Tag Archives: Zamboanga Sibugay

[In the news] Votes for sale: From P100 to P3,500 per person -INQUIRER.net

Votes for sale: From P100 to P3,500 per person
By Philip C. Tubeza, Philippine Daily Inquirer
May 11, 2013

inquirerHow much is a Filipino’s vote worth these days?

According to the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), candidates are offering up to P3,500 for a single vote in Ilocos Norte, P3,000 in neighboring Ilocos Sur, P2,000 in Zamboanga Sibugay, and P100 in Tawi-Tawi.

In a letter sent to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday, Namfrel chair Corazon de la Paz-Bernardo said reports from the group’s volunteers showed that vote-buying—either with cash, groceries, and even farm implements—is expected to intensify as Election Day nears, with some candidates even resorting to “bidding” to corner votes.

Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr.’s advice to voters: Take the money and junk the candidates.

“Take it but junk those who give you money. That’s the only way to do it so that the next time these people will not give away money because they know they will lose,” Brillantes said in an interview on Friday.
The Comelec tried to fight vote-buying by prohibiting bank withdrawals in excess of P100,000 and carrying cash worth more than P500,000, but President Benigno Aquino III rejected the strategy on Thursday, saying it was bad for the economy, and the Supreme Court, acting on a petition brought by bankers, stopped it on Friday and called for oral arguments.

Brillantes said vote-buying had become more rampant because politicians had fewer means to “manipulate” the vote after the automation of elections in 2010.
Read full article @newsinfo.inquirer.net
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

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] Zambo police rescue 18 human trafficking victims -MindaNews

MindaNews » Zambo police rescue 18 human trafficking victims.

August 31, 2012

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/30 August) – The Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) of the Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) has rescued 18 victims, including six minors, of human trafficking at a private wharf in this city, a police official revealed Thursday.

Senior Insp. Gemma Luna, WCPD chief, disclosed that the victims were rescued around 9 a.m. Wednesday while they were about to board a ferry bound for the province of Tawi-tawi at a private wharf in Barangay Baliwasan, this city.

Luna said the rescue of the victims came after operatives from her office, in coordination with the Sea-Based Anti-Trafficking Task Force (SBATTF), responded to a report that human trafficking victims were sighted at Baliwasan seaside.

The rescued victims told the police that they were hired to work as fishermen in Tandubas municipality, Tawi-tawi.

Luna said the victims identified their recruiter as Melzar Ujatimuay Danda, of Kabasalan town in Zamboanga Sibugay, and their employer as Magellan Mohammad Ali-Naugan.

The rescued victims were turned over to the Visayan Forum Foundation (VFF), a non-government organization (NGO) which works on issues of domestic work, child labor and human trafficking, especially of women and children, Luna said.

Read full article @ www.mindanews.com

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

[In the news] WAYWARD AND FANCIFUL: Helping children heal -MindaNews

MindaNews » WAYWARD AND FANCIFUL: Helping children heal.

By Gail Ilagan
August 5, 2012

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 4 Aug) – Mid-year 2012, Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel chair Marvic Leonen optimistically reported that after the 18 October 2011 incident in Al-Barka, Basilan, there had been no more armed skirmishes between government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). However, he also reported that there continued to be armed skirmishes in Mindanao between security forces and lawless elements.

In many pockets of Mindanao, law enforcement often involves military support in cases when the suspects are known to be armed and dangerous and have sought shelter in heavily fortified hideouts. In fact, the Al-Barka incident had been a joint law enforcement operation intended to serve warrants of arrest on suspected criminals.

The towns of Payao and Alicia lie on the southeastern tip of the crescent that encloses Dumanquilas Bay in Zamboanga Sibugay. From the paved highway in Imelda, the idyllic coastal center of Payao lies past 36 kilometers of rough mountain road passable in many places only on board the hardy habal-habal that serves as the only means of public land transport plying that route. While uncomfortable in places, the dirt road to Alicia, on the other hand, can be negotiated by any form of motorized vehicles.

