• 6 AUGUST - *1907 - Gen. Macario Sakay, one of the Filipino military leaders who had continued fighting the imperialist United States invaders eight years into the Ph...
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The Daily Tribune

(Without Fear or Favor)



World Wildlife Fund for Nature-Philippines

The Philippines Matrix Project

Heavy traffic seen as vacationers return

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Heavy traffic seen as vacationers return

April 3, 2010, 5:12pm
With millions expected to return to Metro Manila after the Lenten season break, a Quezon City councilor asked concerned local authorities to take steps to ensure order and minimize inconvenience usually associated with the expected huge traffic volume on the streets.

Councilor Jaime Borres of the city’s third district said he will coordinate with Manuel Sabalza of the Quezon City Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS) to ensure that key city intersections and busy roads are manned by traffic enforcers.... MORE

SourceThe Manila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/250891/heavy-traffic-seen-vacationers-return

31 penitents nailed to the cross

31 penitents nailed to the cross

April 3, 2010, 1:50pm
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — Thirty-one Catholic penitents and faith healers – 28 in Pampanga and three in Bulacan – were nailed to their individual crosses on Good Friday, following traditional crucifixions and reenactment of the passion of Jesus Christ that have become both a tourist attraction and a cause for concern for the Church, which opposes the practice.

The 28 crucifixions were held in various barangays in San Fernando, the most popular being in Barangay San Pedro Cutud, where these nailing rites were witnessed by nearly 30,000 residents, local and foreign tourists.
.... MORE

SourceThe Manila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/250833/31-penitents-nailed-cross

SDO And Farmers' Misery In Luisita

SDO And Farmers' Misery In Luisita

Through the stock distribution option, the essence of land reform has been distorted to benefit landowners-denying the farmers of actual land redistribution.

Published at the IBON website Monday, 16 November 2009

IBON Features - The massacre in Tarlac's Hacienda Luisita five years ago where seven farm workers were felled by government bullets and scores suffered injuries-is a tragic testament to the peasants' continuing plight of landlessness and poverty.

Particularly in Luisita, peasants have for two decades been denied the essence of land reform-genuine land distribution. This, as the Cojuangcos persist in implementing the stock distribution option (SDO) despite justified calls for its revocation.... MORE

SourceIBON Foundation

URL: http://info.ibon.org/ibon_features.php?id=8

Landlessness And Peasant Woes: A Lingering Calamity

Landlessness And Peasant Woes: A Lingering Calamity

Published at IBON website Wednesday, 21 October 2009

IBON Features - Recent tropical storms Ondoy and Pepeng reportedly caused P20 billion worth of damages to agriculture and destroyed crops amounting to P11 billion. But disaster or no disaster, this year's Peasant Month again finds the Filipino farmer still deep in distress from the effects of unprecedented land-use conversion, land monopoly, high rent, usury and low wages, lack of government support and a litany of social injustices-or the failure that was the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP)..... MORE


URL: http://info.ibon.org/ibon_features.php?id=27

The People's Choice: IBON and Pagbabago's Election 2010 Voters' Education Kit

The People's Choice: IBON and Pagbabago's Election 2010 Voters' Education Kit

An overview of the Automated Election System, "Election Facts and Figures", "The People's Criteria" vis a vis the nation's situation, and "Where the Presidentiables Stand" (a matrix of the 9 presidential candidates' views vis a vis The People's Criteria)
Download in PDF format The overwhelming majority of Filipinos suffer chronic poverty and backwardness. The last nine years of the Arroyo administration have only seen their situation become even worse. Many are hoping that the May 2010 elections will be a fresh start and that new leadership will address their plight....MORE

Source: IBON Foundation
URL: http://info.ibon.org/ibon_birdtalk.php

Growth Figures Expose Government's Fake Stimulus, Limits Of Relying On Remittances

Growth Figures Expose Government's Fake Stimulus, Limits Of Relying On Remittances

Published at the IBON website Sunday, 29 November 2009
By Sonny Africa

IBON Features - The weak third quarter growth results reported by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) do not only confirm the uncertainty of achieving the full-year growth rate that the government has been hyping in a bid to project optimism and confidence. They also expose, among others, the limits of relying on overseas remittances to fuel economic growth, and how the government's so-called stimulus program is more exaggeration than reality.... MORE

SourceIBON Foundation

URL: http://info.ibon.org/ibon_features.php

Violence and remembrance

Violence and remembrance

by Luis Teodoro

The Nobel laureate William Faulkner observed some 50 years ago that their tragedy is that human beings can get used to anything. Faulkner was speaking in the context of the constant threat of nuclear annihilation, and the fear to which his generation had grown so accustomed it had become part of daily life. But his observation helps explain why public interest in the Ampatuan massacre of November 23 is waning.

