Archbishop Ledesma said.

On Tuesday, the MILF rejected the government’s proposal for autonomy in Mindanao but said it will continue the peace talks.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Cops, military are top perpetrators of torture: human rights’ group | Sun.Star

Cops, military are top perpetrators of torture: human rights’ group | Sun.Star.

By Jereco O. Paloma
Sunday, June 26, 2011

DESPITE The passage of the Anti-Torture Law in 2009, military and the police have allegedly remained the top perpetrators of torture in Mindanao, a church-based human rights group claimed Friday.

Rita Melecio, Mindanao team leader of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), told reporters in Friday’s Kapihan sa PIA that of the nine reported cases of torture this year, six were allegedly committed by the military while another one was committed by police.

The two remaining cases were allegedly committed by so-called “intelligence groups.”

In 2009, when the group recorded a total of 40 torture cases involving 67 victims, 19 cases were allegedly committed by military, 13 by the police, four by intelligence groups and four by combined elements of the police and the military.

Read full article @ sunstar.com.ph

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HRonlinePH says…

1 is too many!

Borrowing this tagline from Angelina Joli in the new video of the UN Office of the High Commissioner in its campaign for the rights of refugees.

[In the news] Missing journalist found dead in Davao | Sun.Star

Missing journalist found dead in Davao | Sun.Star.

By Ben O. Tesiorna

DAVAO CITY — Saturnino Apoyon, a former bureau chief of the Philippine News Agency here, was found dead on Tuesday in Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental. The cause of his death was still unclear.

Apoyon’s body was found floating in the waters off Governor Generoso, said Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who confirmed the death of the veteran journalist.

The 75-year-old Apoyon had gone missing since last week.

Duterte said she is already arranging for the immediate transport of Apoyon’s body back to Davao City. The body is expected to arrive in the city Wednesday.

The mayor said the family reportedly refused to have Apoyon’s body autopsied by the authorities.

Reports said Apoyon was last seen in Victoria Plaza in Davao City.

Apoyon’s wife, Annie, earlier said her husband had left their house on May 19 and had not returned since. (Sunnex)

[In the news] Ex-guv’s ‘escape’ shows no real justice: bishop | Sun.Star

Ex-guv’s ‘escape’ shows no real justice: bishop | Sun.Star.

MANILA — Allowing former Batangas governor Antonio Leviste to leave jail without authorization shows the absence of “real justice” in the country, a bishop said Monday.

Bishop Pedro Arigo. File photo source: ucanews.com

“It is clear as daylight that we really do not have justice, where there is equal treatment under the law. The so-called lady justice that is blindfolded and carrying scales, it is an empty symbol,” said Bishop Pedro Arigo of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Ernesto Diokno earned the ire of President Benigno Aquino III after various groups criticized the prisons official for supposed security lapses at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.

“The term equal treatment under the law is just empty words that are written on paper. But in reality, if you are small and poor, you don’t wield any influence. But if you are rich, powerful and have connections, even if you get jailed, you’ll get VIP treatment,” Arigo said.

Arigo heads the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Prison and Pastoral Care (ECPPC). The CBCP-ECPPC is an office that promotes and provides programs and opportunities for the prisoners and their families, ex-prisoners and their families, victims and their families, the correctional employees and the volunteers in prison service.

On Monday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) began its fact-finding investigation on the possible administrative liability of BuCor officials and jail custodians, prompting the prelate to hope that the investigation would curb unfair treatment at the New Bilibid Prisons.

“There is a real need for a revisit and investigation on the existing system or subculture inside our penal colonies… There should be no VIP treatment,” said Arigo.

Also on Monday, President Aquino told reporters that he could not figure out why the homicide convict was able to leave prison grounds without proper clearance.

“How did it happen? How come that a person who was just convicted of a crime was able to secure a ‘living out’ status? There are so many questions that need to be answered,” he said.

Soon after Leviste was arrested in front of a building he owned in Makati City last week, Diokno went to Malacañang to explain himself, but apparently, that did not appease President Aquino.

