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Back to monkey business EDITORIAL 09/10/2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Back to monkey business

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
09/10/2011
Energy Chief Rene Almendras informed a Senate hearing that Noynoy Aquino may do a Ramos in solving a looming power shortage crisis that is expected to occur in the last three years of the Aquino administration.

What is meant by “doing a Ramos” is for Noynoy to be granted emergency powers by Congress which he will likely get, given that his congressional lapdogs are in the majority and always toe the Malacañang line.

Fidel Ramos, shortly after assuming the presidency in 1992 quickly sought emergency powers from Congress to address a then crippling power shortage that resulted mainly from the decision of Ramos’ predecessor President Cory Aquino, the incumbent Aquino’s mother, to mothball the nuclear plant without, however, prepapring for its power replacement, and abolished the Ministry of Energy (MoE) during her term that created a vacuum in energy supply planning.

The Ramos “solution” in the long run, proved to be horribly expensive for every Filipino..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110910com1.html

‘Incapable Noynoy’ FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 09/10/2011

‘Incapable Noynoy’

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
09/10/2011
From conversations between US officials and leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, as culled from the leaked WikiLeaks cables, the MILF apparently sees Noynoy as, well, short of being a simpleton who is incapable of grasping the problems of the peace process in Mindanao.

Michael Mastura, one of the MILF peace panelists, was quoted as saying to the US official that the Moro problem was “too complicated for Senator Aquino to understand.”
The MILF also appears to see Noy as a weakling around whom it can run circles.

There are signs that the Moro rebels see him as such, as it is fact that they succeeded in getting him, the president of a republic, to meet with the MILF leaders for a secret meeting in Tokyo, where the MILF discussed the establishment of a sub-state in Mindanao.

No head of government or state meets an armed rebel group, secret or no, as that would provide the rebels with a belligerency status. And in the case of Noynoy, it was even worse, since he brought along with him his Cabinet secretaries — including his Budget secretary, which would have something to do with funding the MILF. Already, an initial P5 million was released — and that’s just for sweetening starters..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110910com2.html

Iraqi Kurds caught between rebels, Iran and Turkey focus 09/10/2011

Iraqi Kurds caught between rebels, Iran and Turkey

focus

09/10/2011
ARBIL — Iraq’s Kurds are caught between ethnic ties to Kurdish rebels based in the autonomous Kurdistan region, and heavy pressure by Iran and Turkey, which aim to eradicate the rebels’ bases.

Iran launched major attacks against rebels of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) in July, targeting their rear-bases in Iraqi Kurdistan along the Iran-Iraq border, and shelling the area for weeks.

And in mid-August, Turkey began its own campaign of shelling and air raids against bases of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Kurdistan, which has ties with the PJAK.

“We are in a difficult situation because there are two countries (Iran and Turkey) telling us to control our borders so there will be no problems,” Massud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan region in north Iraq, said on Tuesday during a meeting in Arbil with Kurdistan representatives based abroad..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110910com3.html

7-year-old girl killed by a soldier; residents call for military pullout in ComVal

7-year-old girl killed by a soldier; residents call for military pullout in ComVal

“Because of military deployment in civilian communities, the lives of the children are placed in great risk.” – Children’s Rehabilitation Center
By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Almost midnight of September 3, seven-year old Sunshine Jabinez was peacefully sleeping inside the house she shared with her parents when a soldier went amok, fired his gun into the air and a bullet found its way into Sunshine. Her shocked parents immediately rushed Sunshine to the Pantukan District Hospital, but the child was pronounced dead on arrival.

The Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) in the Southern Mindanao Region said a member of the the 71st Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces identified as Private First Class (Pfc) Baltazar M. Ramos fired his armalite indiscriminately after figuring in a heated altercation with a fellow soldier. Ramos was reportedly with several others drinking that night in a videoke bar.

According to reports, the fight began when one of Ramos’ drinking companions attempted to hit him with a bottle. Ramos then allegedly took his rifle from his patrol base and went after his attacker. The other soldiers attempted to pacify him and succeeded in removing the ammunition magazine, but one bullet apparently remained in the chamber. In the struggle Ramos accidentally pulled the trigger of his rifle and his bullet flew straight into the Jabinez family’s house and hit Sunshine.

Sunshine was a second grade elementary school student at Biasong Elementary School.

