Pinoy Weekly » Isyu http://pinoyweekly.org/new Philippine news, analysis, and investigative stories Mon, 06 Oct 2014 18:24:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Coco Martin humingi ng dispensa, nangakong tutulong sa adbokasiya ng kababaihan http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/10/coco-martin-humingi-ng-dispensa-nangakong-tutulong-sa-adbokasiya-ng-kababaihan/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/10/coco-martin-humingi-ng-dispensa-nangakong-tutulong-sa-adbokasiya-ng-kababaihan/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:53:02 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=31739 Public apology - humingi ng  paumanhin si Coco Martin sa mga kababaihan bunga ng kontrobersiyal na fashion show kamakailan.  Macky Macaspac

Public apology. Humingi ng paumanhin ang aktor na si Coco Martin sa kababaihan dahil sa pagiging bahagi niya sa isang kontrobersiyal at “kontra-kababaihan” na fashion show kamakailan. Macky Macaspac

Personal na humingi ng dispensa ang sikat na aktor si Coco Martin sa kababaihan dahil sa paglahok niya sa isang fashion show na The Naked Truth ng kompanyang Bench na kinatampukan ng isang nakatali babae na parang alagang hayop.

Sa isang pulong na dinaluhan ng mga kinatawan ng mga grupong pangkababaihan tulad ng Gabriela, Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), United Nation Development Fund for Women at iba pa, inihayag ni Martin ang kanyang saloobin hinggil sa kontrobersiya.

“Sorry po. Sana mapatawad niyo ako,” sabi ni Martin.

Ipinaliwanag niya na nagkulang siya at may napabayaan siyang aspekto bilang isang tao nang gampanan niya ang isang segment sa kontroberisyal na fashion show. Aminado rin siya na naapektuhan siya ng idinulot na kontrobersiya dahil sa n nakaligtaan niyang may mga taong maaari niyang maapakan tulad ng kanyang nanay at kapatid na babae.

Sinabi pa ni Martin na kadalasang hindi siya naapektuhan ng anumang intriga sa industriya ng pelikula o entertainment. Ngunit sa pagkakataong ito, malaki ang nagging epekto sa kanya ng backlash bunga ng pagmodelo niya sa naturang fashion show na kinatampukan ng imaheng “kontra-kababaihan”.

“Hindi ko nakita na mas malalim ang epekto nito at mayroon na akong naapakang mga tao. Kaya humihingi po ako ng dispensa sa aking pagkakamali,” aniya.

Inilinaw din niya na malaki ang kanyang responsabilidad bilang isang artista  sa mga taong nanonood at sa kanyang mga tagahanga.

Hinangaan naman ng mga lider-kababaihan ang pagpapaumanhin sa publiko ni Martin at sinabing hindi nila puntirya si Martin kundi ang kompanya at advertising agency.  Malinaw daw na diskriminasyon at pagpapababa sa dignidad ng kababaihan ang konsepto ng bahaging iyun ng nasabing fashion show.

“Hindi si Coco ang may malaking pagkakamali. Hindi siya mainly responsible sa nangyari,” pahayag ni Liza Maza, chair emeritus ng Gabriela. Sabi ni Maza na dapat kondenahin ang mga kompanyang gumagamit ng kababaihan para ibenta ang kanilang mga produkto at serbisyo para kumita at hindi si Martin.

“Si Coco ang umako ng mga pagkakamali ng kompanya at mga nagpakulo ng show,” sabi ni Maza. Sinabi rin niya na isang larawan ng pagiging responsableng artista ang ginawang paghingi ng paumanhin sa publiko ni Martin.

Bukas-palad namang tinanggap ng Gabriela ang paumanhin at pagpapakumababa ni Martin sa kabila nang maliit lamang ang kanyang pananagutan sa naturang kontrobersiya.

Ayon nga sa tagapangulo ng Gabriela at Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus, maaaring maging daan ang nangyaring kontroberisya  kay Martin na higpitan pa ang pagpapatupad sa mga batas na nagtataguyod sa karapatan ng kababaihan.

Dapat din daw na magkaroon ng sensitibidad para sa isyu ng kababaihan at responsabilidad sa lipunan ang mga korporasyon at negosyong naglalako ng kanilang mga produkto at serbisyo.

Sa kabila kasi ng pagkakaroon ng Magna Carta for Women, hindi pa rin naitataas ang pagtingin sa kababaihan. Nananitili pa rin ang diskriminasyon at komodipikasyon sa mga kababaihan. Kaya’t hindi pa rin lusot ang kompanyang Bench sa pagkondena ng grupo kahit pa nagpaumanhin na si Martin.

“Sa simula pa lang, nakapokus ang mga pahayag namin sa paggamit ng Bench sa kababaihan sa kontrobersiya para lamang kumita,” sabi ni De Jesus. “Dapat silang magkaroon ng discernment, ang mali ay mali.”

Aminado naman ang PCW na may kulang sa Implementing Rules and Regulations ang Magna Carta for Women. Hindi raw nakasama sa batas ang mga katulad na fashion show at ibang pang palabas sa tanghalan sa ginagarantiyahang proteksiyon sa batas ng  kababaihan.  At sinabing maaari pang baguhin at idagdag ang nasabing mga palabas.

Inihayag ni Coco Martin ang kanyang saloobin hinggil sa kontroberisyal na fashion show. Macky Macaspac

Inihayag ni Coco Martin ang kanyang saloobin hinggil sa kontroberisyal na fashion show. Macky Macaspac

Ngunit para kay Lorna Kapunan, tumatayong abogado ni Martin, hindi lang kababaihan ang dapat na mabigyan ng pansin sa anumang pagbabago sa batas. Dapat daw na bigyan-pansin din ang mga artista (kababaihan man o lalaki at maging mga miyembro ng LGBT), at mabigyan ng proteksiyon.

