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No more excuses EDITORIAL 04/30/2011

Saturday, April 30, 2011

No more excuses

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Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has resigned from her post and obviously, Noynoy must be overjoyed by the latest turn of events.

He immediately accepted Merci’s resignation.

But now that Merci is gone, he may be facing an even bigger hurdle as he no longer has that excuse he always uses to blame his failure to get rid of corruption in his government, due to what he and his allies call their major “stumbling block” now that she has resigned.

When scandals start to rock his government too, who else will he be blaming for the corruption?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110430com1.html

Good choice? FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 04/30/2011

Good choice?

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
The Makati Business Club (MBC) is really riding high under the Noynoy administration, what with an additional appointee to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner in Gus Lagman.

Lagman was reportedly apppointed by Noynoy on the strength of his IT credentials. Fine. But his track record — at least during election quick counts in the past — always held a partisan color and this may prove disturbing to many when election time comes.

True, Lagman did question the reliability of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines in 2010 as well as the anomalous Mega-Pacific deal during the time of Benjamin Abalos Sr. And Lagman, even as a commissioner, pushes the release of the source code and other documents which Jose Melo and his Comelec commissioners refused to release, despite a Supreme Court order for the Comelec to free these.

But it has also been noted that, despite all his and his Namfrel colleagues’ opposition to the PCOS machines, they all seemed to have stopped all complaints after their candidate won the Comelec “unofficial” precinct count that was pretty questionable. Even the provincial and municipal count failed to match the precinct count, as there was a clear 4 to 5 million votes in excess of the official precinct ballot count..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110430com2.html

Bosnian Croats feel squeezed in Muslim-shared entity focus 04/30/2011

Bosnian Croats feel squeezed in Muslim-shared entity


MOSTAR — More than 15 years since the end of Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war, Muslims and Croats still avoid each other in this picturesque southern town.

They were allies against the Serbs during most of the conflict, but also fought each other for a period, notably in the region around Mostar.

Under the Dayton settlement they were forced into an autonomous but shared federation, with the Serbs having their own entity, the Republika Srpska.

Now demands are building among Croats to be given their own autonomy amid feelings that the majority Muslims are squeezing them out of a voice..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110430com3.html

CHR Decision on Fil-Am Activist Case to Perpetuate Impunity – Rights Groups

Human rights group Karapatan said that with the CHR resolution, “the crime of torture will have its heyday under the Aquino administration.”

The Commission on Human Rights’s (CHR) report on the abduction of Filipino-American activist Melissa Roxas and two others has drawn criticisms from human rights groups.

Roxas, a member of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-USA chapter, and her two companions Juanito Carrabeo and John Edward Jandoc were forcibly taken by armed men on May 19, 2009 in La Paz, Tarlac. Roxas suffered torture for six days before she was freed by her captors. In her affidavit and subsequent testimonies before the CHR and Congress, Roxas maintained that her captors were members of the military.

In its recent findings, however, the CHR said there is insufficient evidence to support Roxas’s allegations that members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) took her and subjected her to physical and mental maltreatment.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) bewailed the CHR resolution saying it “practically clears” the military of any wrongdoing.

While the CHR resolution states that there is “enough evidence to find that complainant has suffered cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment by persons unknown,” it also states that there is insufficient evidence to support Roxas’s claim of torture because, according to the rights body, there was not enough evidence to determine the identities of the abductors.

Melissa Roxas testifies during the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) investigation on her abduction and torture in 2009.(Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)

 “In the light of the lack of evidence against the persons who inflicted the physical and psychological maltreatment on the complainant, it is not possible for the Commission to reach any findings on torture, the definition of which includes elements of State party or agent and certain intentions, purposes and motivations,” the CHR resolution said.

The same report states: “The CHR has received information that indicates the possibility that members of the NPA committed the kidnapping and other human rights violations on Roxas et al. These sources have been found to be credible. However, no specific names of individuals have been provided to the CHR, thus the Commission, with its limited resources, is unable to further follow up and identify specific persons as the possible perpetrators.”.... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/04/27/chr-decision-on-fil-am-activist-case-to-perpetuate-impunity-%e2%80%93-rights-groups/

Kin, Writers and Artists Launch Campaign for Release of Detained Poet Ericson Acosta

“His works as a writer, poet, thespian, singer and songwriter have remained relevant especially to the succeeding generations of UP activists in and out of the university. His bias for the poor and oppressed dates back to his campus days.”


Mrs. Liwayway Acosta is graceful in keeping her pain hidden; but sometimes it becomes too much and tears fall and she struggles to regain her composure.

For over two months now, Mrs. Liwayway and her husband Isaias Acosta and have been worried because one of their two children, their son, writer and poet Ericson, 37, had been detained and falsely and maliciously charged with illegal possession of firearms in Catbalogan, Samar. Both mother and father are now at the lead of a campaign pressing for their poet-son’s immediate release.

“At least we know that he’s alright and that he’s not being hurt. That was our greatest worry in the beginning. Our son is made of stronger stuff and we know that he’s holding up in prison. This is not the kind of thing that will break Eric,” said Mrs. Acosta.

