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Mother of all scams EDITORIAL 01/23/2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mother of all scams

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
01/23/2011
The rice importation scam could be yet the biggest scandal that Noynoy can dig up on Gloria and her cohorts of nine years — that is if the claims made by the National Food Authority (NFA) of overstocking rotting rice are true, because logically, the manipulation of prices of the grains affected the whole world while the importing syndicates and the source of the purchased rice reaped huge windfalls which is highly probable.

It is a monumental sting that only the most corrupt administration can ever think of.

Such an operation would be elaborate in making use of state officials on both ends and the possible involvement of grains traders to drive up the prices of rice in the world market.

It would also be a combination of private and NFA importations needed to push prices at record levels..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110123com1.html

No way change the Charter FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 01/23/2011

No way change the Charter

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
01/23/2011
Noynoy is said now to be open to Charter change (Cha-cha) — on a piecemeal basis, but claims, through his spokesmen, that this has the Palace’s thumbs up as this would result in substantive debates on specific provisions as members of Congress see fit.

Frankly, I really can’t fathom why Malacañang even thinks Cha-cha is dependent on whether Noynoy is for changes in the Charter, because the truth is, a president’s position on this issue is irrelevant, given that the Charter does not empower a president to have a say on Ch-cha, as it is Congress that has the say — or the people, through the People’s Initiative — and only for amendments, not revisions.

Noynoy really should study the Constitution, because constitutional changes cannot be done through legislation, i.e., Congress amending even provisions in the Constitution through the introduction of a legislative measure that would be passed into law, in essence, granting Congress the power to amend the Charter through simple legislation — a power not vested on Congress by the people..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110123com2.html

Russians seek omens and foretell husbands in winter ritual FEATURE 01/23/2011

Russians seek omens and foretell husbands in winter ritual

FEATURE

01/23/2011
MOSCOW — On winter nights set aside for fortune telling, young Russian women drip hot wax, throw shoes out of the window and crumple newspapers, hoping to foresee their future husbands and careers.

In a ritual vividly described in 19th century literature and still alive today, Russians tell fortunes in the evenings between Russian Orthodox Christmas (Jan. 6 to 7) and the festival of Epiphany on Jan. 19.

While fortune-telling is practiced between Christian holidays, it is frowned upon by the Russian Orthodox Church, which sees it as a remnant of paganism.

Many Russians take the tradition very seriously.

After examining a piece of wax dropped into a bowl of cold water, Yelena, 29, decided to take a life-changing decision to leave her office job and set up her own public relations company..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110123com3.html

Lim to snub Hong Kong invite BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 01/23/2011

Lim to snub Hong Kong invite

BLURBAL THRUSTS
Louie Logarta
01/23/2011
Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, who can probably be considered the star witness in the Aug. 23, 2010 Luneta hostage-taking incident which claimed the lives of eight Chinese nationals, has indignantly declared he won’t be joining the delegation being sent by the Philippine government to participate in the investigation to be conducted next month by the Hong Kong Coroner’s Office.

Reacting to reports that the Department of Justice had given the go-signal to the request of Hong Kong authorities to send a total of 116 witnesses (after being told they could not be prosecuted) to stand as resource persons in the proceedings that are scheduled to start on Feb. 15 and last for 25 days, the 81-year-old Mayor Lim said he is disinclined to accede to this since he believes it is “useless” considering that the Malacañang-appointed Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) had already carried out a similar exercise and in fact had already issued its findings and recommendations in an exhaustive 83-page report several months ago..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110123com4.html

Walang natira VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 01/23/2011

Walang natira

VIEWPOINTS
Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
01/23/2011
Time and again in this country, when the government is neither delivering the common good nor providing social welfare the citizens pay it to do through all kinds of taxes — when things are thus going wrong and people are consequently suffering — meaningful and soul-searching songs are usually composed and loudly sang. Their messages are subtle but they carry their sting. They stay in beat but keep on beating those responsible for the economic debacle, the social malady in the country. The songs generally have likable tunes, sound pleasing to listen to — but at the same time proclaim certain heart aches and pursuant complains.