“Kabuhayan ng mga artista ‘yan. Kapag sinabing ganito ang gawin mo, kahit ayaw nila, susunod sila,” ani Kapunan.  Dapat daw na ilagay sa batas na karapatan ng mga artista na tumanggi.

“Hindi sila dapat kasuhan ng breach of contract kapag tumanggi sila sa ipinipagawa sa kanila, na sa tingin nila ay demeaning and discriminatory,”aniya.

Nagpasalamat si Martin sa bukas na pagtanggap ng kababaihan sa kanyang paghingi ng dispensa at nangakong tutulong sa kampanya para wakasan ang karahasan at diskriminasyon sa kababaihan.

Sa pribadong pag-uusap ni Martin at ng Gabriela, sumang-ayon ang aktor sa imbitasyon para sa okasyon ng paggunita sa International  Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women 0 Idevaw at ang taunang One Billion Rising Global Campaign.

“Maaaring maging si Matt Damon siya ng Pilipinas kung totohanin niya ang kanyang pangakong tumulong,” ani De Jesus.

Kilalang artista sa Hollywood si Damon, at kilala rin sa mga adbokasiya tulad ng pagkakaroon ng malinis na tubig, para sa kalikasan at edukasyong pampubliko.

Panawagan ng Gabriela sa mga artista na mas kilalanin at pag-aralan ang mga papel na kanilang ginagampanan at tanggihan ang anumang makikita nilang pagyurak sa pagkatao ng kababaihan.

“Mayroon kayong karapatan na maninidigan para sa karapatan ng kababaihan at sa karapatan ng bawat tao. Dahil popular kayo at iniidolo ng publiko, dapat kayong maging mulat na may responsabilidad kayo sa lipunan, hindi lamang sa salita, kundi sa gawa. Inaasahan namin na makakasama namin si Coco Martin sa aming laban,” pahayag ni Joms Salvador, pangkalahatang kalihim ng Gabriela.

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LETTER | Luisita landgrabbers cited ‘labor-law compliant’ by DOLE http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/10/letter-luisita-landgrabbers-cited-labor-law-compliant-by-dole/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/10/letter-luisita-landgrabbers-cited-labor-law-compliant-by-dole/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 04:36:55 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=31727 Labor Sec. Rosalinda Baldoz helps inaugurate Luisita Industrial Park. Photo courtesy: <strong>DOLE Region III</strong>

Labor Sec. Rosalinda Baldoz helps inaugurate Luisita Industrial Park. Photo courtesy: DOLE Region III

LIHAM iconWhat kind of message is the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz sending to the public in conferring unprecedented distinction to the Luisita Industrial Park – a hub widely-known to be part of the still dispute-ridden and controversial Hacienda Luisita estate?

While it is up to the workers themselves in the Luisita Industrial Park (LIP) to contest the ostentatious designation made by the DOLE in naming the LIP as the very first “Labor Law Compliant Eco-zone” in the country, this does not belie the fact that aggressive land grabbing and brazen human rights violations are continuously being perpetrated by the LIP administration under the Luisita Realty Corporation (LRC).

The LRC is one among the many notorious corporate avatars of the Cojuangco-Aquino family in Hacienda Luisita, where presidential sister Ballsy Aquino-Cruz is director while Pinky Aquino-Abellada and Viel Aquino-Dee sit as top stockholders.

DOLE’s conferment may be used to prop up the LRC’s pending application before the Philippine Economic Zone Authority’s (PEZA) Board to incorporate 260.4 hectares of agricultural land in Barangay Balete, Luisita to the existing Luisita Industrial Park complex. The PEZA granted the LRC a pre-qualification clearance on February 13, 2014, barely a week after the Cojuangco-Aquinos ordered the burning of farmers’ homes and the bulldozing of crops within the contested property.

Another Cojuangco-Aquino firm, Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO) ordered the aggressive attacks against Hacienda Luisita farmers in Balete.  Violent eviction of farmers, bulldozing of ready-to-harvest palay crops and fencing off of the 260-hectare area from its tillers continued even after the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) affirmed the agricultural nature of the said property by issuing a Notice of land reform coverage (NOC) on December 17, 2013. The DAR did not lift a finger to stop TADECO’s assaults against Luisita farmers.

The headquarters of the 31st company of the 3rd Mechanized Battalion of the Philippine Army was constructed within this 260-hectare area last year with the blessings of the LRC. Soldiers have, since then, been practically deployed to serve in the Cojuangco-Aquino private army, intermittently mobilized to harass and evict farmers from the area. Bulldozers of the Cojuangco-Aquino family which were used to destroy farmers’ crops and homes are usually  parked right beside the army headquarters.

In successive incidents from September 2013 to March 2014, TADECO was able to evict tillers even without a court order through the deployment of private security guards, local police and fully-armed SWAT teams. The attacks resulted in the death of one of our members, Dennis dela Cruz, several cases of mauling, attempted murder and unlawful arrest, and the filing of harassment suits against hundreds of farmers.

Personnel – thugs – hired by the Cojuangco-Aquino family from the Great Star Security Agency, one of the Luisita Industrial Park’s subcontractors, are directly responsible for the violent attacks against farmers in Barangays Balete and Cutcut.  Great Star Security Services, Inc. was also declared compliant with General Labor Standards and issued Certificates of Compliance (CoC) yesterday, October 1, in a high-profile ceremony at the LIP compound which was graced by Baldoz herself.

Security guards from the Great Star Security Services Inc. are also involved in the shooting of a group of farmers in disputed farmlands in Barangay Maimpis, San Fernando, Pampanga on July 28, 2014. It seems that violation of human rights is their forte.

