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Support for wage hike bills snowballs in Congress

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Support for wage hike bills snowballs in Congress

From 2001 to 2009, the recorded net income of the top 1,000 corporations in the Philippines had ballooned more than five times (552-percent), from P116-billion in 2001 to P756-billion in 2009. But the average daily wages and salaries increased only 31-percent over the same period, from P222 in 2001 to 291 in 2009.
Sidebar: Rep. Winnie Castelo will ‘plank’ for P125 wage hike bill

MANILA – Citing papal writings and research findings on economic, historical and comparative aspects of continuously denying the Filipino workers a substantial wage hike, a legislators’ forum organized by the House of Representatives labor committee upon the request of Anakpawis Partylist Rafael Mariano last Monday succeeded in gathering additional authorship and support for wage hike bills in Congress. Rep. Mariano is the author of House Bills 375 and 3746, which seek to enact a significant increase in the minimum wages of workers in the private and public sectors.

“A democratic state can do no less than side with their workers and their wages over capitalists and their profits,” said Sonny Africa, head of research of non-government economic think-tank Ibon Philippines. Africa showed the gathered legislators and unionists the huge disparity between the Filipino workers’ wages, which had barely increased in the last decade, and the capitalist profits which had ballooned nearly six times over the same period. Africa also showed how wage rates have continuously lagged behind and farther even from the government’s estimated family living wages.

From 2001 to 2009, the recorded net income of the top 1,000 corporations in the Philippines had ballooned more than five times (552-percent), from P116-billion ($2.65b) in 2001 to P756-billion ($17.27b) in 2009. But the average daily wages and salaries increased only 31-percent over the same period, from P222 ($5.1) in 2001 to P291 ($6.6) in 2009.

Sonny Africa of Ibon and other labor leaders told legislators that a substantial wage hike is good for the economy.(Photo by Marya Salamat / bulatlat.com)
Under President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s more than a year-old administration, Filipinos’ wages have also not yet significantly increased despite his promises of change and fulfilling the Filipinos’ dreams during his campaign. The P22 ($0.50) additional cost-of-living-allowance it granted last May has barely brought the minimum wages closer to the needed family living wage.

In the National Capital Region, Ibon computed the family living wage at P999 ($22.82) as of Aug this year, but the minimum wage is pegged in the National Capital Region (NCR), where it is highest, at P426 ($9.73). The gap between minimum wages and family living wage is wider outside of NCR. Africa clarified that they based the computations on the National Wages and Productivity Commission’s data, even as he noted that the NWPC’s webpage for such data has been “under construction” for quite a while now..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/09/28/support-for-wage-hike-bills-snowballs-in-congress/

Affidavit of support requirement breeds corruption- Migrante chapter in UAE

Affidavit of support requirement breeds corruption- Migrante chapter in UAE

“We are continuously receiving complaints from OFWs whose relatives were victimized by an extortion gang in the NAIA. These extortionists demand to be shown the AOS, but afterwards went on to ask for money.” – Migrante

MANILA — Instead of being a measure to prevent human trafficking, the Department of Foreign Affairs’ “Affidavit of Support” (AOS) requirement is becoming an instrument of corruption.

Several Filipino workers groups in the United Arab Emirates headed by the Dubai chapter of Migrante International Migrante-UAE is intensifying its campaign to have the AOS requirement, which the DFA is demanding from all visiting relatives of overseas Filipino workers based in the United Arab Emirates and other countries, removed.

Since July 12, 2010, OFWs securing an affidavit of support for their relatives from the Philippine consulate are required to be present even if they filed their visit visa at the UAE Immigration through travel agencies. They are also required to have their affidavit of support in red ribbon. The document has to be notarized at the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai and it costs around P1,000 (US$23.25).

Last year, Migrante-UAE initiated public discussions among Filipino groups in Dubai as part of its campaign to oppose the AOS requirement. In the next few weeks, the group will engage in a petition signing campaign, the results of which it will present to the Philippine consulate in Dubai. It also intends to send copies to Malacañang and the House of Representatives.

According to the DFA, the AOS aims to put an end to human trafficking and illegal deployment of OFWS through unscrupulous recruitment agencies. Nhel Morona, Migrante-UAE Secretary-general said the AOS requirement was “nothing but a form of legalized ‘kotong’ or mulcting.

A useless document

“It’s a useless document. It won’t stop human traffickers from their illegal activities, but it will breed extortion activities,” he said.

Morona cited reports his group received sometime on May 2011 about a group of passengers who boarded a flight from Manila to Dubai with a stopover in Hong Kong . They were supposedly asked to pay grease money by immigration officials at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) when they discovered that the passengers were all on a visitor’s visa. He also said there was a Filipina nurse who was forced to hand out P25,000 (US$581) allegedly to agents of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in NAIA so she would be allowed to fly back to Dubai on a visitor’s visa..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/09/28/affidavit-of-support-requirement-breeds-corruption-migrante-chapter-in-uae/

Bacolod-based green activist builds own green house

Bacolod-based green activist builds own green house

Green activist Rusty Binas remains true to his commitment to restore ecological balance in the City of Smiles.
Binas , a global advisor of Holland-based development agency CORDAID in its program of Community-managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR), is building a a house in Marapara Heights that combines the basic elements of green architecture and stone-age architectural concepts.

