November 30, 2009 in Featured
With reports from NORTHERN DISPATCH WEEKLY
BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) reiterated its position on the decommissioning of the San Roque Dam in a senate public hearing.
During the 8th public hearing in San Manuel, Pangasinan, the Senate Committee on Climate Change headed by Senator Loren Legarda conducted discussion on the davastating effects of Typhoon”Pepeng”.
The public hearing aimed to set directions for effective disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaptation measures and strategies at all levels.
It investigated the San Roque dam operations and the water releases of major dams, which contributed to the massive flooding in the Pangasinan and other provinces in Central Luzon at the height of Typhoon Pepeng.
According to Jill Cariño, CPA Vice Chairperson for External Affairs, The sedimentation upstream of the Agno River continues to fill the reservoir therefore decreasing the capacity of the San Roque Dam reservoir to hold water.
Thus, water releases by SRPC are bound to happen as rainfall due to typhoons increases with the worsening of climate change. “This is a serious concern for the indigenous peoples in Itogon, Benguet, who are affected by the rising siltation along the Agno River upstream of the dam, as well as of the downstream communities in Pangasinan who are greatly affected by flooding as experienced during Typhoon Pepeng.” Cariño said.
CPA was invited as one of the resource persons for the public hearing.
Ms. Cariño further raised the issue on the violations of indigenous peoples rights committed by the San Roque Power Corporation (SRPC). Citing that the affected Itogon communities in Benguet did not consent to the construction of the San Roque Dam.
Cariño also spoke of the threat of earthquakes that could seriously damage the dam, and earthquakes that could be induced by the dam itself. She cited the case of the Zipingpu Dam in Sichuan China where a devastating earthquake killed more than 80,000 people in May 2008.
Scientists found the earthquake was triggered by the weight of the reservoir of the Zipingpu Dam.
“We do not want the experience of China to happen here. With these concerns, the CPA is calling for the decommissioning of the San Roque Dam. We also call for the Power Purchase Agreement entered into by the Philippine government with the SRPC to be rescinded because it is totally disadvantageous for the Filipino people”, Cariño added.
The CPA has been at the forefront of the opposition against the San Roque dam since the start of the project in 1996. Informed of the environmental impact, the social and economic costs on Benguet and Pangasinan that the damming of the Agno will result to.
In a statement, CPA cited that Agno River communities in Benguet, affected communities in Pangasinan led by the Tignayan dagiti Mannalon a Mangwayawaya ti Agno (TIMMAWA) and the Cordillera Peoples Alliance sounded warning of massive flooding in Pangasinan prior to dam construction, and reiterated it several times before and after dam completion, but it was not heeded by the SRPC, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) nor by the government.
Further, the CPA stated that the SRPC, National Power Corporation, JBIC, former President Fidel Ramos who hails from Pangasinan, and the Arroyo government that pushed for the construction and operation of the San Roque Dam, should be held accountable for the devastation the dam has caused.
Present during the hearing were Congressman Mark O. Conjuanco, with the municipal mayors and municipal representatives of the 5th District of Pangasinan.
Congressman Conjuanco expressed their plan to gather all evidence to support filing a case against the National Power Corporation for the damage caused by the flooding.
Also present were SRPC President Ryukichi Kawaguchi and Senior Vice President William B. Connel. The hearing was held inside the SRPC compound near the spillway of the dam.#nordis.net
By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
Muslims, Imam join condemnation as they observe Haj season
BAGUIO CITY – Initiated by local media practitioners with a prayer and a candle lighting ceremony at the Baguio Cathedral here on Thursday, the condemnation of the massacre of 57 civilians in Maguindanao gained support from various sectors as they too blamed the national leadership for its kid’s-glove treatment of the perpetrators led by their allies – reportedly the Ampatuans.
Outraged and indignant, they demand from government authorities the immediate delivery of justice, including the urgent disarming of the Ampatuans and their armed group.
Imam Bedejim Abdullah, a Muslim religious leader here, condemned the massacre of civilians and urged that justice be served to the victims of the atrocity.
“Though the Muslims worldwide are celebrating now the Haj season, that event (Maguindanao massacre) is a very sad note,” Imam Abdullah said in an interview.
He explained that they are celebrating the Haj month where Muslims are fasting in commemoration of the triumph of the Prophet Abraham from the test of Allah.
Friday would be the culmination of the Haj month with the Eidul Adha or Feast of Sacrifice.
He said that the perpetrators deserve the worst punishment adding: “May Allah hurl the criminals into the deepest pit of hell and may Allah reward well in paradise those who have fallen victims of the atrocity”.
As perpetrators and alleged masterminds of the dastardly act were identified, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines of the Baguio-Benguet chapter urged the authorities to immediately arrest the perpetrators.
“By all means, the perpetrators should be arrested and answer for their dastardly act regardless of who and what they are and what positions they occupy in the government,” pointed lawyer Daniel Mangallay, president of the IBP-BB, in an interview.
“The government should act swiftly for the sake of justice. Unless, the government has something to do with this?” he asked. Since there is strong evidence and witnesses, the government must do everything that is proper and not just engage in “papogi” or politics.
City councilor and lawyer Rocky Thomas Balisong joined Mangallay in condemning the act.
“The government should act swiftly, investigate and arrest the culprits whoever they are. No one should be above the law,” he said.
Two human rights lawyers, Cynthia Oquendo-Ayon and Ma. Conception Brizuela are members of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL) who were identified as among the victims who accompanied the wife and sisters of Ismael Mangundadatu to file the latter’s candidacy for governor against one of the Ampatuans.
Here, on Thursday, despite the rain, some 30 journalists said prayers and lit candles at the Baguio Cathedral as part of the nationwide coordinated move by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in condemnation of the massacre. Joining them in the Cathedral activity were Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. and some members of the city hall staff.
Why no arrests yet?
While town mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. of the Datu Unsay town, turned himself in to the authorities only on Thursday, the public here wonder why no arrests yet has been made against the other Ampatuans, police, paramilitary, and their armed bodyguards who were allegedly involved in the horrible carnage.