The Cojuangco-Aquinos are hell-bent on maintaining control of the Luisita estate and in implementing their grand master plan to convert the sugar plantation into a giant commercial hub, in contempt and complete reversal of the 2012 Supreme Court decision for total land distribution.

Ten years after the Hacienda Luisita Massacre, Luisita farmers are still denied land and justice. President BS Aquino’s alter-egos like Baldoz of  DOLE and Gil delos Reyes of DAR, act like extensions of this insatiable landlord family in ruthlessly extracting every last drop of blood, sweat and tears from Luisita farmworkers.

FLORIDA SIBAYAN
AMBALA – Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura
56 K-9 St., Kamias, Quezon City

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SEA indigenous people to media: Give voice to our struggles http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/10/sea-indigenous-people-to-media-give-voice-to-our-struggles/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/10/sea-indigenous-people-to-media-give-voice-to-our-struggles/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 02:37:22 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=31717 Maybelle Wayas of the Task Force Indigenous People in the Philippines together with other IP leaders in Southeast Asia shared their experience in a 2 days media dialogue held in Bangkok Thailand last October 1-2.  Macky Macaspac

Maybelle Wayas of the Task Force Indigenous People in the Philippines, together with other indigenous people’s leaders in Southeast Asia, share their experience in a media dialogue held in Bangkok, Thailand on October 1to 2. Macky Macaspac

Bangkok, Thailand – Representing almost 50 million people with more than 1,000 groups scattered in 10 member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), indigenous people’s groups challenged media practitioners to be more prudent in reporting issues that affect their identity, culture and rights.

In a recent two-day media dialogue here, indigenous people from Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand,  Vietnam and the Philippines discussed common and serious issues like discrimination, oppression and marginalization by nation-states. But these issues, they said, lacked sufficient media coverage.

“The coverage of media is difficult, especially here in the Mekong Region,” said Joan Carling, an Igorot from the Cordillera Region of the Philippines and secretary general of Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP).

Carling added that except for the Philippines and Indonesia, indigenous people’s issues in other countries sorely lacked media attention due to discrimination and non-recognition of several states.

No media sympathy

Carling cited the Thai media coverage of a story about a series of crash landings of three military helicopters.

The real reason, she said, behind the crash landings were the government’s forest rangers who burned some houses of a community of Karen people, an indigenous people in Thailand.  The three helicopters were responding to assist the rangers but went down one after the other.

Media sympathetically reported on the pilots, but did not adequately report on the plight of the Karen people, she said.

“What happened behind the accident? In the first place, it could have been avoided if they (forest  rangers)  did not burn the houses  to drive away the Karen people,” said Carling.

Carling said that Karen people were being disregarded as an indigenous people. Media has fed on the general perception that hill tribes like the Karen are foreigners.  This is also happening now in Cambodia, Carling added.

Asean integration

While member-countries in the Asean aim for integration in 2015, AIPP said that indigenous people in the region are now working to have them recognized as a political entity with collective concerns and issues as stated in United Nations principles.

"We don't exist as indigenous people--not in any document,says Joan Carling, secretary general, Asian Indigenous People's Pact Foundation Macky Macaspac

“We don’t exist as indigenous people, not in any document,” says Joan Carling, secretary general, AIPP referring to their non-recognition in the Asean Charter. Macky Macaspac

According to Carling, however, the Asean Charter does not recognize indigenous people and even view them as threat. Asean member-countries, she added, have a long record of oppressing indigenous people and exploiting their economic and socio-cultural heritage.

“We lobbied hardly in the Asean. In meetings with country representatives, they adopted our proposal for legal recognition as distinct groups with collective rights. But it was stricken out when the member states held their meeting,” said Carling.

Aside from non-recognition in the Asean, some countries do not have national laws and policies that recognize indigenous people. In countries that have such laws, like the  Philippines with its Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997, violations of indigenous people’s rights still persist.

Indigenous people’s groups also fear that the Asean Community Integration by 2015 will further deprive them of their rights.

In the Asean economic blueprint, member-countries are pushing for a free trade and investment plan that include projects that threated indigenous people’s communities. These include interconnecting roads and highways, economic zones, mining, dams and power projects, palm oil plantation and other bio-fuel projects, commercial agriculture, as well as land concessions for economic purposes or for real estate development and commercial tourism.

For indigenous people, the projects mean further violations of their rights and the destruction of their ancestral lands. States and multi/transnational corporations have been targeting the rich natural resources of their communities for mineral extractions.

“If we lose our land and forest, we lose everything,” explained Carling.

The group challenged the media to give more attention to the emerging issues and concerns of the indigenous people of the Asean and put forward their collective interest in reporting. “We will explore the challenges that media face and come up with an action plan to make more visibile the interest of  indigenous peoples, promote their voice, access and participation in media,” Carling concluded.

 

 

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Over 200 student leaders from Luzon gather in NUSP’s ‘Dap-ayan’ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/10/over-200-student-leaders-from-luzon-gather-in-nusps-dap-ayan/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/10/over-200-student-leaders-from-luzon-gather-in-nusps-dap-ayan/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:21:25 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=31702 Delegates of Dap-ayan 2014, with resource speaker Monet Silvestre of the #AbolishPork Movement. <strong>Mykel Andrada</strong>

Delegates of Dap-ayan 2014, with resource speaker Monet Silvestre of the #AbolishPork Movement. Mykel Andrada

More than 200 delegates from 50 different universities and colleges all over Luzon on September 12 to 15 gathered to forge unities and collective actions, as well as exchange ideas, learn from each other and collectively decide on matters affecting the studentry, youth and the nation.

“Dap-ayan 2014: 6th Luzonwide Student Leaders Congress and Student Trustees and Regents Federation Luzon Convention”, as the event was called was organized by the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) and held in NSCC Plaza Hotel in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

Dap-ayan is a Filipino term that means “gathering of leaders to resolve issues and formulate solutions.”