“Dito sa amin napakaraming nurse…inhinyero…karpintero…kasambahay…labandera… ngunit bakit tila wala ng natira… nag-a-abroad sila.” (It seems that the author of the song plus its singer are not commonly known. But all of them did pretty well their respective tasks.).... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110123com5.html

Crime and syndicate TABLETS OF STONE Larry Faraon, OP 01/23/2011

Crime and syndicate

TABLETS OF STONE
Larry Faraon, OP
01/23/2011
The persistence and heinousness of crimes in this country could be attributed to the proliferation of criminal syndicates. They are practically present in every criminal activity from smuggling to car-napping. Hence, we are witnesses to the “professionalism” of these criminal elements whose vision or mission is to execute the perfect crime, meaning all evidence has been deleted and charred as the bandits sing their way to their hideouts. It would be no surprise to find several crimes such as daylight heists, murderous assassinations and executions in similar or exactly the same fashion or pattern and as they say with “military precision”. All because they are syndicated, organized by criminal minds, well-entrenched with unlimited logistical resources and who are actually smarter and more creative than their crime prevention counterparts and their intelligence assets.

Syndicates have no mercy over anyone even among their own especially when commitments have gone awry and there is failure in the delivery of goods or simply an unexpected double cross or when someone ‘knows too much’. Even so criminals operating a car syndicate would have their left hand on the wheels of the stolen vehicle but caressing a trigger from an M-16 on their right..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110123com6.html

Fearful of Islamists, Tajikistan pursues bearded men focus 01/23/2011

Fearful of Islamists, Tajikistan pursues bearded men

focus

01/23/2011
DUSHANBE — Sermons imposed on imams, the harassment of men with beards — anxious Tajikistan seems ready to try anything to curb the spread of Islam in this impoverished republic on the edge of Afghanistan.

With ethnic tensions still simmering from a 1990s civil war and the continued presence of the Taliban on the ex-Soviet state’s southern border, the Tajik authorities have recently mounted their own campaign against believers.

With increasing alarm, they have been watching more and more young men attend mosques — and fewer and fewer of them sit around squares and restaurants sipping beer.

In an apparent bid to cut the growth of radicalism at its source, the government has decided to publish a collection of 52 sermons that must be preached during Friday prayers under threat of sanctions.

Five thousand copies of the sermon book have been printed and distributed to the country’s 3,000 mosques, each one of them spelling out what may and may not be covered in sermons..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110123com7.html

Piatco: Raps part of past acts 01/23/2011

AQUINO FAILS TO SUSTAIN BELIEF IN CHANGE

Piatco: Raps part of past acts

01/23/2011
The local partner in the consortium that built the expropriated Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc. (Piatco) said the decision of the Department of Justice (DoJ) to file charges against it and its German partner Fraport AG for alleged violation of the anti-dummy law did not help the administration of President Aquino to “create and sustain belief in its vow to be different from the past administration.”

Piatco, in a press statement, said it views with the gravest concern the DoJ’s decision, adding it was a disappointing move by the Aquino government.

“Having suffered tormenting harassment from the highest officials of government for the past nine years, Piatco and its stockholders, whose only fault (on hindsight, they now realize) was to respond to the invitation of the government to fund the construction of a modern international airport terminal, view this latest move (as part of) a long series of government’s unjust and unwarranted acts of persecution which are truly unbearable, undemocratic and inhuman,” the statement read.

It said a number of Piatco and Fraport officers, along with some government officials who voted in conscience to award the NAIA 3 contract to Piatco, had faced charges before the Sandiganbayan and other courts for alleged corrupt acts and other offenses. “None was proven, and all have to date already been dismissed,” it added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110123hed1.html

Expose Garcia’s partners, Palace urges soldiers 01/23/2011

Expose Garcia’s partners, Palace urges soldiers

01/23/2011
Malacañang has added voice to the growing clamor for officers and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to spill the beans on their previous chiefs who know something about how erstwhile military comptroller and retired Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia was able to plunder millions of AFP funds during the previous administration.

Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte yesterday told a radio interview that they “highly encourage” military officers to come forward to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and reveal everything they know about Garcia’s alleged plundering.

