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Removed from reality EDITORIAL 06/25/2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Removed from reality

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The probability of Noynoy Aquino being far removed from the reality of the country\'s multi-faceted problems is extremely high, now that he himself has disclosed he does not want to hear any bad news from his Cabinet secretaries and other officials, three of whom he said always brought up problems whenever they seek an appointment with him.

Noynoy also said this was the reason he immediately approves appointments from his secretaries who always bring him \"good news\" and have solutions to the problems.

It has come to the point, he told an audience composed of Department of Public Works and Transportation officials and personnel, that everytime these three secretaries who are the bearers of \"bad news\" ask for an appointment with him, he has to force himself to see them, all the while wondering what bad news they are going to give him..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110625com1.html

In the wrong, totally FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 06/25/2011

In the wrong, totally

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Danding Cojuangco has always been the legitimate owner of the San Miguel Corp. shares of stock and all those anti-Danding groups—esepcially the so-called farmers’ group, many of whom are not really coconut farmers but hired workers in coconut plantations, including the government officials who wrongfully sequestered Danding’s shares, know it. Yet they continue to claim that the shares are not his, and that he had obtained these shares through the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), insisting that the shares are part of ill-gotten wealth.

These groups have slammed the Supreme Court ruling that said the SMC shares were not obtained illegally and that Danding is the legitimate owner of those shares, amounting to some 20 percent.

Anybody in his right mind certainly knows that if one borrows money from a bank to buy anything for himself or a corporation, for that matter, that bought asset—whether shares of stock or real property—belongs to the borrower, as long as he pays off his loans, interest and principal that the bank charges.

Just because Danding took out a bank loan to buy the shares of stock of San Miguel, does not translate to these bought shares of stock in SMC as having been ill-gotten..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110625com2.html

Afghan endgame unclear after Obama decision FEATURE 06/25/2011

Afghan endgame unclear after Obama decision


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s decision for a partial troop withdrawal from Afghanistan may ease political pressure at home, but fails to resolve the overriding dilemma of how to extricate the United States from the long war, experts said.

In announcing Wednesday the departure of 33,000 surge troops by the summer of 2012, Obama split the difference between war hawks and skeptics but left uncertain the terms of an endgame involving a possible deal with the Taliban.

Obama’s plan addressed the military’s wish to keep the bulk of the US surge force in place through this year, while offering the start of a drawdown demanded by members of his own party.

But both sides in the debate over the war came away disappointed, accusing Obama of either abandoning the war effort or deepening an open-ended quagmire..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110625com3.html

Youth groups launch campaign for release of political prisoners including UP student Maricon Montajes

Youth groups launch campaign for release of political prisoners including UP student Maricon Montajes

“My daughter is only one among hundreds victimized by state repression. They are languishing in jail without fair trial, and are charged with common and sometimes petty crimes.” – Concepcion Montajes
Militant youth organizations launched its own campaign for the release of political prisoners with particular focus on those who belong to the sector of youth and students. They have sounded the alarm over the one year detention of 21-year old Maricon Montajes, Ronilo Baes, 19; and Romiel Cañete, 22 years old.

The Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP), Anakkbayan, the League of Filipino Students (LFS), KARATULA, College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), and the National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP) demand the dismissal of all charges against all political prisoners, saying they were not guilty of anything but of practicing their political beliefs.

In the pre-dawn hours of June 3, 2010, the 743rd Combat Squadron of the Philippine Air Force conducted a raid in Taysan, Batangas. The three youth were immediately arrested and charged with frustrated murder and homicide, illegal possession of firearms and violation of gun ban. Since then, they have been detained at the Batangas Provincial Jail.

Prior to her arrest, Montajes was a film major at the student of the University of the Philippines (UP) Baes hails from Batangas while Cañete is from Diliman, Quezon City.