“Is this (no arrest) just another way of how Malacanang pays its “utang na loob” (debt of gratitude) to those who rampantly cheated in the past elections in favor of the present leadership?” asked lawyer Kissack Mujahid Gabaen, secretary-general of the Cordillera Muslim Regional Organization.
Gabaen, like Mangallay, said that the government should have suspended all the government officials whose involvement in the massacre has been alleged.
“With their power as warlords in Mindanao, they can terrorize people including witnesses, destroy evidence and influence the outcome of the investigation,” he pointed out.
Would Andal Jr. be the sacrificial lamb for the other Ampatuans and the real culprits go scot-free? Gabaen further asked.
GMA accountable, too
The women’s group in the region, Innabuyog a chapter of Gabriela, said the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should also be held accountable and responsible for the massacre. She pointed out that the Ampatuans are close allies of GMA.
Vernie Diano, Innabuyog chairperson, said of this attack against innocent civilians, that include members of the media, women and lawyers; “The women showed their desire for good governance by being part of the delegation which ended brutally with them being killed”.
Also, city councilor Isabelo Cosalan pointed out that the victims were Filipinos who cry for justice. “It (the carnage) is a shameful act of cowards, blinded by power, who may have not realized that everything is temporary in this world. They shall reap what they sow,” he said. # nordis.net
By ADELA WAYAS
BAGUIO CITY — National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) Baguio-Benguet Chapter unites in condemning the carnage in Maguindanao and called for justice for the colleagues and all the other victims of this heinous crime.
Members of the NUJP, the Benguet Press Club, and other media practitioners showed their solidarity with the victims’ families by holding a candle lighting activity in front of Baguio Cathedral on Tuesday, Nov. 24. City Mayor Reinaldo Bautista joined the media practitioners in the activity and joined them on their call for speedy justice.
Twenty three or more journalists were among those killed in a convoy which accompanied Genalyn, the wife of Vice – Mayor Esmael Mangundadatu, in filing the latter’s certificate of candidacy.
According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ report, the massacre was alledgedly perpetrated by Datu Unsay Andal Ampatuan Jr. and Chief Inspector Sukarno Dicay. Ampatuan Jr. is now in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Manila for further investigation after he submitted himself to clear his name.
In a statement released by NUJP, taking hostage someone about to file a certificate of candidacy is, by itself, a brazen challenge to efforts to strengthen the fragile democracy in the country.
NUJP added that it says a lot about how far government has gone to eradicate the warlord politics that continues to reign over many of the provinces, very often the poorest and most underdeveloped, if it is true that a government official (Ampatuan) and a police officer (Dicay) were involved.
NUJP stated, “To take hostage journalist who were merely going about their job of informing the public worsens the already heinous crime and elevates it into an assault on the Constitution itself and the freedom of the press and expression it enshrines, and the people’s right to know which these freedoms serve.”
Moreover, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called for the international community to intervene and support impartial investigation that would bring justice to the victims and for the punishment of those responsible for the killing of journalists.
IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said, “This is an event which shocks journalists around the world to the core.” She added journalist need a strong response from the Philippine government and the international community.
The NUJP chapter members here explained they do not stay afloat to seek an end to the supremacy of corruption of wealth and abuse of power since Cordillera region is not new to election related violence where political warlords and dynasties exist, and where private armies are utilized at a maximum to prove that they are in command.
They challenged the people and all members of the media community to open their eyes to these harsh realities. “The moment we shut ourselves from these realities, a bullet may strike anytime in our midst soon…ignorance is an ally of perpetrators of violence,” the NUJP added.
They said the carnage sent a message that anyone across sectors of the society would not be spared in senseless killings and threats of blood bath.
After the Maguindanao massacre, Philippines is considered as one of the most dangerous place for media men outside Iraq.
Aside from the demand for a swift justice for the 57 victims in the Ampatuan, NUJP said that the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. “We should not be silenced by the sound of gunshots but to express rage to end the culture of violence which perpetuates political warlords,” it added.
It also call for the people in various sectors of the society to speak up and let their voices be heard.# nordis.net
By WENDY ATUBAN
BAGUIO CITY — As of 11:40 last Saturday, six are contending to become the lone representative of this city in the congress while the local mayoral post has four aspirants as yet.
Leading the list of the congressional seat hopefuls are incumbents Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr., Councilors Nicasio Aliping Jr., Rocky Thomas Balisong, and former vice mayor Leandro Yangot who is running under Partido Liberal. Two new faces- Felipe Ramos: Independent and Rabindranath Quilala of PDP Laban, are also joining the race.
Bautista and Ramos who their filed candidacy on the last November 20 are running as independent candidates while Balisong is running under NP/IBC. Aliping has not indicated if he’s running independently or not.
Gunning for the top local executive post are incumbent Councilor Elaine Sembrano, Erlinda Busacay-Lazo, both independent and new in the competition, former councilor Jose Molintas under LP and former mayor Jun Labo, independent.
The Comelec list Faustino Olowan as the only candidate for the vice-mayoralty seat under LP so far while 24 candidates are vying for city council seats, 7 of which are running under the NP/IBC party, 12 under LP, 3 belong to Labo’s line up and 2 independents… The aspirants for the council include Roi David-Independent, Alberto Reyes-Independent. Listed under NP/IBC are Richard Zarate, Alexander Ortega, Philian Weygan, Robin Coteng, Emmanuel Clemente and incumbents Perlita Chan-Rondez and Richard Carino. The local LP are fielding incumbents Isabelo Cosalan and Fred Bagbagen together with Pablito Gumnad, Kathleen Bilog; the youngest candidate so far, Richard Carlos, Antonino Cortes, Babot Olarte, Joseph Marrero, Allan Mazo, Roi Vinzon, Raphael Delson, and Edilberto Tenefrancia. Lining up as councilors under Labo are Benjie Macadangdang, Carlos Asiatico, and Florencio Pilando.