“Her parents only learned that their daughter was shot when they heard her cry ‘agay’ (ouch),” said Edessa Sandra A. Campos, CRC-SMR’s advocacy officer.

Campos condemned what she said was the military’s attempts to convince the public that they are deployed in civilian communities to further peace and development programs.


Children participate in a women’s day rally. (Photo courtesy of Children’s Rehabilitation Center / bulatlat.com)
“In reality, these peace and development teams of the 10th Infantry Division are no different from the division’s Re-engineered Special Operations Teams (RSOT) which are also deployed in communities. Because of military deployment in civilian communities, the lives of the children are placed in great risk.

Sunshine was killed because soldiers were deployed near where she lived,” she said.
The children’s rights advocate also condemned how the AFP also employs children in counter-insurgency operations, including to serve as guides to track down the members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
In 2007, elements of the 67th Infantry Battalion killed Grecil Buya, a Grade 2 student of Simsimen Elementary School, in an encounter with the NPA. The military asserted that Grecil was a NPA child soldier and at the time she was killed was carrying an M-16 rifle and firing at the military. Investigations and documentation showed otherwise.

Unfortunately, the perpetrators remain unpunished,” Campos lamented..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/09/10/7-year-old-girl-killed-by-a-soldier-residents-call-for-military-pullout-in-comval/

GPH-MILF peace talks heading for an impasse

GPH-MILF peace talks heading for an impasse


The MILF leadership, particularly its negotiating panel headed by Mohagher Iqbal, views the “3 in 1” proposal of the Philippine government for a peace agreement as “detached,” has “no connections” and has in fact “derogated the past agreements and consensus reached by the two parties in the past 14 years of negotiations.”
By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — Recent developments in Mindanao do not augur well for the prospect of peace talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Yesterday the MILF condemned the Philippine Army for its “deliberate” violation of the MILF-GPH ceasefire after “a platoon-size troop of its 73rd Infantry Battalion (IB) under a certain Lt Col Espuelas entered and crossed over the perimeter defense post of the 107th Base Command of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) – MILF at upper Pananag, Maasim” in Saranggani.

The MILF ceasefire committee reported the violation to its counterpart with the Philippine government, as well as the International Monitoring Team (IMT), which responded by going to the government troops and informing the soldiers of their infringement of the ceasefire accord in having crossed over to the MILF defense line. But in a report at luwaran.com, the MILF said, the Army troops “totally disregarded” all these.
The MILF viewed this act as a “manifestation of direct command responsibility that does not augur well with the present situation of the peace talks between the government and MILF.”

Increased troop deployment in other provinces in Mindanao had also been reported in the media. Aside from violating the two parties’ ceasefire agreement, the Philippine Army’s act, said the MILF, also violates the agreement and mechanism of the government and MILF for the interdiction and isolation of criminal elements as mandated in the GPH-MILF Adhoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG).


Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters man an outpost at the entrance of the office of the MILF Peace Panel in Camp Darapanan, Maguindanao. The group recently rejected the peace plan offered by the government. (Photo by Karlos Manlupig / bulatlat.com)
This violation is similar to the alleged GPH violations of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), noted lawyer Datu Michael Mastura, a senior peace panel member of the MILF, in a round-table discussion with Moro-Christian People’s Alliance last week.

GPH may soon talk only to itself 

Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, Chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), said in a media interview yesterday, the MILF “will not sit down in the GPH’s proposed talks early this month in Kuala Lumpur because the subject of the talks is not their proposed sub-state.”

The MILF leadership, particularly its negotiating panel headed by Mohagher Iqbal, views the “3 in 1” proposal of the Philippine government for a peace agreement as “detached,” has “no connections” and has in fact “derogated the past agreements and consensus reached by the two parties in the past 14 years of negotiations.”.... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/09/09/gph-milf-peace-talks-appears-headed-for-an-impasse/

The long, difficult road to justice for mothers of 2 missing UP students

The long, difficult road to justice for mothers of 2 missing UP students

 “While we commend the courage of the mothers of Karen and Sherlyn, now human rights defenders themselves, in pursuing the criminal case, it is equally significant that the Aquino government must take concrete steps in making the roads to justice accessible for the victims and their families.” – Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law, and Development
By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Mrs. Concepcion Empeño’s eyes looked tired but she was smiling at supporters.
As usual, she left Masinloc, Zambales at midnight to make it to the hearing at the Department of Justice (DOJ). By 6 p.m. of the same day, she has to travel back to their home. She gets there by 12 midnight and has to wake up early the next day to go to work. She is a principal of an elementary school.

