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GPH-NDFP peace talks impasse hamper resolution of rights violations

Sunday, December 11, 2011

GPH-NDFP peace talks impasse hamper resolution of rights violations

 The Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) was signed by the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines on March 16, 1998. It was a landmark agreement unique in the history of civil wars worldwide. But 13 years hence, its implementation has barely passed through the first stage and the peace talks continue to flounder.
By RAYMUND B. VILLANUEVA
Kodao Productions

Bulatlat.com
MANILA — Lorena “Aya” Santos remembers one of the last times she talked to her Tatay (father). She told him about her budding relationship with the man she eventually married. She recalls how Leo Velasco, her father and reportedly a Communist Party of the Philippines central committee member, smiled and told her he understood.

On February 19, 2007, Velasco was abducted in Cagayan de Oro City, allegedly a victim of enforced disappearance. In November of the same year Aya’s mother, Elizabeth Principe, was herself abducted in Cubao, Quezon City. Principe was alleged to be a top communist in Cagayan Valley.

While leading the campaign for the surfacing of Velasco, Aya has since become the spokesperson of Desaperacidos, the nationwide alliance of families of the disappeared. While happy that her Nanay was released in July 2009 and participated in the February 2011 Government of the Philippines (GPH)-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) formal peace talks in Oslo, Norway, she is still looking for her father..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/12/10/gph-ndfp-peace-talks-impasse-hamper-resolution-of-rights-violations/

Perfect timing, perfect venue TABLETS OF STONE Larry Faraon, OP 12/11/2011

Perfect timing, perfect venue

TABLETS OF STONE
Larry Faraon, OP
12/11/2011
To, where else do you think would be the best venue to lash out at the judiciary and the Supreme Court (SC)? President Noynoy Aquino thought it well to do so at the First National Criminal Justice Summit last Monday. Great idea! At least the points he wanted to get across went right to the faces of the practitioners and dispensers of justice themselves. It was quick, no pretensions, no diplomatic assuages, no sugar-coating, but straightforward, direct to the point informal critique on what is going on the state of the dispensation of justice in this country, including loopholes on judicial appointments. Of course, nothing said in the speech was sub-judice. It’s just all about propriety and rough edges in the rule of law and an impending constitutional crisis, as alarmists love to augur.

While politico-legal minds are alternating in lashing out on the “disrespectful” and “unpresidential” manners of P-Noy in that venue and occasion, using as rationalization “constitutional courtesy to the equal branches of government,” still these legal eggheads should realize that the “equality and independence among the three branches of government” shouldn’t be understood as “territorial” autonomy or a sort of exclusivity clause. Rather, such constitutional arrangement is based on the democratic principles of “checks and balances.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20111211com6.html

Ron Paul says Bush was thrilled with 9/11

Ron Paul says Bush was thrilled with 9/11


Ron Paul stopped in Ames, Iowa on the campaign trail on Thursday, and used some harsh words to explain President George W Bush’s reaction to the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Specifically, the Texas congressman said that the former president was pretty happy about the events. After all, said Paul, the attacks served as pretext to finally put American troops overseas in what instantly became a justifiable reason for war.

“Think of what happened after 9/11,” Paul told a crowd of around 1,000 in Ames this week. “The minute before there was any assessment, there was glee in the administration because now we can invade Iraq, and so the war drums beat.”.... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/ron-paul-bush-iran-449/

Firefighters let home burn down because owner didn't pay $75

Firefighters let home burn down because owner didn't pay $75

Vicky Bell wasn’t surprised that fire trucks cruised into her neighborhood after her home went up in flames — after all, she did dial 9-1-1. What did shock the Tennessean woman was that the emergency crew never came to her aid.

­Instead, says Bell, they parked their engines down the street and watched her home burn to the ground.

Bell and her boyfriend live in a rural town just outside of the small city of South Fulton, TN — so rural, in fact, that residents in her neighborhood rely on the South Fulton trucks to battle blazes for them. Even though they are fully equipped to do so, however, the South Fulton Fire Department doesn’t act unless residents from adjacent towns pay a $75 annual subscription for protection..... MORE
SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/home-pay-fire-bell-299/

‘US uses double standards in election criticisms’ (w/ Video)



‘US uses double standards in election criticisms’


Protests are a good sign for Russia's political life, while American criticism of Russian parliamentary election – though outwardly reasonable – could have a more sinister side, political science professor Gerhard Mangott told RT.

Discontent with parliamentary election results caused Moscow's largest protest in years. The rally went peacefully, in contrast to the spontaneous and unsanctioned rallies on poll day – which followed Washington's statement that the election was neither free nor fair.