“Compared to past elections the list now is very short,” said Atty. Modesto Bahul, Jr., OIC of Comelec Baguio. However, he expects “many more to be flocking to the office in the coming days especially on the deadline” which is set on December 1. He expects Lakas-Kampi to file in the last 3 days.
According to Bahul, the office of the Comelec is open every day including Saturdays, Sundays and the holiday on Nov. 30 until Dec. 1 to accommodate applicants. The office is open from 8 AM to 5 PM except on the last day of filing when applicants can file up to 12 midnight.# nordis.net
By WENDY ATUBAN
BAGUIO CITY — Cases of violence against women here have increased, yet it can be construed as both positive and negative.
That is what civil society groups as well as the police claimed during a round table discussion on provision of services for Violence Against Women (VAW) victims held last Friday at the University of the Philippines Baguio multipurpose hall here.
Investigator Liza Batanes of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) Women and Children Protection Division said the number of reported cases of violence against women increased from more than 100 last year to more than 200 this year. “However,” she explains “the number includes past cases that have not been reported.” Most of the abuses women take, she explained include abuse, oral defamation, rape, acts of lasciviousness;, etc.. “Physical injuries and economic abuse,” she said, “top the number of cases.”
Vernie Yocogan-Diano, head of the Cordillera Women’s Education Action and Research Center (CWEARC), a support institution for indigenous women’s organizations in the Cordillera, said the rise can be considered positive as it shows these victims are becoming aware of their rights and are courageously coming out in the open unlike before where many remain mum of the abuses they suffer due to fear of unwanted consequences. “As it is negative because it indicates a social ill,” she stated.
As such, the groups seek to come up with programs that will provide services for victims through sharing of each groups’ accommodation for such cases. The CWEARC conducts research and documentation on the said issue and vows to continue raising awareness, organizing and mobilizing victims including the women migrants who make up a considerable number, according to a CWEARC study.
Innabuyog, the local chapter of the Gabriela Women’s group committed to pursue advocacy drives to raise awareness. Currently, it is spreading its I Vow to Fight VAW campaign. Mila Singson +_of Innabuyog requested other groups to accommodate cases of VAW also since they “cannot house all the victims that avail of their services.”
Another group, the Episcopal Church of the Philippines claims to handle cases of abused women abroad. It specifically conducts trainings and education especially on the rights of women. It pushes for “education at all levels.” # nordis.net
November 29, 2009 in national
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The Courage Partylist directed through a memorandum its regional, provincial and city formations as well as member organizations to intensify their campaign for the reconsideration of their accreditation to participate in the 2010 elections.
In an 11 page resolution by the Comelec’s 1st Division received by the partylist on November 19, the Courage Partylist was denied accreditation on allegations that the partylist had no national constituency and failed to submit their articles of incorporation as proof that they are representing a marginalised and under-represented sector.
According to the partylist, the Comelec mistook them to be COURAGE the national organization of government employees; and misconstrued their non-submission of their articles of incorporation as a defiance. The Partylist said the submission of such a document is not actually a requirement for the registration of a partylist. Otherwise, “why was it not mentioned during their August 28 hearing at the Comelec”, they asked.
According to Courage Partylist, in the verification process, the Comelec said they had no membership in 11 regions where the partylist submitted a list of members to the Comelec. And, in that the areas of Lanao del norte, Makati, Rizal, 1st and 2nd District of Quezon City the Comelec claimed they had verified the existence of the Partylist’s members where the partylist actually reported no members.
Pointed out also in the memo, was that in the resolution the Comelec ordered its regional offices to verify the existence of “Kalinga” and not Courage PartyList in different regions.
“It is quite unacceptable to us that three commissioners have affixed their signatures without noticing such an error,” Courage Partylist National President Ferdinand Gaite said.
Gaite said the Comelec’s resolution denying their application deprived both active and retired state employees of their right to be represented in Congress.
Gaite said that they will still file a “Manifestation to participate in the 2010 elections on December 1 which is the deadline of filing. He said they will stage a nationally coordinated action on the same date”.#nordis.net
November 29, 2009 in national
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Bayan Muna (BM) Representative and Deputy House Minority Leader Satur Ocampo said that the Executive Order 546 of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo issued in July 2006 may have legalized private armies like in Maguindanao.
In a BM news release posted on their website, Ocampo asked Malacañang to recall Arroyo’s Executive Order 546 and the disbandment of the Civilian Volunteers Organization (CVOs) and other legalized private armies. This is in the wake of the Maguindanao massacre on November 23 where 57 were reported to have been slaughtered in Amaptuan town of Maguindanao. Accordingly, members of CVOs were among the suspected perpetrators.
In the said EO 546, local officials and the Philippine National Police (PNP) were given the authority to deputize barangay tanods as additional forces in the anti-insurgency campaigns. But according to Ocampo, in actual practice, GMA’s EO gave power to local officials to convert and fund their private armed groups legally poised as CVOs.
“This EO was the demented brainchild of Interior and DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno. EO 546 made it legal for LGUs to mobilize, train and arm these so-called CVOs as local armed auxiliary units working under the supervision and command of the PNP to supposedly counter terrorist threats.
Three years later, it is proven that the CVOs are nothing but private armies who kill at the slightest whim and wish of their warlord bosses. The Maguindanao Massacre is the handiwork of one such private army,” Ocampo stressed.
Ocampo said that the CVOs who partcipated in the gruesome mass murder were most likely recruited under Arroyo’s EO 546. Ocampo added that through this EO, Extrajudicial Killings and the culture of impunity were enhanced.
According to Ocampo, the CVOs particularly those who took part in the massacre contirubute to the many human rights violations commited by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Civilian Armed Forces Geograhical Unit (CAFGU), death squads and other paramilitary forces. Ocampo also said that they are even being used as instruments of the Arroyo administration for electoral cheating.