His own concept of a green house is not really new, but it does offer a lot of unique systems. For one, it reduces construction costs by introducing the use of volcanic rocks, clay, mud and pebbles. For another, it utilizes its rooftop for rain water catchment and for potable water storage.

Natural aesthetics is another unique feature of the house design as it makes use of stones and rocks for the columns, foundations and ceilings, making it appear like a stone house in the neolithic period dating some 4000 BC.

Each main column has a built-in drip water system, which complements the gravitational water pressure from the rooftop water catchment. This is what keeps the column wet, allowing moss to develop on it and, in the process, harden and strengthen it over time.

Green house architecture being built in Bacolod.(Photo by Karl G. Ombion / bulatlat.com)
To maximize a natural cooling system, Binas employed the concept of a house design that has less walls and covers for its rooms, kitchen, living room. This allows fresh air to flow freely through all all parts of the house even as it maximizes daylight. The house also comes with an automatic closure system during wind and rain surges. Even the comfort room is without roofing to allow maximum light and fresh air, but it does have an automatic canopy system that can be used during rainy periods. With it, the house needs no air-condition units and fans; neither does it use lights during daytime.

Another feature of this unique green house is the utilization of green energy through solar power for its lightings, water system, few AC facilities, and for power charging needs. So even with long brown-outs in the neighborhood, residents of the Binas house need not worry about light or temperature settings because the house will provide for itself with the help of nature..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/09/26/bacolod-based-green-activist-builds-own-green-house/

Benjie Oliveros | War and health

Benjie Oliveros | War and health

When I began thinking about this topic and doing my research, I realized that I should be discussing not only about war and health but, more importantly, on the war against the people’s right and access to health.

The two wars against the people’s right and access to health occurred simultaneously during the last decade of the previous century: the war of globalization and the war against “terrorist states,” “rogue states,” “the axis of evil,” and eventually the war on terror. The war on terror did not begin with the World Trade Center attacks in September 11, 2001. If began after the change in the political landscape in Eastern Europe and the USSR and the conception of the Defense Policy Guidelines in 1992 by then Defense Sec. Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, and the 2000 policy paper “Rebuilding America’s Defenses – Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century” of the conservative think tank Project for a New American Century, which, by the way, is comprised of the very same group of people: Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, I. Lewis Libby, and Donald Rumsfeld, who became the Defense secretary of Bush Jr.

The change in political landscape in the Eastern bloc during the latter part of the 1980s provided both an opportunity and a challenge to the US. The communist bogey no longer exists while at the same time, it provided the US with the opportunity to use its political and military dominance to push for its own economic interests and agenda. Thus, even as there was no longer any serious challenge to its hegemony, it refused to downscale its military spending. It even increased it by creating a hype about a supposed new specter: Islamic fundamentalism. That is why even before the September 2011 attacks, the US, in its defense policy paper “Rebuilding America’s Defense – Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century,” was already able to underline the principles that would shape its global “defense” policy. The 9-11 attacks merely gave the US the perfect excuse to launch its war on terror.

What were these principles guiding US defense policy and global positioning?

• we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

• we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;

• we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;

• we need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles

Those countries that were included in the list of “terrorist,” “rogue,” or “evil,” states are those that “stridently oppose US presence and influence in their regions” and those that oppose “economic freedom” or the “free market ideology” of globalization.

Globalization, as we experienced it during the last two decades is about “downplaying government intervention” in the economy, of controlling budget deficits, and deep cuts in government social spending. It is, according to economist Joseph Stiglitz, about “austerity packages and privatization.” And among the most hit by these measures are the budgets for health and education. And the countries that refuse these measures, as well as US power projections run the risk of being targets of the US war on terror..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/09/24/benjie-oliveros-war-and-health/

Brocka at Bernal vs. indie filmmakers

Brocka at Bernal vs. indie filmmakers


Isang taon yata nang huli kaming magkita ni Mau Tumbocon, kritiko at film programmer. At dalawang taon na rin kaming tumutungo sa aming paboritong dessert at coffee na lugar sa Castro Street, at natagpuan naming muli na naghuhuntahan na naman kami tungkol sa pelikula. Pangalawang beses na ulit.

May nostalgia kami sa mga pelikula nina Lino Brocka at Ishmael Bernal, mga higanteng figura sa aming panahon, at lampas pa rito. Natanong ni Mau kung sino sa indie filmmakers ang sumusunod sa yapak ng dalawang direktor? At wala akong maisip na madaling sagot.