Gerhard Mangott, Professor of Political Science at Innsbruck University, said that while Saturday’s rally is an encouraging example of democracy at work, it lacks the political substance necessary to form a political agenda alternative to that of the ruling government..... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/us-double-standards-election-521/

Oplan Bayanihan sows terror in Western Samar

 Oplan Bayanihan sows terror in Western Samar
“I would tell them [soldiers] ‘We are not armed. This is not a war. This is just a rally.’ They would say, ‘Legal and underground, you’re the same. You are all NPA [New People’s Army],’” said human rights worker Ma. Josephine Dy
By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

CALBAYOG CITY, Western Samar – Human rights worker Ma. Josephine Dy, 33, is used to being tailed by military agents.

Twice a week, she would see fully armed men roaming around their house in bgy. Matobato, Calbayog City. The men who belong to the 20th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) have set up a detachment 50 meters away from the back of their house.

In March this year, the soldiers from the same unit held a circumcision program at the village’s basketball court. The soldiers warned the residents not to support the communists. “They added that there are communists right here in our community,” Dy told Bulatlat.com in an interview.

Dy said that elsewhere in Calbayog City and other towns in Western Samar, civil-military operations of the Philippine Army under Oplan Bayanihan are coupled with intelligence work and propaganda against what the military considers as leftist organizations.

During rallies in Calbayog City, such as the peasant rally held on October 21 and the public Congressional hearing on Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (Garb) last month, Dy said heavily armed soldiers guarded the protesters.
“I would tell them ‘We are not armed. This is not a war. This is just a rally.’ They would say, ‘Legal and underground, you’re the same. You are all NPA [New People’s Army],’” Dy said.

In both instances, soldiers took photographs of Dy. Her colleagues confiscated the cameras from the soldiers.

Dy said soldiers also held public meetings in other villages in Calbayog City. “The soldiers would malign people’s organizations as communist fronts,” she said..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/12/10/oplan-bayanihan-sows-terror-in-western-samar/

Justice VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 12/11/2011

Justice

VIEWPOINTS
Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
12/11/2011
In these interesting as well as disturbing times, it could be in order for the Filipinos in particular, to know or recall, to remember or observe the following objective realities about the nature and implications of justice: Justice is for everyone or for nobody at all. Perfect! Justice knows no party. Great! Justice is the only response to injustice. Right! Selective justice is injustice, in the last analysis. Correct!

Justice, however, does not include cruelty. Even justice accepts compassion. Justice neither promotes ridicule. Even justice respects human dignity. Justice, too, bows to human rights such as those to life and liberty.

Justice is geared for the finding of facts — not for the satisfaction of personal vindictiveness. Justice is ordered for the quest for peace — not for the demonstration of personal pride..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20111211com7.html

Children not spared in military operations

 Children not spared in military operations

The Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) has documented one case of a child’s death due to indiscriminate firing, 12 cases of frustrated killings, eight cases of illegal arrest and detention, five cases of torture, one case of abduction and numerous cases of attacks on schools.
By RONALYN V. OLEA and ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Precious (not her real name), 12, lost both her father and brother in an instant. On February 27, at around 12 noon, suspected elements of the 39th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) fired at Rudy Dejos, 50 and his son Rudyric, 26 in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur. The bodies of the two were found later bearing gunshot and stab wounds, their nails and fingers crushed.

“They accused my father and brother of being members of the New People’s Army. It is not true. My father was only a farmer and my brother helped my father in the farm,” Precious said during an activity organized by children’s rights advocates, Dec. 4 in Quezon City.

Precious said life has become even more difficult without her father and brother. Her mother has to feed her and her three other siblings all by herself.

Precious’s story is one of the many violations against the rights of children under the Aquino administration’s Oplan Bayanihan. The Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) has documented one case of a child’s death due to indiscriminate firing, 12 cases of frustrated killings, eight cases of illegal arrest and detention, five cases of torture, one case of abduction and numerous cases of attacks on schools.

“The newly installed government of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III promises a righteous path but his first year proved to be a path no different from the previous government,” Jacqueline Ruiz, CRC executive director, said during the presentation of the group’s submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the Universal Periodic Review of the Philippine government, Dec. 3.

Seven-year-old Sunshine Jabinez was shot dead by a drunken soldier of the the 71st Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces in Pantukan, Compostella Valley. The suspect, identified as Private First Class Baltazar M. Ramo, remains in active service.

Recruitment, use of minors by state agents

The CRC also documented cases where children were used by soldiers as shields or guides in counterinsurgency operations.

On August 24, 2010, Mark (not his real name) , 17, and his three cousins were taken by some elements of the 67th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army in Quarry Sopa, sitio Butigan, bgy. San Jose, Boston, Davao Oriental and were under military custody for several days. On August 29, 2010, the soldiers interrogated the victims, forcing them to admit that they are members of the New People’s Army (NPA). The children were told that once they admit it, they would be release immediately. They were forced to sign a document they did not understand before they were turned over to a local council member of Boston.


