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‘Filipinos, environment in greater peril under Aquino’s neoliberal policies’ — green groups

Monday, July 30, 2012

‘Filipinos, environment in greater peril under Aquino’s neoliberal policies’ — green groups

“It is high time to call a spade a spade: the Aquino government has demonstrated that it can no longer meet even the minimum demands of the Filipino people for environmental protection and the wise utilization of natural resources towards people-oriented development and industrialization.” – Kalikasan Partylist

MANILA – Nowadays, a mere low-pressure area can already submerge villages and even cause a landslide. In some towns in Bataan, Pangasinan and Bulacan, and in Metro Manila’s Valenzuela and Parañaque, for example, there are villages still flooded by rains brought about by a low-pressure area. “How much more if we had super-typhoons?” residents wading through flooded streets asked in fear.

Early this year, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that an unprecedented 1,257 Filipinos died from Typhoon Sendong in late 2011, while nearly 5,000 were injured. “Typhoon Sendong exposed the Aquino government’s lack of disaster plans,” said Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino.

In President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s State of the Nation Address last Monday, just six months after Sendong, Aquino boasted of supposed improvements in his government’s handling of disasters. He praised what he described as his administration’s improved capability at disaster response.

But in a forum led by Kalikasan Partylist held shortly before Aquino delivered his address, green groups found little to no trace of Aquino’s touted disaster response capability in his administration’s track record.
In fact, Filipinos are in greater danger today from environmental catastrophes than two years ago when Aquino started to rule. According to the Kalikasan Partylist, the Aquino administration has not addressed but worsened the environmental crisis with its policies and programs.

Environmentally-destructive policies 

After two years as president, Aquino has shown a track record of “pursuing environmentally destructive policies,” said Clemente Bautista Jr., president of Kalikasan Partylist. These policies, he said, include the continued liberalization of mining industry under Aquino’s Executive Order 79, and the limited log ban in 2011.

Mining-related sinking in Benguet (Photo courtesy of Amianan Salakniban / bulatlat.com)
Kalikasan Partylist suspects that Aquino’s recently signed Executive Order 79 which further liberalizes mining operations in the country is issued partly as payoff for his presidential campaign financiers from the mining sector. “The signing of the said executive order had been delayed because Aquino held consultations first with mining companies,” Palatino said in this forum.

Under Aquino, the increase in large-scale mining is such that its gross production value rose in 2011 by P18.9-billion (US$448-m), while the contribution of metals to exports have increased from 3.8-percent to 5.6-percent, Bautista of Kalikasan Partylist said. But all these brought only “minimal contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (0.9-percent of almost P200-billion), and employment (0.6-percent),” added Bautista..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/07/27/%E2%80%98filipinos-environment-in-greater-peril-under-aquino%E2%80%99s-neoliberal-policies%E2%80%99-green-groups/

If it’s not yellow Written by Tribune Editorial

If it’s not yellow

Noynoy should keep at it, the way he has been pounding on media about highlighting the good news, because he would not convince any legitimate journalist to see things the way he does, which is with blinders.

Noynoy attended last Friday the anniversary of a television news program and used the occasion to complain about what he called as out of place remarks of the program’s anchor, Noli de Castro, the former Vice President.

Talking of out of place comments, Noynoy was not exactly in the appropriate place to gripe about the bad rap he is getting from media and at the same time alluding to political color on De Castro’s commentaries since, according to Noynoy, “he was part of the administration” which Noynoy claims to have inherited problems from but which in turn he has been using for two years as scapegoat for what should be clearly his fault after two years in the presidency.

De Castro was the Vice President of Gloria, ergo, he was part of what he calls the crooked past that needs to be eradicated..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/commentary/editorial/item/2194-if-it%E2%80%99s-not-yellow

Syria: Syrians, Iraqis, Palestinians: No Place to Hide

Syria: Syrians, Iraqis, Palestinians: No Place to Hide

by Felicity Arbuthnot

"A person can only be born in one place. However, he may die several times elsewhere:  in the exiles and prisons, and in a homeland transformed by occupation and oppression into a nightmare."

 (2004 Acceptance speech for the Prince Klaus Fund Award, Mahmoud Darwish, 1941-2008)

Syria's citizens are now another nation reduced to tragic turmoil resultant from being targeted in the post September 11th 2001 Pentagon plan to "take out seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and finishing off with Iran," as described by General Wesley Clark. (i)

US planned carnage in sovereign Syria was a bit behind schedule, but now back on track, if out of predicted sequence, with another wannabe Crusader in the White House, this one with a Nobel Peace Prize. Fact mirrors fiction's wildest darknesses, and from the "Nile to the Euphrates" the regions's residents increasingly have only the most uncertain and tenuous places to hide.

Syria, with a population of under twenty-three million, is also host to nearly half a million Palestinian refugees and the largest influx of Iraqi refugees in the world, a minimum of 1.2 million, who fled the US-UK's liberating bombs, bullets, kidnappings, rapes, murders, ethnic cleansing, looting and mayhem.

