By NORTHERN DISPATCH WEEKLY STAFF
BAGUIO CITY—As calendar year 2010 sheds these last few pages a look at the stories reveal that three people’s collective issues made the banner most often than any other on the Northern Dispatch this year.
These were stories about: 1) the strong opposition of Cordillera communities to the entry and operation of large scale mines. NDW carried the stories about the various protest actions and lobby work of community folks of Bakun and Kibungan of Benguet and some villages of Mountain Province and Abra to block the entry of destructive mines in their territories.
Also, NDW featured people’s criticism against the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for questionable conduct of the free prior and informed consent process (FPIC) and issuance of FPIC certifications.
The strong opposition from these communities prompted government officials to take legislative actions to address issues on the conduct of the FPIC. Some even filed resolutions for a mining moratorium. Others issued pronouncements against the operation or entry of large scale mining in their areas.
Following in the rank of anti-mining, are stories about 2) the continuing struggle of Northern Luzon communities for the recognition and respect of Human Rights. The sorry state of human rights in the region continues as interior communities here remain heavily militarized. The reports also revealed that the communities covered by mining applications are the same communities where army troopers are encamped.
Cases of arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearance, torture, illegal detention, harassment, abduction and killings continue unabated, the clamor for justice is more resounding as the culture of impunity continues in the regions covered by the NDW.
And lastly, c) the Lepanto Employees Union’s (LEU) fight for just compensation and fair labor practices, the story of the continuing saga of Lepanto mine workers ingrained in the seventy four year history of the LCMC. As early as January this year the Lepanto workers have registered their demand for the company to pay their wages, SSS and Pag-ibig benefits, in full and on time. Many of them had unpaid wages and benefits since 2008. Even after the recent settlement made by the company some social benefits were not yet remitted and 140 union officers and members retrenched.#nordis.net
By BRANDON LEE/ACT-IFUGAO
LAGAWE, Ifugao–On December 18th more than 80 teachers and district supervisors attended the Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Ifugao Assembly and Legislative Forum in Lagawe Central School on the theme “Uphold and Defend Teachers’ Welfare!”
During the assembly, ACT Teachers’ National Campaign Coordinator, Vladimir Quetua introduced HB 2142, a bill that seeks to increase starting teachers salary from grade 11 to grade 15. He asked teachers to become active in campaigning for government officials to sponsor the bill and fight for teachers’ basic rights.
Over 60 house representatives already committed to co-sponsoring the bill including Representatives Roilo Golez, Mong Palatino, Teddy Casiño, Emmy de Jesus, Luz Ilagan, Rafael Mariano, Lucy Torres Gomez, J.V. Ejercito, Emmy Calixto, and Emil Ong.
The government’s priority, however, has been in favor of military spending while cutting the education budget in the 2011 spending bill.
“President Aquino issued an executive order that more than doubles the combat pay of military personnel. Education is always touted as the number one priority of our nation but teachers remain underpaid. When will we be recognized for our commitment and service to our nation?” Daniel Tayaban, ACT-Ifugao’s elected convener demanded.
Ifugao Governor Eugene Balitang’s office sent a representative to attend the forum. “We will support HB 2142 and encourage our Congressman Teodoro Baguilat, Jr. to do the same,” the representative said in solidarity with all teachers seeking fair wages.
Moreover, Quetua expressed dismay that teachers were still paying to renew their Teacher’s ID every three years despite DepEd memorandum to cease Teacher’s ID renewal. Teachers called the renewal bureaucratic and pointless.
Teachers also aired their grievances towards the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and declared the system broken and harmful for teachers. Teachers are forced to shoulder the bureaucratic problems such as the rotating ID systems (e-card to Umid-card), and failing to deduct payments of loans because the GSIS systems are not computerized and personnel files are not updated.
“There are delay in remittances & premiums, and no refunds for overpayments of loans that burden teachers. We are disappointed that the problems with the GSIS have not been addressed over the years despite our complaints. Our problems should be addressed by our government and not ignored”, said Zeny Hangdaan, a teacher in the province.
A representative of GSIS from Bayombong asked the teachers to be patient and to support the new management. He told the crowd of teachers he would look into opening up a kiosk in Lagawe to make claims easier to file, however, did not offer any solutions to the bureaucratic problems teachers faced.