NUSP Vice President for Luzon and Dap-ayan 2014 head John Clifford Sibayan said that the event aimed to consolidate the student councils and student governments all over Luzon especially in these times of crises — dwindling education budgets, heightened corruption via the pork barrel system and BS Aquino’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), and a host of other anti-people policies and programs.

Illustrious history

Sibayan gave the NUSP History and Orientation that showcased the history, experiences, principles, line works and campaigns of the student union.

Established in 1957, NUSP effectively promoted and protected the democratic rights and welfare of the students, youth and the people. NUSP is touted as the “National Student Center” for its progressive and militant campaigns for the education and student sector.

NUSP created the Tuition Monitor Network that opposed the incessant tuition and other school fees increases, the illegal development fee, and other exorbitant, dubious and redundant fees. Cases of campus repression and fascism are also at the center of NUSP’s democratic rights campaign.

The student union also co-convened the Youth Act Now for Truth and Accountability (the only youth formation for the abolition of the pork barrel system), the Rise for Education Alliance, and other major student and youth formations.

Education Committee Officer Catherine Manangan enjoined the audience in the Life of Edgar Jopson or Edjop. Edjop was former National President of NUSP during the Martial Law era of the Marcoses.

The life of Edjop teaches the Filipino students and youth that leadership and service are not to be confined in the cold and hollows halls of the universities, but to integrate with the masses.

Edgar Jopson’s life and struggles signify and amplify the major role that students and youth play in societal transformation.

Photo by <strong>Mykel Andrada</strong>

Photo by Mykel Andrada

Integrating with the masses

Dap-ayan 2014 also held a “grassroots integration” or basic masses integration (BMI) with some marginalized sectors in Ilocos Sur.

Delegates integrated with fisherfolk, farmers, and black sand miners to be able to know the issues, lives and struggles of the basic masses. Classroom discussion topics included situationers on human rights, Yolanda and disaster management, LGBTQI, farmers and agrarian reform, and mining.

Dap-ayan also featured a number of fora on state politics and economics.

Former Kabataan Rep. and now Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-National Capital Region Spokesperson Raymond Palatino and Ibon Foundation Executive Director Sonny Africa engaged the delegates in a consciousness-raising talk on the Philippine economic and political situation.

From the standard issues of everyday Philippine life to remote yet collective struggles of the Filipino masses, Palatino, who is also former NUSP national president, as well as Africa, offered not only a survey but analyses of the problems and issues hounding the people and the nation.

Monet Silvestre, spokesperson of the Abolish Pork! Network, and lawyer Alex Lacson, meanwhile, tackled corruption and patronage politics under the current Aquino administration, and emphasized on the youth’s role in pushing for the People’s Initiative to Abolish the Pork Barrel System.

Youth’s important role

The delegates were reminded of the youth’s pivotal role in bringing forth genuine social change in the country. The resource speakers delivered fiery talks that inspired the audience to support the initiative of the Filipino people to create a law that will abolish the pork barrel system.

Sheryl Alapad, NUSP national executive vice-president, discussed the Philippine education situation, while PinoyMedia Center, Inc. (PMC) discussed the “role of the youth and transformative cultural and political praxis”.

PMC, which also publishes Pinoy Weekly, is official media partner of NUSP’s Dap-ayan 2014. The fifth episode of PMC’s documentary web series, Eskinita: Ang Alternatibong Ruta, titled “#ThrowbackKabataan” was launched during Dap-ayan.

(Watch Eskinita’s fifth episode: #ThrowbackKabataan)

The said episode is about neoliberal education in the country and the student and youth movement in the Philippines.

The Luzonwide Congress of student leaders culminated in the approval of 14 plenary resolutions that include the Peoples’ Initiative to Abolish the Pork Barrel System, the fight against the illegal development fee, and the support for education practice teachers.

NUSP also launched the Dap-ayan Gawad Edgar Jopson (Gawad Edjop) for exemplary student leadership. Gawad Edjop recognized the outstanding principled student council projects, activities, privilege speeches and house resolutions.

Additionally, to consolidate issues and actions related to education employees in state universities and colleges and private higher education institutions, around 20 student council advisers and student affairs directors attended the event and formed the Luzon Chapter of the All SUCs Alliance and the All PHEIs Alliance.

NUSP will be holding this November Katipunan 2014: Mindanao-wide Student Leaders Congress and this December STARFED: Student Trustees and Regents Federation Congress.

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PH migrants express support for HK protests http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/09/ph-migrants-express-support-for-hk-protests/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/09/ph-migrants-express-support-for-hk-protests/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:53:25 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=31673 Protesta ng iba't ibang sektor ng mga mamamayan sa Hong Kong. Photo courtesy: <strong>Eman Villanueva</strong>

Hong Kong protests for universal suffrage and democratization swelled to “tens of thousands” even after brutal efforts to purge it. Photo courtesy: Eman Villanueva

Filipino migrants and progressive Filipino organizations in China’s Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau expressed their solidarity with massive people’s protests in Hong Kong that call for reforms and democratization amid “worsening economic conditions”.

The group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Hong Kong & Macau (Bayan-HKM – New Patriotic Alliance) also condemned the governments of HK and mainland China in Beijing for “unleashing brutality and excessive use of force by Hong Kong police” on Sunday, Sept. 28.

“As a people, Filipinos feel for those in Hong Kong who were at the receiving end of the brutality of the government and the police. We also suffered and we continue to suffer from repression when we call for change and for the people’s democratic rights,” said Eman Villanueva, chairperson of Bayan-HKM.

Several other migrant groups expressed support for, and joined, the protests.