As huge an outrage as the killing was of 57 men and women, 32 of whom were journalists and media workers, most Filipinos are already in the process of forgetting it, have already forgotten it, are no longer interested in it, or, when it was reported, were not even particularly shocked by it. Filipinos too can get used to anything — including the most brutal of murders and the worst killing of journalists in history.

They’ve had a lot of practice in taking violence in stride. Although they insist that they’re a peaceful people, and violence alien to their nature, the reality suggests the opposite. Philippine history is nothing if not a record of violence — not only of rebellions and insurrections, and of wars and uprisings, but also of the violence the unjust political and social structures inflict on the majority in the form of hunger and despair as well as the denial of rights, including such basic ones as the right to life and freedom from fear.

Violence and the threat of it are as resident in the daily lives of the majority as joblessness and want. In the urban warrens of the poor, mayhem and even sudden death are common, provoked by reasons the observer might conclude to be trivial, among them petty disagreements even among friends and neighbors — the consequence of the poverty that compels people to live practically cheek by jowl with each other, and to compete for limited resources.

Violence too is among the distinguishing features of Philippine elections, together with fraud and vote-buying. Ordinary folk are often caught in the conflicts that inevitably erupt among the camps of the handful of families and dynasties that contend for supposedly elective posts made lucrative by vast opportunities for corruption. Election- related violence in the Philippines has historically included harassment, threats of physical harm, kidnapping, murder, bombings and arson. Hired thugs, as well as police and military elements co-opted by political camps at the local level are the usual hatchet men of local warlords. But a disturbing trend in recent years has been the use, the virtual privatization, by the executive branch of the military and police in elections, the “Hello Garci” scandal being its most prominent example.

Although both for the number of casualties as well as for its brutality, it belongs in a class of its own, the Ampatuan massacre was nevertheless election- related, prompting predictions of further violence as the 2010 elections approached. The massacre was after all prompted by the contention between two previously allied clans, each with its own private army, over the gubernatorial and other posts in Maguindanao province.

Because of the excessively long periods in which candidates prepare for elections, incidents of violence often occur long before the actual campaign period. The Ampatuan massacre occurred two months and 17 days before the start of the official campaign period of 60 days for national elections (February 9), and 29 days before the official start of the campaign period of 45 days for local elections (March 10).

In 1988, nearly 200 people died in some 300 election-related incidents of violence; in 1992, 87 in 150 incidents; in 1997, over 100 in about 200 incidents; in 1998, 80 died in over 300 incidents. The incidents and deaths started in the months preceding the campaign, or the pre-election period when the candidates start preparing for the elections, up to election day itself.

So “normal” an accompaniment of Philippine elections are incidents of violence and deaths that the Commission on Elections as well as the Philippine National Police characteristically declare elections “peaceful” or “relatively peaceful” solely on the basis of the number of deaths on election day itself. The nine deaths on election day 1998, for example, qualified the elections of that year for the description “peaceful”. In the 2007 senatorial elections, on the other hand, 8o people had been hurt and 75 killed as the campaign warmed up. But that year compared favorably with 2004, when a total of 150 people were killed in election related violence.

With such numbers “normally” involved, only the brutality of the Ampatuan massacre, and its including a record number of journalists and media workers shocked Filipinos as well as foreign observers. But the shock is wearing off, as the judicial process that’s supposed to obtain justice for the victims moves glacially. The hearings Filipinos had been reading about in the newspapers and seeing over television have been indefinitely postponed to allow the judges in both the multiple murder as well as rebellion cases, now both in Regional Trial Courts in Quezon City, to resolve the multiple motions (14) the lawyer of Andal Ampatuan Jr. has filed, as well as the prosecution’s motion for the judge in the rebellion case to inhibit himself from trying the case.

And yet the indefinitely postponed hearings in the case of Ampatuan Jr., a hundred days after the massacre itself, were only hearings on his petition for bail, a fact that media and other groups find distressing because it could forebode a trial ten, twenty times more protracted.

Meanwhile, the media too appear to have temporarily rested. Although occasional stories still appear in print as well as broadcast, the media have been focused mostly on the national elections, to the neglect of such related stories as how the elections in Maguindanao are likely to proceed given the Mangudadatu-Ampatuan conflict.

Only remembrance, it is said about the Jewish Holocaust, can prevent its repetition. If that is indeed the case, and given the short memories of Filipinos, the violence that’s so much a part of their lives is likely to continue to haunt this country, its elections, and the media. (BusinessWorld)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Luis Teodoro) 

Source: Luis Teodoro Site
URL: http://www.luisteodoro.com/violence-and-remembrance/

Oppressor and oppressed

Oppressor and oppressed

by Luis Teodoro

In the aftermath of his mother’s death and burial in the last quarter of 2009, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III overnight became the choice of an astounding 50 percent of the electorate for President of the Republic.