Earlier in May this year, former UP Faculty Regent Prof. Judy Taguiwalo and Act Teacher’s Party List Rep. Antonio Tinio accompanied three members of the Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (OCHRP) to visit political detainees Maricon Montajes, Ronilo Baes, Romiel Cañete and the Talisay 3 in the Batangas Provincial Jail in Batangas City. (Photo courtesy of Task Force Freedom for Maricon / bulatlat.com)
With the full support of various human rights groups and student organizations, Montajes’ mother, Maria Concepcion or “Ching” has established Task Force Maricon to press for the release of her daughter and her companions. In a short speech she delivered to the 28th Buklod Atenista Leadership Summit last May at the Ateneo de Davao University, Mrs. Montajes said that she was determined to bring her daughter’s case to the attention of the respective peace panels of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and seek their intervention for Maricon’s immediate release.... MORE

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/06/24/youth-groups-launch-campaign-for-release-of-political-prisoners-including-up-student-maricon-montajes/

Fact-Finding Mission to expose impact of Aurora Pacific Economic Zone begins June 23

Fact-Finding Mission to expose impact of Aurora Pacific Economic Zone begins June 23

June 23 marks the start of a national fact-finding and solidarity mission in Aurora as peasant advocacy groups seek to expose the impact of the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Act (APECO) project in the region. It will continue until June 25.

The regional farmers’ group Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL, Peasant Alliance in Central Luzon), Panlalawigang Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Aurora (PAMANA, Provincial Peasant Alliance of Aurora) and their national organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) are at the forefront of the mission. They are being joined by representatives from various people’s organizations including the human rights group Karapatan, Pagkakaisa para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (PATRIA), and Katribu.

According to reports, Apeco was established on the strength of Republic Act 10083 which was passed on April 22, 2010. The project covers 13,000-hectares of land. According to repots, five barangays with a total population of 5,430 are directly affected by the project.

Farmers, fisherfolk and Dumagat tribe members continue their protests against the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone program, saying that it’s immediate and long-term effects on the environment, the residents’ livelihood and welfare are grossly destructive.(Photo by Jon Carlos Sarmiento / Bulatlat.com)
Last February, President Benigno Aquino III appointed former Labor secretary Bienvenido Laguesma as Apeco’s board director.

Joseph Canlas, chairman of AMGL insists that the project has destructive effects on the land, livelihood and survival of farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous people living within the project’s territory and the immediate, surrounding areas.
“APECO is the result of a program that came into being through legislation, and like many of its kind, its proponents and supporters mainly sought to financially benefit from it. Those who masterminded the Apeco — primarily Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara and his father Sen. Edgardo Angara and their foreign partners — thought very little if at all what the impact of the project will be on the lives of the marginalized people in Casiguran,” Canlas said.

According to the AMGL, APECO is an expanded version of another, similar project, the Aurora Special Economic Zone Act of 2007 (ASEZA) which, in turn, was established via Republic Act 9490 or the Aurora Special Economic Zone Act of 2007.

Aseza only covered 493-hectares of land involving two barangays, Estevez and Dibet. In Apeco, the land areas of Aseza was expanded, and now it covers the said 13,000 hectares, with two more barangays falling under its jurisdiction. The APECO program is composed of residential, commercial, industrial, eco-tourism, highways, ports and airport projects..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/06/23/fact-finding-mission-to-expose-impact-of-aurora-pacific-economic-zone-begins-june-23/

Seven activists jailed for 58 hours for doing a Rizal on Rizal’s commemoration

 Seven activists jailed for 58 hours for doing a Rizal on Rizal’s commemoration

“The fight for our right to free speech does not end with the release of the Calamba 7. These brave and selfless activists should never have been arrested and detained in the first place if the Aquino administration truly values the freedom of expression fought and died for by Filipino martyrs four decades ago.” – Kabataan Party-list

CALAMBA, LAGUNA – Michael Jayson Mozo received a most confounding gift for his 19th birthday: a comforting but uncertain freedom. Along with six other members of the so-called “Calamba 7”, he stepped out of the Calamba City police station at around 6:45 p.m. yesterday under an overcast sky to receive warm congratulations from supporters who were holding a vigil there since Sunday.

After a solidarity program held AT the Calamba City Hall, the seven activists, together with around 150 supporters from worker, peasant, student, women and urban poor sectors, marched from the city hall to Halang, Calamba City despite heavy rains to celebrate their release.