Mr. Acosta in the meantime is the unashamedly proud father. He even has a list of his only child’s achievements since grade school, and at the drop of a hat can enumerate the various literary, theatrical and scientific awards Ericson has received since he was in shorts and attending grade school in St. Mary’s College,and eventually when he went to the University of Sto. Tomas for his secondary education.
“He has never been anything but a good son, an intelligent student, and a loving parent to his own son Emmanuel,” said Mr. Acosta.

Artists Rally Behind Campaign for Poet’s Release

Two weeks ago, the family and Ericson’s friends and former colleagues officially launched the Free Ericson Acosta campaign in Quezon City. It was a reunion of sorts for Ericson’s friends from his university days, and an event that saw some of the most respected names in the Philippines’ literary circles placing their support behind an artist who chose a path of human rights activism.

Family, friends and supporters from the art community commit their support to the Free Ericson Acosta Campaign. At the lead are father Isaias Acosta and mother Liwayway (not in picture)..(Photo by Ina Alleco R. Silverio / bulatlat.com)

At the time when Ericson was arrested earlier last February 13, he was a freelance journalist documenting the human rights situation in Western Samar. He was arrested in the company of various community leaders from a farmers’ organization who staunchly defended him and affirmed his work as a writer.

During the campaign launch press conference, Ericson’s former editor-in-chief in the Philippine Collegian Michael John Ac-ac said that the former had true artist sensibilities and that he, Ericson, honed it through the years by voracious reading, prolific writing and by constantly discovering developments in the cultural scene.
.... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/04/27/kin-writers-and-artists-launch-campaign-for-release-of-detained-poet-ericson-acosta/

Think Tanks Refute Malacañang’s Arguments Against Wage Hikes

Think Tanks Refute Malacañang’s Arguments Against Wage Hikes

 “Since July 2010, skyrocketing commodity prices coupled with stagnant wages have eroded workers’ wages in lightning speed, which is unmatched by the previous administration,” said EILER executive director Anna Leah Escresa.

As Malacañang thumbs down the demand of government employees in the country for a substantial wage increase, research groups have taken turns debunking government claims that salary and wage hikes are impossible to implement given the current economic conditions.

Current Wage Provides Only 41 Percent of What Families Need 

The IBON Foundation said the value of the daily minimum wage in Metro Manila has dropped and is only able to provide for about 41 percent of the amount needed for a family to live decently. This is less than the figure 10 years ago, in 2001, wherein the minimum wage was about 52 percent of the cost to live decently.

According to the IBON Foundation, the daily minimum wage of P404 (US$9.39) is just 2/5 of the estimated average family living wage (FLW) of P988 (US$23) in the National Capital Region (NCR) as of March 2011. The family living wage is defined as the minimum amount needed for a family of six members to meet their daily food and non-food needs plus a 10 percent allocation for savings. The latest living wage estimates are based on the 2008 family living wage computation of the National Wages and Productivity Commission of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

According to IBON data, the daily minimum wage of P265 (US$6) in 2001 was half of the amount a family needed to live decently, which was then pegged at P509 (US$12).

(Photo by Ina Alleco R. Silverio / bulatlat.com)
As the DOLE and the wage boards deliberate on whether to give a wage hike next month, the research group urged government to raise wages to a decent level and approximate the wage increase to the estimated family living wage.

Nonstop Price Hikes
Adding to the urgency of a wage increase, a labor research group said, is the fact that the combined wage increases in the past decade had been totally eroded within only eight months by nonstop price hikes under the Aquino administration..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/04/23/independent-think-tanks-refute-malacanangs-arguments-against-p6000-and-p125-salary-wage-hikes/

Media Groups Urge Aquino to Take Concrete Action to Stop the Killings

Media Groups Urge Aquino to Take Concrete Action to Stop the Killings

“As we pause from daily routine in this period of spiritual contemplation and renewal, we ask once again that you draw strength from our advocacy to end the impunity that has punished the Filipino people for so long.”

MANILA – In an open letter, media organizations called on President Benigno S. Aquino III to take concrete action to put a stop to the killings of journalists.

The Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists, Inc. (FFFJ), a national network of press oriented organizations, together with other media organizations and mass communication professors and students, said the action should “send a signal that the executive will do all that is necessary and within its power to counter impunity.”
Six journalists have been murdered since Aquino assumed the presidency. An unidentified gunman shot at broadcaster Miguel Belen of Camarines Sur on July 9, 2010; he later died on July 31. On January 24, Gerardo Ortega was gunned down in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. A woman broadcaster Marlina Flores Sumera was shot dead on March 24. The FFFJ noted that the first two killings are work-related and said that the murder of Sumera could also be work- related..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/04/21/media-groups-urge-aquino-to-take-concrete-action-to-stop-the-killings/

Merci resigns By Arlie O. Calalo and Gerry Baldo 04/30/2011


Merci resigns

By Arlie O. Calalo and Gerry Baldo 04/30/2011

Catching her detractors by surprise, embattled Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez yesterday personally submitted her resignation to President Aquino 10 days before her impeachment trial at the Senate would have started, earlier scheduled for May 9, when sessions resume.