“The movement for universal suffrage has been gaining steam for the past years and is further being propelled by the government’s lack of effective response to the problems besetting many of the Hong Kong people. Cuts in social service, disregard of the condition of workers, and the prioritization of the government of the interests of businesses especially in times of crisis have contributed greatly to the desire of the HK people to have a more direct say in the election of the Chief Executive,” stated the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, an organization of Asian migrants, including Filipinos, in HK.

Villanueva said that the strike started by students who called for full universal suffrage. Then the protests, he said, “swelled (to) tens of thousands of youth and (people from) other sectors.”

As of this writing, the protests reportedly spread out in shopping areas of Causeway Bay and Mong Kok in Hong Kong.

“Protesters on various thoroughfares were repeatedly pepper sprayed and canisters of tear gas were thrown at them. However, undaunted, the public who witnessed the brutality of the police’s actions against the protesters even came out to join the action,” Villanueva added.

The protesters dubbed their actions “Occupy Central with Love and Peace”, after the Occupy protest movement in the US that called on, among others, taking the financial elite to account for its central role in triggering the global financial crisis.

‘Excessive force’

Aside from calls for democratization and universal suffrage triggered by a worsening economic crisis felt even among middle and lower class youths in Hong Kong, some protesters have called on Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to resign.

The protesters have taken the Beijing government to task for failing to live up to promises of greater democratization and universal suffrage after the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997.

Bayan-HKM also said that the Hong Kong people have right to protest for social change, as inflation continues to rise in this supposedly prosperous capitalist hub.

“The display of discontent by the Hong Kong people and demand for political changes are rooted in the worsening economic condition that includes rising inflation, constricting social services, austerity, privatization and prioritization by the government of big business interests over that of the working people,” Villanueva added.

He said that the HK youth and people have shown “militancy, perseverance and courage” in the protests in the face of state reprisals.

“We call for the HK government to immediately cease from its repressive actions against the legitimate expression of the protester’s demands. Those who were unjustly arrested must be immediately released. The freedom of assembly and speech must be respected,” Villanueva concluded.

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What’s up, Hong Kong? http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/09/whats-up-hong-kong/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/09/whats-up-hong-kong/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:41:43 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=31676 When the request for a column about what is now happening in Hong Kong came in, I was honestly stumped about what to write.

Should I write about the issue, or issues, the protesters are carrying? For indeed, while many may think that life is bliss in Hong Kong, the people here have legitimate issues that have remained unaddressed through the years.

As what everyone following the news knows by now, the major call of the protesters is for full universal suffrage especially for choosing the city’s Chief Executive.

But beneath the political reforms called for are also the concerns on the eroding economic condition of many resulting from a system that prioritizes big businesses over the people’s welfare especially during periods of crisis. Privatization, austerity, widening gap between the haves and have-nots, and the dwindling capacity of the large middle class population – all of these and more have contributed to the drive to see changes in the city’s governance.

Of course, after that most condemnable display of police brutality, the already boiling contempt for the government is probably reaching its tipping point.

Maybe, I should just write about how it feels to be part of the protesters? For indeed, it is an amazing experience.

Thousands of people you do not know surround you but are very much ready to explain what is being chanted to one who doesn’t know their language. Walking quickly but failing to get out of range of the choking smoke of the teargas that burns your eyes; while those you’ve never met in your life give you a bottle of water and a wad of wet tissue to take the discomfort away.

Some may say that it is a sea of black and yellow. But it really is a kaleidoscope of experience: from forcing the police to back away with just their bodies and voices, to listening to an old woman scold poker-faced police officers for their violence; from getting offered with food and drinks to watching how they learned to work collectively to distribute what are needed by their fellow protesters; from getting hugs and firm handshakes for showing up, to listening to migrant leaders express support for the democratic rights of the Hong Kong people.

But maybe I should just write about how this relates to us Filipinos? For indeed, like our own people, the dream of social change is also present amongst many Hongkongers.

Like us, they too experience hardships in a system that serves only a few. They too face seemingly insurmountable tasks for meaningful reforms. Yes, as what we have all seen, they too have to confront brutish state forces that preserve the status quo.

For our families back home worried of the condition of their loved ones here, I will not say don’t be. But based on how warmly the protesters respond to the support of non-locals, I will say that solidarity lives in this beautiful movement for the people’s democratic rights.

So what is really happening in Hong Kong? In a nutshell, I guess, history is.

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Dalawang dinukot na kabataan, tinortyur – Ridon http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/09/dalawang-dinukot-na-kabataan-tinortyur-ridon/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/09/dalawang-dinukot-na-kabataan-tinortyur-ridon/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:40:31 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=31671 Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon. <strong>PW File Photo<strong>

Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon. PW File Photo

Sumailalim sa mental at psychological torture ang dalawang kabataang organisador sa isang kampo ng militar bago sila inilitaw sa Cabanatuan City ng mga pulis.

Ito ang napag-alaman ni Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon, matapos makausaup ang dalawang kabataan na sina Gerald Salonga, 24 at Guiller Cadano, 22. Sa bisita ng kabataang kongresista noong Setyembre 28 sa piitan ng dalawa sa Nueva Ecija, isinalaysay nina Salonga at Cadano ang kanilang pinagdaanan sa kamay ng mga militar.

Dinukot sina Salonga at Cadano sa Brgy RT Padilla, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija ng pinagsamang puwersa ng Philippine National Police (PNP) at Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) noong Agosto 9 at inilitaw lamang sa PNP Provincial Public Safety Company Headquarters noong Agosto 11.

Kinasuhan ang dalawa ng paglabag ng Republic Act (RA) 10592 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunitions Regulation Act) at RA10591 (Illegal Possession of Explosives).