This has been her weekly routine since the start of the hearings on the criminal complaint she and Mrs. Erlinda Cadapan filed against military officials linked to the abduction of their daughters Karen and Sherlyn.
“This is tiring but we cannot stop now. Physically, it is taxing, and financially too, but we could not give up until we find justice,” Mrs. Empeño, now 60 years old, told Bulatlat.com after a hearing on Sept. 7.
To get to Manila, Mrs. Empeño needs to shell out P1,000 for food and transportation. The family has meager income, with her husband Oscar tending poultry.

The same goes true for Mrs. Cadapan. “Honestly, I am very tired but this has to be done. We need to obtain justice. They have to surface my daughter and the perpetrators should be punished,” she said.

To be able to attend the hearings, Mrs. Cadapan stopped her backyard mushroom production, the family’s means of livelihood for years. She admitted that there were times she had no money for transportation and food but she constantly gets support from her children and her colleagues.

Karen, Sherlyn and farmer Manuel Merino were abducted by state security forces on June 26, 2006 in Hagonoy, Bulacan.

Five years of searching

Both mothers searched military camps, morgues and funeral parlors to look for their daughters.

They filed all kinds of petition before the courts. As early as July 17, 2006, the parents of the two students 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 of Sherlyn and Karen. On October 24 of the same year, Mrs. Empeño 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..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/09/09/the-long-difficult-road-to-justice-for-mothers-of-2-missing-up-students/

Jalandoni: NDFP remains committed to peace talks

Jalandoni: NDFP remains committed to peace talks

“This is not something we can give up on easily. We are talking about our country’s chances of securing a just and lasting peace and putting an end to the armed conflict. These are aspirations that all peace-loving Filipinos share, and we should persevere in the peace talks. If there are problems, we have to find solutions to them; if there are obstacles, then they should be overcome.”

By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
Bulatlat.com
Solve problems, overcome obstacles. 

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni is determined to exhaust all diplomatic and principled means to ensure that the peace talks with the Government of the Philippines (GPH) pushes through. Even as others might find it understandable to throw in the towel given how the GPH panel — specifically negotiator Alex Padilla — has been rudely behaving and speaking, Jalandoni and the rest of the NDFP’s peace panel including Coni Ledesma and Fidel V. Agcaoili remain steadfast in pushing for the talks.

In a forum sponsored by Pilgrims for Peace, an ecumenical formation of religious groups and lay associations, Jalandoni and Ledesma gave the background story on the not-so-rosy developments in the negotiations with the Aquino administration’s so-called peace makers.

Jalandoni answered at length what exactly is going wrong in the talks — the GPH’s refusal to uphold the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG) and honor its word to release the NDFP consultants in the custody of its armed forces — but not once did he betray frustration.

“This is not something we can give up on easily. We are talking about our country’s chances of securing a just and lasting peace and putting an end to the armed conflict. These are aspirations that all peace-loving Filipinos share, and we should persevere in the peace talks. If there are problems, we have to find solutions to them; if there are obstacles, then they should be overcome,” he said.

In the last month, the NDFP and the GPH have been exchanging sharp words over the media. The fiery exchange was triggered by loose statements made by GPH’s Padilla and Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Quintos Deles saying that (1) the Jasig is no longer operable; and (2) the GPH was under no obligation to release any political prisoner, much less captured NDFP consultants.


National Democratic Front of the Philippines’ (NDFP) peace panelists Luis Jalandoni and Coni Ledesma declares the NDFP’s continuing commitment to the peace talks. Jalandoni said the NDFP will never give up efforts to forge a principled peace agreement with the Government of the Philippines (GPH) because “the Filipino people desire an end to the conflict and want peace based on justice” in the country. (Photo by Ina Alleco R. Silverio / bulatlat.com)
“The NDFP always sits at the negotiating table with a readiness to talk peace and a preparedness to uphold previously signed agreements with the GPH. These are serious matters which we all take pains to handle correctly and with sincerity,” he said. He seemed unable to hold back a measure of disappointment when he explained how the GPH is deliberately failing to carry its end in implementing previously forged agreements on the release of consultants. Even then, however, he is careful with his words.