Gutierrez submitted her one-page resignation letter to Aquino around 10:30 a.m. in Malacañang and proceeded to her office in Quezon City where she held a news conference wherein she read a prepared statement regarding her sudden decision to resign from her post.

In her letter to the President, she said her resignation will take effect on May 6 or three days before her impeachment trial at the Senate was set to begin.

Scheduled to retire in December 2012, Gutierrez stressed that her “undivided loyalty” was to the Filipino people, and not to the former President, although she said she is grateful to the former President for having appointed her to this post.... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110430hed1.html

High court reverses Desierto ruling on behest loans 04/30/2011

High court reverses Desierto ruling on behest loans

The Supreme Court has reversed the 1998 ruling of the Office of the Ombudsman as it ordered to indict officials of a local company for an anomalous behest loan it allegedly obtained 35 years ago.

The high court’s First Division, through Associate Justice Jose Perez, reversed the findings of former Ombudsman Aniano Desierto who had dismissed the case along with 17 others filed by the Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans.

Desierto dismissed all of these cases on the ground of prescription and insufficiency of evidence.

Named respondents in the particular case were Mohammad Ali Dimaporo, Abdullah Dimaporo and Amer Dianalan, stockholders and officers of the Mindanao Coconut Oil Mills (Mincoco), a domestic corporation established in 1974..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110430hed3.html

Police confiscate guns from Cagayan farmers By Ted Boehnert 04/30/2011

Police confiscate guns from Cagayan farmers

By Ted Boehnert 04/30/2011

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan — Policemen confiscated several firearms believed to be unregistered owned by three farmers in a remote town here last Wednesday, police report said.

Senior Supt. Mao Aplasca, Cagayan police director, identified the farmers as Solito Cabbuag, Loreto Cabbuag and Jayson Banad, all residents of Barangay Mauanan in Rizal town, Cagayan Valley province.

According to Aplasca, confiscated were M16 Armalite rifle with 14 alloy magazines and 300 live rounds of ammunition, a 12-gauge shotgun with 6 live rounds of ammunition and a .22 caliber pistol with a magazine and 38 live rounds of ammunition.

The guns and ammunition were confiscated based on a search warrant issued by Judge Edman Castillo of Tuao Regional Trial Court Branch 11, Tuguegarao City.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110430nat10.html

Know RH, RP bills first before supporting them, urges solon By Angie M. Rosales 04/30/2011

Know RH, RP bills first before supporting them, urges solon

By Angie M. Rosales 04/30/2011

Amid the increasing tension between the Malacañang and the Catholic Church on the raging debates over the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill or Responsible Parenthood (RP) bill, a senator is appealing to the public to get themselves fully educated to the issue before taking any position on the matter.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV made the call as he took note of the apparent misconception of some individuals as to the advantages and disadvantages of the bill.

“The public is unwittingly supporting the RH bill because they are being led to believe that the measure would control population growth and allow access to contraceptives.

“But the thing is, contraceptives can be accessed freely now and the Department of Health (DoH), in fact, has been distributing contraceptives even without the RH bill. Also, there is no provision in the RH bill that would help control the population,” he said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110430nat2.html

Over 1 million toddlers enrolled in DepEd’s kindergarten schools By Jason Faustino 04/30/2011

Over 1 million toddlers enrolled in DepEd’s kindergarten schools

By Jason Faustino 04/30/2011

Over one million pre-school children signed up during the early registration campaign conducted last January giving the Department of Education (DepEd) a head’s up before universal kindergarten is implemented in all public schools starting June 2011.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the universal public kindergarten program for five-year-old will give new entrants to basic education the proper preparation on the rigors of schooling. “Studies have shown that school children who went to pre-school are better prepared for schooling and have greater chances of finishing school.”

Universal kindergarten is the first step under the 12-basic education programs of the government which aims to prepare high school graduates for the world of work, for college education and for the global arena.
“We always say that education is a great equalizer. This universal kindergarten program will do just that as it democratizes access to pre-school education which used to be enjoyed only by those who can afford it in private schools,” Luistro said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110430nat1.html

Security at Laperal Compound tightened By Pat C. Santos 04/30/2011

Security at Laperal Compound tightened

By Pat C. Santos 04/30/2011

Concerned over the safety of informal settlers at Laperal Compound in Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City, Mayor Jejomar “Erwin” Binay has reiterated his appeal to the 400 families whose houses were razed by fire recently to avail themselves of the relocation sites and financial support offered by the city government.

This came after Binay ordered the Makati police to enforce tight security measures to prevent residents from rebuilding their houses after a violent confrontation they had with police-backed demolition team.

Binay said the compound is a danger zone and forbade residents to return after last week’s fire that razed more than 900 houses and left some 2,700 families homeless..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110430met1.html

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