Nauna nang sinabi ng PNP na pag-aresto at hindi pagdukot ang nangyari. Kasalukuyang nakapiit ang dalawa sa BJMP Detention Facility sa San Jose, Nueva Ecija matapos silang ilipat doon sa bisa ng isang court order noong Setyembre 3.

‘Tinortyur kami’

Bago dalhin ang dalawa sa Cabanatuan City, sumailalim ang dalawa sa isang araw na iterogasyon sa isang kampo ng militar sa San Jose, Nueva Ecija, ayon kay Ridon.

“Sinabi sa akin ni Salonga na sigurado siya na sa San Jose City (ang lugar) nang magawa niyang makasilip sa pagkakapiring ng kanyang mata habang nasa sasakyan,” ayon kay Ridon.

Sumailalim umano si Salonga sa isang 13-oras na interogasyon at binantaan na may mangyayaring masama sa kanyang ina kung hindi niya aaminin na miyembro siya ng NPA.

“Sa isang punto, ayon kay Gerald, inilabas din siya mula sa interrogation room at pinaluhod sa lupa kung saan daw siya ililibing,” dagdag ni Ridon.

Ayon sa mambabatas, malaki ang posibilidad na pareho ang mga dumukot at nagtortyur sa dalawa. Nang tanungin umano ni Ridon kung sino ang mga umaresto sa kanila, sinabi ng dalawa na nakikilala nila ang ilan sa mga pangalan.

Sa pagdinig ng plenaryo sa deliberasyon ng panukalang badyet ng Department of National Defense (DND), hiniling ni Ridon ang detalye kay DND Sec. Voltaire Gazmin at sa matataas na opisyal ng Philippine Army sa pagdukot at pagkulong kina Cadano at Salonga na parehong miyembro ng Kabataan Party-list.

Ayon sa DND, pinagsamang puwersa ng Nueva Ecija Police, 7th Military Intellegence Batallion, at 3rd Infantry Battalion ang dumukot sa dalawa na pinamumunuan nina PNP Inspector Dale Allan Tagle, Lt. Col. Eugene Mata, at Lt. Col. Dmark Mamaril.

Kaso vs militar

Plano ng Kabataan na kasuhan ng kasong torture at serious illegal detention, hindi lamang sa mga opisyal na umaresto sa dalawa, kundi maging sa commanding officers at sa matataas na opisyal ng militar at pulis.

“Ilegal na inaresto sina Gerald at Guiller at isinailalim ang dalawa sa brutal na interogasyon. Dapat agad na idiniretso ng umarestong mga opisyal sa police detention facility ang dalawa at hindi na kinakailangang isailalim sa psychological torture o maging sa interogasyon na wala man lang abogado,” ayon kay Ridon.

Para sa mambabatas, walang kaso laban sa dalawa at walang warrant of arrest nang kunin sila.

“Kahit na sakaling may warrant sila, tulad ng sinasabi ng militar, ipinakikita ng ebidensya na para iyon sa iba,” paliwanag ni Ridon.

Ang tanging ebindensiya lamang na pinanghahawakan ng mga umaresto sa dalawa ay pawang maling mga imbentaryo ng mga materyal na narekober umano na mga pambasabog at armas, ayon sa mambabatas.

“Malinaw na hindi ito tatanggapin sa korte dahil hindi kailanman pinirmahan ng dalawa ng imbentaryo. Hindi ginawa ang sinasabing imbentaryo sa kanilang presensiya o kahit sa presensiya ng may-ari ng bahay kung saan sila inaresto o sa presensya man opisyal ng barangay. Ilan ito sa mga rekrisitong kailangan para maging valid inventory ang recovered items,” ayon kay Ridon.

Sabi pa niya, patunay ang kaso na hindi nagbabago ang AFP at PNP sa ilegal na pag-aresto at pagkulong nito sa mga organisador na kabataan at mga miyembro ng progresibong mga organisasyon. Mga pulis at militar rin umano ang pangunahing lumalabag sa karapatang pantao sa bansa, pagtatapos ni Ridon.

 

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After the protest: Fil-Ams who dared to question Aquino http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/09/after-the-protest-fil-ams-who-dared-to-question-aquino/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/09/after-the-protest-fil-ams-who-dared-to-question-aquino/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 07:20:34 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=31665 New York 1

Joelle Lingat of Anakbayan New Jersey unfurling a banner saying “End Impunity, Stop the Killings in the Philippines” during Aquino’s speech at Columbia University. Contributed Photo

Filipino-Americans took the lead in speaking up on human rights violations in the Philippines during Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s speech in a World Leaders Forum at New York’s Columbia University last September 23.

Aquino was answering a question regarding extrajudicial killings in the Philippines when Joelle Lingat, a Fil-Am and member of Anakbayan New Jersey, started to speak out.

In an interview with Pinoy Weekly, Lingat said that she was infuriated with Aquino’s statement that seemed to justify impunity regarding human rights abuses in their home country.

Aquino had just said, “The emphasis is solving the crime correctly, not just producing any suspect…There has to be certainty of punishment when you commit a crime and that is still a work in progress. We can point to several successes in this field. But others, by the sheer number of plaintiffs, it will really take time to go through the processes enshrined in our Constitution and our laws.”

Lingat immediately brought up the case of the 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre, which has not seen justice for the victims after 10 years. Last July, Lingat, together with a group of Fil-Ams, visited the hacienda still being owned and controlled by Aquino’s family.

“Now I see the reality of what your family has done. I have been to Hacienda Luisita. I have seen first hand the continuing plight of the farmworkers, the families of the laborers of those who were massacred for wanting to earn more than 9 pesos a day,” she said during the forum.

Aside from Lingat, another youth activist, Jenab Pareja, also spoke out.