Children call for an end to human rights violations(Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil / Bulatlat.com)
In brgy. Pong-on, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur, three children were falsely branded as NPA guerrillas. On June 26, Reynaldo, 16, his brother Robert, 10 and cousin Jefferson, 10 years, went to their farm to gather coconut for copra. Not long after, Reynaldo heard gunshots. He went to the direction of the gunfire and saw his father handcuffed. Two soldiers of the 29th IBPA held him tightly.

Reynaldo and the two other children were brought by the soldiers to bgy. Janipaan. The soldiers subjected Reynaldo and Jefferson to interrogation before they were turned over to the Sto. Nino Police in Surigao del Sur. Pictures of the children were taken together with two soldiers. After a few days, the military issued a statement to the media stating that they have captured three NPA child soldiers after an “intense fire” in bgy. Janipaan..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/12/10/children-not-spared-in-military-operations/

Palace wants ‘deliberative process’ clause in FoI By Mario F. Fetalino Jr. 12/11/2011

Palace wants ‘deliberative process’ clause in FoI

By Mario F. Fetalino Jr. 12/11/2011

Malacañang had sought several exceptions to the mandatory disclosures of information and documents to be covered by the proposed Freedom of Information (FoI) Act among which included “national security” and the President’s “deliberative process” for it to endorse the approval of the bill that has been stalled in Congress for the past 15 years.

President Aquino, who has made the passage of the FoI bill that seeks to require government to divulge information imbued with public interest, among his campaign promises supposedly as part of transparency in government, has recently been balking at its passage citing dangers on national security.

The Right to Know, Right Now Coalition, a group of civil society and media organizations, said Sen. Gregorio Honasan, chairman of the Senate committee on public information, had pledged action to speed up the approval of the measure and that a committee report will be submitted to plenary action by the first quarter of next year..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111211hed3.html

Noy gov’t urged to aid 576 other OFWs facing drug raps 12/11/2011

Noy gov’t urged to aid 576 other OFWs facing drug raps

12/11/2011
Following the execution of a Filipino drug mule in China last Thursday, a lawmaker is urging the Aquino administration to turn its attention to the 576 Filipinos who are facing death, serving time or being tried for drug-related cases in 32 countries.

There should be no “China only” policy when it comes to extending legal aid or seeking clemency for Filipinos jailed in foreign lands, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said.

While China tops the list of countries harboring the most number of Filipinos jailed for drug possession — 207 by latest Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) count — the lawmaker said “369 similarly-situated Pinoys in 31 other nations need assistance.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111211hed4.html

13 dead as plane crashes in Paraaque 12/11/2011

13 dead as plane crashes in Paranaque

12/11/2011
A four-seater cargo plane yesterday crashed into a populated urban poor community in Paraaque City, sparking a fire that killed 13 persons, including three children, and left at least 20 injured, officials said.

The light aircraft crashed at the back of F. Serrano Elementary School Annex 35, at Lower Taiwan, Doa Soledad Extension in Barangay Don Bosco, Paraaque City, causing a widespread fire that gutted about 50 houses around the crash site, police said.

Both the pilot and co-pilot were killed in the incident, while the other fatalities were thought to be residents of the shanty town, Paraaque police Chief Insp. Enrique Sy said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111211hed5.html

AFP chief retires from service with simple rites tomorrow By Mario J. Mallari 12/11/2011

AFP chief retires from service with simple rites tomorrow

By Mario J. Mallari 12/11/2011

There will be no elaborate change of command ceremonies tomorrow when Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Oban Jr. retires from the active military service.

AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. said that Oban personally wanted the ceremonies simple.

“It is the intention of the chief of staff to make the command ceremony very simple. There will be no mechanized infantry, we won’t have armored assets,” Burgos said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20111211nat4.html

Malacaang announces Armed Forces turnover of declassified martial law documents to CHR 12/11/2011

Malacaang announces Armed Forces turnover of declassified martial law documents to CHR

12/11/2011
As the country joins the global celebration of the International Human Rights Day Saturday, Malacaang announced the turnover by the military of declassified martial law documents to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) that would help enlighten the people about what transpired during the dark years of martial rule.

We have been informed that today, apart from being Human Rights Day, will be the turnover of declassified Martial Law files from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to the CHR, deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said in an interview aired over government-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20111211met2.html

SC orders GSIS to refund ex-bank examiner P800,000 By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/11/2011

SC orders GSIS to refund ex-bank examiner P800,000

By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/11/2011

The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld a claim by a former bank examiner of the Central Bank of the Philippines (now the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) who is seeking compensation from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to refund more than P800,000 in expenses he incurred for a kidney transplant.

The case reached the SC after Manuel Besitan’s claim was turned down by the GSIS in a letter dated May 2, 2006, prompting him to elevate the case to the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC).The ECC for, its part, also ruled against Besitan.

Besitan was employed by the Central Bank on Jan. 21, 1976 as a bank examiner. Subsequently, he was promoted as Bank Officer II and eventually as Bank Officer III..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20111211met1.html

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