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Just do it EDITORIAL 11/27/2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Just do it

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
11/27/2010
Noynoy does not appear to be that firm in his claim that he is standing firm on his position of family planning through couples’ choice, which includes artificial contraception. The signs point to the slow retreat of Noynoy in this matter, what with the House of Representatives Speaker Feliciano Belmonte now singing a different tune on the early passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

The excuse given by Belmonte is that there is little time to act on the RH bill by way of plenary debates since the sessions will have to come to a close, owing to Congress’ Christmas break, which is still a lot of days away.

Unless reports were wrong, the RH bill is supposed to already be on second reading, which would not take too much time to finish this off. Then too, the chairman of the panel that handles such bills had already been quoted as saying that Belmonte had not given him directions to push the RH bill.

It is certainly is also known that the House generally takes orders from Malacañang for it to act, or not act on bills, which translates to Noynoy and his aides not pushing this particular bill for its passage — and the only reason for the Malacañang tenant to retreat from this issue may well be pressure from the Catholic prelates, whose support he does not want to lose, at this stage of his dipping popularity..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101127com1.html

Impunity will still reign FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 11/27/2010

Impunity will still reign

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
11/27/2010
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda was reported to have told a group of demonstrators that they should blame the provincial government then led by the Ampatuans, and not the national government.

“This (Maguindanao massacre) is the action of the provincial government. This was not countenanced by the state, that is something to be made clear,” Lacierda was quoted in a newspaper report as saying, while calling on the media not to make the national government liable.

“Do not mix the separate jurisdictions, do not put the liability of a local government... these are not state-sanctioned acts of the government,” he reportedly added.

Lacierda misses the point, but not surprisingly, since Malacañang and his principal’s style is always to wash their hands off any blame..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101127com2.html

No good choices for Obama on North Korea ANALYSIS 11/27/2010

No good choices for Obama on North Korea

ANALYSIS

11/27/2010
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama faces precious few appealing choices in handling North Korea’s latest armed attack on the South.

“This is the land of lousy options... You can choose between bad, worse and the worst,” former diplomat Victor Cha told a group of fellow analysts.

After this week’s deadly artillery attack on a South Korean island, the United States faces three options: Resume negotiations with North Korea, which would be seen as rewarding its latest provocation; ease up on the tone of the response and perhaps risk a new shocker from Pyongyang; or toughen its stance and face the prospect of an armed escalation on the Korean peninsula.

Obama was briefed several times Wednesday on the developing situation in the Korean peninsula and his administration is working around the clock on the issue, the White House told AFP.

During his 2008 election campaign, Obama was more conciliatory than his Republican rival John McCain in vowing a more open policy toward Pyongyang.

A few months after he took office, however, he changed his tune after North Korea tested a missile and broke off six-party talks with China, Japan, Russia, the United States and South Korea..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101127com3.html

Filipino Journalists Face Another Form of Impunity: Violation of Labor Rights

Filipino Journalists Face Another Form of Impunity: Violation of Labor Rights


In a speech at the seventh Congress of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), labor lawyer Nitz Mahinay said there is impunity not only in the killing of journalists but also in the violation of their rights to self-organization and job security.
By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com
MANILA – Contrary to perceptions that journalists enjoy glitz and glamour, journalists and media workers suffer the same job insecurity and appalling conditions no different from other Filipino workers.

In a speech at the seventh Congress of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), labor lawyer Nitz Mahinay said there is impunity not only in the killing of journalists but also in the violation of their rights to self-organization and job security.

Mahinay noted that contractualization in the Philippine media industry has become rampant. The use of in-house manpower agencies owned by the principal employer is one of the latest tactics employed against media workers. Such is the case of the ABS-CBN Internal Job Market (IJM) employees. Despite the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) decision in favor of the workers, the ABS-CBN management did not reinstate the dismissed workers and even continues to retrench them.

Delegates of the NUJP Congress spoke of various work arrangements that violate labor rights such as volunteer reporters, talent and technical staff, correspondents, among others. Some owners of media agencies also deny the existence of an employer-employee relationship.