“People who are basically political activists in the Philippines, they are just fighting for what they believe in. It’s a slap on the face of the Filipino people for you to stand there and [say] that a killing is a killing. You have to be [careful] when you talk to an international audience. I have family members in the Philippines,” Pareja said.

People who witnessed the event said that instead of responding, Aquino closed his eyes and shook his head.

Lingat unfurled a banner reading “END IMPUNITY!”  and chanted “No Justice! No Peace! Stop the Killings in the Philippines!” before she and Pareja were escorted out of the venue.

Lingat (extreme left) at an exposure trip at Hacienda Luisita last July. PinoyMedia Center

Lingat (extreme left) at an exposure trip at Hacienda Luisita last July. PinoyMedia Center

Positive feedback

While Malacañang criticized the Fil-Ams for their conduct, the youth leaders said that it was the president’s own fault. “Aquino has not been dialoguing with the Filipino community. He mainly focuses on meeting with diplomatic leaders and not the people. I found it disrespectful to me and the people’s interest of which I represent. It is unbecoming of a president,” said Pareja.

“Honestly, he was in the primary position to have a conversation with us. All he had to do was say, ‘Let go of them, I want to hear what they have to say,’ and we could have had a dialogue or even rescheduled to a later time, but he didn’t. I think that’s the main point here: people in power always have the ability to make things happen, the primary question is if they actually will?” Lingat meanwhile said.

Yves Nibungco, chairperson of Anakbayan USA who was outside the forum venue, said, “We wanted to raise the issues of continuing corruption and Aquino’s defense of it through the DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program), the criminal neglect of Typhoon Haiyan devastated areas and his withholding of donations worth P1.54 Billion, and the continuing culture of impunity and human rights violations under his administration.”

He narrated that after the incident, they got a lot of positive feedback through social media, emails and personal phone calls.

Lingat, meanwhile, said that she does not feel any shame for her actions. On the contrary, she said, “I feel proud and humbled to represent the voices constantly repressed. All of us in that room had the ability to stand up and speak out, yet only three of us did. I know that if I was somewhere else [outside of the U.S.], I would not be walking free right now. I recognize that. And that doesn’t change what I did. If anything, it justifies it even more.”

“There have been endless comments and letters of support being written. I am truly humbled to be surrounded by such love and compassion. I think we need to recognize that people don’t wake up wanting to create ripples, but rather that the conditions presented themselves, and that we [needed to engage the public on certain realities],” she added.

Hacienda Luisita farmers were among those who lauded the actions of the Fil-Am youth activists. In a statement addressed to the Fil-Am youth, Florida Sibayan, chairperson of Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita, said, “We applaud our valiant youth activists who were responsible for the successful and militant exposition on Noynoy Aquino’s sins to the Filipino people. You always have a home in Hacienda Luisita, and in the hearts of the Filipino people.”

While raised in the US, the three Fil-Ams have not forgotten their roots. Through exposure trips to the Philippines, they make an effort to learn about and contribute to the struggle of their countrymen.

“As a Filipino migrant who have to leave the Philippines due to lack of opportunities, I directly see myself as a product of the unjust system in the Philippines perpetuated by Aquino himself,” stated Nibungco.

Lingat meanwhile said, “We all have our stories and as a people connected by [a nation], it is our duty to struggle together.”

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Badyet para sa SUCs, kulang na kulang pa rin http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/09/badyet-para-sa-sucs-kulang-na-kulang-pa-rin/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/09/badyet-para-sa-sucs-kulang-na-kulang-pa-rin/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 11:08:45 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=31625 Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon PW file photo/Pher Pasion

Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon. PW File Photo/Pher Pasion

Nanawagan ng mas mataas na badyet para sa 113 state universities and colleges (SUCs) sa bansa si Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon, sa deliberasyon sa Kamara ng pambansang badyet para sa 2015.

Sa datos ng Department of Budegt and Management (DBM), nasa P43.3 Bilyon lamang ang nakatakdang ilaan ng gobyernong Aquino sa SUCs para sa 2015, malayo sa P122.7-B na pangangailangan ng mga ito.

“Sa nakalipas na mga taon, ang mga mag-aaral at guro ay nananawagan ng mas mataas na pondo para sa SUCs. Maaaring itinaas ng gobyerno ang badyet sa nakalipas na mga taon, pero ang pagtaas na ito ay nominal lamang. Sa nakikita natin, nasa one-third (1/3) lamang ng pangangailangan sa pondo ng SUCs ang inaprubahan ng DBM. Sa bawat tatlong piso pong kailangan ng ating mga pamantasan, piso lamang ang nailalaan ng gobyerno,” ayon kay Ridon.

Sa deliberasyon sa plenaryo sa Kamara para sa badyet ng SUCs, tinanong ni Ridon ang sponsor ng badyet na si Rep. Mariano Piamonte kung bakit P43.3-B lamang ang inaprubahan ng DBM para sa 2015. Pero hindi ito maipaliwanag ni Piamonte.

We don’t know Mr. Speaker,” ayon kay Piamonte.

Kabilang sa mga naging tanong ni Ridon ay kung bakit maraming paaralan, kabilang ang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas (UP) at Polyteknikong Unibersidad ng Pilipinas (PUP) ang nakakakuha ng halos kalahati lamang ng kinakailangang badyet o funding requirement.

Nagpasa ang UP ng P25-B budget proposal pero P12.6-B lamang ang inaprubahan ng DBM. Nasa P2.15-B naman ang kakailanganin ng PUP pero P1-B lamang ang inaprubahan ng nasabing ahensiya.

Pinakamababa naman ang matatanggap ng Philippine Normal University na P569 Milyon, o 18.6 porsiyento lamang ng P3-B isinumiteng pondo ng nasabing pamantasan para sa 2015.