Valte claimed that President Aquino, who also serves as the AFP’s Commander-in-Chief, always keeps his ears open for those who are willing to tell the truth in an effort to put resolution to this case at once.
“I believe, in earlier weeks, Solicitor General Joel Cadiz already mentioned that we are appealing also for cooperation. Now, if there is anyone (who also wants to provide information) we will not ignore those who will come forward because in the administration of President Aquino, for as long as they speak the truth, we will support them,” Valte said over the state-run radio dzRB..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110123hed2.html

HK survivor brands Noy gov’t ‘insincere’ 01/23/2011

HK survivor brands Noy gov’t ‘insincere’

01/23/2011
A survivor of the gruesome hostage crisis on August 23 last year that resulted in the death of eight Hong Kong tourists accused the Aquino administration of insincerity after Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim turned down the possibility of him appearing before an investigation into the incident being conducted in Hong Kong.

A South China Morning Post (SCMP) report said Lim refused to appear as a key witness in the Hong Kong inquest scheduled for next month, saying the probe could be an infringement on sovereignty.”

“If they (Hong Kong) conduct an investigation and (the results) are different from those of our investigation, which will prevail?” SCMP quoted Lim as saying.

Lim’s refusal came after a veiled warning from China with Chinese Ambassador Liu Jianchao saying the Chinese government is counting on the assistance of the Philippines on the Hong Kong investigation..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110123hed3.html

Group blasts confusing Noynoy tack on NFA 01/23/2011

Group blasts confusing Noynoy tack on NFA

01/23/2011
The Aquino administration can’t seem to get its act together on the fate of the National Food Administration (NFA) as it gives conflicting statements amid the overpriced rice importation controversy during the term of former President Arroyo, a network of food security advocates said.

The Task Force Food Sovereignty (TFFS) said President Aquino should declare once and for all his administration’s plan for NFA.

The group, in a statement, said the Aquino government is confusing the public on the fate of the agency with conflicting statements.

Aquino exposed the rice scam in a speech at the 65th anniversary celebration of the Liberal Party last Wednesday, stressing the need to reform the agency. “Let us reform the NFA. Let us reform its mandate so it will be much better,” he said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110123hed4.html

Gov’t to work for release of ‘political offenders’ covered by Jasig — Deles 01/23/2011

Gov’t to work for release of ‘political offenders’ covered by Jasig — Deles

01/23/2011
To jump-start anew the peace process, the government has vowed to exert best effort for the release from detention of alleged political offenders covered by the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig).

Presidential adviser on the peace process Teresita Quintos-Deles made the statement following the just-concluded second round of preliminary talks between the government and National Democratic Front (NDF) peace panels in Oslo, Norway where they agreed to resume the stalled peace negotiations next month.

The talks bogged down in 2005 after the United States and the European Union tagged the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), as a terrorist organization.

The resumption of formal peace talks is slated in Oslo on Feb. 15 to 21..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110123hed5.html

6 cops hurt as bomb squad training gets ‘too realistic’ 01/23/2011

6 cops hurt as bomb squad training gets ‘too realistic’

01/23/2011
Bomb squad training for police became a little too realistic when a grenade went off during a lecture, injuring six officers, an official yesterday said.

SPO3 Cris Cadelina was teaching other officers how to handle explosive devices such as land mines and homemade bombs when the accident occurred Thursday in Cagayan de Oro City, police spokesman Christian Carlitos said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110123hed6.html

DoJ task force files charges vs mayor By Ted Boehnert 01/23/2011

DoJ task force files charges vs mayor

By Ted Boehnert 01/23/2011

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya — The multi-sectoral task force formed by the Department of Justice (DoJ) has recommended the filing of administrative charges against the mayor of Tuguegarao City and nine others in connection with last month’s hotel fire which claimed the lives of 16 persons.

According to lawyer Rommel Baligod, the panel recommended the filing of administrative charges against Mayor Delfin Ting for reasons of command responsibility, while the charges against the others were negligence in preventing the fire that killed 10 nursing graduates from a Catholic university in Santiago City, Isabela.

The nursing graduate victims from the University of La Salette (ULS) were billeted at the ill-fated Bed and Breakfast Pension House which went up in fire last Dec. 19 just as they were about to take that week their nursing licensure examinations.