Released after 58 hours of detention, members of the Calamba 7 leads supporters in a march towards Halang, Calamba City for a propaganda action. (Photo by Jonelle Marin / Bulatlat.com)
Mozo, together with fellow Kabataan Partylist – University of the Philippines Los Baños members Ynik Ante, Bhen Aguihon, Ruffa Solano, and Catherine Gigantone and Anakpawis-Southern Tagalog members Joefrey Barreto and Rodel Badayos, was arrested last June 19 after the progressive groups conducted a lightning rally midway through President Benigno Aquino III’s speech commemorating Dr. Jose Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary at the Calamba City Hall.

The protestors criticized the administration of President Aquino, whose speech lauded Rizal’s commitment in correcting social injustices, for “neglecting the welfare of the youth and blatantly disregarding the education sector.”

“Nobody should be detained or put behind bars for decrying the crimes of this administration against the Filipino people. What we did isn’t wrong or disrespectful. We merely gave voice to the 7.93 million youth that cannot afford to go to school this year because of chronic poverty aggravated by the government’s anti-poor social and economic policies,” Mozo said.

The Calamba 7, who were detained for 58 hours, were freed after posting a reduced bail amounting to P12,000 ($278) for all of them. Although released for the meantime, the members of Calamba 7 may face six months to three years of prison time if convicted of charges of tumult and other public disorders under Art. 153 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines.

“Justice will not be served to the Calamba 7 until the court dismisses the trumped up charges filed against them,” John Paolo Bautista, Kabataan Partylist-Southern Tagalog coordinator, said.

Bautista said the militant youth group will be lobbying for an inquiry into the alleged illegal arrest and detention of the Calamba 7, and will elevate the campaign for the dismissal of the case to the national level.

“The fight for our right to free speech does not end with the release of the Calamba 7. These brave and selfless activists should never have been arrested and detained in the first place if the Aquino administration truly values the freedom of expression fought and died for by Filipino martyrs four decades ago,” he added.

Snowballing support 

Immediately after their arrest, the Calamba 7 were inundated with material and moral support from various groups and individuals.

Several individuals, student organizations and alliances in UP Los Baños, as well as progressive sectoral groups in the Southern Tagalog region have gathered food and cash donations for the detainees and have issued statements condemning the arrest and detention of the militants..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/06/23/7-activists-jailed-for-58hours-for-doing-a-rizal-on-rizal-commemoration/

SC: Military officials liable for abduction of UP students

Shortages in schools worsen with kindergarten program — ACT
“It’s good news but it [the decision] took so long. Unfortunately, the decisions of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court have not resulted in the surfacing of the disappeared.” – Mrs. Concepcion Empeño, mother of missing UP student Karen Empeño

MANILA – Concepcion Empeño has been searching for her daughter Karen for almost five years. She, along with Erlinda Cadapan, mother of Sherlyn, went to military camps, hospitals, funeral parlors and the courts but failed to find her dearest Karen.

Karen and Sherlyn, both students of the University of the Philippines (UP), were abducted in Hagonoy, Bulacan together with Manuel Merino on June 26, 2006 at a farmer’s house. They remain missing to this day.
In a decision promulgated May 31, the Supreme Court en banc ordered the military, headed by Ret. Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr., to immediately release the two UP students and Merino from their detention. It affirmed the appellate court’s decision dated September 17, 2008 on the writ of amparo petition filed by the parents of the missing activists.

Mrs. Empeño received the news yesterday. “It’s good news but it [the decision] took so long. Unfortunately, the decisions of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court have not resulted in the surfacing of the disappeared,” Mrs. Empeño said in a text message.

As early as July 17, 2006, parents of both activists filed a petition for the writ of habeas corpus at the Court of Appeals but the said petition was dismissed on March 29, 2007 on the basis of the military’s denial of custody over Sherlyn and Karen. On October 24 of the same year, Mrs. Empeno and Mrs. Cadapan filed a petition for a Writ of Amparo. The Court of Appeals then granted the said writ but the UP students remain missing.

‘Punish the perpetrators’ 

Human rights groups deemed that the recent SC decision will bolster the criminal complaint filed by Mrs. Empeño and Mrs. Cadapan in May. Charges of rape, serious physical injuries, arbitrary detention, maltreatment of prisoners, grave threats, grave coercion, violations, among others, were filed against Palparan, Lt. Col. Rogelio Boac of the 56th Infantry Battalion and Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado of the 24th Infantry Battalion, M/Sgt. Donald Caigas and M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario and several “John Does.”