Read full article @ www.mindanews.com

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

[Press Release] Climate change and gender orgs join Earth Day celebrations -Aksyon Klima Pilipinas

Climate change and gender orgs join Earth Day celebrations

Civil society networks celebrated Earth Day early last Friday through a round table discussion on gender, health and climate change.

Aksyon Klima Pilipinas and Sarilaya, networks working on climate change and gender equality issues, respectively, also invited participants from other rural groups and non-governmental organizations.

“Earth Day should honor not only Mother Nature but also our own mothers and other women who are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” said Aksyon Klima coordinator Rowena Bolinas.

In the case studies presented by Mary delos Santos, president of the Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), or the National Rural Women Coalition, which they undertook in areas from Bolinao, Pangasinan to Muug in Zamboanga Sibugay, women respondents in the communities identified the need for social protection in the form of affordable insurance for health, livelihood and disaster-related events.

“Women are differently impacted by disasters and climate change due to limited access to economic opportunities, dual roles in domestic chores and production, physical make-up and imposed social restrictions,” she said.

Women participants also urged the government and other sectors to recognize the engendered needs of women especially in times of disasters and with the worsening impacts of climate change.

“Women in evacuation centers are exposed to danger and violence due to the lack of privacy, security and unhygienic environment. They even fall prey to sexual aggression”, delos Santos added.

Esperanza Santos, Sarilaya’s advocacy officer, explained that water-related health concerns are but some of the many vulnerable points of women when it comes to dealing with climate change.

“Women need to wash much more often than men do. They are also expected to take care of their children’s hygiene,” Santos shared.

“Women also traditionally carry water into their houses and tend the garden, and we have accounts of members who are finding these roles increasingly harder to fulfil as the sources of their water are drying up,” she added.

Undersecretary Yeb Sano of the Climate Change Commission, Dr. Cecile Magturo of the Department of Health’s climate change group, Mina Tenorio of LIKHAAN and Max de Mesa of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates also spoke during the day-long discussion.

Aksyon Klima Pilipinas (Aksyon Klima) is composed of about 40 civil society organizations across the Philippines working on various climate change and development issues.

Sarilaya is a national organization of women committed to promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Contact: Denise M. Fontanilla
Advocacy Officer, Aksyon Klima Pilipinas
+639064387229, info@aksyonklima.com

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

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.

[Press Release] 284 CSOs attend 4th General Assembly; bewail SM’s impending massacre of Baguio City’s trees -PMPI

284 CSOs attend 4th General Assembly;
bewail SM’s impending massacre of Baguio City’s trees

Baguio City – 284 members of the Philippine-Misereor Partnership, Inc (PMPI) will gather in Baguio city to meet for its 4th General Assembly on February 27 to March 1, 2012 with the theme “Harnessing Faith, Culture and Integrity of Creation towards a Renewed Peace and Development Paradigm.”

The PMPI is a strong network of non-government organizations (NGOs), peoples organizations (POs) and Church groups in the Philippines together with Misereor – the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Germany.

The general assembly is convened every three years to vote for new leaders and resolutions that will direct the network for the succeeding three years.

It is the highest policy making body of the PMPI.

It is also a forum for continuing dialogue and exchange of learnings between and among its members.

It is an avenue for leadership, confidence-building, and forging solidarity, grounded on issues and concerns articulated by the poor.

On this particular gathering, PMPI is faced by the looming execution of 182 trees in Luneta Hill where Shoe Mart Development Corporation is set to pave way for another parking lot.

A permit signed by Sec. Ramon Paje of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) last October 2011 grants SMDC the cutting, balling and pruning of 43 fully grown Alnus Japonica, 97 growing pine trees and 42 saplings.

“Baguio has made itself the country’s summer capital. Thousands of tourists come to Baguio City for its scenic nature-endowed beauty and cold weather; and not for the sprawling mall that SM is. It is utterly senseless and abominable that those trees have to be felled for the wheels of irresponsible consumerism and corporate greed,” said Mayette Paragas, incumbent Chairperson of the PMPI and also the executive director of the Baguio-based multi-awarded Shontoug Foundation.

