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Longest-held political prisoner longs for freedom 24 December 2010 By JONAL JAVIER AND ANA RITA SUPAN

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Longest-held political prisoner longs for freedom

24 December 2010

CHRISTMAS is a time for coming home. And so it came as no surprise when most of the health workers belonging to the “Morong 43” were released on Dec. 10, Human Rights Day. Less than two weeks later, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a military officer charged with leading a coup against the Arroyo government, was likewise freed after years of imprisonment.

A lesser-known political prisoner also awaits freedom. His name is Juanito Itaas. He is one of more than 200 Filipinos still languishing in jail for offenses related to political crimes.

Most Filipinos would not know who Itaas is. But the most important American officials in the Philippines would.

That is because Itaas was accused of killing 21 years ago Col. James Rowe, then the chief of the Army Division of the Joint RP-US Military Advisory Group (JUSMAG) and the highest-ranking US military officer in the Philippines.... MORE

SourceVera Files

URL: http://verafiles.org/frontpage-sticky/longest-held-political-prisoner-longs-for-freedom/

Clear and present danger by Prof. Luis V. Teodoro

Clear and present danger

WE CAN all sleep soundly each night in the certainty that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is on guard and watching over us. Regardless of such technicalities as due process and human rights, it is at this very moment protecting us not only from explosives experts pretending to be health workers, pregnant mothers and nine-year old girls able to carry and even fire M-16 assault rifles taller than themselves, but also from trade union leaders, community activists, lawyers, church people and even a botanist or two.

Like that other model of selfless, honest and efficient public service, the Philippine National Police, the AFP’s job is also to serve and protect. Neither always says who they’re protecting and serving, but they do occasionally mention something called “the people,” by whom we can reasonably surmise from their near-common histories and current actions they mean the hacenderos, the warlords, the foreign mining companies and the other worthies who have made this country such a heaven for themselves by making it hell for the 90 million others who have to live in this archipelago of fear. After all, there’s a rumor that even your friendly local warlord and hacendero are human, too. Think Ampatuan. Think local officials who mastermind the assassination of journalists. Think certain Philippine presidents.

Since the AFP was founded by the United States at the turn of the century, allegedly as an offspring of the Katipunan but in truth to hunt down its remnants, it’s been doing a great job of serving and protecting not only local worthies but also its primary foreign patron — the one that keeps it in arms and provides its chosen officers the training they need in, among others, the fine arts of torture and mayhem.

Recall the campaign against the Huks, and how certain units of the the AFP under the benign guidance of the Central Intelligence Agency did their bit for God, democracy, country and the United States by impaling on poles the severed heads of peasant leaders it had captured and parading them through the country’s villages to impart to the peasantry the signal lesson that it doesn’t pay to rebel, neither hunger nor oppression being reason enough to challenge the democratic order.

Recall the martial law period and how the officer corps defended democracy by serving and protecting Ferdinand Marcos, and how, later — much, much later — some of its members’ reinvented themselves as secret Marcos opponents, took credit for his downfall, and, by using the logic taught them in that magnificent wellspring of intellectual excellence, the Philippine Military Academy, they then condemned the release of Marcos political prisoners. Think Rex Robles. Think Gregorio Honasan.

Think of others such as Trillanes, who believe that launching a putsch overnight is on the same level of patriotism as years of fighting injustice. Think PMA Class of 1978. Think “the fist of martial law” (Alfred McCoy’s phrase in his book, Closer Than Brothers), and remember the brightest and the best sons and daughters of the Filipino people — poets, social workers, cancer surgeons among others — the AFP killed between 1972 and 1986 in furtherance of the democratic ideal. Think of the coup attempts from 1986 to 1989, and the bodies they left behind. Think Lean Alejandro; think Rolando Olalia. Think of the over 1,000 victims of extrajudicial killings between 2000 and 2010.

Now segue to the present, and think Morong 43. Listen to the AFP as it unashamedly announces to the world its conviction that due process, and by implication the very law itself, is a mere technicality. Thus did an AFP spokesman wave aside the Department of Justice’s findings — on which President Aquino III based his order to drop the charges against them — that the arrest of the 43 was flawed. Declaring that they would respect Mr. Aquino’s decision — suggesting thereby that the AFP had a choice in the matter — he also said in the same breath that the AFP “stands by” the “legitimacy” of the so-called operation that, armed with a warrant of arrest for a fictitious person, went on to blindfold the 43 men and women they found in an address the warrant did not specify, took them to one of their camps, and proceeded to psychologically and physically torture, humiliate and subject them to various indignities.

Many people have condemned not only the AFP’s violations of the human rights of the Morong 43, but also the statements the AFP made following the Aquino government decision to withdraw the charges against the health workers. But think national security. Think of clear and present danger; think dangerous tendencies — and think AFP.