“We hope that the perpetrators would be punished,” Mrs. Empeño said..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/06/21/sc-finds-military-officials-responsible-for-abduction-of-up-students/

Shortages in schools worsen with kindergarten program — ACT

Shortages in schools worsen with kindergarten program — ACT

 “The DepEd is trying to show that there is reform in the basic education system by implementing universal kindergarten. But the change is not for the better, the change is for the worse.” – France Castro of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers.

MANILA – Fe Ramirez, 43, is worried about her child’s situation in school. “There are 35 pupils in her kindergarten class and they have only one teacher. Their room is too small, it is congested and scorching hot. How can they concentrate on their lesson?” asked Ramirez. She said that the implementation of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) universal kindergarten is ill prepared and only puts their child’s learning at stake.

(Photo by Anne Marxe D. Umil / bulatlat.com)
Ramirez’s daughter, Roxanne, is four years old and one of the 800 kindergarten pupils at Corazon Aquino Elementary School in Batasan, Quezon City. According to DepEd, there are 1.93 million kindergarten pupils enrolled in public schools nationwide.

DepEd recently imposed the mandatory kindergarten for children as part of its K+12 basic education program, which adds two more years in basic education. Under the universal kindergarten program, all five-year old children are mandated to enter kindergarten in public schools before they enter Grade 1. Education Secretary Armin Luistro said that the public kindergarten program is part of the department’s Education For All campaign in a bid to meet the country’s Millennium Development Goal on education. DepEd, however, is apparently unprepared.

Huge shortages in public schools remain. According to the data of Gabriela Women’s Party, there is a shortage of 100,000 teachers, 152,000 classrooms, 13,000 school chairs, 95,000 textbooks and 13,000,000 water and sanitation facilities in public schools nationwide.

“If there is any change in the system of education under the new administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III, it is for the worse. Why? For decades, shortages in our basic education system were not acted upon by the previous administrations. They even left backlogs in shortages of teachers, classrooms, facilities, etc. The hasty implementation of the universal kindergarten in basic education does not answer this shortages, it worsened the problems instead,” said France Castro, secretary general of Alliance for Concerned Teachers (ACT) during an interview with Bulatlat.com.

ACT called DepEd’s implementation of universal kindergarten as a man-made disaster. True enough, Ramirez said, Roxanne’s first day in school was stressful. Ramirez witnessed the long queues entering the school premises; students were sweating because of the scorching heat and they had to compete for the limited chairs. “Pupils do not leave their chairs for fear of losing their seat. When a student stands up another will take his or her seat. Some are even sitting on the floor,” Ramirez told Bulatlat.com.

ACT said that the DepEd is fully aware that the total classroom shortage for school year 2011-2012 is around 150,000 classrooms. For the 1.93 million new kindergarten pupils alone, at a ratio of 1 teacher to 25 pupils per class on a desired single shift session, a total of 77,000 new classrooms are needed. But ACT said that the government intends to build only 18,000 new classrooms out of the 152,000 needed..... MORE

Source:  Bulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/06/18/shortages-this-school-year-have-become-worse-with-kindergarten-program-act/

US ready to arm RP amid China tension By Michaela P. del Callar 06/25/2011

US ready to arm RP amid China tension

By Michaela P. del Callar 06/25/2011
The United States will stand by the Philippines against any armed threat in the region amid heightened tensions in the disputed South China Sea, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday, adding that it is providing the country with affordable weaponry to counter attacks.

Describing its partnership with the Philippines as a “critical alliance,” Clinton stressed that the US will honor its obligations under the 60-year-old Mutual Defense Treaty with the country.

“I’m not going to discuss hypothetical events, but I want to underscore our commitment to the defense of the Philippines,” Clinton told a joint press conference in Washington with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.