Journalists suffer from scandalously low remuneration with some being paid per story, per commission, or with very low wages. Benefits such as insurance and hazard pay are rare, if given at all. Journalists are hardly protected from the risks of the job with no protective clothing or insurance.

Mahinay said the Supreme Court and the DOLE are ‘not consistently upholding the law.’

Propose Actions 

The Congress adopted a resolution addressing this concern. The NUJP resolved to:

1. ensure the installation of a data base system that would provide the necessary information about the different working conditions of journalists in the different media, regions, and provinces to enable the union to plot out strategies and tactics to promote the rights and welfare of NUJP members,.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/11/27/journalists-an-exploited-lot/

Environmental Groups Intensify Opposition to Planned Expansion of Coal-Fired Power Plants

 Environmental Groups Intensify Opposition to Planned Expansion of Coal-Fired Power Plants

A typical coal power plant generates an average of 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide… 500 tons of small airborne particles…720 tons of carbon monoxide… 225 pounds of arsenic… and 114 pounds of lead, four pounds of cadmium, other toxic heavy metals, and trace amounts of uranium which are all poisonous and carcinogenic. 

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com
MANILA – Coal-fired power plant is the most hazardous energy source in the world but despite its dire effects, the national government plans to construct at least four new coal power plants by 2012 and is targeting to increase the local production of coal by 250 percent by 2015.

According to Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE), more coal-fired power plants will be constructed in the provinces of Isabela, Zambales, Negros Oriental and Occidental, Davao City, Saranggani, General Santos, and Sultan Kudarat.

There are already nine existing coal-fired power plants in the Philippines which are operating in Sual, Pangasinan; Masinloc, Zambales; Mauban and Pagbilao, Quezon; Toledo City and Naga, Cebu; La Paz, Iloilo, and Semirara, Antique and Villanueva, Misamis Oriental. By December of this year, Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC) will start to operate in Iloilo, while Korean Electric Power Co. (Kepco) in Naga, Cebu was also set to operate next year.

“The hazards of coal fired power plants is well discussed in numerous international studies, but here in the Philippines, there seem to be a deliberate attempt by the government to ignore these health and environmental impacts as well as the pleas of the communities against coal fired power projects,” said Meggie Nolasco, public information officer of Kalikasan-PNE.

After his US trip last September, Aquino boasted of bringing home $3.7 billion in investments. Part of this potential investments would be coming from Marubeni Corp, which plans to rehabilitate and expand the 1,200-megawatt (MW) Sual and 735-MW Pagbilao coal-fired power facilities in Luzon.

Dirty
How dirty could the coal-fired power plant be?

A typical coal power plant generates an average of 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide which causes acid rain; 500 tons of small airborne particles which can cause chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma, and premature death and lung diseases; 720 tons of carbon monoxide which causes headaches and place additional stress on people with heart disease; 225 pounds of arsenic which is carcinogenic; and 114 pounds of lead, four pounds of cadmium, other toxic heavy metals, and trace amounts of uranium which are all poisonous and carcinogenic..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/11/27/environmental-groups-intensify-opposition-to-planned-expansion-of-coal-fired-power-plants/

PAL Workers Wonder if Aquino Is Really Concerned About Their Plight

PAL Workers Wonder if Aquino Is Really Concerned About Their Plight


By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com
MANILA – ‘Tis the peak season in the airline business, and workers of Philippine flag-carrier Philippine Air Lines (PAL) say they can feel it in their workload. ‘Tis also the season when any hint of work stoppage in the airline can rattle the management, especially since the more numerous and strike-tested ground crew union has filed another notice of strike first week of November.

The labor department had at the time just thrown away the said union’s petition against the Department of Labor and Employment’s earlier approval of PAL’s outsourcing plans. That notice of strike has not yet been scuttled by an assumption of jurisdiction order, although the recent decision of President Benigno S. Aquino III to “review” the PAL case has somewhat created the same effect.