Diokno submitted his leave of absence Monday to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima “to give a free hand” to the DOJ fact-finding body.

He said that he is taking leave of absence so that the people will not think that he is influencing the outcome of the investigation.

“Whoever is liable must be made answerable. I shall resume the duties of my position after the investigation is over and the result is known,” Diokno said.

The five-man fact-finding panel formed by Secretary de Lima last Friday will finish its investigation on Wednesday.

“Obviously, some people are at fault but we have to find out first if they can still be reformed or replaced altogether,” President Aquino said.

While Aquino is being pressed to admonish and even fire the prisons chief, he said he would rather wait for the recommendations of the DOJ on the matter before taking appropriate action.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said it would be best if the President gets the recommendations before his scheduled departure for Thailand and Brunei on May 26.

On Monday, Leviste told the DOJ panel that he left the New Bilibid Prison without permission from his jailers.

“When I didn’t see anyone (stopping me), I just went ahead because I couldn’t bear my toothache,” he said, adding it usually takes him two to three days to get permits for medical purposes.

Leviste told the panel that he earned his “living out” status under the administration of former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Under a “living out” status, a privilege granted to Leviste, prisoners only have to check in at 8 a.m., 12 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. but are otherwise allowed to wander around outside their cells.

Last week, Leviste was arrested in front of his LPL Tower building in Makati without his custodial guard and without a permit from the Justice Secretary.

In January 2009, Leviste was arrested and was sentenced to 12 years in prison for killing his business aide, Rafael de las Alas, in 2007.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives committee on justice on Monday deferred its own investigation of Leviste’s case to allow the DOJ panel to finish its probe.

Niel Tupas Jr. had postponed the hearing on the impeachment case against Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo to hold a hearing on the Leviste case.

The House leadership on Monday said Leviste’s caper “personifies a rotten system”.

“He was the only one who got caught but I’m sure many people have done that in the past,” House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. told reporters in an ambush interview.

Senator Francis Escudero said Leviste’s privileged status in prison is not new, and that the few rich people who end up behind bars have living out status. “That just makes it seem that our penal and jail system is just for the poor because the rich always have the privileges,” he said.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, for her part, said that special treatment for prisoners has been going on for so long that apart from “putting the Secretary of Justice‘s office in Bilibid,” the only solution would be to legalize it.

She said the Bureau of Corrections should come up with guidelines on who can be given the living out status and to follow those guidelines.

She said that if the government cannot stop the practice, the next best thing would be to regulate it.

But for Senator Loren Legarda, who used to be married to Leviste until their marriage was annulled, there should be no special treatment for rich prisoners.

“The law should apply to all. To those who have power, and those who do not,” she said. (AMN/Virgil Lopez/Kathrina Alvarez/Jonathan de Santos/PNA/Sunnex)

[In the news] Unsolved ‘vigilante’ killings frustrated, burdened police | Sun.Star

Unsolved ‘vigilante’ killings frustrated, burdened police | Sun.Star.

CEBU CITY – Someone pushed Romeo Lico out of a multicab past midnight last March 30, 2006 in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City.

When he sensed he was near death, Lico ran. But that didn’t stop his unknown assailant from firing at him. Another gunman, who rode a motorcycle, pierced Lico’s head with more bullets.

Senior Insp. Mario Monilar, the former Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Homicide Section chief, said Lico had 14 bullets in the head.

Lico was one of nearly 200 victims gunned down, vigilante-style, in Cebu City starting in 2004. He had been charged in connection with the killing of a woman in 2004 and with shooting a policeman who was responding to an alarm.

The onslaught of the vigilante-style killings started on Dec. 22, 2004, after then Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña expressed his concern on the increasing crime rate.

Looking back, Monilar, now the Guadalupe Police Station chief, said the series of killings burdened him.

“Wa ta malipay kay dugang sa trabaho, sige’g pangita sa suspek (We had to keep looking for suspects, and that was nothing to be happy about),” he said in a phone interview.

In those cases, the gunmen were usually masked, rode a motorcycle in tandem, and used a gun to kill their target persons. Most of their targets had criminal records.