The Philippines and Vietnam traded allegations with China for intruding in its claimed territories, reigniting tensions in the potentially gas and oil-rich region also claimed by Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110625hed2.html

Aquino gov’t leaderless, economic gains wasted By Charlie V. Manalo and Gil J. Bugaoisan 06/25/2011


Aquino gov’t leaderless, economic gains wasted

By Charlie V. Manalo and Gil J. Bugaoisan 06/25/2011

LUBAO, Pampanga – Former President, now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo yesterday lashed at the “fault-finding” administration of President Aquino for wasting the country’s economic gains brought about by the joint efforts of the previous administrations, saying that the rate of the country’s economy deceleration under the Aquino administration is clear proof the country economy is nearing critical level.

But Malacañang quickly blasted away at the former President, saying that she was using this press conference for media exposure and to divert public attention from her plunder charges, to the point of Arroyo not even attending the preliminary investigation held at the Department of Justice.

It was, however, noted that none of the issues raised by Arroyo was answered by the Palace aide.
In one of the rare times the former President faced the media, Arroyo said contrary to criticisms hurled against her by the Aquino administration, she has left behind a robust economy effected through 10 years of uninterrupted growth..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110625hed1.html

Sotto demands from DENR status report of major rivers By Angie M. Rosales 06/25/2011

Sotto demands from DENR status report of major rivers

By Angie M. Rosales 06/25/2011

Acting Senate President Vicente Sotto III yesterday demanded a status report on the country’s major river basins from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

As the metropolis was inundated once again by flood waters last Thursday due to incessant heavy rains brought about by typhoon Falcon, the majority leader said the DENR should make it known whether there are some areas that may be prone to experiencing the same calamity as that in Cotabato City.

Sotto, currently at the helm of the upper chamber since both Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada are currently out of the country, wanted a disclosure from DENR as to whether there remain other bodies of water or river system engulfed by Water lilies or water hyacinths as in the case of Rio Grande de Mindanao which caused massive flooding in Cotabato City..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110625nat8.html

Mayors defer implementation of vehicle tagging scheme By Pat C. Santos 06/25/2011

Mayors defer implementation of vehicle tagging scheme

By Pat C. Santos 06/25/2011

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) yesterday approved the deferment of the implementation of the vehicle tagging scheme for 90 days for all public utility vehicles, except city buses.

Chairman Francis Tolentino of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said the decision was a result of previous consultations and dialogs with various transport groups as to the timeliness and viability of the tagging scheme.

Provincial bus operators formally requested the postponement of the vehicle tagging scheme which has been set for implementation on July 25, citing there is a pending proposal in Congress to utilize an electronic identification system for all PUVs which might conflict with the tagging scheme.

Meanwhile, various groups of city bus operators pledged their support to the scheduled implementation of the tagging scheme, especially those units plying Edsa, as they believe it would eventually curb the operations of “colorum” buses..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110625met1.html

3 US warships, 800 US troops to participate in Carat Exercises By Mario J. Mallari 06/25/2011

3 US warships, 800 US troops to participate in Carat Exercises

By Mario J. Mallari 06/25/2011

Three United States Navy warships and some 800 US servicemen are participating in next week’s 17th Coopration Afloat Readiness and Training (Carat) exercises with the Philippine Navy in Palawan amid
tension between the Philippines and China over the disputed Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) or the Spratlys.

The US Navy is sending guided-missile destroyers USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93) and USS Howard (DDG-83), and the diving and salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS-50) to Puetro Princesa City on Tuesday for the opening of the 11-day 2011 US-RP Carat exercises.

In a statement, Lt. Commander Mike Morley said the three US warships are the US Navy’s centerpieces for the exercise, which features 11 days of training exchanges with the Philippine Navy, both ashore and at sea..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110625nat1.html

MILF sacks Kabalu as its spokesman By Mario J. Mallari 06/25/2011

MILF sacks Kabalu as its spokesman

By Mario J. Mallari 06/25/2011
The Central Committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has sacked Eid Kabalu as military spokesman after confirmation he was lobbying to be appointed as officer-in-charge of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

In a statement over the MILF’s official website, the Central Committee said it passed a resolution on June 21 stripping Kabalu of his duties and responsibilities as chief of the civil and military department and spokesman of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF).

The MILF-Central Committee came out with the resolution after Kabalu’s unauthorized meeting with former North Cotabato Gov. Emmanuel Pinol and Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte last week to seek the two officials help in his bid to be appointed as OIC of ARMM..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110625nat7.html

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