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Too late the rehearsed explanations EDITORIAL 09/11/2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Too late the rehearsed explanations

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From all indications, Noynoy Aquino was pretty well rehearsed and scripted for his press conference where he spoke of the moves he made. The press conference the Palace set up for him with just three anchors from three Aquino friendly TV networks was meant to portray Noynoy as not lacking in leadership and was on top of the situation all throughout.
Aquino, after all, is now being perceived locally and globally as having no leadership apart from being highly incompetent and unfit for the presidential throne.

There is doubt that he has restored his damaged image just with that rehearsed press conference, especially since not even the international or Hong Kong media, and print media were part of the panel. Was he scared of more direct questions from this media sector?

Also, Noynoy gave this press conference cum panel discussion some three weeks late, and noticeably, after the inter-agency probe body wrapped up its investigation and interviews, which would have given him and his image makers enough time to check out all the moves, the timing and the appearances of the police team and officers and even the Special Action Forces (SAF) to weave the stories together from where he then could fill up the blanks, and portray himself as having followed the crisis throughout and having barked orders to whoever was supposed to be in charge..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100911com1.html

Puzzling behavior FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 09/11/2010

Puzzling behavior

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
What really puzzles me about the hostage crisis that ended in a bloodbath where eight Hong Kong tourists were killed and eight more wounded, was the behavior of the tourist bus driver, all of which acts he did just do not make too much sense.

First, the bus driver who was driving a private bus whose passengers were all Hong Kong tourists, allows an armed man whom he claims he does not know, to step into the bus, while giving him a free ride.

Now why should a bus driver with tourists as passengers, do that, considering that sacked police officer Rolando Mendoza was a stranger to him — or so he claimed — and armed, to boot? He was already placing his passengers at risk by doing that. No responsible tourist bus driver would give an armed stranger a free ride — not even when claims are made that he would serve as their security.

This country — Manila included — is filled with criminals. People get kidnapped, people get killed, people get tortured, so do tourists and foreigner residents. Why then would a bus driver readily allow Mendoza, an armed stranger to him, into the bus, even to give him a free ride? That is not his job. His job is to drive the bus, and bring the tourists to places in Metro Manila for them to see.

As things happened, from his account, it didn’t take too long for Mendoza to announce that this was a hostage situation. The bus driver claimed he was cuffed to the wheel, could not hear any of the hostages crying or screaming while they were being shot up by Mendoza, and at close range, or so he says.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100911com2.html

South Koreans pay homage to health-giving herb FEATURE 09/11/2010

South Koreans pay homage to health-giving herb


GEUMSAN — “Look! It’s huge!” shouts a muddy but beaming Han Myung-Ja, 52, plunging her hoe into the soil to unearth a giant ginseng root.

Han fills a basket with the man-shaped root as she collects seasonal presents for family and friends — one of dozens of people doing the same at South Korea’s biggest ginseng festival.

The herb, known to Koreans as the “root of life” for its purported health-giving properties, grows wild in deep valleys and on shaded hillsides and has also been cultivated on the peninsula for 1,500 years.

Devotees say the herb increases resistance to stress and fatigue, has an aphrodisiac quality and acts as a stimulant, although it has proved difficult scientifically to prove some of the claimed benefits.

Last year South Korea produced 27,460 tons of ginseng roots, worth about $700 million including exports valued at more than $21 million..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100911com3.html

Hacienda Luisita Mediation Panel Suggests Another Referendum Published on September 11, 2010

Hacienda Luisita Mediation Panel Suggests Another Referendum

Published on September 11, 2010

 "The farm workers of Hacienda Luisita had been through so many referendums already. All of these were merely used by the Cojuangco family to deceive the farm workers and keep the land.” – Lito Bais United Luisita Workers Union acting chairperson.

MANILA — After two days of hearings, the mediation panel that was formed by the Supreme Court to arrive at a win-win agreement in the agrarian dispute at Hacienda Luisita is suggesting that another referendum among the farmer beneficiaries be held.

In the said referendum, the farm workers would be made to choose between physical land distribution either to individuals or to a cooperative, or remain under the Stock Distribution Option (SDO). “We called on the Supreme Court to revoke the SDO. But it seems that the mediation panel is paving the way for its legality by calling for a referendum,” United Luisita Workers Union acting chairperson Lito Bais told Bulatlat.

The SDO has been implemented at Hacienda Luisita for some 20 years now. It supposedly entitles the farmer beneficiaries to own shares of stock of Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI). In 2005, however, the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council ruled that the SDO is unconstitutional as it failed in its objective of improving the lives of farmers.