In this year and age, “people tend to take for granted and lose sight of the things that are most essential for human survival,” said Bishop Broderick Pabillo, one of the Bishop Convenors of PMPI and Chairperson of the CBCP-NASSA Ecumenical Commission for Justice and Peace.

Bishop Pabillo expounds, “PMPI’s 4th General Assembly theme is an apt message and reminder that humanity and life forms support system cannot be sustained by present economic development pursuits which disregards the environment and disrespects culture and the integrity of Creation.”

PMPI is comprised of fifteen (15) regional clusters: Six (6) from Luzon, Four (4) from Visayas and five (5) from Mindanao. These member organizations are present and are pro-actively working with the most marginalized communities in the Philippines for the promotion of social justice and development issues. Its flagship program, the Anti-Mining campaign currently partners with 13 sites of struggles in the country. Rapu-rapu, Mindoro, Nueva Vizcaya, Zambales in Luzon, Kabangkalan and San Carlos in Negros, Manicani and Homonhon in Samar in the Visayas region and Surigao del sur, Tampakan, South Cotabato and ZAMPEN peninsula ( Zambo del Sur , ZDN, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga City) in Mindanao.


Yolanda R. Esguerra
National Coordinator

Priscilla C. Saladaga
Media Committee



27 February 2012


[From the web] Going Home: Wish of Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay IDPs- mpc.org.ph

Going Home: Wish of Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay IDPs

As women started to crowd the barangay hall in Naga-Naga, an older woman who was at the back tried so hard to get her name listed by the DSWD personnel. Zenaida was one of the many who were displaced by the military operations against some so-called lawless elements who were believed to be in a small community in Payao.

Zenaida along with her family and blind mother quietly lives in a house by the sea. They rely mainly on agal-agal (seaweeds) which they patiently tend until five days ago when they were forced to leave their house due to fear, and put themselves at the mercy of others to survive.

With naval speedboats continuously circling the coastal villages and damaging the delicate agal-agal, Zenaida seriously entertained the idea of leaving their humble abode. Leading her children and her blind mother, they huddled in their small banca as she helped her husband row to nearby Naga-Naga.

The chairperson of the barangay who happens to be a woman could not afford to turn her back on the evacuees. With the elementary school lacking basic amenities like water and toilets, she called on her constituents to empathize with the evacuees and accommodate them in their homes.  Residents of the barangay, poor as they are, willingly offered their homes to the evacuees coming from different neighboring barangays.

Read full article @ mpc.org.ph

[From the web] Stop the rants, Lay down the guns, Women want Peace- iidnet.ord

Source: iidnet.org

We, members of Women Engaged in Action on 1325 (United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325), a national network of women in human rights, women, and peace organizations, express our unequivocal rejection of war and military solution to the crisis arising from the October 18 tragedy in Al-barka, Basilan.

   Roughly 30,000 civilians from affected communities in Basilan, Zamboanga Sibugay and Lanao provinces are now scattered in various evacuation camps while others seek refuge in homes of families and relatives who live away from the conflict areas.  Majority of the internally displaced persons are women and children.

While We Act 1325 commends President Aquino for issuing a strict order on the primacy of the peace process, and the MILF for staying the course of the peace process, we ask the government and the MILF to:

Resume in earnest formal negotiations on the substantive agenda;

Take into account any violations of the ceasefire agreement and related mechanisms such as the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) guidelines and make the results of investigation available to the public;

Institute binding and strict measures that will compel adherence or compliance to all agreements forged between parties in conflict;

Respect the civilian character of evacuation camps and other defined safe spaces;

Uphold the government’s commitment to UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (and its succeeding resolutions) to ensure that women’s special needs in situations of conflict are prioritized and appropriately addressed,  and their contributions valued and recognized;

Provide protection from sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence, especially in evacuation camps; and

Involve and engage the participation of more women in formal and informal peace negotiations or processes, as well as in relief and rehabilitation services in affected areas.