Ocampo demanded an explanation from the regional and national officials of the AFP and PNP on their refusal to provide police and military escorts to the convoy to file the Gobernatorial candidacy of Buluan town Mayor Datu Esmael Mangudadatu and some members of the media who supposedly went to cover the event despite information of a possible clash between the Mangudadatu clan and the Ampatuan clan.
Unarmed, the convoy was said to have been accosted by armed groups allegedly members of AFP, PNP and CVOs. The armed group was also said to be led by Shariff Aguak Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.
“We also hold the AFP and PNP accountable for the massacre. They were tasked to protect the civilians, secure the roads the convoy would take and ensure that no violence would take place. They failed miserably, and now 46 people are dead,” said Ocampo.
Ocampo called for a credible investigative body to probe the Maguindanao carnage. He also asked the AFP and PNP to be included in the said investigation for their incompetence, ommission and possible complicity on their part.
“We cannot and must not allow this matter to be covered up and investigations white-washed. The massacre proves yet again the harsh truth that lives are cheap and highly expendable under this government, but we must fight to make those accountable pay the high price for their inhumane actions,” Ocampo further said.
The BM representative also slammed Executive Eduardo Ermita’s excuse for Malacañang’s slow action on the massacre. Ermita said they did not “have full control of the situation on the ground, mortals as we are.” Ocampo said this statement added insult to the suffering of the victim’s families and the Filipino people.
Ocampo said that Ermita is wrong when he said that such barbaric acts cannot be prevented. He said that all it takes to prevent such is a corruption-free government without leaders wielding guns, goons and gold. “Malacañang’s entire response to this barbarity has been most disappointing to say the least; and its words of consolation and promises of decisive and just action do not comfort or assure anyone,” Ocampo said.
Ocampo also hit Arroyo for her statement on the massacre as false and insincere. He said that it took long days for Arroyo to issue such statement and to order the AFP to take actions. He further said that the violence characterized in the massacre is not new under her rule, he added that the pattern continues because of the administration’s own bent towards HRVs and perpetuating the culture of impunity.
“ It comforts and assures no one that Malacañang has promised that justice will be rendered to the victims, because in the same breath, its various officials and spokespersons are already issuing excuses that there is no sufficient evidence to pin down the perpetrators,” said the lawmaker.
Ocampo also said the increased militray presence and activities in Maguindanao should be aimed at arresting the right suspects and not fall guys and innocent civilians. He also said that efforts should be focused on the arrest of all the Ampatuan clan leaders and not only their followers. “The Ampatuans must not be treated with kid gloves, and afforded no special treatment,” he ended. # nordis.net
November 29, 2009 in national
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
QUEZON CITY — Kilusang Mayo Uno (May 1st Movement or KMU) national Chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog describes the big three oil companies: Shell, Petron and Caltex as heartless for raising the price of petroleum products for profit’s sake amid public outrage and mourning victims of the Maguindanao massacre.
Next week, the liquified petroleum gas (LPG) price will be higher by P3.50 a kilogram starting next week. KMU said these corporate move capitalizes on the focus of media and the people on the gruesome massacre.
Labog said that it can be remembered that oil companies raised gas prices at a time when the Filipino people are still recovering from the wrath of typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng”. He added that the oil companies also managed to shoot-up their prices right after the lifting of Executive Order 839 which temporarily halted oil price hikes.
Labog also said the jubilation of the Filipino masses over the victory of boxing champ Manny Pacquiao was cut-short because of recent oil price hikes.
“These greedy oil companies are sliding a knife into our necks through the barrage of price hikes, while we grieve for the victims of politically motivated killings in Maguindanao,” said Labog.
Labog even said that the oil firms are apparently no different from the suspected mastermind behind the Maguindanao massacre because of their mafia-style of pushing for corporate profits.
But Labog warned the oil companies that the social volcano against injustice will not spare them as they are bent on pursuing profits at the peoples’ expense. According to Labog, the round of pump price hikes brought the average price of diesel to P31 per liter while the gasoline to P40 per liter. Labog added that the pending LPG price increase will make an 11-kg. cylinder tank of LPG from P580 to P620.
Labog further said that Filipinos are bound to grieve rather than celebrate the nearing holiday season because of the steady price increase of petroleum products and also the continous price increases in basic commodities.
On the other hand, KMU also dared Malacanang officials to reveal their meeting with the Ampatuans, held at the Palace on the day when the massacre happened. According to KMU, Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Gabriel Claudio met with Autonumous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan and Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan on November 23, Monday.
“What the hell were the Ampatuans doing and talking about in Malacañang while their men rained bullets and raped the journalists, civilians, and their political enemies in Maguindanao? Arroyo and the Ampatuans have been silent and evasive about that meeting. And this only raises more suspicion that it was a meeting of the bosses to ensure the success of their murder plan at their safe house that is Malacañang,” slammed Labog.
Labog said that they seem to be undaunted because the day after the discovery of the massacre, Claudio met with the Ampatuans again. # nordis.net
By LELILANIE ADRIANO
LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte — Imagine the city proper of Laoag with battery-powered vehicles or electric taxis transporting passengers from one place to another. No gas emissions, equals fresher air to breath.
This is what the Laoag City government wants the city to become as the administration of mayor Michael Fariñas wants to purchase more electric taxis to service commuters especially tourists and senior citizens around the city.
To date, Laoag has purchased at least two e-taxis painted light green and pink.
It is the newest city next to Puerto Princesa in Palawan, Taguig and Marikina that has acquired battery-operated taxis aimed to promote the use of environment-friendly electric vehicles. One unit e-taxi cost about P160, 000.
Fariñas said the city government has allotted more funds to buy larger electric vehicles that could accommodate at least nine passengers. Aside from that, the city has also about 10 electric-powered smart bikes used by traffic aid enforcers.
“It may be expensive but in the long run, it comes out cheaper because you don”t need to buy oil and fuel to operate it,” said Fariñas in an interview.