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) record, "Syria has been a generous host to Iraqi refugees."

Now the horrors they fled after the invasion are again stalking those who thought they were now safe:

"Iraqis with old vendettas have taken advantage of the chaos and instability in Syria to pursue Iraqi refugees there, with a string of kidnappings in recent months," records UNHCR.(ii).... MORE


URL: http://english.pravda.ru/hotspots/conflicts/27-07-2012/121761-syrians_iraquis_no_place-0/

‘British-born jihadists fighting Assad in Syria’ – captured photographer

‘British-born jihadists fighting Assad in Syria’ – captured photographer

Radical Islamists with “British accents” are among the coalition forces looking to topple Bashar Assad, says Jeroen Oerlemans, a photographer who was held hostage in Syria for a week. The UK Foreign Office has launched an investigation.

Oerlemans, a famous Dutch photo journalist, and John Cantlie, another photographer from the UK, were captured by a group of between 30 and 100 anti-Assad fighters when crossing the Syrian border from Turkey last week. They were then blindfolded.

"One of the black jihadists freaked out and shouted: 'These are journalists and now they will see we are preparing an international jihad in this place.'" Oerlemans told NRC Handelsblatt newspaper. He said that none of the fighters was Syrian..... MORE


URL: http://www.rt.com/news/british-jihadists-fighting-syria-360/

Olympics: Fantastic Day One

Olympics: Fantastic Day One

Olympics: Fantastic Day One. 47647.jpeg
Pravda photo
Russia is off the mark with the first medal - Gold - in the Men's Judo, -60 kg. category but the first Gold of the Games went to China's Yi Siling in the Women's Shooting, 10 m. air rifle. On day one 13 records fell and the youngest medal winner was China's 16-year-old Ye Shiwen.

Aleksandr Vinokurov, from Kazakhstan, stunned the home crowds in the Surrey countryside sprinting up Box Hill and finishing the Men's Cycling Road race with the Gold. At 38 years of age, he is to date the oldest medal winner, over twice the age of the PR China's Ye Shiwen, 16 - Women's Swimming 400 metres individual medley - Gold, World Record.

The first Gold went to the PR China's Yi Siling, 23, who won the Women's Shooting 10m. air rifle over Poland's Sylwia Bogacka, whose mistake after the eighth shot saw her lose the lead, which she was never to regain.

13 records fell on Day One, 3 World Records and 10 Olympic Records in Swimming, rowing and archery, where the Men's team from the Republic of Korea shone through, Im Dong-hyun breaking his own 78-arrow record by three points and he, Kim Bibmin and Oh Jin-hyek broke the World Record by 18 points..... MORE


URL: http://english.pravda.ru/news/sports/championships/29-07-2012/121775-olympics_day_one-0/

Break Written by Dinah S. Ventura


A big smile, a wave, and she was off.

The day former President and current Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo left the portals of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC), which had been her “prison” for many months on charges of electoral sabotage, seemed like déjà vu.

On the one hand, we have seen high officials leaving places of confinement and perhaps we reacted with feeling. On the other, we have seen power at work and may have rebelled against its misuse, but seeing it again in this case only drew a puff of air.

For some reason, watching the faces of our former president, her spokesman and her more publicly appealing family members caused some of us to swiftly recall our less than inspiring history — how much more of the same faces, the same places, spinning us in the same storyline over and over again are we supposed to endure?

We thought the nation had gotten a break when two decades of dictatorial leadership ended in one sweeping, unified movement from the people. We thought the same again when another uprising occurred and installed one Gloria in Malacañang..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/commentary/item/2189-break

A cycle Written by Aldrin Cardona

A cycle

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is a superhuman.
I cannot recall any great athlete, who had been injured or has suffered from a career-threatening or a career-ending disease, to have gone on a roadshow like Gloria did right on the day of her release on bail.

GMA could be the only person said to be suffering from hypoparathyroid and bone diseases, her neck in a brace, to have jumped out of bed and dive into her waiting SUV the second her petition for bail was granted by the Pasay Regional Trial Court.

Gloria was everywhere since then.

She was spotted in Tagaytay. She was seen in Taguig. Live television news feed followed her convoy to Lubao.

GMA beat Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest athletes of our time. Ali had to be cared for before he was able to light the Olympic cauldron in Atlanta in 1996.

He was relatively still young then but was already slowed down by Parkinson’s disease. He shook as he fed the torch to the flame. Many had felt the moment when Ali stood there, others were reduced to tears by the sight..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/commentary/item/2188-a-cycle

Palace mum on US-China spat over Spratly garrison

Palace mum on US-China spat over Spratly garrison

The Aquino administration has refused to be dragged in a brewing conflict between the United States and China over the latter’s plan to put up a “garrison” similar to a military base off the disputed Spratly Islands.

Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said “the Philippines has its own position on the matter and will not enter the picture. We do not know how our friends in China will face that, we will not comment on the statements of the US in reference to China’s plans,” she explained.

Valte expressed high optimism about the “diplomacy” between the Philippines and China, adding that positive results appeared to suggest that it was working.

The Palace mouthpiece even cited the Philippines-China dispute over the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal and the Kalayaan Islands in the Spratlys as among the proofs of an enhanced relationship..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/nation/item/2213-palace-mum-on-us-china-spat-over-spratly-garrison

Top Abu Sayyaf leader captured in Tawi-Tawi

Top Abu Sayyaf leader captured in Tawi-Tawi

  • Written by 
  • Monday, 30 July 2012

Government forces have arrested a founding member of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group blamed for some of the worst terror attacks in the region, security officials yesterday said.

Quoting reports from the field, Police Community Relations Group director Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. said Ammad Ustadz Hamad Idris was nabbed around 8:50 a.m. Saturday in the vicinity of Rachel’s Place Hotel in Barangay Lamion, Bongao, Tawi-Tawi province.

Cruz said Idris was arrested by virtue of an arrest warrant for a string of kidnapping and serious illegal-detention cases.

Idris was captured by combined elements of the 84th Special Action Company, the Marine Battalion Landing Team-5, the Naval Intelligence and Security Group-Western Mindanao, the Tawi-Tawi police and the Regional Intelligence Unit-15..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/headlines/item/2231-top-abu-sayyaf-leader-captured-in-tawi-tawi

SC drops Greggy from graft case

SC drops Greggy from graft case

The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld  with finality its  ruling earlier this year removing businessman Gregorio “Greggy” Ma. Araneta III as a respondent in the government’s recovery suits pending with the Sandiganbayan to recover P200 billion in alleged ill-gotten wealth during the term of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

The SC’s Second Division through Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno ordered the reinstatement of Araneta’s wife, Irene Marcos-Araneta, her siblings — Ilocos Norte Gov. Imelda Marcos-Manotoc and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. — as defendants in Civil Case No. 0002.

Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Martin Villarama Jr., Jose Portugal Perez and Bienvenido Reyes concurred with the ruling.

The tribunal denied for lack of merit the motion for reconsideration filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) seeking a reversal of the Court’s Feb. 8 decision..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/nation/item/2217-sc-drops-greggy-from-graft-case

4 dams near spilling levels — Pagasa

4 dams near spilling levels — Pagasa

Authorities raised flood alerts yesterday after two dams neared their spilling levels with water in two other dams also rising swiftly.

As of 6 a.m. Of Sunday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said water at the Ipo Dam had reached 100.80 meters.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) announced that the dam’s management may start opening the spillway gates once the water level reaches 101 meters..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/nation/item/2214-4-dams-near-spilling-levels-%E2%80%94-pagasa

Nabbed pilot gets back at PDEA agents, accuses them of planting evidence, extortion

Nabbed pilot gets back at PDEA agents, accuses them of planting evidence, extortion

Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) are now in hot water after a pilot, whom they “arrested” for alleged possession of illegal drugs, has accused them of planting evidence, robbery and trying to extort P500,000 from his family.

Commercial pilot Capt. Rioklyn Toledo, in a letter to PDEA chief Undersecretary Jose Gutierrez Jr., called for an in-depth investigation of PDEA Intelligence Officer 2 Joseph Samson for allegedly planting evidence when he (Toledo) was arrested last July 14 in a supposed buy-bust operation in Taguig City.

Aside from allegedly planting evidence against Toledo, Samson and his companions even robbed Toledo of various valuables, including licensed .45 caliber pistol, a .22 caliber pistol, P116,000 cash, an Apple laptop, a Samsonite bag, an ATM card and Rayban and Oakley sunglasses..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/metro-section/item/2205-nabbed-pilot-gets-back-at-pdea-agents-accuses-them-of-planting-evidence-extortion

House panel to investigate DFA for issuing guidelines unfair to small travel agencies

House panel to investigate DFA for issuing guidelines unfair to small travel agencies

The House committee on foreign affairs is set to investigate the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)in connection with the alleged unfair guidelines  that would affect small travel agencies.

According to Rep. Rodante Marcoleta of Alagad party-list, the move to bar small travel agencies from providing passport services is unfair.

Marcoleta said he has been receiving more complaints from small travel agencies about the unfairness of the policy, especially after the DFA formalized and issued the new guidelines for travel agency accreditation last month without any consultation.

The new DFA guidelines gave travel agencies only up to the end of the year to offer passport assistance services to the public.

Marcoleta filed House Resolution 2456 on May 20 directing the committee on foreign affairs to conduct the inquiry to get into the bottom of the DFA directive following the complaints from small travel agencies..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/metro-section/item/2203-house-panel-to-investigate-dfa-for-issuing-guidelines-unfair-to-small-travel-agencies

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