Peasant leaders walk towards their supporters gathered in front the gate of Supreme Court during the first day of the hearing. (Photo by Janess Ann J. Ellao / bulatlat.com)
While the results of the referendum will not apply uniformly to all – those voting for land distribution would be given parcels of land while those voting to remain under SDO would be given shares – Bais said, it will still be oppressive to those who would be deceived or forced into voting for the SDO because of poverty. if 10 people are deceived into signing for the SDO , it wool mean 10 families would be made to suffer. He added that ULWU is deeply concerned for the welfare of the farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita because “we have martyrs, those farm workers who have died for our struggle for our right to the land we till. But SC gave life, yet again, to the SDO that killed them.”.... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/09/11/hacienda-luisita-mediation-panel-suggests-another-referendum/

Is the Open-Skies Policy the Answer to Lucio Tan’s Anti-Worker Schemes? Published on September 11, 2010

Is the Open-Skies Policy the Answer to Lucio Tan’s Anti-Worker Schemes?

Published on September 11, 2010

In the short-term, this may close the gap in air transport service that a strike in the Philippine flag carrier would create, but at the expense of sabotaging the demands of Filipino workers.

MANILA — In response to the notice of strike filed by the Philippine Air Lines’ 1,600-strong flight attendants union on Sept 9, President Benigno Aquino renewed his threat to further liberalize air transport in the Philippines via an open skies policy. Presenting the policy like a threat to both PAL management and labor, Aquino has tasked his cabinet to study the possibility of implementing this form of liberalization of air transport since last month, when two dozen PAL pilots started resigning to protest salary cuts and contractualization. Aquino now told reporters he would ask the cabinet to “fast-track” the inquiry into implementing an open skies policy.

“If the row (between PAL management and employees) already causes disruption of PAL’s operations, the DOTC will come in and implement the open skies policy,” said the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) spokesman Dante Velasco in a GMA.news.tv report. That is, despite his worrying that a lot still needs to be done to implement the policy, for instance the need to follow the Constitutional requirement of “reciprocity.”

But will the open-skies policy be a real help in solving the labor unrest in PAL? Will it truly benefit the riding public?

A PAL flight attendant asserts that the right to strike is guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution.(Photo courtesy of fasap.net / bulatlat.com)
Aquino’s Bias for Foreign Capital, at the Expense of Filipino Workers and Riding Public

An open-skies policy will deregulate air traffic and allow more airlines to service all international and domestic routes in the country. Implementing it means the government, through its air traffic regulators, will grant service and landing rights to airlines whose governments do not allow Philippine flag carriers to service their countries..... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/09/11/is-the-open-skies-policy-the-answer-to-lucio-tan%E2%80%99s-anti-worker-schemes/

For ABS-CBN, Six to 16 Years of Service to the Company Does Not Seem to Matter Published on September 11, 2010

For ABS-CBN, Six to 16 Years of Service to the Company Does Not Seem to Matter

Published on September 11, 2010

Despite the seven years her labor case took before being resolved at the DOLE, and despite what she went through with her termination, Hidalgo said she was still shocked at having lost her job. Her desk editors and immediate superiors had reportedly liked her work, enough to give her assignments and recommend her for regularization. “I cannot understand why…I gave ABS-CBN my service, love, loyalty,” Hidalgo said. 

MANILA — In 2007, Gabby Lopez, the head of broadcasting giant ABS-CBN, publicly commended their reporter Wheng Hidalgo in front of other network employees for serving as a good example of the lengths the company’s news and current affairs personnel would take to do their job. During a segment of the network’s program Hoy Gising, an official of the Malacanang office for Religious Affairs was seen slamming the door in Ms Hidalgo’s face after she unearthed and reported an anomaly involving a missing money donation for a cancer patient.

Last week, though, it was the ABS-CBN that slammed its door in Hidalgo’s face, figuratively speaking, after the reporter’s seven-year complaint with the DOLE against ABS-CBN unearthed anomalies in the network’s treatment of its employees. This followed months of seeming discrimination in her work schedule as word came out that at last, the DOLE would favorably decide on her and five other reporters’ labor case against ABS-CBN, which they filed last 2003.