Record shows that there are some 2.2 million tricycles in the country. Most of these are powered by very dirty engines, and the government recognizes that this is a major problem. To help remedy the situation, the Philippines has entered into a joint venture agreement with Leo Motors to build new electric taxis.
The government made an initial counterpart contribution of $5 million to get it started and Leo Motors is to provide at least 2,500 electric vehicle kits, including batteries that will be assembled by the newly formed company. Each unit will be powered by a lithium polymer battery that can either be recharged in the vehicle or swapped out at designated “Fresh Battery Stations”.The first city to get the EVs was Puerto Princesa, the capital of the province of Palawan. #nordis.net
By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
BAGUIO CITY — Environmental experts say this summer capital of the country is a landslide prone area.
Pepeng, a wake up call
Gaining painful lessons from typhoon Pepeng, clear programs attuned to the characteristics of the city must be adopted, environment experts here said.
Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. told media that the city would draft plans to remove communities from these danger areas. He also promised to adopt the recommendations of the MGB.
When asked how the City Council would address the homeless left by typhoon Pepeng, Councilor Poppo Cosalan said they obtained a commitment from the National Housing Authority to allot lots in Tadiangan, Tuba, Benguet for the residents who needed to be resettled permanently.
Nordis learned that 313 houses were damaged by Typhoon Pepeng in the city where 99 houses were classified as totally damaged. These 99 are qualified for the Tadiangan housing where the houses would be payable for 30 years.
For temporary settlement, they are working on the lot in Irisan of this city as a site but still hope for funding yet, said Cosalan who heads the Council Committee on Urban Housing adding: “A survey is being done over another proposed site in the Sto. Tomas area”.
The city government’s plan however is still a proposal and it can not strategically address the common issue that most areas are susceptible to landslides, observed Ignacio Pangket, chairman of the urban poor group Organisasyon Dagiti Nakakurapay nga Umili ti Siyudad (ORNUS).
The availability of lands for housing project in the city and the affordability of these houses to residents are among the issues unanswered by the city officials’ plans.
Adopt concrete program
Residents here urged the city government to come up with a concrete plan to address the issues of residents in the areas considered highly susceptible to landslides.
Lawyer Jose Mencio Molintas said a concrete plan addressing the residence-related issues must evolve and must be strictly implemented by the city government. Without a concrete program, residents will always go back to their homes despite the danger posed on their lives.
The author learned from Molintas that the land system in the city is anchored on the town site sales application. Here, an alienable land is sold by the government to the highest bidder, a system based on the charter of the city which was introduced by the American colonizers 100 years ago.
The system is seen as a push factor for informal settlers to occupy even so called critical areas. Instead of selling available lands to the highest bidder, Molintas said that the lands should be developed for housing to these residents occupying the critical areas.
Such (plan) would be a realization of the residents’ right to a decent shelter, he said.
Going back to their landslides homes
Survivors of the landslides during typhoon Pepeng claimed that they have no choice but to go back and rebuild their homes destroyed by Typhoon Pepeng.
As a bottle and newspaper vendor, Nana Benita Sar-ayen, 59, said that she had nowhere to go as the house and small land she developed was the only property she can claim.
She and her other neighbors – Corazon Lagmayao (59 years), Gina Valdez (59), Rebecca Wacangan – admitted in an interview that they will go back and rebuild their houses in the same place. The housing plan being dangled by the city government is not affordable to them with their meager and irregular income.
As long as there is no concrete plan by the city government, the likes of Nanang Benita, Lagmayao and Valdez will establish shelter in the danger zone in the city. # nordis.net
Apprehend all the perpetrators from the top most to the bottom most criminal.
Behind that gruesome crime commtted in Maguindanao was a purpose so sinister that was not simply against opponents in politics, or against feuding clans. It was against humanity as a whole. It was meant not only to scare political rivals or people in the opposition but to terrorize a nation to silence and fear. It was meant to delete a peoples’ faith in democracy or in national freedom.
That kind of a mind has no place in the democratic processes that greater humanity has chosen to govern society. Like history has patiently uncovered and condemned tyrants and bandits, the nation looks toward lady Justice to pursue and mete her wrath upon the guilty, one way or the other.
Most government officials and members of the business sector have not as individuals, organizations or as a sector express condemnation of that gruesome and violent massacre. Unlike the fourth estate and the Church which since day one of the discovery of the bloodbath have cried out their anger and their united call for Justice.
As one citizen Mayor Peter Rey Bautista condemned the deed and the perpetrators and even declared the perpetrators persona non grata to Baguio City. Whether his action carried smacks for media exposure or not, whether he did it as an official or as a simple citizen, we know he did it with a bit of fear of political repercussion in his heart but his condemnation of that cold, cold crime against civilians, women, children, the media, the lawyers and ordinary people rang true. He has courage to represent what his people felt about it.
It would be uniting to know local government officials who profess to represent the small citizens of their towns and cities, would have no hand in protecting, covering or cudgeling anything or anyone who has something to do with that vile crime. It is, no matter how faint, reassuring to know our officials are not anything like that Ampatuan murderer. # nordis.net
By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
(Today’s advocate will give way to the statement on the Ampatuan massacre drafted by the NUJP which is being circulated to media practitioners, lawyers, and individuals who may be included as signatory for the statement. Interested individual who wants to be a signatory may send their name, media outfit or organization to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.)
Today we say, “Enough.”
The massacre of 57 people in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao goes beyond a rido or clan war. The sheer scope of barbarity, the brazenness of the murders betrays the perpetrators’ belief in being beyond the reach of the law.
Women, lawyers and journalists – no one escaped the butchers’ wrath. Fifty-seven people killed in broad daylight. The murderers had planned the deed, down to the mass burial of victims. That is the mark of the untouchable.
The Ampatuan massacre not only highlights the capacity for abuse by a political clan that has acted as ruler, judge, jury and executioner in its feudal turf; it is the graphic proof that State forces actually abet crime and protect criminals who provide favors for government officials.