Five members and a maid of the Fondevilla family which owned the hotel were also killed in the tragedy..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110123nat1.html

3 groups of people live peacefully at former war zone in Cotabato 01/23/2011

3 groups of people live peacefully at former war zone in Cotabato

01/23/2011
KIDAPAWAN CITY, Cotabato — While intermittent armed fighting between warring groups of indigenous people and Moro rebels continue in Kabacan town in North Cotabato, the Aromanon Manuvus in a nearby barangay in Carmen town “co-exist peacefully” with neighbors who are Maguindanaons and Ilocanos.

Instead of firearms, the three groups of peoples — the lumads, Moro, and the settlers at Sitio Kibales in Barangay Cadiis, one of the remotest villages in Carmen town, bring farm tools as they go to their “communal” farms daily.

The villagers started their initiative in July last year when they organized the Tri-People Parents Organization (TPPO) — a group of parents of the young Manuvus, Maguindanaons, and Ilocanos from the barangay who underwent alternative learning given by a Cotabato City-based Community Family Services International (CFSI), a non-government organization (NGO).

Later on, about 31 heads of families, with their children, built the 750-square meter fishpond through the food-for-work project of the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110123nat5.html

24 Years Later, the Wounds of Mendiola Still Bleed

 24 Years Later, the Wounds of Mendiola Still Bleed

Survivors of the Mendiola Massacre are left with bitter memories of that day 24 years ago, when soldiers and police fired their weapons at a group of protesting farmers. Their thirst for justice has kept them going in their continuing struggle for land.

Photo by Jo A. Santos / bulatlat.com

Pedro Gonzalez: ‘Life for Farmers Is Meaningless If They Are Deprived of Land’
“Suddenly I heard shots. I didn’t know at first that they were gunshots; it sounded more like clapping. First it was intermittent, then soon the sound was loud and deafening. There was chaos, everyone began running away from the sound of gunfire. Men, women, children were running. Yes, there were children with us that day. I also ran, and I am a little ashamed even now to admit that I failed to help those whom I saw fall on the pavement. It was all I could do to keep from falling myself.”
Click here to read the story



Photo by Jo A. Santos / bulatlat.com



Teresita Arjona: ‘It’s Not to Much to Demand Justice, to Demand Land for the Landless’
“Everyone was running, running every which way. All I could think of was getting to Lawton where the caravan vehicles were; that and returning to my children. I didn’t know what happened to Danilo, I didn’t see if he was able to run or get away. I was crying as I ran and I didn’t immediately notice that my mother and I were both barefoot. The streets were littered with slippers and bags and streamers and placards. People were yelling, but I didn’t know if it was in pain or in outrage,” she says.

Nanay Tess herself felt rage when she saw, even as she ran for safety, that there were “owner-type” jeeps driving alongside the protestors who were scurrying for safety. “They were shooting at us, at everyone who was running!” she says, anger in her eyes, in her voice.
Click here to read the story

SourceBulatlat

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/01/22/%E2%80%98it%E2%80%99s-not-too-much-to-demand-justice-to-demand-land-for-the-landless%E2%80%99/

Farmers Demand New DOJ Probe of Mendiola Massacre, SC Action on Luisita Case

Farmers Demand New DOJ Probe of Mendiola Massacre, SC Action on Luisita Case


By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
Bulatlat.com
MANILA — Exhausting all available avenues to seek justice.

This is what seems to be the game plan of farmers groups as their leaders submitted Friday two letters of appeal to the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice on separate agrarian conflict cases.

To the Supreme Court, they sent a letter addressed to Chief Justice Renato Corona appealing for the speedy resolution of the Hacienda Luisita case. To the Justice department, it was a letter to secretary Leila de Lima seeking the reopening of the 24-year-old Mendiola Massacre case.

Leaders of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and its regional formations, Alyansa ng mga Manggagagawa sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) , Kasama-TK, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (Uma) and Alyansa ng mga Magsasaka sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) signed the two letters.


Farmers troop to the Supreme Court and the justice department. (Photo by Ina Alleco R. Silverio / bulatlat.com)
In the letter addressed to Corona, the farmers groups said that the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) issue connected to the Hacienda Luisita case was filed before the High Court more than four years ago. Ambala officials had also sent two previous letters of appeal praying for the SC to decide on the case at the soonest possible time.