Ifugao Teachers have to go to Bayombong or Baguio to file their claims and make loan payments. According to Teachers present, there are log-jams in Bayombong so they are referred to the Baguio office to make their loan payments, however many teachers can not afford the luxury of travelling everytime to make loan payments of file their claims.
The Teachers elected their district, elementary, and high school coordinators and Provincial Convener for ACT-Ifugao. The District supervisors will document complaints and recommendations to uphold the welfare of teachers while holding trainings and educational discussions in the coming year.# nordis.net
By NORDIS STAFF
BAGUIO CITY—The tiger is about to leave and the rabbit will soon jump in. But Mutya, the only mutit critique alive will remain. So before we let the tiger go, let us look back at the most entertainingly infuriating stories it brought to us.
How about we start with those that happened first.
First on the list is the electoral circus in the first quarter of the year. The colorful costumes, clowns, magicians and flying voters are still present. Do not forget the play of the gold, goons and guns. This year, was even more interesting because apart from the usual colorful costumes and juggling of alliances was the most anticipated attraction, the PCOS machine.
After a circus act came a tragic incident. We extended our condolences to the families of the 42 passengers who were killed after an Eso-Nice bus bound to San Fernando fell into a 150-foot ravine in Banangan, Sablan, Benguet due to failing breaks sometime in August. This was not the only road mishap this year but this was the one that claimed the most lives.
The bus crash indicates a need to implement regular inspection of public transport vehicles and strict enforcement of transportation safety-related policies especially on buses to ensure the security of passengers. Moreover, operators and drivers must seriously consider vehicular conditions before any travel.
The following month, the gambling lords’ resounding denials echoed through the region. After Bishop Oscar Cruz named top ranking government officials who were accordingly involved in the opreations of the most patronized illegal numbers game, jueteng those who were named echoed one chorus. They all said the Bishop’s expose was not true.
Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan with the former Philippine National Police (PNP)-Cordillera Regional Director Eugene Martin were among those identified as jueteng lords. Later, more governors and mayors in the Ilocos and Cagayan regions were being tagged as operators and protectors. As expected everyone denied any involvement in the said number games.
A few days later, PNP chiefs and local government unit heads one after the other annouced that their towns are jueteng free. Whether it is true that jueteng operations stopped, you be the judge.
The most recent of all is PNoy’s very first visit to Baguio City where by protesting students. He came to cut the ribbon of the 700th store of a fast food chain in the country while the students were protesting the education budget cut.
The mayor confirmed later that PNoy declined the city government’s invitation to officiate the oath taking of the newly elected barangay officials but he accepted the food chain’s invitation. The ribbon cutting and the oath taking were just an hour apart and the veneus were a few meters apart.
After cutting the ribbon he went in to cut a giant burger. Outside, picketeers were being violently dispersed and an NDW reporter on ceverage was even maltreated by the Presidential Security Guards and police officers. They insisted that she was one of the protesters even after showing company ID and the accreditaion ID provided by the Philippine Information Agency and the presidential staff to cover the president’s activity.
The righteous path (daang matuwid) is getting crooked it seems.
There is this one issue that slipped Mutya’s attention. It did not land on its corner of the paper but still it was an outrageously entertaining show that captured the interest of thousands and in the end disappoint more. This is none other than the fake snow show that was worth nearly half a million pesos.
If it was to draw more people to Baguio, there are better ways. It would have been better if the city focused on cleaning and regreening the city. The snow show was indeed a grand idea that did not meet the expectations of expectators.
It was an ambitious production worth P400, 000 that popped like bubbles in thin air.
Truly, tiger was quite entertaining. But we have to brace ourselves for the rabbit. #nordis.net
By ALEX GARCIA
CANDON, Ilocos Sur–The sun was hot on the morning of December 10 as protesters marched in the streets to commemorate the day the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was passed.
Around 250 protesters, mostly farmers from the different provinces of the region rallied to challenge President Noynoy Aquino to protect and uphold human rights.
At the rally, a portrait of President Aquino was merged with that of former President Arroyo’s to show that the there is no change in the situation of human rights from the old to the present administrations.
According to Antonio Pugyao, vice chairperson of the Solidarity of Peasants Against Exploitation (Stop Exploitation), told the people that with only six months in power, there are already 22 extra-judicial killings of activists, mass leaders and farmers under the Aquino administration.