Why should this great institution conceal its historic dedication to the defense of democracy, which it believes consists of short circuiting its own processes (or “technicalities”)? Why should it conceal its core principle that might is right — that being in possession of guns endows it with a power far above and beyond that of the courts and the Constitution? Shouldn’t we instead be thankful for the AFP’s most recent statements for being as candid as its communication skills allow, and for coming so close to declaring its true sentiments as it pursues its mission of defending democracy from itself?

Why should it pretend to a logic it doesn’t possess and to which it is immune, its officers having been indoctrinated, from their very first day at the PMA, that only the logic of violence is real, as upperclassmen demonstrate when initiating lowerclassmen into the values of the officer corps? And why should the AFP be made to fret over the fact that the health workers, during the months of their captivity, could have otherwise been serving the health needs of the neglected communities, since these very same communities are the infinite sources of the political and community activists, human rights workers and other malcontents whose very existence so offends their democratic sensibilities they’ve had to rid the country of hundreds of them?

Those who fear for the future of human rights, who’re alarmed by the violations of due process committed supposedly in the service of national security, need a reality check. They should stop expecting too much of an institution that, by serving and protecting, has been the force most responsible for keeping things the way they are in the country of our despair.(BusinessWorld)

(Reprinted with permission from Prof. Luis V. Teodoro)


URL: http://www.luisteodoro.com/clear-and-present-danger/

Pinoys spending this season: P1.2-P1.5 billion daily transaction in ATM alone

Pinoys spending this season: P1.2-P1.5 billion daily transaction in ATM alone

A very Merry Christmas to all my readers.  May this beloved season of grace fill you and yours with the choicest of God’s blessings---joy, love, peace and lots of harmonious family and clan get-togethers that we Pinoys deeply relish.    

Buoyancy of Philippine economy

Commentators have spoken about how well the Philippine economy is doing, compared to those of many European countries and the US.  Among the indicators often cited are the rise in our international reserves, boosted mainly by the heavy flow of remittances from overseas Filipinos, and the strong stock market.

 Another handy index was the heavy shopping in the malls, and one reason for this was that folks were beguiled by the wide variety of goods flooding the markets, much of them imported from our Asian neighbors, including our fellow Asean countries and Asean's four partners, namely, Japan, Korea, China and Australia..... MORE

SourcePolitical Tidbits

URL: http://www.polbits.com/2010/12/pinoys-spending-this-season-p12-to-p15.html

What Was the Star of Bethlehem?

What Was the Star of Bethlehem?

[Nb: This is reposted from Philippine Commentary 2005--DJB=]
SINCE NO ONE SEEMS TO KNOW THE ANSWER, I have made it a habit, indulged in around Christmas time, to write an essay based on the best conjectures, past and present, as to what exactly the author of the Gospel According to Matthew might have been referring to in this famous passage --
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East and are come to worship him." When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him." -- Matthew 2:1-10.... MORE

SourcePhilippine Commentary

URL: http://philippinecommentary.blogspot.com/2010/12/what-was-star-of-bethlehem.html

3 KONTRA-KUNDIMAN — E. San Juan, Jr.

3 KONTRA-KUNDIMAN — E. San Juan, Jr.

ni E. San Juan. Jr.
ni E. San Juan. Jr.
“Kailangang managinip!”    –V. I. Lenin

Sa gitna ng paglalakbay, sandaling bumaling at naitanong:
Isang matagal na sakit ba ang buhay, walang lunas at lubay?
Bakit hahakbang upang mabulabog ang alikabok sa lansangan?
Tumindig sa harap ng pader, suriin ang bituka ng hayup.

Kakalawangin lamang ang puso mo sa agos ng luha’t pawis.

Nanuot sa buto ang hinala, tumagos sa laman ang hinagap—
Nagluksang langit ang gabay bagamat may bituing kumikislap.
Paano pupuslit kung nakatanikala sa rehas ng iyong dibdib?
Hindi mawatas kung saan lulubog-lulutang ang panaginip..... MORE

SourcePhilippine Matrix Project

URL: http://philcsc.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/3-kontra-kundiman-e-san-juan-jr/

The spirits, flora, fauna thrive in Mount Kitanglad

The spirits, flora, fauna thrive in Mount Kitanglad

MOUNT KITANGLAD, BUKIDNON – A peso coin drenched in chicken blood is the welcome offered to visitors to this mountain, which soars 2,899 meters over the city of Malaybalay, and the towns of Lantapan, Libona, Impasug-ong, and Sumilao.

“This will serve as your identification,” says Bae Inatlawan as she hands over the bloody coin, “so that the spirits will allow you to enter.”