Challenged to hold stronger mass actions … (Photo by Angelica G. de Lara / bulatlat.com)
Last week, Aquino announced that his office would review the outsourcing case of PAL. Afterward, Aquino’s executive secretary met with the officers of Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) for what turned out to be “more of an exploratory talk,” as PALEA president Gerry Rivera described it. The presidential review has “temporarily stopped the conciliation conferences between the union, PAL and DOLE, as all parties await the result of the president’s review,” Rivera told Bulatlat.com.

While under “review,” PAL’s spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said the airline would observe the “status quo” and would not yet implement their DOLE-approved spin-off and outsourcing plans.

But for PAL workers, is there cause for hope that Aquino will reverse the approval of the Lucio Tan company’s planned outsourcing, mass termination and contractualization, which had been affirmed by two succeeding labor secretaries? Or is Aquino merely helping Tan to buy time, until the Christmas peak season — and the optimum time for the ground workers’ strike — is over?

Streamlining
In the same way that the Lopezes of the ABS-CBN are reportedly one of Aquino’s biggest presidential campaign supporters, so is Tan, who in the past has also had close relations with the president’s cousin and campaigner, Antonio “Boy” Cojuangco. Tan first bought into the flag carrier when it was being privatized — through Cojuangco, who reportedly served as Tan’s dummy for the initial transactions..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/11/27/pal-workers-wonder-if-aquino-is-really-concerned-about-their-plight/

From Two Who Suffered, a Call to Repatriate Other Distressed OFWs Before Christmas

From Two Who Suffered, a Call to Repatriate Other Distressed OFWs Before Christmas

Published on November 27, 2010 By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com
MANILA — Until recently, Melith Ante and Rashida Jaman were overseas Filipino workers. Like many OFWs, however, they suffered abuses in the hands of their employers and recruiters and so they were forced to head back home, leaving behind compatriots who undergo maltreatment by authorities while in detention or in halfway houses.

Since their recent repatriation from their respective host countries, Ante, 28, and Jaman, 29, have joined Migrante International, an overseas Filipino workers group, in calling for the immediate repatriation of stranded and jailed Filipinos abroad. The two cited the dire conditions of these OFWs, many of them suffering from all sorts of abuses and neglect.

“The government should immediately assist them (stranded and jailed OFW),” Ante, 28, told Bulatlat.com. “They are already starting to lose hope.”

Ante left to work in Jordan on July 7, 2010, believing that she would work as a janitor with a monthly salary of $400. Upon arriving in her host country, however, she was told that she would have to work as a domestic helper instead. Her salary was downgraded to $100 and would not be receiving it for the first three months as payment for her “deployment cost.”

“I was willing to stay for as long as my employer would treat me well,” Ante said, adding that she badly needed money to send her younger sibling to school and to pay for the hospitalization of her mother, who just had a stroke. However, she noticed how her male employer would peep into the restroom every time she took a bath.

Then, on Sept. 18, her employer tried to rape her. “I managed to escape at around 9 p.m. when the couple (her employers) were fighting about what happened,” Ante said. She stayed with a friend for five days before asking the help of the Philippine Embassy in Jordan..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/11/27/from-2-who-suffered-abuse-a-call-to-repatriate-other-distressed-ofws-before-christmas/

Pyongyang sounds war drums, stages artillery drill 11/27/2010

AS NOYNOY SAYS PROBABILITY OF WAR UNLIKELY

Pyongyang sounds war drums, stages artillery drill

11/27/2010
North Korea staged an artillery drill Friday within earshot of a South Korean island shelled earlier this week and warned that an upcoming US-South Korean naval exercise heightens the risk of war.

The distant sound of the latest shelling sent jittery residents of Yeonpyeong island, targeted in a deadly North Korean bombardment on Tuesday, scrambling for air raid shelters.

South Korea said it appeared to be an exercise and no shells landed on its territory.

