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Labor, business back measures vs. high electricity rates

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Labor, business back measures vs. high electricity rates
Small Filipino businessmen reportedly concede that it is not wage which is eating up a huge chunk of their profits, but energy costs.

By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com
MANILA – Labor and business found an issue to agree on when they discussed last Monday the high electricity rates in the country and how it burdens both sectors. In a forum held at the University of the Philippines–Diliman, leaders from labor and business groups called on the government of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to immediately take action to reduce electricity rates in the country.

Participants to the forum dubbed as “Highest Power Rates in Asia: A Labor-Business Consultation on Electricity,” urged Aquino to reject petitions for rate hikes, stop hearings for such petitions, terminate onerous contracts with independent power producers, and investigate the PSALM Corporation and Napocor to determine the government’s true financial obligations.


(Photo by Pia Arellano / bulatlat.com)
Members of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and its federations, the Independent Philippine Petroleum Companies Association (IPPCA), Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FFCCII) and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), stood united and with blown-up images of electric currents they took swipes at the “Highest Electricity Rates in Asia.”

“High electricity rates are a huge burden to Filipino workers already suffering from meager wages and the increasing prices of basic goods and services,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary general. The labor center has twice rallied in front of the head office of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) last month to protest the latest price hikes it had imposed.

Price hikes in utilities reportedly dig deep into the pockets of the Filipino working class, considering that their wages have not improved much over the past decade. In fact, in a research with the title “Prices and Earnings” released last August 2011 by UBS (formerly Union Bank of Switzerland), where they compared price levels, wage levels and purchasing power in 72 cities, they found out that Manila ranks second lowest in price levels, second lowest in wage levels, and third lowest in purchasing power..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/12/02/labor-business-back-measures-vs-high-electricity-rates%E2%80%A8/

Luisita farm workers hold assembly, call for immediate land distribution

Luisita farm workers hold assembly, call for immediate land distribution
 
“Somehow, we see justice for our martyrs who struggled hard for this day to come.” – Lito Bais, Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura

By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com
HACIENDA LUISITA, Tarlac – “This is an early Christmas gift from the Lord,” Mila Gonzales, 58, said, referring to the Supreme Court decision ordering the land distribution of Hacienda Luisita. “We can now afford to buy a carabao to be used for farming. Now, we can eat regularly,” she said.

Gonzales is one of the hundreds of farm workers who trooped to the nipa hut at the 11th street in Balete village, past lunch of Nov. 29. All smiles, members of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) listened intently to their leaders and representatives of the Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (Uma) and the Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Sentra).

The Ambala’s general assembly was held a few days after the high court, voting 14-0, ordered the distribution of 4,916 hectares of land, owned by the family of President Benigno S. Aquino III, to the original 4,296 original farmworker beneficiaries (FWBs).

“When we heard the news, many shed tears of joy. We won the first round of the battle but there is still a long way to go,” Lito Bais, Uma chairman, told Bulatlat.com in an interview shortly after the assembly. “What we want is genuine agrarian reform.”

“If only the Cojuangco-Aquinos returned our land to us much earlier, we would not have suffered so much,” Gonzales said. Her six children finished only Grade 6. “How could I send them to high school with a meager P9.50 ($0.22) salary per week? I could not even finish my laundry with that amount.”

The P9.50 ($0.22) was the payment received by farm workers before they staged a strike in November 2006. Under the stock distribution option (SDO) scheme implemented in the hacienda, farm workers were entitled to only one day of work per week at the sugar plantation.

Now, like the rest of the farm workers, Gonzales is dreaming of a better life ahead.

Genuine agrarian reform

The farm workers are preparing for their next move. First, Bais said they will assert zero compensation for the Cojuangco-Aquinos.

Bais said the Cojuangco-Aquinos have long benefited from the land. “This is where their wealth came from. This has also been the source of their political power. The land is ours, they just took it from us,” Bais said.
Reacting to the SC decision, Aquino was quoted as saying, “Let us not forget that under existing agrarian reform policies, we are pushing for two objectives: first is the empowerment of the farmers, and then enough capital should be left such that there is also just compensation for the landowners.”.... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/11/30/luisita-farm-workers-hold-assembly-call-for-immediate-land-distribution/

US sabotaging UN climate talks in South Africa – environmental groups

US sabotaging UN climate talks in South Africa – environmental groups


“In Durban, it’s time for governments to listen to the people, not the polluting corporations.” – Greenpeace
By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — Filipino climate activists are pushing for a binding climate agreement, but at the same time insist that the United States is also sabotaging the ongoing climate talks.