“Damagen yo siguro nu anya ti basul dagitoy nga 22 nga tattao, awan ti basulda nga krimen dagitoy! Ti lang basul da ti gobyerno ket iti panang-organisa da dagiti bukod da nga unyon, bukod da nga asosasyon iti bukod da nga sektor. Ibagbagak kadakayo ay-ayaten mi nga kakailian, nga saan nga krimen ti panag-organisa ti bukod na nga gimong, nu di ketdi daytoy ket nailaon ti mabukbukudan tayo nga 1987 Constitution. Ibagbaga na idiay nga tunggal maysa iti kagimungan ket adda karbengan na nga ag-organisa,”
(Maybe you ask what crime has these 22 people committed? None, they are innocent! Their only crime was that they organized themselves into unions, associations, in their own sectors. I am telling you, my countrymen, it is not a crime to organize amongst ourselves as it is written in our 1987 Constitution that it is the right of every citizen to organize themselves) said Pugyao.
There are already two victims of extra-judicial killings in the Ilocos region- farmers Nicholas Ramos and Elmer Valdez, both were shot by members of the Philippine Army.
Elmer’s father, Rizalino, was present at the rally and recounted how his son, who was only gathering bamboo for their house, was killed by the military and then later was tagged a member of the New Peoples Army (NPA).
It took Rizalino and his family three days before they found and retrieved Elmer’s body.
“Daydiay kadi ti napintas nga gobyerno yo. Dakayo nga militar, patayen yo ti sibilyan, ibaga yo nga NPA. Isu nga kadakayo nga suldado nga map-mapan diay ayan mi,dakayo nga lampong, agtaktakaw ti lamuten da didiay ket pumanaw kayo idiay ayan mi. (Is this your good government? You soldiers who kill civilians, and tag them members of the NPA. So you soldiers who go to our communities, you longhaired (bewigged) thieves who steal food, get out! leave our place! ) said Rizalino.
Rizalino then addressed the military, “Isu nga nu mabalin koma ket ikkan yo kuma ti hustisya na, daydiay anak ko nga pinatay nga awan ti kalaban-laban na. Sibilyan nga ammo yo,apay pinatay yo? Di kayo laketdi naasyanen. Tatta, panpaneknekan yo nga maysa nga sibilyan diay anak ko. Isu nga tatta, masapol kuma nga dakayo ket pumanaw ditoyen ta natalna ditoy ayan mi. Nu kayat yo nga sapulen iti NPA, ingkau sapulen no adinno ayan da ta isu ti kagubat yo nu talaga nga kaya yo ti pumatay. Haan nga dakami nga sibilyan ti irurumen yo,” (It is but rightful to seek justice for my son who you killed without mercy. You knew that he was a civilian, why did you kill him? You have no mercy. Now that is has been proven that my son was a civilian, leave us be! Because our place is peaceful. If you want to look for the NPA, go search them where they are, go fight them if you really can. Do not turn on us/ oppress us civilians).
Progressive groups in the region have repeatedly called for the pull-out of the 50th 86th Infantry Batallion and the 503rdBrigade of the Philippine Army for their human rights violations in Ilocos Sur.
For Rev. Agosto Dosdosen, Chair of the Ilocos Human Rights Alliance (IHRA-KARAPATAN), the commemoration of the UDHR is a good time to “call for, assert and to hold accountable the people who violated the rights of the masses”.
Rev. Dosdosen commented that while the Philippines is the primary Christian country in Asia, it is laden with corruption and human rights violations. He then called on all people, especially the Christians, to join the fight to seek justice for the victims of human rights violations.
“Tumulong sana kayo na itaguyod at ipaglaban ang hustisya para sa mga biktima ng karapatang pantao na pinatay ng mga taong nagsasabing magsasalba sa kanila. Ang mga nasa poder, the one who created the law, sila ang nangungunang violator sa batas na ginawa nila. Dahil dito, sa araw na ito, ang taong simbahan ay lumalaban para sa bayan (I hope that you join us uphold and fight for justice for the victims of human rights violations who were killed by the same people who said would protect them. Those who are in power, the one who created the law, they are the primary violators
of the law that they made. It is for this reason, on this day, that people of the church are fighting for the the nation”, said Dosdosen.#nordis.net
By ALMA SINUMLAG
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The committee on Environment and Mining of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) in their session, December 20 requested the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to furnish them with all documents pertaining to the mining exploration permit application of Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation in the Province.