As women, we are alarmed that our voices and efforts for peace seem to be drowned by the loud drums of war.   We are dismayed by statements from politicians, journalists, media and even some bishops that frame the MILF as “the enemy” rather than a committed party to the peace negotiations and even ceasefire agreement.   They question   the peace policy and established processes of peacebuilding and confidence-building based on government’s   “six paths to peace”.   Unfortunately, they are playing to attitudes of machismo as well as ethnic and religious discrimination that are still dominant in our society.

We ask you to stop depicting the other as the enemy. Stop sowing hate. The costs of war increase when anti-peace sentiments and malicious statements are peddled this way. Hence, we appeal to all concerned to work instead in diffusing tension by promoting communication and understanding between parties in conflict.

War solves nothing.


[From the web] “All-out justice” is all-out war – www.karapatan.org

“Justice is justice, it cannot mean anything else. Definitely, it cannot mean war,” claimed Jigs Clamor, Deputy Secretary General of human rights group Karapatan, in reaction to Pres. Aquino’s declaration of “all-out justice” in the aftermath of the series of incidents involving the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“This government has the propensity, as proven by practice, to distort concepts such as “justice,” ‘peace,’ ‘human rights’, ‘development’ and churn out media spins and catch phrases just to earn “pogi” points and mask its militarist streak on the ground. In this case, it uses “all-out justice” to conduct air strikes in pursuit of so-called criminal elements. Clearly, the bombings only sow terror, resulted to economic dislocation and displacement of civilians. Reports show that there are now at least 20,000 individuals who left their homes in Basilan and in Zamboanga Sibugay. This is not justice,” asserted Clamor.

Karapatan noted that the government’s use of by-words such as ‘respect for human rights’, ‘peace and development’ and ‘all-out justice’ is deliberate and in keeping with Oplan Bayanihan’s deceptive tactics.

Clamor added that “Basilan is still under a ‘state of lawlessness’ since former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s declaration in 2001. Civilians were arbitrarily arrested and detained because of trumped up charges heaped upon them as fall guys just to show that the police and the military have done their job to quell the alleged terrorists in the area. At least 80 of them are still in detention. Again, civilians have become the casualties of this “all-out justice” campaign by a government that is supposedly the opposite of GMA.”

“We call on the government to stop the bombings and other militarist measures that endangers the lives of civilians,” concluded Clamor. ###


[In the news] MindaNews » Villagers flee as military operation in Sibugay intensifies

MindaNews » Villagers flee as military operation in Sibugay intensifies.

By Antonio M. Manaytay

IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay (MindaNews/25 October) – The number of families displaced by the ongoing military operation in Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay against “lawless elements” has reached 2,368 families as of Monday, records at the provincial office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development showed.

Payao Mayor Jeomar Mendoza said Monday that 917 families went to their relatives living in safer areas of the municipality. The others fled to the neighboring towns of Alicia (1,237 families) and Talusan in Olutanga Island (214 families).

Mendoza said the evacuees came from Barangay Labatan and nearby barangays.

He disclosed that he instructed the displaced families to stay with their relatives in safe areas and not to troop to the town hall since there is reportedly a threat to attack the town proper.

As part of the precautionary measures, the mayor said he ordered businesses to close by 5 p.m. daily and the municipal hospital to close at night. Those who need medical treatment at night would be referred to other hospitals in the province, he added.

Mendoza also ordered the suspension of classes in elementary and secondary schools.

Flordeliza Alar, provincial coordinator of the government’s Pantawid ng Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), said some of the displaced persons are living in makeshift tents.

“Some of these IDPs (internally displaced persons) are in government centers while most of them are living precariously with their relatives,” she added.

Alar revealed that around 350 families in Barangay Labatan were trapped by the intense firefights that erupted Monday between government troops and suspected lawless elements.

Payao municipal welfare officer Belen Clavejo Diaz, however, assured that the local government was “doing its best to respond to the needs of the IDPs.”

Diaz said relief goods have been delivered to the IDPs, although she acknowledged difficulty in locating them since most of them are staying with their relatives.