Nabanggit ko si Joel Lamangan at Brillante Mendoza. Si Joel ay napapanahon ang politikal na tema ng mga pelikula — Flor Contemplacion, abduction at politikal na pagpaslang, torture at rebolusyon. Pero mas naunang henerasyon ng filmmakers si Joel. Si Brillante naman ay kilala sa artistikong pelikula, na slice-of-life, na wala pang mass following sa loob ng bansa.

Sina Brocka at Bernal ay mga politikal na animal, sa positibong pagtingin. Kasama sila sa laban sa sensura, freedom of expression ng artist, pagtaas ng presyo ng gasolina, anti-diktadurya, at maging anti-Cory Aquino sa panahong hindi ito popular. Organisado sila sa mga politikal na afiliasyon, at ginagamit ang kanilang politikal na posisyon para higit na magpopularisa ng mga isyu. Gayundin, ginagamit din nila ang kanilang sining para manghasik ng kontraryong kaisipan at karanasan pang-sining.

Ang naturing naming kaibahan nina Brocka at Bernal sa isang banda at ang kasalukuyang indie filmmakers sa kabilang banda ay ang mas madilim na pangitain hinggil sa pelikula at lipunan. Kina Brocka at Bernal ay nakaangkop sa naratibong disenyo ang pagpasok ng politika, at ang rekurso sa politikal na antagonismo ng mga bida rito..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2010/11/04/brocka-at-bernal-vs-indie-filmmakers/

Zombadings, on modern day acceptance

Zombadings, on modern day acceptance


There is a mystery that has been puzzling the people in the colorful town of Lucban, Quezon. A serial killer is on the loose and the succession of events clearly shows who the targets are. In the midst of this chaos, Remington (played by Martin Escudero) discovers something about himself and develops a fear of the unknown.
Dubbed as the country’s first zombie comedy film (directed by Jade Castro; written by Raymond Lee, Michiko Yamamoto, and Jade Castro), “Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington” is a story of a young man who is being haunted by his gay-taunting past. As a child, Remington was fond of ridiculing gay people he encountered as he kept on calling them names. Until one day, he met a gay grieving in a cemetery (played by Roderick Paulate), who got mad at the mocking and cursed that Remington will also be gay when he grows up.

No semblance of homosexuality would be seen in Remington as he is the typical macho slacker who either spends his day doing nothing or drinking lambanog with his neighbors. As the straight guy that he is, Remington is head over heels for a girl named Hannah (played by Lauren Young), who just got back in town. But one night, an assault from an unidentified creature changed Remington’s life as he felt that he is turning into someone else.

The shaved legs, the tight girly shirts, the gay lingo, Remington is transforming by the day. He became fond of looking at guys, and eventually develops an attraction to his best friend Jigs (played by Kerbie Zamora). And by turning gay, he worried that he would be a target of the serial killer.

But Remington had other worries; how will he be back to his natural self?

Queer experience

Remington may have been cursed to be gay, but the film Zombadings showed that being homosexual is not a bad thing. It is worth noting that despite the obvious changes in him, the people around him still treated him the same way. His life even became more colorful with his new-found personality, undeniably something that comes with being gay.

After some speculations on his gender, it is touching to see how Remington’s parents (played by Janice de Belen and John Regala) understood the bizarre occurrence and did what they had to for their son. Indeed an ideal scene, as sympathy is rarely seen in a situation as such.

Suppressing discrimination

In a rather traditional society like ours, there are still people who detest the existence of gay people. It may not be highlighted in the news, but the worst kind of aversion does exist in the form of hate crimes on the group.

Zombadings had take on this issue in a lighter way in the form of a mysterious equipment that serves as a gaydar. In the film, a homophobe (played by Daniel Fernando) once delivered his speech regarding his hatred for the gay community, but his talk was drowned by the celebration in the town. The particular scene spoke much about putting an end to the age-old ridicule on gay people..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/09/13/zombadings-on-modern-day-acceptance/

Death and damage By ELENA L. ABEN, AARON B. RECUENCO and FRANCO G. REGALA September 27, 2011, 11:23pm

Death and damage

September 27, 2011, 11:23pm
Typhoon Pedring caused a storm surge and flooded many areas in Luzon and Metro Manila, forcing the evacuation of people from homes with many wading in hip deep waters to escape the deluge.
Typhoon Pedring caused a storm surge and flooded many areas in Luzon and Metro Manila, forcing the evacuation of people from homes with many wading in hip deep waters to escape the deluge.

MANILA, Philippines — At least 12 people were killed as typhoon “Pedring” whipped Luzon with heavy rains and forceful winds that wrought destruction, knocked out power and communication lines, paralyzed air, sea, and land transport, and caused a rare storm surge in Manila Bay.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that five people were killed in Metro Manila; one in Catanduanes in the Bicol region; one each in Subic and Olongapo City in Zambales; one in Aurora; one in Cagayan province; one in Pampanga; and another in Camarines Sur.

Four people, including three children, died when a concrete wall collapsed on them in Barangay Mapulang Lupa, Valenzuela City at the height of Pedring’s onslaught yesterday morning...... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/335781/death-and-damage

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