It will be recalled that on November 24 this year, the SP recieved a letter from Pablito Ong, the consultant of Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporations transmitting the company’s exploration permit application (EXPA-069-CAR) located in the municipalities of Atok, Bakun, Kapangan, Mankayan, Buguias and Kibungan. In their two-year exploration work program, it was stated that the exploration covers a total land area of 3,693 hectares.
The exploration project according to the company’s environmental work program (EMP) states that it is primarily exploration in nature and is aimed at the evaluation of Copper, Gold and associated metal resources. Moreover, it also aims for possitive results that could mean further development, expoitation and utilization of the metal resource.
The committee on Environment and Mining stipulated in their report that the SP has no power to intervene in the exploration, development and utilization of all mineral resources owned by the state. And, that the DENR is the primary agency responsible for the said issue.
However, the SP according to the committee may intervene to determine compliance with the requisites laid down by the Republic Act 8371 also known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). This is specifically on the process of the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) of the Indigenous Peoples (IP) in the affected communities before the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) issue the company’s exploration permit.
Likewise, the committee requested the municipalities concerned to comment on the issue.
On the other hand, it is stipulated in their EMP that the application is divided into three parcels. The 1st parcel is within the municipality of Bakun, the 2nd is located within the municipalities of Kibungan, Kapangan and Atok and the third is within the municipalities of Buguias and Mankayan.
Furthermore, the land applied for is classified as forest land but large tracts of the area are now used for vegetable farming and small scale mining as reported over the years. Also, rice terraces are common specially in parcel 3.
In their EMP, it is also stated that exploration activities like geological mapping and sampling, test pitting/trenching and drilling will have adverse environmental effects like, though minor, surface disturbance, loss of vegetation, siltation and erosion, water and soil contamination, acid mine drainage, and loss of fauna due to the noise.
However, it was also stipulated that these will be mitigated through minimizing the removal of shrubs and bushes, restoring and revegetating areas affected by the transport materials, selecting the less vegetated areas for test pits and providing proper drain channels and siltation traps.
The two-year exploration work program will cost P25,000,000.00 and their EMP will cost the company, P2,500,000.00. The amounts stated do not include labor costs. #nordis.net
By JOAN GARCIA
LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte. – Normally, blaring guitars and growling of heavy metal bands are not heard with the beat of the tongatong accompanying soft chants of a salidummay.
However, on December 11, young artists from Ilocos Norte performed with the Salidummay of the Dap-ayan ti Kultura iti Kordilyera (DKK) in the universal call for the protection of human rights.
The first song of the Salidummay, Adda Kami, said it best:
Amin tayo a naggapo/ Iti kabanbantayan iti Amianan/ Amin tayo Pilipino/ Agkaykaysa a pagilian
(All of us who come from the mountains of the North. We are all Filipinos, a united nation)
Salidummay is a cultural group that uses indigenous instruments such as the tongatong, nose flutes and brass gongs in their performances. Their songs are mostly about the struggles for the land and life of the indigenous people of the Cordillera.
The concert, which was spearheaded by the Kabataang Artista Para sa Tunay na Kalayaan (KARATULA)- Ilocos aimed to showcase the talent and skill of the bands that participated and also demonstrate the youth’s capacity to unite in the search for justice and push for change.
gThe human rights situation in the country did not improve as President Aquino took power this year. The victims of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and other human rights violations committed during the Arroyo administration are yet to be given justice. The concert today is one way of telling Aquino’s government that the youth continue to fight for human rights”, Lee Biscarra of KARATULA-Ilocos said.
For Mark Torres, vocalist and drummer of heavy metal rock band Oration Cyst, says that the human rights situation in the country is in decay, “The extra-judicial killings and other violations are not the only problems but also the lack of knowledge of the people regarding the issue”.
Torres explains that they participated in the activity because they wanted to take part in presenting the real state of society to the audience.
gMga tinutugtog namin tungkol sa mga nangyayari sa Pilipinas, mga nangyayari sa gobyerno, sa Kongreso. Kasi gusto namin mamulat yung ibang tao, mga ibang Pilipino, na kung ano ang nangyayari sa paligid natin. Gusto naming malaman nila kung ano ang hubad na maskara ng gobyerno natin (Our songs are about the issues in the Philippines, about the government and Congress, because we want to open the eyes of other people, of our fellow Filipinos, on what is happening in our society. We want to show them on what the government is without its masks)”, Torres said.