Mendoza said they have extended relief goods to some 700 families.

OV-10 bombers did two rounds in sitio Taib, Barangay Labatan at noon Monday, and a third at around 4:30 p.m. on the same day. The explosions could be heard as far as Ipil, some 60 kilometers west of the site of encounter.

Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Western Mindanao Command spokesperson, said four Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels were killed in the renewed assault on a suspected lair of “lawless elements” in Labatan. Two soldiers were killed and four others were injured.

He clarified the assault was aimed at dismantling a criminal group under Juaning Abdusalam in line with President Aquino’s directive for the military and police to go after lawless elements.

Abdusallam reportedly leads a lawless group with alleged links to the MILF. His men were the suspects of the Oct. 8 kidnapping of Monalisa Capa in Pitogo town, Zamboanga del Sur.

Wesmincom chief Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer said the joint law enforcement operations against the group of Abdulsalam will continue.

“He should be brought to justice for all the past kidnappings and extortions done by him and his group.” Ferrer said.

Read full article @ www.mindanews.com

[Press Release] War Spills Into the Internet, Blogger and Peace Advocate Calls for Ceasefire – www.krislibrary.com

War has appeared to have spilled into the social networking sites in the Internet and a journalist-turned-peace advocate and blogger has called on Filipino Netizens to keep their emotions in check as real people are dying, wounding and evacuating from conflict areas in Mindanao.

Smiling Children in Time of Uncertainty. Christian and Muslim students of the Claret Kindergarten School of Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugaysing after receiving 8 boxes of books, school supplies and snacks brought to them by the Kris Peace Library recently. The donations came from the Kaisa Para Sa Kaunlaran Foundation and the Kapatiran Inyong Dapat Suportation of actor-businessman Diether Ocampo. The school is located near an MILF stronghold in Zamboanga Sibugay.

“Real people are dying from real bullets in Mindanao. The killings are turning real people into widows, real children into orphans; and real parents seeing children dying ahead of them. The least we can do as we sit before our computers and detached from this bloody environment is to keep the level of hate and passion low,” said Armand Nocum, a former reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Now a blogger (Dean’s Office) at his Kristiyano-Islam (Kris) Peace Library (www.krislibrary.com) web site, Nocum had noticed that news or personal posting regarding the rise in the number of Philippine soldiers and policemen who die in the series of skirmishes with the Abu Sayyaf and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have elicited online reaction that borders on racial and religious discrimination.

“We must remember that our soldiers are fighting rebel and terrorist groups – both soldiers and rebel fighters are combatants and casualties happen on both sides. Let us not bring innocent Muslim civilians in the equation because they are victims like all of us,” said Nocum, who is married to a Muslim.

The Nocums and Christian and Muslim friends and relatives have started the peace and literacy advocacy to bring better understanding and unity among cultures by building Kris Peace Libraries in areas populated by Christians and Muslims.

Two of the five libraries set up by Kris are located in Zamboanga Sibugay where fresh fighting have erupted among military and police forces and armed men believed to belong to the MILF.

Other Kris Libraries where poor Christians and Muslims come together to do research, study and have free use of computers are located in Zamboanga City, Rodriguez, Rizal; and Quezon City. About half of the 102 scholars of Kris have graduated valedictorians and salutatorians; and with-honors.

Nocum noted that most of the acerbic comments are those calling for a declaration of a total war in Mindanao and criticizing the AquinoAdministration for being too weak to go after the rebels. The nasty ones describe Muslims as people who cannot be trusted.

“All the emotionally-charged and general attacks between and among all Filipinos only paint a picture of us in the global community as a country and people at war with itself. We must all work for peace both in and out of cyberspace,” said Nocum, who was born in Zamboanga City.

A Manila-based public relations executive, Nocum called on Filipino Netizens to instead project the good things that bring unity and understanding between civilian Christians and Muslims in the country.

An avid user of the social networking sites to include Facebook, Nocum said Kris Library managed to set up five libraries, received books, computer and cash donations through Netizens here and abroad.