The early surveys showed Aquino III leading the previously unexciting and lackluster field of declared candidates for the post, which at that time included such mind-numbing and ho- hum contenders as Gilberto Teodoro, Jr., Bayani Fernando, Manuel Villar, and Joseph Estrada.

Corazon Aquino’s illness, death and funeral, among other unplanned outcomes, led to a resurgence of the enthusiasm that had propelled her to the Presidency in 1986. But they also, and even more importantly, anointed “Noynoy” Aquino III as his parents’ political heir.

Aquino III’s survey numbers in late 2009 and early 2010 suggested that he had awakened the imagination of the electorate dulled by years of having to choose among candidates who seemed only different but who were actually the same. From the surveys one sensed that most of the voters were very early dismissing the 2010 elections as another contest between tweedledums and tweedledees, and were dangerously resigned to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s hanging on to power, or to someone else as uninspiring, probably an Arroyo surrogate, taking over.

Aquino III’s emergence as the Aquino political heir changed all that. For the first time in many years, the electorate dared imagine that it may actually have a choice this May.

He did touch the core of citizen anguish over the political system and the governments it has inflicted on this country, awakening the aspirations for change and the hunger for a just and prosperous society.

But as it has happened before in both this country as well as in others, citizen identification of Aquino with change might have been based on mistaken assumptions not only about Aquino III, but also about his parents themselves.

About “Ninoy” Aquino’s challenge to the dictatorship and the value of his subsequent martyrdom there is no question, and neither is there any doubt about Corazon Aquino’s commitment to restoring the institutions of liberal democracy. But neither had any coherent critique of Philippine society and its vast problems, and why its so-called democracy gave birth to the Marcos despotism. And neither had any program for the transformation that many expected would be among the legacies of EDSA 1.

Aquino did sign the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law in 1988 — after it had been watered down by the landlord dominated 8th Congress. She had resisted advice, prominently from the USAID, that she abolish land tenancy outright before Congress convened and when she still had lawmaking powers.

USAID consultant and land reform exponent Roy Prosterman had argued that unless land tenancy was abolished, the Philippines would face continuing civil disorder and even a revolution as costly as the Mexican Revolution. Prosterman believed that the key to solving poverty in countries like the Philippines was land redistribution — which may not be rocket science, but which has been validated by the experience of most of the countries in Asia whose growth has outpaced the Philippines’ own pathetic lip service to “development.”

Although described as comprehensive, the program established by CARL, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, was shot full of loopholes huge enough for landlords to drive exemption trucks through.

Among the most common is that one labeled “land use conversion.” By converting agricultural land into industrial, residential or recreational use, landowners could and have been able to avoid having their excess lands distributed to tenant farmers.

Other creative approaches have included making tenants part owners of the land. Among the landowners that have taken the second route are the Cojuangcos, who are still contesting in the Supreme Court the Department of Agrarian Reform’s cancellation of the stock distribution option the family had devised to avoid distributing Hacienda Luisita to its tenants. The Hacienda is among the 1.2 million hectares of prime agricultural land that has escaped CARP coverage through various schemes including “stock distribution options”.

Politics being what it is, and questions about Cojuangco-Aquino plans for it and its tenants being of unquestioned legitimacy, Hacienda Luisita has naturally become an election issue Aquino III can’t shake off no matter how he tries.

Aquino III has promised to eventually divest himself of his Luisita interests, and to distribute it to its tenants, and has refused to be drawn into debating on it — which could suggest that he doesn’t regard the land issue as that crucial to the country’s present and future, his focus being on stopping government corruption, period.

But a New York Times interview with one of his cousins, who is quoted as declaring that the Cojuangcos would not give up either Luisita or the sugar business, is currently helping keep the issue in the public eye. Aquino has declared that Fernando Cojuangco, chief operating officer of the company that owns Luisita, had been misquoted by the Times reporter. But the Times is standing by the accuracy of its story, and seems to have the tapes to prove that Mr. Cojuangco had not been misquoted or his statements taken out of context.

Unfortunate that Aquino III had to use the word “inaapi” (being oppressed) to describe himself in what he insists is a campaign by his rivals for the Presidency to use Luisita against him. Oppression resonates with meaning in popular culture and among Filipino poor communities because it certainly applies to them, particularly to the landless.

Equally disturbing, however, was the report by some community journalists that during his campaign sortie to Catarman, Northern Samar, his retinue had asked the media not to ask questions about, among other issues, Hacienda Luisita.

If the “inaapi” gaffe sounded as If Aquino III was making light of the oppression inherent in the archaic tenancy system, the latter could give people the impression that he’s this early trying to manage the press in the tradition of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Neither helps sustain the hope that Aquino III is this country’s best candidate for reform. (BusinessWorld)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Luis Teodoro) 

Source: Luis Teodoro Site
URL: http://www.luisteodoro.com/oppressor-and-oppressed/

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