“Sa patuloy na pagtanggi  ng gobyerno na maglaan ng sapat na pondo para sa operasyon ng SUCs, nagresulta ito sa patuloy na komersyalisasyon ng edukasyon at taunang pagtaas sa matrikula at iba pang bayarin na kinokolekta sa mga mag-aaral,” ayon kay Ridon.

Sa nasabing budget hearing, napag-alaman na 40 porsiyento ng kabuuang kinakailangang pondo para sa SUCs ay nanggagaling mula sa matrikula at iba pang bayarin na sinisingil mula sa mga mag-aaral.

Nasa P3 bilyong piso ang pondong kakailanganin ng Polytechnic University of the Philippines.<strong>Pher Pasion</strong>

Nasa P3 Bilyon ang pondong kakailanganin ng Polytechnic University of the Philippines. Pher Pasion

“Dahil sa patuloy na pagpapabaya ng gobyerno, kinakailangan ng mga mag-aaral na punan ang kakulangang iniiwan ng gobyerno. Estudyante na po ang nagpupuno sa kakulangan ng pamahalaan,” ayon kay Ridon.

Dagdag din Ridon, nakakagalit na mayroong bilyung-bilyong pondo para sa mga kuwestiyonableng items sa 2015 badyet at lump-sum allocations, samantalang nasa one-third lamang ang ilalaan ng administrasyong Aquino para sa SUCs.

“May pondo para sa korapsyon, may pondo para sa pork barrel at overpriced pet projects para sa mga politiko ng administrasyon, pero sa ngayong taon at kahit sa mga nakalipas, patuloy na kulang-kulang ang natatanggap ng ating mga publikong pamantasan,” aniya.

 

State School Original Proposed Budget (2015) DBM-approved Budget (as stated in 2015 NEP) Difference Percent approved
Eulogio ‘Amang’ Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology 238,131,000 211,811,000 26,320,000 88.9
Philippine Normal University 3,057,267,000 569,092,000 2,488,175,000 18.6
Polytechnic University of the Philippines 2,152,091,000 1,048,801,000 1,103,290,000 48.7
Rizal Technological University 455,131,000 265,077,000 190,054,000 58.2
Technological University of the Philippines 882,166,000 475,367,000 406,799,000 53.9
University of the Philippines System 25,005,289,000 12,612,093,000 12,393,196,000 50.4

Source: Department of Budget and Management

 

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Paniningil ng terminal fee, tinutulan ng mga OFW http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/09/paniningil-ng-terminal-fee-tinutulan-ng-mga-ofw/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/09/paniningil-ng-terminal-fee-tinutulan-ng-mga-ofw/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 07:52:49 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=30213 Tinututulan ng mga OFW ang awtomatikong paniningil ng mga terminal fee sa airline tiket simula Oktubre 1. Dapat exempted ang mga OFW sa nasabing buwis.

Tinututulan ng mga OFW ang awtomatikong paniningil ng terminal fee sa airline ticket simula Oktubre 1. Dapat exempted ang mga OFW sa nasabing buwis.  Larawan ng lumang resibo para sa terminal fee mula sa philippineairspace.blogspot.com 

Ipinoprotesta ng grupo ng Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) ang awtomatikong paniningil ng P550 terminal fee sa airline tickets.

Nabuo ang bagong patakaran sa isang Memorandum of Agreement na nilagdaan ng Manila International Airport Authority o MIAA at mga airline carrier, at agarang ipapatupad sa Oktubre 1.

Ngunit sa ilalim ng Republic Act 10022 o Migrant Workers’ Act, exempted ang mga OFW sa pagbabayad ng terminal fee. Kailangan lamang na ipakita nila ang kanilang mga Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) para mapatunayan ang kanilang OFW status.

Ayon kay Garry Martinez, tagapangulo ng Migrante International, ang paniningil ng terminal fee sa tiket ay isa na namang iskema ng pangongotong sa mga OFW. Bagaman maaaring i-refund ng mga OFW ang bayarin, tinataya na maraming OFW ang posibleng hindi makakapag-refund ng terminal fee dahil sa perwisyong dulot nito.

“Dapat hindi na sila inaabala pa sa dagdag na bayarin na ito…Ang dami na nilang hirap para makakuha ng mga rekisitos, para makakuha ng kanilang OEC, tapos ngayon ito pa?” ayon kay Martinez.

Karugtong na usapin ng terminal fee ang OEC, na para sa grupo ay dapat na ring buwagin. Isang rekisito ang OEC para sa mga OFW para makalabas ng bansa at magtrabaho.

Idiniin na Martinez na kasangkapan lamang ng gobyerno ang OEC upang makapaningil sa mga OFW. “Hindi na rin tinatanggap ng service providers ang dokumentong ito. Hindi na ito epektibo upang makaseguro ang pangangalaga ng kagalingan ng mga OFW,” aniya.

Sa pag-aaral ng Migrante International, aabot sa tinatayang P31,000 kada OFW ang bayarin sa iba’t ibang rekisitos tulad ng Philhealth premium, NBI clearance fees, e-passport fees, barangay clearance fees, at mga mandatoryong kontribusyon sa Pag-Ibig, OWWA, at iba pa.

Ayon pa sa Migrante, nakakakolekta ang Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) ng P26,267 kada OFW na ipinoproseso nito mula noong 2010 o simula ng administrasyong Aquino. Mas mataas ito sa average na Php18,000 kada OFW na sinisingil ng POEA bago ang 2010.

Panawagan ni Martinez sa mga OFW, tanggihan ang pagbabayad ng terminal fee sa pagbili nila ng mga airline ticket. “Huwag po tayong pumayag na maisahan tayo sa bagong iskemang pangongotong na ito. Nakasaad sa batas na exempted dapat tayo sa paniningil ng terminal fee,” aniya.

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