“About 90 percent of the people who donated to us after learning about our literacy cause from media and the Internet are the people who have yet to formally meet us in person,” he said.


Arizza Nocum, Kris Library Administrator
09995609435 / 3522313

[Press Release] Green groups laud SC resolution banning mining in ZamboPen – alyansatigilmina.net

Green groups laud SC resolution banning mining in ZamboPen
Hits MGB and says “no go zones” for mining must be established

Quezon City—Groups commend the Supreme Court en banc decision and issuance of writ of kalikasan to ban mining in Zamboanga Peninsula, last August 16.

“This was a quick and positive response from the High Court. We commend the decision of the en banc to ban mining in Zamboanga, considering the many impacts of mining to the environment and indigenous communities there,” said Jaybee Garganera, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) national coordinator.

The issuance enjoins the Department of Environment and Natural Resources—Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB), to stop processing mining applications and issuing mining permits.

“Unfortunately, the DENR-MGB has once again displayed its schizophrenic nature, and is turning a blind eye to mining operations that threaten key biodiversity and watershed areas. We hope that this issuance will remind them that giving out mining permits in all areas in the country is critical and has irreversible impacts to the environment,” Garganera added. Garganera was responding to the reaction of MGB Director Leo Jasareno who was quoted as lamenting the SC decision as a “blow to the mining industry”.

Zamboanga peninsula, composed of the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga-Sibugay, is currently host to a total of 170 mining tenements, covering 808,200 hectares or 51 percent of the total land area of the province.

Garganera concluded, “This is also why we support the establishment of ‘no go zones’ or areas that will be completely closed to mining applications, such as important biodiversity areas, watershed areas, natural forests, and ancestral domains where IPs have opposed mining operations.”

The Philippine Earth Justice Center, Inc, Alliance to Save the Integrity of Nature, Inc., Kesalubuukan Tupusumi Organization of Subanen People, and several private individuals and residents, in the three provinces, filed the petition for writ of kalikasan, last August 9.

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines.

Press Release
August 31, 2011
For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0927) 761.76.02 <nc@alyansatigilmina.net>
Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy & Advocacy Officer, (0915) 331.33.61 <policy@alyansatigilmina.net>

[Press Release] 8 Solons Seek Investigation of Allegedly Questionable And Disadvantageous Policies of Airline Companies

Mounting complaints from their constituents has driven eight congressmen to seek an inquiry into the allegedly questionable and lopsided policies of local airline companies on matters of flight delays and cancellations; and exorbitant fees and charges to the detriment of millions of Filipinos who have now taken air travel as the preferred mode of transportation between the country’s 7,107 islands.

Reps. Carol Jayne B. Lopez of the You Against Corruption and Poverty (YACAP); Seth Frederick P. Jalosjos (Zamboanga del Norte); Gabriel Luis R. Quisumbing (Cebu); Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco (Marinduque), Mark Aaron H. Sambar (PBA Party List); Romeo M. Jalosjos Jr. (Zamboanga Sibugay, 2nd District); Sherwin N. Tugna (CIBAC Party List); and Jonathan C. Yambao (Zamboanga Sibugay, 1st District) want these policies investigated “in aide of legislation.”

In filing House Resolution No. 1634, the eight solons asked the House Committee on Transportation to look into the “policies and practices of airline companies on flight delays/cancellations, fees, charges and refunds to prevent undue and unnecessary inconvenience to airline passengers and travellers.”

In their resolution, the congressmen representing Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao said that while the “budget fare” promos have “encouraged domestic and foreign travels,” many travellers have complained of the airline policies on “flight delays/cancellations and related fees/charges/refunds among others” simply because they failed to read the “fine print provisions” in their tickets or that these were not clearly explained to them when they bought the tickets.

“It seems everyone has their own horror stories to tell relative to their nightmarish experiences with airlines companies,” said Rep. Seth Frederick R. Jalosjos who related about two constituents who got a P5,600 promo fare for a Zamboanga-Manila-Zamboanga trip for two persons but ended up spending P12,000 in penalties on the way back to Zamboanga after arriving 10 minutes late before the check-in counter of local airline company.