As the Conference of Parties (COP) 17 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) continues in Durban, South Africa to discuss and find solutions to global warming, Filipino climate activists from the Philippines warn of unpleasant results from the climate conference. The Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment and the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS) said that even before of the start of the COP 17, top polluting countries signified their unwillingness to cut their carbon emissions.

The UN gathering brings together representatives of the world’s governments, international organizations and civil society organizations. Discussions are focused on developments in the implementation of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, as well as the Bali Action Plan, agreed at COP 13 in 2007, and the Cancun Agreements, reached at COP 16 last December.

Kalikasan, however, pointed out that the United States, Japan, Canada and the European Union already positioned themselves that there would be no climate agreement, which will bind them to significantly reduce their carbon emissions, in Durban.

“In the first day of the COP last November 28, US climate envoy and lead negotiator Todd Stern reiterated this position when he indicated that there will likely be no binding climate agreement in force before 2020,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan-PNE.

Bautista explained that the US continues to be the world’s “number one carbon polluter,” and that it continues to refuse to commit to the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol is the only international agreement that commits countries to reduce their carbon emissions. It targets to reduce global carbon emissions by 5.2 percent from 1990 levels by 2012..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/12/01/us-sabotaging-un-climate-talks-in-south-africa-%E2%80%93-environmental-groups/

Egypt: Between Sharia law and anarchy (w/ Video)



Egypt: Between Sharia law and anarchy


Egyptian officials say voter turnout for the opening round of parliamentary elections has been the highest-ever in the country "since the pharaohs". Exit polls suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood have secured some 40-45 per cent of the votes.

Voter turnout was 62 per cent as announced by the head of the election committee. The announcement follows a two-day delay in publishing the outcome and the result still failed to paint a full picture, with the vast majority of candidates now set to contest a run-off.

Abdel-Mooaez Ibrahim did not announce the full results but welcomed the turnout as “the highest since the time of pharaohs.” More than 8 million voters of some 14 million have cast their ballots in the first round of parliamentary elections..... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/egypt-vote-results-islamists-835/

Stallman: Facebook IS Mass Surveillance (w/ Video)



Stallman: Facebook IS Mass Surveillance (w/Video)


The father of free software philosophy spoke to RT on evil developers, spying social networks, the almost-legitimacy of Anonymous hacks and the condition under which he would take a proprietary program and a million dollars.

Stallman is the man behind the concept that every computer program must be free for users to study and modify as they want. This is the only way to ensure that by using the software users do not compromise their human rights, he says.

Free software literally gives you freedom in the area of computing. It means that you can control your computing. It means that the users individually and collectively have control over their computing. And in particular it means they can protect themselves from the malicious features that are likely to be in proprietary software,” he told RT.


SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/richard-stallman-free-software-875/

Senate approves indefinite detention and torture of Americans

Senate approves indefinite detention and torture of Americans

The terrifying legislation that allows for Americans to be arrested, detained indefinitely, tortured and interrogated — without charge or trial — passed through the Senate on Thursday with an overwhelming support from 93 percent of lawmakers.

Only seven members of the US Senate voted against the National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday, despite urging from the ACLU and concerned citizens across the country that the affects of the legislation would be detrimental to the civil rights and liberties of everyone in America. Under the bill, Americans can be held by the US military for terrorism-related charges and detained without trial indefinitely.

Additionally, another amendment within the text of the legislation reapproved waterboarding and other “advanced interrogation techniques” that are currently outlawed..... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/detention-legislation-torture-senate-891/

China says no clemency for Pinoy ‘drug mule’ By Michaela P. del Callar 12/03/2011

China says no clemency for Pinoy ‘drug mule’

By Michaela P. del Callar 12/03/2011

Ignoring pleas from the Philippine government, China has defended its high court’s death ruling on a Filipino who smuggled huge amounts of prohibited drugs to the country.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry hinted that the sentence of the Filipino will not be commuted despite last-ditch appeal from Manila.

“I want to point out that China is a country ruled according to law, and the legal system has sentenced the Filipino drug smuggler according to law,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a press conference.