Amid the outrage, even as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo placed Maguindanao in a state of emergency, the government tried to downplay the role of the Ampatuan clan in the massacre.
Filipinos have been jailed, tortured and killed for petty crimes and for exercising their right to peaceful dissent. Yet PNP officials displayed an abject reluctance to even name the Ampatuans as suspects. President Arroyo even issued a public reaffirmation of her friendship with the Ampatuans. And for good reason.
The Ampatuans, feudal rulers of Maguindanao, gifted President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with unbelievable margins of victory in the 2004 polls. They delivered the same service for her allies in 2007 election. They provide food and money for the military and para-military forces. They command a proxy army in the fight against secessionist rebels.
The Ampatuans and other warlords across the country have been doing these for a succession of administrations. Philippine leaders like to boast of our democracy. What confront us are images of a failed State, where institutions are unable to exercise mandated functions, and the central government cedes substantial power to warlords who maintain private armies, which include “civilian volunteers.”
The cozy ties between central government and local warlords blanket the Philippine countryside with a climate of fear born of a culture of impunity. While this is a long-standing problem, it has reached monstrous proportions under the Arroyo administration, which has spent the nine years devouring the very bases of public power in its relentless effort to privatize that power as the public monies.
We have had enough.
We demand the arrest and prosecution of all persons involved in the Ampatuan massacre, especially the masterminds. We demand the immediate suspension from office of all persons linked to the crime.
We demand the immediate arrest of all police and military officials who, by commission or omission, allowed the massacre to happen. We demand full punishment for all officers that tried to coddle the perpetrators of this massacre.
We demand the creation of an independent commission, to include media representatives, to probe the massacre and the events that led to it.
We demand that a special court with a presiding judge of impeccable credentials undertake the trial of the suspects in the Ampatuan massacre.
We demand that media access be guaranteed in all stages and processes of the investigation and prosecution.
We demand full and immediate coverage of victims’ families and witnesses in the witness protection program.
We demand the immediate dismantling and disarmament of para-military forces nationwide as they have long been used as private armies of local warlords.
We demand the creation of an independent body composed of impartial persons of the highest integrity to oversee the disarming of para-military forces and the disposition of their arms.
We also demand an overhaul of a justice system that rewards criminals and tramples on the innocent.
We, the undersigned concerned Filipino individuals and organizations vow to hold a national protest to demand meaningful action from this administration. If government is unwilling to govern, IT MUST STEP DOWN. Only when the culture of impunity has been defeated can this nation proceed with the task of building peace and democracy in the Philippines.# nordis.net
By REV. LUNA DINGAYAN
“Why did you do this evil thing? You had Uriah killed in battle; you let the Ammonites kill him, and then you took his wife! … I swear to you that I will cause someone from your own family to bring trouble on you… You sinned in secret, but I will make this happen in broad daylight for all Israel to see” – II Samuel 12:9-12
Pacquiao’s Amazing Victory
Manny Pacquiao’s amazing knock out victory against the Puerto Rican boxer Miguel Cotto and thus became the world’s welterweight boxing champion deserves our national recognition and celebration. Indeed, Pacquiao had successfully made history as the only boxer in the world who was able to get seven world championship titles in seven weight divisions. No boxer past or present except Manny has ever made such a great achievement.
What Pacquiao did is very uplifting to every Filipino. Our pride as a people has been vindicated by Pacquiao’s victory. We may be known all over the world in recent past as a nation whose government is lined up among the most corrupt in the world. But not all are lost in despair; we still have Filipinos, like Manny who has enriched himself not by corruption but by his own “sweat and blood” literally, and at the same time give pride to the Filipino race.
However, just shortly after his proclamation as the winner, an intrigue or rumor emerged that Pacquiao has a relationship with a young sexy actress named Krista Ranillo. Of course, this was not the first time that Manny was linked to another woman. Whether true or not, the Pacquiao camp was able to contain the current issue and focused people’s attention to the celebration of Pacquiao’s achievement and his possible political career.
King David, the Great Leader of Israel
Some people try to compare Manny Pacquiao to the Biblical legendary hero, Samson, whose strength was believed to have come out of his long hair. Thus, Pacquiao had to fight always with his long hair.
Actually, Samson’s strength comes out not from his long hair but from God. His long hair was just a symbol of his Nazirite vow. A Nazirite is one whose life has been dedicated to serve God even before he is born. The problem with Samson is that he played with his vow in his romance with Delilah, until he lost his strength and found himself being tortured to death by the Philistines. But he realized his wrongdoing and cried out unto God to restore his strength and he would make use of it to save his own people. Of course, he died in the process of saving his people.
But I would like to compare Manny Pacquiao not to Samson but to King David, the great king of Israel. King David’s greatness stemmed from the fact that he was the king who was able to unite the 12 tribes of Israel into one kingdom. Also, he was able to conquer the Canaanite tribes, the lands of the Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites, and assimilated them all into his great and expanding kingdom.
However, it was during his height of greatness that he was also greatly tempted and unfortunately, yielded to the temptation (cf. II Samuel 11-12). He saw the beautiful wife of one of his soldiers named Bathsheba and took her to the palace. The woman got pregnant and King David tried to cover up his wrongdoing. He ordered Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, who was at the time in the battlefield to come and sleep with his wife. But Uriah did not sleep with his wife, even when they tried to let him drink wine, because it was part of soldier’s discipline at that time not to sleep with his wife when battle was going on.
Thus, King David gave an order to Joab, the commander of the Israelite army, to put Uriah in the frontline of battle so that he will surely be killed. Upon Uriah’s death, King David took Bathsheba to the palace and became one of his wives. King David thought that no one knew what happened. He never realized that God knew everything from the very start.
And so, God sent Prophet Nathan to King David to personally confront him about the evil he had done by using the parable of the lamb, and after which, he said the following words from the Lord, saying: “Why did you do this evil thing? You had Uriah killed in battle; you let the Ammonites kill him, and then you took his wife! … I swear to you that I will cause someone from your own family to bring trouble on you… You sinned in secret, but I will make this happen in broad daylight for all Israel to see” (II Samuel 12:9-12).