Aside from the allegedly exorbitant penalties on late, no-show passengers and those who re-book their flights, other complaints involve no-refund policies 24 hours before the flight; as much as five months delay in the release of refunds; unannounced change of destinations; poor customer service in check-in counters, on-line and through telephone; flight delays without timely announcements; and no comfort given in terms of food or hotels to passengers who suffer long flight delays.

“Some of our poor constituents feel as if they are `hostaged’ by these questionable policies and are powerless to fight the mega-airline companies,” said Quisumbing.

Available records show the airline companies operating here to include the Philippine Airlines, the Cebu Pacific Air, the Airphil Express, Zest Airways, the Pacific Pearl Airways and the Spirit of Manila.

“It seems that they are penalizing us for every imaginable infraction in our contract of carriage but we get no compensation if they fly late or change flight destinations without informing us,” said Lopez who had her landing destination transferred from General Santos to Davao at night.

For Rep. Tugna, a lawyer, it’s all about “fairness” in the dealings between two contracting parties whereby the public seems to be getting short-changed in their dealings with the giant airline companies.

“Unfortunately it seems that the whole airport transport service is boiling down to a mere business scheme and competition among the airlines fighting for air dominance with little regards towards how the little people feel or are affected by the thing,” said Sambar, a doctor by profession.


August 24, 2011

Carol Jayne B. Lopez                          Seth Frederick P. Jalosjos
YACAP Party List                              1st District, Zamboanga del Norte
09178111177                                   09285001305

Gabriel Luis R. Quisumbing                    Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco
6th District, Cebu                            Lone District, Marinduque
09178988811                                   09399099127

Mark Aeron H. Sambar                          Romeo M. Jalosjos, Jr.
PBA Party List                                2nd District, Zamboanga Sibugay
09188889990                                   09285074072/09178112804

Sherwin N. Tugna                              Jonathan C. Yambao
CIBAC Party List                              1st District, Zamboanga Sibugay
09175210511                                   09214388882/0921263788

[In the news] 58 human trafficking victims rescued in Sibugay, Tawi-tawi – InterAksyon.com

58 human trafficking victims rescued in Sibugay, Tawi-tawi
Abigail Kwok, InterAksyon.com

MANILA – Fifty-eight potential victims of human trafficking were rescued by elements of the Philippine Center for Transnational Crimes in various operations in Zamboanga Sibugay and Tawi-Tawi last June, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reported Sunday.

In a statement, the DILG said the victims, 41 of whom were women, were to be shipped off the Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Jordan, Lebanon, and Qatar.

Citing a report submitted to him by PCTC executive director Felizardo Serapio Jr., DILG secretary Jesse Robredo said 15 women were rescued in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay last June 22 while 26 women and 17 men were rescued in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi last June 17. Three of the victims were children.

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com

[In the news] MILF says Moro sub-state no threat to IP rights – Interaksyon.com

MILF says Moro sub-state no threat to IP rights – Interaksyon.com.

Ria Rose Uro, special to InterAksyon.com

PAGADIAN CITY, Philippines – Moro rebel negotiators assured the Subanen tribes of the Zamboanga Peninsula that a Bangsamoro sub-state resulting from successful peace negotiations with government would not be a threat to their rights over ancestral domain.

Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga, a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel, said ancestral domain as contemplated in their proposed peace pact defines a territory for self-governance.

Ancestral domain as defined in the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) refers to proprietary rights over a particular area where the tribes have a traditional historical presence, Lingga added.

The MILF negotiating panel interacted with Subanen leaders here on Wednesday as part of its ongoing series of dialogues with various sectors and stakeholders of the Mindanao peace process.

Lingga’s explanation was in response to a request by Kolibugan community leader Barahama Amil for the MILF to drop some stretches of Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Norte in its definition of the Bangsamoro homeland in favor of the Subanen’s ancestral domain claim. Kolibugan refers to Islamized Subanen who inhabit these portions of the two provinces.

Read full article @ InterAksyon.com