Hidalgo’s desk editors and immediate superiors had reportedly liked her work, enough to give her assignments and recommend her for regularization. (Photo courtesy of Wheng Hidalgo / bulatlat.com)
Two weeks before the said DOLE decision came out last November, Hidalgo was transferred to the graveyard shift, which was traditionally reserved by the network for junior reporters. Wheng Hidalgo has been working with the ABS-CBN for 16 years. She has worked at ABS-CBN since she graduated from college, yet she was still not considered or treated as a senior reporter, let alone a regular employee. Instead, she was a contractual employee whose contract only kept getting renewed after its expiration. Sometimes, she said they were working without contract – thus living in fear of being fired any time for any reason..... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/09/11/for-abs-cbn-six-to-16-years-of-service-to-the-company-does-not-seem-to-matter/

Inspiring Pioneer of Philippine Drivers’ Movement Gave His Final ‘Boundary’ Published on September 11, 2010

Inspiring Pioneer of Philippine Drivers’ Movement Gave His Final ‘Boundary’

Published on September 11, 2010


MANILA — Medardo Roda, “Ka Roda” to friends and foes, the tall figure that rallied drivers and operators to the Philippine progressive drivers’ movement from the time PISTON was formed in 1981 to this decade, the well-remembered voice of the marginalized that tirelessly rail at the connivance of the Philippine state and oil cartel against workers and transport drivers, yet sing also of love for one’s country and cracked jokes, passed away on September 5 due to cardiac arrest.

On Valentine’s Day last year, more than 350 people gathered to pay tribute to Ka Roda. (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)
As the pioneering leader and later Chairman Emeritus of PISTON (Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide), Ka Roda, as the KMU put it, is unarguably the most famous and most well-loved transport leader this country has ever had. His towering presence, literally and figuratively, in the struggle for just treatment of transport workers and of the marginalized sectors in general, inspires the younger progressive transport leaders and stymies the yellow transport leaders into ignominy by comparison.

PISTON is one of the national federations affiliated with the Kilusang Mayo Uno; it is the organization where Ka Roda mostly concretized his struggle for national freedom and genuine democracy for more than 30 years..... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/09/11/inspiring-pioneer-of-philippine-drivers%E2%80%99-movement-gave-his-final-%E2%80%98boundary%E2%80%99/

Noy junks ‘friendly fire’ claims By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Benjamin B. Pulta 09/11/2010

Says too early to conclude police killed hostages

Noy junks ‘friendly fire’ claims

By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Benjamin B. Pulta

With the inter-agency investigative body coming up with statements of probable “friendly fire” having killed some of the eight Hong Kong tourists while wounding another eight during the botched hostage rescue operations, President Aquino junked the “friendly fire” claims and even appeared to be defending the incompetence of his Philippine National Police (PNP) and the assault team as he yesterday warned the public not to jump to conclusions.

“Let us determine what took place before we comment on something that might or might not have happened. Let us not jump to conclusions,” Aquino stressed to reporters.

He was referring to remarks of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, head of the special investigating panel, that some of the hostages might have been hit by “friendly fire” as police tried to rescue them.

Initially, it was reported Mendoza had shot the hostages at close range.

However, De Lima said the investigation had found that the hostages were not all shot at close range and that many more policemen may have fired on the bus than was originally believed..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100911hed1.html

RP gains 2 notches but remains Asian doormat in WEF ranking 09/11/2010

RP gains 2 notches but remains Asian doormat in WEF ranking
The country somewhat improved in the yearly Global Competitiveness ranking of the Swiss-based World Economic Forum (WEF) as it placed 85th among 139 countries in the list from 87th last year.

Corruption and an inefficient government were rated as the biggest hurdles for the country’s competi-tiveness, according to the report.

Considering that six new countries were added to the list, however, the country’s ranking can be considered to have failed to improve from last year.

The recovery of the Philippines in the ranking by two notches also came after it dropped to 87th place in 2009 from a more respectable 71st place in 2008.

Among Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines was near the bottom ranking only higher than Cambodia at
109th with a score of 3.63 against the Philippines’ 3.96.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100911hed2.html

Bus assault by MPD’s SWAT was Magtibay’s call, says PNP chief 09/11/2010

Bus assault by MPD’s SWAT was Magtibay’s call, says PNP chief
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Jesus Verzosa yesterday said that the decision to assault the ill-fated Hong Tai bus using local Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) operatives, instead of the better trained and equipped Special Action Force (SAF), was initiated by Manila Police District (MPD) director Chief Supt. Rodolfo Magtibay.

Verzosa bared this when asked why the PNP did not field the SAF during last Aug. 23 hostage stand-off at the Luneta Grandstand, despite the presence of numerous operatives of this elite force within a striking distance from the crime scene.