The top US commander in South Korea, Gen. Walter Sharp, visited Yeonpyeong during the brief panic.

He denounced Tuesday’s attack on the border island — which killed two civilians and two Marines, injured 18 and set buildings ablaze — as a violation of the armistice which ended the 1950-53 war..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101127hed1.html

Noy to protesting students: Basic education before SUCs By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie M. Rosales 11/27/2010

Noy to protesting students: Basic education before SUCs

By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie M. Rosales 11/27/2010

He is the boss, not the FIlipinos.

President Aquino no longer listens to his “bosses” as represented by the militant students who aired their disappointment and sought Aquino’s reconsideration on his decision to cut the budget allocation of state universities and colleges (SUCs) through a lightning rally that fell flat once again as the Chief Executive stood firm on his position, while his police and military employed the same tactics during the Arroyo years to keep the demonstrators away from Aquino.

Aquino, in a chance interview, insisted that there was nothing wrong in his decision to concentrate more on reinforcing the basic education sector even if it disappoints the militant student leaders.

“They are students; they should carefully study the situation…” Aquino was quoted as saying in response to the frequent demonstrations being conducted by militant student leaders who are decrying the SUC budget cuts.

Chanting “Edukasyon! Edukasyon!” furious members of Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students and National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP) were stalled by police authorities when they tried to go nearer the premises of the recently inaugurated 700th Jollibee food chain where Aquino served as
guest of honor to protest his fiscal policies..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101127hed2.html

Senate hints at expediting amnesty grant for mutineers By Angie M. Rosales and Mario J. Mallari 11/27/2010

Senate hints at expediting amnesty grant for mutineers

By Angie M. Rosales and Mario J. Mallari 11/27/2010

Depending on the will of the majority of senators, the upper chamber may choose not to conduct a new hearing and instead present for plenary approval the revised presidential proclamation granting amnesty to over 300 rebel soldiers.

“We’ll still subject it to a caucus. It (holding a committee hearing) may no longer be called and have this taken
straight to the plenary,” Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III said, referring to Presidential Proclamation 75, following Palace’s transmission to the chamber the other day.

Guingona, chairman of the committee on peace, unification and reconciliation, said whatever legal infirmities previously raised by critics in the original Proclamation 50 appeared to have been already rectified by Malacañang.

Sen. Joker Arroyo, for one, underscored the need to mention the “admission of guilt” of those seeking amnesty but which remained to be absent in the revised presidential issuance..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101127hed3.html

Justices do not lobby, says SC spokesman By Benjamin B. Pulta 11/27/2010

Justices do not lobby, says SC spokesman

By Benjamin B. Pulta 11/27/2010

An official of the Supreme Court has denied allegations by anti-crime advocate Lauro Vizconde that a high court magistrate is allegedly lobbying for the acquittal of Hubert Webb, one of the men convicted of killing his wife and two daughters in 1991.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who had testified for the defense in the Vizconde massacre case in the 1990s, refused to comment because he does not want to dignify the accusation that appears to be based on hearsay, Court Administrator and spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said.

“That is pure speculation. That serious allegation will have to be proved. The allegation alone says that it’s hearsay,” he stressed. Carpio had recused from the Vizconde massacre case at the outset of the hearings in the high tribunal in 2007 due to his participation in the trial when it was still being handled by the Parañaque Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 274 as a witness.

“His reason was accepted by the court and therefore he is already out of this case,” Marquez stressed..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101127hed4.html

Palace in face-saving bid on the ‘no-go’ China trip By Aytch S. de la Cruz 11/27/2010

Palace in face-saving bid on the ‘no-go’ China trip

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 11/27/2010

Malacañang tried to save face over the rejection of China to meet with the “high-level” Philippine delegation that would have made a trip to the mainland, as well as Hong Kong, ostensibly to represent President Aquino in formally handing over to the Chinese government the official copy of the Incident Investigation Review Committee (IIRC) report, along with the review report done by the Palace lawyers on orders of Aquino, as well as explain to the Chinese government the circumstances involved in the reviewed IIRC report.