God Requires Our Personal Life
It is a great lesson in human history that great temptation comes when we are at the height of our great achievements and we know that we are indeed great. This happened to Samson, to King David, and now to Manny Pacquiao.
But what is important is how we deal with temptation. Are we going to yield to it or resist it? Samson lost his strength when he yielded to temptation with Delilah. King David’s reign as the great king of Israel deteriorated after what he did to Uriah and his beautiful wife, Bathsheba. And this can also happen to Manny Pacquiao; it can also happen to us.
God is concerned not only with our public life; God is also concerned with our own personal life. Greatness should be seen not only in public, but also in the very secret aspect of our life.# nordis.net
By ALDWIN G. QUITASOL
“In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man’s proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.”- Ayn Rand
While 2009 CNN Hero of the Year awardee Efren Peñaflorida tours the streets and slum areas of poverty stricken City of Cavite to teach poor children who cannot afford to enter formal schooling, government officials and politicians are busy on figuring out how will their names be as sweet as they want to be to the Filipino voters.
Efren walks for hours just to bring education to where education is a foreign word, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo rides a tax-payers’ funded-airplane to go to many countries especially the first worlds to beg for “aid” putting our country much deeper in debt. While Efren and some of his friends in the Dynamic Teen Company are pushing around the celebrated “Kariton Klassroom” to serve the poor especially the youth, thick faced (kapalmuks) are enjoying their ride in luxury vehicles bought with the Filipino tax-payers’ money.
Efren, a devoted social worker and a rare kind of a selfless educator who does not expect fame or awards. Instead uses his education to serve impoverished children of unemployed, underemployed people. On the other hand, Arroyo, her cohorts and other corrupt officials with their exclusive schools learning, exploit their countrymen. You know, many are learned like those who are in power but few are really educated, Efren belongs to the few.
Efren earned the love out of trust and gratitude of the poor children he had taught. Meanwhile, GMA deserves the disgust of poor Filipino families who scrape every cent to send their children to school. The expenxive cost of education does not seek to suppport the betterment of the Philippine education system.
Instead, GMA turned the education system into a factory for good workers to export.
While Efren lure children into reading and writing and diverting them from joining gangs and criminality, the abusiveness and irresponsibility of most of our government rulers drive children to darkness as poverty worsens.
There are many Efrens in our country who are also deserving of high praises. But like Efren, they do not crave for it. There are many unsung real heroes in our society while there are also unwanted egotistic, self-proclaimed heroes. The real heroes are those who share what they have, who serve society sincerely. All society needs is a responsible government, responsible rulers who know how to serve and know how to manage the rotting economy and lift the impoverished people.
Efren is one of the many pictures of the struggle to make life better. Efren is one of the many Filipino people who wants to serve his countrymen. His efforts contribute to the aspirations for change, a real change to everyone’s life, for the good of society as a whole.# nordis.net
By NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS IN THE PHILIPPINES
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) demands the creation of an independent commission, to include media representatives, to investigate the Ampatuan massacre and the events that led to it.
This is to help ensure that no whitewash will happen and to identify the roots and those responsible for this unimaginable crime.
The NUJP is also demanding the creation of a special court with a presiding judge of impeccable credentials to undertake the trial of the suspects.
The filing of charges against Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., the prime suspect in this barbarity, does not mean that justice for the 57 victims, their families and the Filipino people has been served.
Justice means that all those who have participated, directly or indirectly, those who ordered the slaughter and those who allowed it to happen are arrested, prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of our laws.
The dismal fate of the cases of 104 Filipino journalists murdered since 1986, 64 under the present administration, the low case of conviction — only four — warrants an impartial and transparent investigation especially since t the primary suspects are close allies of Malacañang.
The massacre raised the number of journalists killed since 1986 to at least 141, 91 under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration.
The NUJP will actively support an international mission to the Philippines led by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) next month to investigate the killings.
We also call for support to the IFJ-initiated Global Day of Action to be held on December 9 to condemn the killings and demand justice.# nordis.net
By KATRIBU PARTYLIST AND SUARA BANGSAMORO
KATRIBU Partylist and SUARA BANGSA MORO join the family, friends and colleagues of the Maguindanao massacre victims, many organizations and individuals in condemning the massacre in Maguindanao. We also express our deepest sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of all those senselessly killed in the said massacre.
The incident shows the prevailing impunity and brazenness perpetuated by traditional politician warlords held in patronage by Malacanang. In the last elections, the suspects – the Ampatuan warlord clan – purportedly was responsible for rigging the elections in favor of GMA and her entire slate. Thus, in patronage, Malacanang allowed the rule of terror by the Ampatuan warlord clan in Maguindanao.
The Ampatuan warlord clan is also reportedly responsible for many human rights violations involving Moro people who oppose the said warlord clan’s rule in Maguindanao.
In the said massacre, the indigenous and Moro peoples of Mindanao lost two (2) of the very few lawyers who took on the cause of indigenous peoples’ rights, Attys. Concepcion “Connie” Brizuela and Cynthia Oquendo. In particular, Atty. Concepcion Brizuela, known among the indigenous peoples as “Attorney Connie” served as legal counsel for cases involving ancestral land rights in Mindanao.
The perpetrators even had the gall to cover-up the incident by moving out the bodies from the place of incident and attempted to bury all the victims in a nearby nameless pit. A mockery of law and order; and a blatant show of the perpetrators’ disrespect to Life!
In all these, we have not heard a sincere word of condemnation of the incident nor an expression of sympathy to the victims from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Her silence is deafening and ill-speaks of political benefaction!
We challenge the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government to act swiftly and conduct a full, fair and impartial investigation of the said massacre. On findings of probable cause, without delay, it should appropriately charge and arrest all suspects without fear or favor, even if it involves her staunchest ally in Maguindanao and bring them before the bar of justice and face the full force of the law!