“The letters were complementary to the several urgent motions for the immediate resolution of the case filed by our lawyer, Jobert Ilarde-Pahilga. To these days, all our letters have been left unanswered. In the meantime, it has been more than five months since the SC welcomed oral arguments to clarify matters pertinent to the SDO. Laymen as we are, we see that there are no more issues left to be controverted to prevent the SC from issuing a decision,” they said..... MORE

Source Bulatlat

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/01/22/farmers-demand-new-doj-probe-of-mendiola-massacre-sc-action-on-luisita-case/

Aquino’s Purchase of Luxury Car Appalls Urban Poor

Aquino’s Purchase of Luxury Car Appalls Urban Poor

For urban poor group Kadamay, buying an expensive car such as a Porsche is like Aquino saying “I do not care if prices are high for as long as I have the money to buy myself a nice car.” The group also compared Aquino to a father who ate an entire roasted chicken for himself while his children are starving.
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — Vhie Bello, 25, a bank employee, could not help but feel bad when she heard the news that President Benigno S. Aquino III, whom she supported during the last elections, bought a ‘new toy’ just when many Filipinos are going through hard times.

Last Christmas, Aquino bought a “third hand” Porsche 911, a premiere sports car in the motoring industry, using funds, he said, from his own pocket. “What’s wrong if I drive a Porsche while I still can?” he said in a report, “My reflexes might not be the same 10 years from now. I will not be [limited to] playing video games just so I could experience that [rush of driving a sports car].”

He added that luxury cars, like the “third hand” Porsche which he bought for P4.5 million ($100,000), would help him “relax” whenever he has a tough decision to make. “I hope no one will object that I be seen smiling at times despite the problems I am facing,” Aquino said.

Other government officials, such as Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Miguel Zubiri, also came to his defense. ”Why should we deny the highest leader of the land a Porsche? We want him to have a bicycle? I don’t think we want him to have a bicycle,” Enrile said, “Like the Philippines, there are poor in the United States, Malaysia, China and even Saudi Arabia but they do not criticize their leaders for having expensive cars.”

But for Bello, flaunting his wealth would not do good to the Filipino people just when the prices of everything is soaring up. “How come Kris (Aquino) did not stop him?” she said in jest, referring to Aquino’s youngest sister who supposedly looks after his image, adding that this decision would “definitely affect his popularity rating especially among the poor.”


Filipino children too poor to afford anything ask for alms along the streets of Manila. (Photo by Clemente Bautista / bulatlat.com)
While Bello recognizes Aquino’s rights to buy the things that he wants, granting he would use his own money, the expensive sports car was ” way too much.” It is clear, she said, that Aquino is indifferent to the plight of poor Filipino masses. “He obviously did not think about this decision,” she said.

Poverty 

Carlito Badion, vice chairman of urban poor group Kadamay, also echoed Bello’s sentiments, saying that Aquino might have thought that he is the president of a first world country, when, in fact, many of his countrymen are poor and hungry. Kadamay cited, in its recent statement, a survey of the Social Weather Stations, which was conducted on November 27 to 30, 2010, that some 18.1 percent of the population or 3.4 million families have gone hungry during the last three months of 2010 because they lacked anything to eat..... MORE

Source Bulatlat

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/01/22/aquinos-purchase-of-luxury-car-appalls-urban-poor/

Martial-Law Victims Urge Aquino to Fast-Track Reparation Payments

Martial-Law Victims Urge Aquino to Fast-Track Reparation Payments

 To this day, not a single centavo has been given as reparation to the victims of the Marcos dictatorship.
By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com


MANILA — Survivors of martial law called on President Benigno S. Aquino III to certify as urgent the compensation bill for victims of human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship.

The call came after a recent decision of United States District Judge Manuel Real on the distribution of the $10 million settlement agreement by Marcos crony Jose Campos. The estimated valueu of Marcos’s ill-gotten wealth in Colorado and Texas is pegged at $78 million. Romy del Prado, one of the martial law victims represented by Robert Swift, settled for $10 million, 25 percent of which goes to Swift and his team of researchers. This means that only $7.5 million will be distributed to the victims or roughly $1,000 each.