An elder of the Daraghuyan tribal community, Bae Inatlawan – also known as Adelina Tarino – had earlier banged a gong and recited a chant to call the spirits. With the help of a couple of other tribal elders, she then slit the throats of three chickens and poured their blood onto a shrub beside the sacrificial table. The visitors’ hands also got a dab of chicken blood each, as did their cell phones and cameras..... MORE

SourcePhilippine Center for Investigative Journalism

URL: http://pcij.org/stories/the-spirits-flora-fauna-thrive-in-mount-kitanglad/

God often surprises but delivers – Pope Saturday, 25 December 2010

God often surprises but delivers – Pope

Benedict’s Christmas Eve message to air on BBC radio

Pope Benedict XVI will say that God is faithful to His promises but often surprises us by how He fulfills them, in a message for BBC radio’s Thought for the Day to be broadcast later on Friday.

In a special event to mark Christmas Eve, Benedict recorded the message in Rome on Wednesday and his comments will go out in the slot during the corporation’s flagship Today program at 3:45 p.m. (Manila time).

“I keep all of you very much in my prayers during this Holy Season,” the Pope says in the broadcast, excerpts of which were carried on the BBC’s website.

The pontiff is quoted as saying that Christmas recalls the time in history when the Israelites were waiting for the Messiah, whom they pictured as a great leader who would restore their freedom..... MORE

SourceManila Times

URL: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/top-stories/36225-god-often-surprises-but-delivers--pope

DENR set to penalize non-segregation of collected garbage Saturday, 25 December 2010

DENR set to penalize non-segregation of collected garbage

 By James Konstantin Galvez, Reporter

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it would penalize garbage collectors who fail to sort wastes as mandated by law.
“Filipinos are now aware of waste segregation and many are already practicing it in their households, but a lot of them are discouraged to sustain this practice because they see the truck collectors mixing up their garbage anyway,” DENR Secretary Ramon Paje said in a statement.

Section 48 of Republic Act (RA) 9003, also known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, explicitly prohibits the collection and transport of non-segregated waste.

This also includes mixing source-separated waste in any container used for solid waste collection or disposal.
Paje said that violation of the law is punishable with imprisonment of one day to three years, or a fine of P300 to P500,000.

He said imposing the penalty would encourage garbage collectors to implement ecological waste management and dispose of their collected garbage properly..... MORE

SourceManila Times

URL: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/business-columns/36208-denr-set-to-penalize-non-segregation-of-collected-garbage

3,000 families to stay longer in shelters Saturday, 25 December 2010 00:00

3,000 families to stay longer in shelters

Some 3,000 displaced families temporarily housed in various shelters in conflict areas in the country’s southern Mindanao island are expected to return to their homes by the end of 2011, a senior government official said on Thursday.

These people remain homeless as a result of armed conflict between government troops and separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels since 2008.

Most of them live in dire conditions in government-run evacuation centers, at relocation sites or with host families..... MORE

SourceManila Times

URL: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/top-stories/36228-3000-families-to-stay-longer-in-shelters

Mosley thrilled to face Pacquiao By NICK GIONGCO

Mosley thrilled to face Pacquiao

December 24, 2010, 5:13pm

MANILA, Philippines — Shane Mosley believes Manny Pacquiao is tailor-made for him.

Shortly after Top Rank big boss Bob Arum confirmed that the two are going to slug it out on May 7 next year at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the 39-year-old American puncher reached out to boxing writers across the US, telling them how thrilled he is to face Pacquiao and how he will dismantle the Filipino dynamo.

“I'm a bigger guy than him and he gets hit,” Mosley told Dan Rafael of ESPN.com. “And you saw how I hurt Floyd (Mayweather). Manny is going to come forward and I will hit him on the chin at some point. His defense is not like Floyd's. Manny will come at me, and I will knock him out.".... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/294725/mosley-thrilled-face-pacquiao

PCCI urges faster rehab of power plants By EDU LOPEZ December 24, 2010, 5:24pm

PCCI urges faster rehab of power plants

December 24, 2010, 5:24pm
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has urged new owners of the privatized power plants in Luzon to expedite the rehabilitation and maintenance of their power plants to address the projected energy shortfall in the next two years.

"We can produce another 300 to 600 megawatts until the new power plants come in 2013," said PCCI energy chairman Jose Alejandro.

PCCI is closely working with the government to also help address the Mindanao energy situation which is "facing a very serious challenge in the next two to three years"..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/294730/pcci-urges-faster-rehab-power-plants

Christmas in Children’s Eyes By MA. GLAIZA LEE

Christmas in Children’s Eyes

December 24, 2010, 3:24am
MANILA, Philippines – Ryan, a nine-year-old boy, looked at the cotton candy in his hand with such amazement and wonder that one would think he was actually in Willy Wonka's sugary world rather than in the hospital dining hall of Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

Ryan is just one of the many children with neurological problems who are being treated there. There are many. Every year, PGH admits more than a hundred children with hydrocephalus. They are either born with hydrocephalus as part of their multiple congenital malformations, or have acquired the condition as a complication of brain infection or tumors. Ryan, for one, suffers from complicated TB meningitis. Treatment isn't cheap. One procedure alone would cost P200,000..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/294604/christmas-children-s-eyes

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