With the Philippine delegation’s trip to China given the nod, Malacañang would have had that opportunity to show the nation that relations with China, and also Hong Kong, have normalized.

Refusing to admit that the Chinese government refuses to see the representatives of Aquino, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda claimed that the Chinese government has been having a difficult time scheduling the visit of the Philippine delegation and that with all the delays in scheduling, the Aquino administration has given up hope on its bid to send a high level delegation to the People’s Republic of China in an effort to put closure on the Aug. 23 hostage-taking crisis..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101127hed5.html

House panel chief on energy sitting on Psalm probe calls By Gerry Baldo 11/27/2010

House panel chief on energy sitting on Psalm probe calls

By Gerry Baldo 11/27/2010

The House committee on energy headed by Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad is sitting on several bills and resolutions calling for an investigation into alleged anomalies in the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (Psalm) where her husband, Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, is a member of the board.

Lawmakers, some of whom refused to be identified, said that there have been several bills and resolutions that were filed since the start of the 15th Congress related to the alleged anomalies in Psalm but all these appear to have been ignored by the chairman of the energy committee.

One such resolution that has been pending is House Resolution 97 which was filed on July 7, 2010.
“This has been pending for over four months now since it was filed in July this year,” Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said yesterday.

Casiño said that the House committee on energy has not called for a hearing on the issues involving Psalm since it was constituted soon after the 15th Congress opened.

Casiño’s resolution focused on an inquiry into the alleged anti-consumer move of the Psalm to pass on P470.865 billion of its debts and expenses to electricity consumers..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101127hed6.html

Marines sent to Palawan to counter insurgency By Mario J. Mallari 11/27/2010

Marines sent to Palawan to counter insurgency

By Mario J. Mallari 11/27/2010

The Navy yesterday sent another Marine battalion in Palawan to augment present troops operating in Western part of the country against insurgency.

During send off ceremonies, Navy Flag Officer in Command Rear Admiral Danilo Cortez reminded 413-strong 12th Marine Battalion of the importance of their mission of keeping the people safe from enemies of the state.

“Your deployment to the operational area is very important to the Navy’s mission and to the Armed Forces. It is in your hands to sustain the peace in your respective areas of responsibilities and to make the lives of its people free from violence and fear,” said Cortez.

The 12th Marine Battalion, led by Col. Jesus Raul Caldez, left for Palawan aboard BRP Dagupan City. The contingent is composed of 16 officers and 397 enlisted personnel.

Cortez said the 12th Marine Battalion will augment the Marine Battalion Landing Team-8 (MBLT-8) which is presently deployed in Palawan.

“Once again, the Fleet-Marine operations will be validated as our Marines and sailors work in tandem so that peace and development will reign in this particular part of the region,” said Cortez..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101127nat1.html

Angara urges review of VFA’s ‘parent treaty’ 11/27/2010

Angara urges review of VFA’s ‘parent treaty’

11/27/2010
As both the Executive and the Senate are conducting separate reviews of the country’s Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States, Sen. Edgardo Angara said that it is high time for the government to also reappraise the underlying treaty to the agreement.

The assumptions on which the Philippines and the US forged the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) in 1951 may no longer be valid and relevant, stressed Angara during the hearing of the Legislative Oversight Committee (LOC) on the VFA last Tuesday.

“The whole security architecture of the world is changing rapidly. Unless we review the underlying military defense agreement between the US and the Philippines, we may find out too late that we are still bogged down as the least trained, least prepared and poorest equipped military in the region. I think that has been our lack in this mutual agreement deal,” Angara explained.

The treaty, which even preceded the Cold War, obligates the two countries to show mutual support should external threats occur. The VFA, the support deal ratified in 1999, has come under fire over the controversial issue of jurisdiction of US military personnel accused of committing crimes in the Philippines.

The VFA also enables the Philippines to obtain U.S. military assistance worth about $100 million yearly in the form of military equipment, goods and monetary component..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101127nat8.html

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