In a statement, former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, a victim of torture and detention during Martial Law said the settlement has proven that the Marcoses violated human rights and stashed away money that came from the nation’s coffers and allowed dummies and cronies to hold these for them. “This is a vindication for the victims and a step forward in the Filipino people’s fight against the corruption of the hated conjugal dictatorship,” Ocampo said.

To this day, not a single centavo has been given as reparation to the victims of the Marcos dictatorship..... MORE

Source Bulatlat

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/01/22/martial-law-victims-urge-aquino-to-fast-track-reparation-payments/

DOJ’s Conclusion on Co Killing a ‘Whitewash’ — Scientist Group

DOJ’s Conclusion on Co Killing a ‘Whitewash’ — Scientist Group

 “The DOJ panel totally ignored the testimony of the witnesses that attest to the culpability of the military on the death of the Kananga 3”, said Dr. Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of AGHAM and convenor of the Justice for Leonard Co Movement.
By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
Bulatlat.com


MANILA — Indignation and outrage abounded after the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced the findings of its fact-finding panel on the brutal killing of botanist Prof. Leonard Co, forest guard Sofronio Cortez and farmer Julius Borromeo last November 15 in Kananga, Leyte. The panel concluded that there was an exchange of gunfire between the military and members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and that it was the latter who killed the three.

The scientist group AGHAM-Advocates of Science and Technology for the People said the findings of the DOJ panel was a “whitewash”.

“The DOJ panel totally ignored the testimony of the witnesses that attest to the culpability of the military on the death of the Kananga 3”, said Dr. Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of AGHAM and convenor of the Justice for Leonard Co Movement.


The Justice for Leonard Co Movement is calling on DOJ to review the results and to reverse the findings of the investigating panel. (File photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)
Tapang expressed exasperation over the findings, “Why did the DoJ turn a blind eye to the physical evidence that the trees in the killing site show?” AGHAM has also held a fact-finding mission in Kananga, Leyte last November 26, 2010, and its own findings revealed that there were no indications of any crossfire in the area. The bullet marks on the trees indicate that shots were fired only from the direction of the military toward where Co and his team were standing.

AGHAM further pointed out that even if Leonard Co’s employer the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) could be held liable, as the DOJ panel report recommended, it was still the soldiers from the 19th Infantry Battalion who fired the fatal shots. Leonard and his team were working near the confines of the heavily guarded EDC complex.

“What about the failure to seek immediate medical attention for Julius Borromeo? Soldiers caused the delay in bringing him to the hospital, which contributed to his death”, Tapang said. Even with a bullet wound in the chest, Borromeo could have survived if immediate medical attention was provided.

Tapang said DOJ Sec. Leila de Lima should review the findings of the DOJ panel. The report, Tapang said, should reveal the obvious: the military’s culpability in the deaths of the Kananga 3..... MORE

SourceBulatlat

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/01/21/justice-department-panel-findings-on-co-killing-a-%E2%80%98whitewash%E2%80%99-scientist-group/

Lesbians, Gays Push For Law Against Discrimination

Lesbians, Gays Push For Law Against Discrimination

“Laws of the land proclaim equality for men and women, but when it comes down to the specifics — when it comes down to equal treatment for LGBTs — the laws are severely lacking.” – Oscar Atadero, regional director of the International Association of Pride Organizers (Inter-Pride)
By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
Bulatlat.com


Sidebar: Bayan Muna’s Proposed LGBT Bill

MANILA — Just because you cannot define something does not mean it doesn’t exist.

This is how Oscar Atadero, regional director of the International Association of Pride Organizers (Inter-Pride), explains how difficult it has been for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs) to defend their legal rights against discrimination because, up to the present, discrimination against members of the so-called “third sex” has no legal definition.

“Laws of the land proclaim equality for men and women, but when it comes down to the specifics — when it comes down to equal treatment for LGBTs — the laws are severely lacking,” he said.