He said that as ground commander, Magtibay has the discretion on what forces to use in neutralizing hostage- taker, dismissed Senior Insp. Rolando Mendoza.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100911nat9.html

‘Facebook fans’ slam, defend Noy’s media panel forum By Aytch S. de la Cruz 09/11/2010

‘Facebook fans’ slam, defend Noy’s media panel forum
By Aytch S. de la Cruz

It looks like President Aquino and his image-makers didn’t quite pull off their damage control act successfully, with some seeing his delayed explanations as “scripted” while others, who clearly sport the yellow color, defended him.

It was mainly a mixed reaction of “Facebook” addicts to Thursday’s live panel interview with Aquino, with selected TV anchors from three major TV networks, all of which are Malacañang and Aquino-friendly.

None from the international media, nor Hong Kong media, nor members of the print media were tapped by Malacañang for representation in the broadcast interview, raising speculations that Aquino and his handlers were ensuring that no “embarrassing” or difficult questions would be asked that may rattle him.

Some called it “scripted”; others appreciated his “humility,” offered him unsolicited advice and there were those who compared the President and his performance to his celebrity sister, Kris Aquino, for his penchant for holding press conferences when he has to defend himself against criticisms.

These were just the reactions made by Aquino’s followers through his official Facebook page right after.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100911hed3.html

Noynoy mulls open skies policy in case of strike 09/11/2010

Noynoy mulls open skies policy in case of strike
President Aquino yesterday said the government may call in other airlines to fly routes served by Philippine Airlines (PAL) should the planned strike by its cabin crew union push through.

According to the Chief Executive, they have already secured a notice from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to allow other airlines take PAL passengers.

“There has been a notice by the CAAP to other airlines of potential slots that they will be given to replace the slots that PAL will not be servicing if they (Fasap) go on strike. On top of that the review of the open skies is being fast-tracked and, if it is necessary, we will (implement) it to minimize disruption to riding public,” Aquino stressed.

The 1,600-member Flight Attendants’ and Stewards’ Association of the Philippines (Fasap) had filed a strike notice with the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) which by law has 30 days to try to find a compromise between the two sides to prevent a shut-down.

Aquino reiterated his assurances that the convenience of the plane-riding public and its welfare will not be sacrificed by the government in view of the... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100911hed5.html

Air Force chopper burns in Ilocos Sur 09/11/2010

Air Force chopper burns in Ilocos Sur
A military helicopter providing combat support to ground troops operating against communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels yesterday went on fire after taking an emergency landing in a rice field in Ilocos Sur province.

Col. Essel Soriano, Army 503rd Brigade commander, said the seven military personnel aboard the ill-fated Huey helicopter were safe after the emergency landing in Barangay Nagrebcan in Sta. Lucia town around 2 p.m.

“They are all safe, no casualty,” he added.

But Soriano said the helicopter was “totally burned” after its landing.

The Army official said the ill-fated helicopter was one of the two Hueys which were dispatched to support ongoing combat operations by Army troops on the ground against communist rebels.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100911hed6.html

Miriam seeks limits on judicial gag orders vs media 09/11/2010

Miriam seeks limits on judicial gag orders vs media
Sen. Miriam Santiago yesterday appealed to the judiciary to limit the issuance of gag orders prohibiting the media from reporting or publishing information on cases of “widespread concern to the community.”

Santiago, a former judge of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, said that the trial court hearing the Maguindanao murder case should keep its proceedings open to media coverage and refrain from bringing up the sub judice rule.

“It is important that the court refrain from invoking the sub judice rule so that the media coverage of the Maguindanao case would remain unhampered. Let every Filipino know how the wheels of justice churn for this monumental case,” Santiago said.

The sub judice rule is often invoked by the courts to prohibit the media from reporting, commenting on, or publishing events surrounding a trial. The rationale behind the rule is to prevent the media report or commentary from interfering with the fair and impartial resolution of the case.

“The sub judice rule is a foreign legal concept,” Santiago explained. “It originated in countries, such as the United States, whose justice systems have adopted the trial by jury system.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100911nat1.html

Truth Commission will start its job next week—Noy 09/11/2010

Truth Commission will start its job next week—Noy
President Aquino said on Friday that the Truth Commission will start its investigation job next week after its composition gets completed.

Aquino told Palace reporters after the AFP counter-terrorism capability demonstration held in Sangley Point Naval Base that the Truth Commission headed by retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide and its members will take their oath of office on Monday.

The members of the commission are retired Supreme Court Associate Justices Flerida Ruth Romero, Romeo Callejo Jr., Carlos Medina Jr., executive director of the Ateneo Human Rights Center and Ateneo Law professor . Menardo Guevarra.

According to Aquino, after the commission members take their oath, they will start investigation of the corruption scandals during the previous administration of former President and now Pampanga Rep.Gloria Arroyo.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100911nat6.html

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