Monilar said they solved some of the cases, but he admitted majority remained a mystery.

He said the police could never have been the vigilantes—one of the theories that surfaced when none of the cases were cracked.

“We are a government of laws, not of men,” he said. “Di ta ka husgar sa tawo (We cannot act like judges).”

Former CCPO director Melvin Gayotin said the crime rate during this period decreased.

His successor Senior Supt. Patrocinio Comendador, in a separate phone interview, said that some crime groups used hired guns and imitated the “vigilantes” in killing their erring members.

“Daghan nanakay nga grupo,” he said. “Out of revenge, some took the law into their own hands.”

Osmeña, now the congressional representative of Cebu City south district, had said: “I’m not exactly sad when a criminal gets shot.”

But during a mass for the feast of Señor Sto. Niño on Jan. 15, 2006, then Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal criticized the summary killings.

“It’s a big sin… pagpusil patay bisan kinsa pa ang nag-inspire, even if it’s meant for peace and order,” he said. Vidal is now the archbishop emeritus.

Osmeña, in an earlier report, admitted he may have “inspired” the attacks on the convicted or suspected criminals.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Cebu City chapter had criticized Osmeña for refusing to take a stand against the summary executions.

The right to life is one of the basic human rights guaranteed by the Constitution, they pointed out.

The killings started to wane in the middle of 2007, after the police identified and filed cases against some gunmen, said Comendador, who is now the officer-in-charge of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO).

He also said the killings corresponded with a drop in petty crimes like theft, but the homicide rate rose.

When Comendador assumed the CCPO’s top post, he wanted to stop the killings, saying they were unlawful.

“Everybody deserves justice,” Comendador said of the victims. But, he said, the “slow wheels of justice system” must be made to go faster.

“Bisag sa kapaspas sa pulis, unya madugay sa fiscal, mawa ra ang efforts sa pulis (No matter who swiftly the police force acts, if the case gets stuck at the fiscal’s level, our efforts will be proven futile),” he said.

For his part, Monilar said there is a dim chance for vigilantes’ victims to attain justice since most of their relatives accepted their fate.

“Nidawat sila kay kasagaran sa napatay problema sa komunidad (They have accepted the fact that most of those killed had caused the community some problems),” he said. KAL of Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 16, 2011.

[In the news] More groups junk P13 wage hike offer | Sun.Star

More groups junk P13 wage hike offer | Sun.Star.

Leody De Guzman, file photo source: flickr.com

MANILA — Militant labor groups on Friday assailed what they saw as connivance of the government and the business sector against a “fair” wage increase.

“They harp the same old classic blackmail against wage increase; that it is inflationary, that it will cause retrenchments, and that it will spell apocalypse,” Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) president Leody de Guzman said.

Post your prayers and condolences for Cebu Vice Governor Greg Sanchez’s family.

De Guzman’s was reacting to Bangko Sentral Governor Amado Tetangco’s warning that an increase higher than P25 is inflationary and will affect the country’s economic performance in the long term.

Compounding the labor group’s ire was Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) president Edgardo Lacson’s assertion last Wednesday that they could only afford an additional P13.35 for workers’ salaries.

Read full article @ Sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Sale of Agus-Pulangi plants in Mindanao left to Congress | Sun.Star

Sale of Agus-Pulangi plants in Mindanao left to Congress | Sun.Star.

DEPARTMENT of Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras remained firm on his commitment to defer the sale of Agus-Pulangi complex in Mindanao for now despite Malacañang’s earlier approval to sell it.

“We have expressed our alternative plans. We have expressed our own opinions but in the end it will be Congress [through the Joint Congressional Power Commission] who will decide,” he told Sun.Star at the sidelines of the launch of cash assistance to jeepney drivers last Tuesday.

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However, he neither confirmed nor denied reports that his agency will draft a memorandum urging President Benigno Aquino III to defer with the sale of Agus in Lanao del Norte and Pulangi in Bukidnon.