Government should be wary of coddling the suspects; in the like manner it has coddled and awarded human rights violators like Berdugo Gen. Jovito Palparan. Private armies and goons that serve as instruments of terror should be disarmed and dismantled.
We further call on the government to do all that is possible to bring the reported hostages safe and secure back to their families, including securing the witnesses and other survivors.
The Malacanang-declared ‘State of Emergency’ should also be kept in check as not to serve as a tool for further human rights violations, silence the witnesses and survivors, and to whitewash the massacre and hostage-taking in Maguindanao.
Justice and Peace in Mindanao.
Dismantle All Private Armies!
Justice to the Victims of the Maguindanao Massacre!# nordis.net
By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
LITTLE KIBUNGAN, La Trinidad, Benguet – It was Saturday morning last week in Little Kibungan of this town, a mambunong (native priest) offers sliced native pig’s liver, meat, and tapey (rice wine) to the anitos (spirits). His chanted prayers: for the anitos to cleanse the villagers off any stain from their worst experience and guide them to start new lives.
Also, in attendance were media practitioners and rescue volunteers, who the mambunong claimed, should be subjected to the cleansing ritual as they also witnessed the worst disaster in the said village.
A Kankanaey mambunong from Ambiong, this town, Balili Gomez, 62, explained that the keydi (khey-di), a cleansing ritual, is also for the psychological and spiritual recovery of the survivors from what they had experienced and witnessed, which would continuously disturbed them from moving forward.
“Tapno sumardeng di didigra, gumawis nan lugar, maagasan nan sakit di nemnem, ken gumaget ay man-ubla (So that the disaster would stop, the place would recover, uplift the demoralized villagers, and regain the industry to work),” were among his prayers in the ritual done right in the devastated Kankanaey village.
From the more than 300 lives lost to landslides in the region during the height of Typhoon Pepeng, the Cordillera Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (CRDCC) said that 77 of these casualties were residents of Little Kibungan.
The avalanche from the Longlong Mountain above the village wiped out 32 houses below during the height of Typhoon Pepeng. Survivors from the totally destroyed houses already brought their dead love ones to Kibungan and other towns in Benguet after recovering their remains from the debris. “They can’t stand to come back here, as that disaster will always come back and may drive them crazy,” said a survivor.
On an earlier Saturday before the ritual, Gomez performed a ritual where seven pigs were offered for the 77 victims.
One iwik (a pointed tree branch) each was used for every native pig, said Gomez, pointing that was based on tradition. The iwik is used to hit the heart of the pig until it is dead.
After a pig is killed through the iwik, it will be burned well, sliced and the liver will be exposed for the bile reading. The pig will then be chopped based on tradition for cooking. The sliced pig’s liver and some meat and a wine – usually tapey- are used for the prayer.
In that earlier ritual however, the mambunong said that one of the pigs – after its heart was hit by the iwik and insured dead – moved while on the ground for minutes. He interpreted it as a bad omen, even if the bile position was fine. In cases like this which he says is rare, they need to repeat the ritual until it would all be fine, “as a curing remedy on the bad omen,” he said.
This is the reason why a native pig was also offered last Saturday to cure any bad omen in the last ritual.
Media participates in the ritual
The mambunong explained that the keydi ritual does not require again another seven pigs. He said that one pig is enough as what is important is the curing of any bad sign or signs that happened in the first ritual.
The Saturday ritual is a completion as the bile position is fine and that there is no more signs of bad omen.
Gomez claimed that the keydi ritual could be a blessing too. The journalists who covered the disaster in the village were not invited in the first ritual. But when they were invited last Saturday, the ritual turns to be good, he said in an interview where he was in his wanes (g-string) and apungot (head gear). The media practitioners were given watwat, pieces of meat, like the residents.
“Amin a nakita da a natay, dagidiay dakes ket sumngaw it bagi da. Isunga naawagan ti amin a tinmulong kas iti media” (All the dead bodies that they had seen, the bad things, would be cleansed from all those who witnessed the event like the journalists, explained Gomez, a native priest usually invited and without reservation goes to perform rituals when requested.
“I was taught of the various Kankanaey rituals by my ancestors (from Bakun, Benguet). I learned their legacy of performing these rituals to help people and communities, like in Little Kibungan village, move and start new lives,” he ended in Kankanaey reiterating that his function as a mambunong is a strong sense of community sacrifice and service – that is also strong in community cooperation as proven in the past Typhoon Pepeng. # nordis.net
Ni BRENDA SUBIDO-DACPANO
Idi naminsan a panaggatang ko ti suka ti unas idiay tiendaan ti Aringay, nalabasak ti adu a kampis (capiz). Nabagas dagiti kampis isu a gimmatangak.
Sumagmamano laeng a panawen a makaranaak ti kastoy iti tiendaan. Gimmatangak ti maysa a kilo ngem idi naluton ket nagbabbabawiak no apay a maymaysa a kilo laeng ti ginatang ko. Bitin, kuna dagiti annak ko.
Kas ti panagluto iti dadduma nga addaan shell, apagbiit laeng ti pannangluto ditoy tapno saan a nakulbet wenno natangken.
1 kilo a kampis
2 sibuyas, naiwa iti pino
3 ngipen a bawang, tinadtad
1 pulgada a laya, tinadtad
1/2 kutsarita a paminta, narim-it wenno pulbos
2 kutsara a mantika
1 tasa a bugnay wine wenno aniaman a klase a white wine
1. Bugguan dagiti kampis agingga nalitnaw ti danum
2. Iti dakkel a pariok, igisa iti mantika dagiti sibuyas, laya ken bawang iti dua a minutos wenno agingga nalukneng ti sibuyas.
3. Ipisok dagiti kampis. Ibukbok ditoy ti bugnay wine. Timplaan iti paminta.
4. Iluto iti lima agingga walo a minutos wenno aginggana aglukat dagiti shell ti kampis.
5. Adawen a dagus. # nordis.net