“It is expected that both panels prove sincerity by carrying out the agreements. Releasing the NDFP’s consultants is a good-will building measure, it is true; but at the same time, it’s also a promise previously made by the GPH when we began negotiations earlier this year in February. As for the Jasig, neither the GPH panel nor the GPH itself can simply declare it’s inoperable — it will only lose effect if and when the head of the NDFP and the GPH agree to declare it so by one party sending a letter to the other,” he said.

In any case, human rights groups assert that even now the Aquino government continues to refuse to address the issues of torture, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings of Jasig-protected individuals, among them Leo Velasco, Prudencio Calubid, Rogelio Calubad, Sotero Llamas ; as well as hundreds of others without Jasig protection..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/09/08/ndfp-chief-negotiator-luis-jalandoni-ndfp-remains-committed-to-peace-talks/

Epira, the culprit behind high power rates


Epira, the culprit behind high power rates
Failed promises of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001


Time and again the government has been promising that the privatization of government-controlled corporations and agencies would result in better services, lower rates and fees for the Filipino people while bringing in much-needed funds to the government. These privatization efforts have taken many forms: outright sale of government assets, contracting out functions of government agencies such as the purchase and importation of rice, Build-Operate-Transfer schemes, and the much touted Public-Private-Partnerships of the current Aquino government.
But the Filipino people’s experience with the power industry proved otherwise.
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com
Sidebar: Power firms, creditors assured of billions, while consumers burdened with Napocor debt
The big three in the power industry
MANILA – Power rates are expected to increase again this month. Meralco, the biggest power distributor in the country, said it will increase its generation charge by 0.085 centavos per kilowatt-hour to 5.3721 per kWh.

A household consuming 100 kWh can expect an increase of P8.50 per kWh in their electricity bills while those that use 200 kWh a month will have to pay P17 more for August. Households that use up 300 kWh monthly can also expect an increase by as much as P25.50 per kWh.

The never ending increases in power rates are blamed on privatization, according to a study POWER FAILURE: 10 years of EPIRA, A people’s review on the impact of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, which was conducted by Bagong Alayansang Makabayan (Bayan), People Opposed to Warrantless Electricity Rates (Power) and independent think tank group Ibon.

According to Bayan, the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) systematized and widened privatization and deregulation of the power industry in the country. Epira has paved the way for private corporations to control the transmission, generation and distribution of electricity. Corporations that control some of the distribution utilities also own generating plants.

Rates doubled under Epira 

Despite strong opposition from various sectors, Epira was railroaded by Malacañang’s allies in the House of Representatives and signed by then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on June 8, 2001,

Epira, according to the Department of Energy aims to “bring down electricity rates and to improve the delivery of power supply to end-users by encouraging greater competition and efficiency in the electricity industry.” In its website, the DOE claimed that the Epira will make sure that the country will have reliable and competitively priced electricity. “The strategy is to put an end to monopolies that breed inefficiency, encourage the entry of many more industry players, and generate competition that will benefit consumers in terms of better rates and services.”

Ten years after, however, Bayan, Power and Ibon said Epira’s implementation is ten years of burden to consumers.... MORE
SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/09/08/epira-the-culprit-behind-high-power-rates/

MRT-LRT rate hikes unjustified—senators By Angie M. Rosales 09/10/2011

MRT-LRT rate hikes unjustified—senators

By Angie M. Rosales 09/10/2011

President Aquino’s legacy no doubt will be marked by high prices in goods and services in which he made no effort to stop them from rising too much.

He has announced that he will be removing the subsidy in the riding public’s fare of the Metro Rail and Light Rail Transit (MRT-LRT), which automatically translates to higher fares that the rail transits will be charging the commuters. Oil prices have been jumping weekly, and neither has Aquino made any move to talk to oil firms for them to slow down on the price hikes. Nor has he suspended the eVAT imposed on oil companies, for the prices of petrol to go down.

In the case of the the removal of the commuters’ subsidy in the rail transit, Aquino claimed that it is unfair for taxpayers who are non Metro Manilans to continue to pay taxes for the subsidy of Metro Manilan commuters.