Almendras earlier informed the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (Psalm) of his disapproval to put the said hydropower plants on auction block due to their importance to Mindanao’s current power needs.

“The correct statement is it’s not yet for sale. We do not want to sell it yet. How long it would be would depend on how soon we would achieve true pricing and make appropriate adjustment to encourage investment,” he said.

Read full article @ sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Mixed reviews for Aquino on RH | Sun.Star

Mixed reviews for Aquino on RH | Sun.Star.

By Justin K. Vestil and Rebelander S. Basilan
Monday, April 25, 2011

CEBU CITY – President Benigno Aquino III’s pronouncement that he will fight for the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill was music to the ears of pro-choice advocates, but it angered pro-life groups who now rate the President’s credibility “below zero.”

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said he is saddened that the President does not seem to have studied the Catholic Church’s stand against the bill.

Read full article @ Sunstar.com.ph(Link above)

[In the news] Child welfare code may get council’s nod | Sun.Star

Child welfare code may get council’s nod | Sun.Star.

By Jovi T. De Leon

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The proposed Child and Youth Welfare Code is certain to get the City Council’s approval after much needed data to amend the draft proposal have been gathered, said a councilor.

Councilor Jimmy Lazatin, author of the code that aims to boost the rights of children and the youth as well as enhance welfare programs for them, said the data needed to come up with the situational analysis to amend the draft that was presented last April 8 at the council.

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“Last April 8, we conducted the third hearing for the proposed code for the youth and children with the Local Council for Protection of Children… I am certain the code will be passed and approved soon,” he said.

Read full article at Sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Reproductive Health bill now has new ally in Senate | Sun.Star

Reproductive Health bill now has new ally in Senate | Sun.Star.

SUPPORTERS of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill now have a new ally in Senator Panfilo Lacson, who declared Tuesday that he will back the passage of the measure.

Lacson said President Benigno Aquino III is “on the right track” by supporting the passage of the bill.

Lacson’s statement came after the President said Sunday that he is willing to risk excommunication from the Catholic Church to get the bill passed.

The Church has opposed the bill, saying distributing contraceptives is tantamount to abortion.

In October last year, tension between the bill’s supporters and critics rose after Surigao del Sur Bishop Nereo Odchimar reportedly threatened to excommunicate Aquino if he pushes for the distribution of contraceptives.

Odchimar, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president, denied making the threat, adding excommunication was not “a proximate possibility.”

“Finding ways to curb our monstrous population growth rate is one sensible approach in poverty alleviation. Advocating population management is not being anti-life. In fact, it is pro-country and pro-people,” Lacson said.

Read full article at Sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Kidnap-murder case closed | Sun.Star

Kidnap-murder case closed | Sun.Star.

By Teresa Ellera-Dulla

THE Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 27 sentenced to 120 years in prison 12 police officers who were accused of kidnapping and murdering three victims in August 2, 2003.

After eight years of waiting, the family of former Pahanocoy barangay captain Eleuterio Salabas, maritime instructor Ricardo Suganob and Maximo Lomoljo, finally achieved justice.

However, only three of the 12 accused policemen were apprehended: Chief Inspectors Clarence Dongail, Jimmy Fortaleza and Senior Police Officer 2 Freddie Natividad.

Twelve other civilians were also accused.

Elizabeth Orola Salabas, Eleuterio’s widow, said she believes that not only their family attained justice but also the other victims of the policemen who were convicted.

Read full article at Sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Cebu town wins UN climate change award | Sun.Star

Cebu town wins UN climate change award | Sun.Star.

MANILA — San Francisco in Camotes Islands can serve as example for community-based disaster-risk reduction initiatives, said a senator who also serves as a United Nations (UN) climate change representative.

The town located more than 500 kilometers southeast of Manila won the 2011 United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction, Senator Loren Legarda said on Wednesday.

Legarda is UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN-ISDR) Regional and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific representative.

According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which sponsors the prize, the Sasakawa “is a symbol of excellence and outstanding achievement in environmental inspiration and action.”

Read full article at www.sunstar.com.ph