Up to the present, discrimination against LGBTs has no legal definition. There are so many forms of discrimination against LGBTs that are not defined much less penalized under the law. Photo taken during the Gay Pride March in Manila, December 2010.(Photo by Raymund B. Villanueva / bulatlat.com)
Atadero shakes his head over what he insists is a misconception that LGBTs in the country no longer face discrimination and are already accepted. “There is no genuine acceptance, only tolerance. There is still discrimination against LGBTs, but it’s insidious. It’s quite easy to deny when someone is discriminating against LGBTs with a thought, with a word, with an act: those who are homophobic can dismiss their homophobic comments or acts by saying it’s all a joke, or that the victim was merely being overly sensitive. LGBTs primarily face discrimination because of their sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), and the tragedy is, victims do not have an enabling environment to press complaints,” he said.
The gay rights advocate says that while there’s a whole slew of enabling laws, mechanisms and institutions that help protect women rights, LGBT rights are covered only by general laws. “This is not enough, because like I said, the discrimination we face is specifically directed against our Sogi, but local laws do not give us means to fight it,” he said.


LGBTs primarily face discrimination because of their sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), and the tragedy is, victims do not have an enabling environment to press complaints, according to Atadero (right) of Inter-Pride. (Photo by Raymund B. Villanueva / bulatlat.com)
According to Atadero, there are so many forms of discrimination against LGBTs that are not defined much less penalized under the law.
“They are in the gray areas. Say for instance, teenage gays and lesbians, they want to cross-dress in school. They feel uncomfortable wearing uniforms, but they are not allowed to cross-dress because it’s against school policy, no explanations asked. Those who attempt to cross-dress – the gays who wear blouses or the lesbians who wear pants – end up in the guidance office and risk being humiliated and expelled. Young LGBTs have to suppress their Sogi to survive in school and in general society; and everyone knows how important these early years are to young adults — it’s when they are discovering themselves, but already they face barriers, unsubtly told that what they are doing, what they are is wrong,” he said..... MORE

SourceBulatlat

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/01/21/lesbians-gays-push-for-law-against-discrimination-2/

Bulacan Residents Up in Arms Against Dumpsite

Bulacan Residents Up in Arms Against Dumpsite


“How can these officials and businessmen put the health and very lives of our children at risk? They are also destroying the environment in the name of profit.” – Fr. Anacleto Ignacio, parish priest of San Jose del Monte City.
By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — No to dumpsites, no to corruption.

This was the rallying call of community residents of San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan and their supporters from among the religious when they trooped to the House of Representatives last January 18. They called on legislators to help them stop the construction of a dumpsite, which, they said, was given the go signal by the local city council but was unanimously rejected by the residents.

Accompanied by various religious leaders, the residents said they would continue to fight tooth and nail against the dumpsite project because they know it would pose serious health hazards to those living within the immediate vicinity and would damage Bulacan’s environment. They said there was also the strong possibility that if a dumpsite is built in their area, the water supply of San Jose would be contaminated and be rendered unfit for consumption.

The city councilors approved City Council Resolution No. 2010-154-12, which approved the construction of the landfill in Brgy Minuyan. The site is adjacent to the Water Treatment Plant of San Jose Del Monte Water District, as well as the pipes of the La Mesa Dam Aqueducts. In the said resolution, the continued construction, improvement and operation of the Engineered Sanitary Landfill in Manila Newtown Estate, which is being run by the VG Puyat Group of Companies, was given the green light. Against strong protests of residents, the city council passed the resolution last Dec.1, 2010.

Parish priest Fr. Anacleto Ignacio decried how, even with the obvious health risks, the municipal government allowed the construction of this landfill. “How can these officials and businessmen put the health and very lives of our children at risk? They are also destroying the environment in the name of profit,” he said.

(Photo courtesy of Bro Martin D. Francisco / bulatlat.com)
San Jose del Monte City has a total land area of 31,294 hectares and a population of 830,341 as of 2010. Its population rate is pegged at 10.1 percent, higher than the national percentage of 2.36 percent because of the huge resettlement and housing development projects in the area. It is said that 4,000 families would be immediately affected by the dumpsite project, which has been under protest for the last three years.

Lone District of San Jose Del Monte Rep. Arturo Robes has already denounced the landfill project. He has been at loggerheads with San Jose del Monte city mayor Reynaldo San Pedro. Robles called for a congressional investigation into the issue..... MORE

Source Bulatlat

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/01/21/residents-fighting-tooth-and-nail-against-dumpsite-in-bulacan/

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