Hong added the Chinese government has noted the Philippines’ earlier statements that it respects the court decision..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111203hed4.html

Arroyo camp protests vs no-gadget policy on Gloria 12/03/2011

Arroyo camp protests vs no-gadget policy on Gloria

12/03/2011
The camp of former President Gloria Arroyo yesterday said it will appeal the no-gadget policy to be imposed on the incumbent Pampanga Representative at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC).

According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), Arroyo will not be allowed to use cellphones, computers and other communication gadgets once she is transferred to the hospital detention facility in Quezon City.

Arroyo spokesman Elena Bautista Horn said they will file a supplemental motion for reconsideration before the Pasay City court that handles her electoral sabotage case.

“She must continue interacting with her constituents (in the second district of Pampanga),” she stressed, adding that Arroyo may want to write a book using her laptop..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111203hed3.html

Koko urges Comelec to file electoral sabotage charge against Abalos 12/03/2011

Koko urges Comelec to file electoral sabotage charge against Abalos

12/03/2011
Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III yesterday asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to explain why its former chairman, Benjamin Abalos, has not been formally charged for electoral sabotage for his involvement in massive fraud in the 2007 senatorial elections.

“The Comelec should explain to the people why Abalos remains scot-free and has not been formally charged despite testimonies of witnesses naming him as one of the masterminds of dagdag-bawas in the 2007 elections,” Pimentel said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20111203nat6.html

Solon describes plot to kill GMA as ‘imaginary’ By Angie M. Rosales 12/03/2011

Solon describes plot to kill GMA as ‘imaginary’

By Angie M. Rosales 12/03/2011

A work of an imaginary mind, was how Sen. Panfilo Lacson yesterday described the alleged plot to kill former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo.

“It should not be taken seriously because the public knows it’s not true, it’s fictional. If there’s really have a death threat, they should all the more be thankful (to the government) because the former President will be placed in a military installation.

“Why would they opt for a house arrest if there’s really a death threat? They will be compromising their own safety if they’re not secured,” he said during a radio interview.

Lacson said it will be very unintelligent of the administration to consider of inflicting harm on Arroyo while she’s under the care of a government hospital, if indeed the supposed threat is coming from the camp of President Aquino..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20111203nat7.html

American fugitive wanted in US for drug trafficking deported by BI 12/03/2011

American fugitive wanted in US for drug trafficking deported by BI

12/03/2011
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has deported an American fugitive wanted for trafficking and possession of illegal drugs in the United States.

Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. yesterday said Paul John Zambuto, 35, was expelled last Nov. 28 aboard a Philippine Airlines flight to Los Angeles following the issuance of a summary deportation order by the BI board of commissioners.

David said the board also ordered Zambuto’s inclusion in the immigration blacklist for being an undesirable, overstaying and undocumented alien.

BI fugitive search unit head Uso Dan Salasim disclosed that his men arrested Zambuto at his unit at the Paseo Parkview condominium along Valero Street, Makati City last Nov. 17..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20111203met3.html

Police nab 5 men for possessing 60 pieces of prohibited piranha By Arlie O. Calalo 12/03/2011 Police arrested five persons for possessing at least 60 pieces of piranha that is commonly found at the Amazon River in South America late Thursday night in Caloocan City. “Behind bars are Gary Alcantara, 28; James Gabriel, 33; Karl Felizardo, 25; Rodrigo Luciano, 27 and Joan Tobias, 28, all residents of Rizal province,” city police chief Senior Supt. Jude Wilson Santos said. The seized prohibited species of fish were immediately turned over to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for proper disposition upon the approval of the Assistant City prosecutor Darwin Canete.

Police nab 5 men for possessing 60 pieces of prohibited piranha

By Arlie O. Calalo 12/03/2011
Police arrested five persons for possessing at least 60 pieces of piranha that is commonly found at the Amazon River in South America late Thursday night in Caloocan City.

“Behind bars are Gary Alcantara, 28; James Gabriel, 33; Karl Felizardo, 25; Rodrigo Luciano, 27 and Joan Tobias, 28, all residents of Rizal province,” city police chief Senior Supt. Jude Wilson Santos said.

The seized prohibited species of fish were immediately turned over to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for proper disposition upon the approval of the Assistant City prosecutor Darwin Canete..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20111203met2.html

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