But one of President Aquino’s allies in the Senate yesterday pointed out the lack of any justification in the government’s move to reduce subsidy in the commuters’ fare of the MRT-LRT, which will result in a rate increase soon..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110910hed1.html

Budget hearings marred quorum lack By Gerry Baldo 09/10/2011

Budget hearings marred quorum lack

By Gerry Baldo 09/10/2011

The plenary debates on the proposed national budget for 2012 have been marred by the absence of so many lawmakers so much so that the House had to adjourn shortly after noontime.

But the House leaders, led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Rep. Jospeh Emilio Abaya chairman of the appropriations committee, dismissed the lack of quorum, saying that this will hardly affect the timetable of the national budget’s passage.

This usually translates to the House passing the most important annual legislative measures without as much as debates or scrunity of the Malacañang-proposed measure.

It is usual too, for the House of Representatives, whose majority always is allied with Malacañang, to simply pass the measure without any cuts..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110910hed4.html

Pimentel proposes land title insurance against fraud 09/10/2011

Pimentel proposes land title insurance against fraud

09/10/2011
BACOLOD CITY — Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III yesterday pushed the immediate enactment creating a system of land titling insurance in the statute books.

“If property can be insured against floods, fire, earthquakes and other calamities, then the same property can be insured against fraudulent land titling too,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel issued the statement in the wake of the resurgence of another huge land controversy in Quezon City where many ordinary land owners are threatened to be evicted from the homes that they purchased with their sweat and hard earned money.

Pimentel, however, emphasized that ultimately, in the Quezon City land row, the matter of determining ownership of the land is to be resolved by the courts..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110910nat5.html

EcoWaste asks retailers to remove products with chemicals 09/10/2011

EcoWaste asks retailers to remove products with chemicals

09/10/2011
The EcoWaste Coalition, a toxic watchdog, yesterday asked top retailers to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility by removing children’s products that have been found to contain health damaging chemicals.

The EcoWaste Coalition and IPEN, in collaboration with project partners in Manila, Cebu and Davao, recently released the results of their investigation showing 121 samples, or over 27 percent, of the 435 children’s products tested were loaded with excessive amounts of toxic metals such as lead, a neurotoxin.

Some of the tainted products were procured by the EcoWaste Coalition from National Book Store (SM City North Edsa and Ayala Mall-Cebu), Toys R Us (Robinsons Galleria-Quezon City, Robinsons Place-Cebu and Robinsons in Abreeza Mall-Davao City), Toy Kingdom (SM City North Edsa, SM Cebu and SM Davao) and other formal retailers with official receipts issued.

The samples were screened for toxic ingredients such as antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer, a device that is routinely used by US regulatory bodies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The screening was conducted by Dr. Joe DiGangi , Senior Science and Policy Adviser of IPEN, who left the country last Wednesday..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110910nat4.html

CA stops execution of writ of possession of disputed QC lot 09/10/2011

CA stops execution of writ of possession of disputed QC lot

09/10/2011
The Court of Appeals (CA) yesterday stopped the execution of a writ of possession issued by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) covering a disputed land near Visayas Avenue in Quezon City.

CA 6th Division chairman Associate Justice Amelita Tolentino issued a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the writ of possession earlier issued by Quezon City RTC Branch 224 Judge Marilyn Villordon in favor of the alleged landowner, Wilfredo Torres.

The TRO stemmed from a petition filed by the Maria Montessori School, which is located in the disputed land in Barangay Culiat, Quezon City.

In its decision, CA said the petitioner is required to post a P500,000 bond before the TRO finally takes effect..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110910met1.html

House ratifies foster care bill for abandoned, abused, neglected children By Charlie V. Manalo 09/10/2011

House ratifies foster care bill for abandoned, abused, neglected children

By Charlie V. Manalo 09/10/2011

A bill granting tax incentives to families participating in a foster family program for children who are abandoned, exploited or have physical disabilities has been ratified by the House of Representatives for approval by President Aquino.

Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy said the Lower House voted unanimously to adopt the Senate version of House Bill 4481 after congressmen found no substantial conflicts between the two proposals.
Herrera-Dy, a principal author of HB 4481, said the Foster Care Act of 2011 seeks to strengthen and propagate foster care for abandoned and neglected children and minors with special needs.

“The rights of a child must be respected and defended, all efforts must be exerted to eliminate all conditions prejudicial to their full development,” said Herrera Dy who also authored the so-called anti-corporal punishment on children proposal..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110910met4.html

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