The Oration Cyst’s original composition, Katiwalian (Corruption), calls on the people to not just let things happen but rather, fight the oppressor.
Nakikinig ka ba sa mga utos nila?/ Ba’t di mo imulat ang iyong mga mata, Lumaban ka huwag kang paapi
(Are you listening to their commands/ Why don’t you open your eyes/ Fight, don’t let them enslave you)
Other performers include Nevesytnewt, Shuriken Angel, Deathlehem, Earwaxx, Kill, Ehipto, Kusina, and Sunday Drive.
The paintings of Artist ARREST regarding the detained health workers- Morong 43, were also displayed at the event.
The concert, which was dubbed as Tugtugan para sa Karapatan, was held at Giannis Restaurant, here.#nordis.net
By ALMA SINUMLAG WITH REPORTS
BAGUIO CITY – A four-hour fire that engulfed a five-storey Bed and Breakfast Pension House in Ugac Sur, Tuguegarao City at dawn of Sunday, December 20 killed 16 hotel guests.
Fire officials reported that ten of the 16 fatalities were recent nursing graduates from the Univesity of La Sallete in Santiago City, Isabela who were in Tuguegarao to take the nursing board exams. Among the 16 fatalities, 15 died on the spot while the other one died in the hospital due to asthma complications.
The fatalities were identified as Jerome Saet, Francis Caranas, Nelman Galapia, Marlon Justine Viernes, Ryan James Malaki, Richard Allan Gonzales, Roswaldo Respicio, Narl Gensan Lopez, Henderson Welle Lodevico, Norman Fondevilla, Amibel Fondevilla, Mildred Fondevilla, Karyll de Leon, Josh de Leon, Jenny (house help), and Julius Gaduang.
Authorities added that aside from the fatalities, 12 were injured and were brought to the hospital and in stable condition in the hospital.
Cagayan Valley deputy regional fire chief Senior Superintendent Sergio Soriano Jr. said the fire originated from an electrical short circuit at the ground floor that was aggravated by combustible materials in a motorcycle shop at the second floor.
He added that the short circuit hit the containers of gasoline. Moreover, earlier reports said that the five-storey Bed and Breakfast Pesion House did not have a Mayor’s permit.
In a live interview of ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol World with mayor Delfin Ting on December 21, said that a requirement for fire safety which is being issued by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) was not submitted by the pension house thus a hold on the release of their permit.
He added that the building had iron bars on all its windows from the 1st floor up to the last floor making it very hard for the guests to jump to a nearby building during the fire. He pointed out that a building as high as the pension house should only have iron bars until the 3rd floor.
On the other hand, Fire Chief Inspector Neil Caranguian of Tuguegarao fire marshall was fired right after the initial investigation showed that they were one almost one hour late in their response to the fire considering their station was just near the pension house.
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary, Jesse Robredo on December 21 called for a thorough investigation of the incident to discredit any cause for negligence on the part of the city fire department.
Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said they have tasked the Department of Social Welfare and Development to attend to the needs of the victims.
Moreover, some of the relatives of the Nursing graduates threw the blame to the university for choosing an unsafe location to house the students. Students who survived the fire still took the exam on the second day.#nordis.net
By ALMA SINUMLAG
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has approved 10 Schools of Living Traditions (SLT) in this province this year.
Claire Prudencio, an Ibaloi, Kankana-ey representative to NCCA said in an interview last December 21 that this project aims to preserve the diminishing aspects of culture specifically food, arts and crafts. She added that these should be passed on to the younger generation to insure its continuity and to preserve it.
This is also according to NCCA SLT guidelines is a response to the call of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the preservation of cultural heritage by preserving it in a living form and ensuring its transmission to the next generations.
NCCA is approving SLTs per phase. The pre phase consists of 15 students and it will continually increase as they step into higher phases. Prudencio added that the approval depends on the development on the evaluation of the monitoring team. If they (the students) can already stand on their own, it will be their initiative to continue the project and share the knowledge to more young people.
In Buguias, there are three SLTs approved. These are Amgaleygey, Buguias, Benguet SLT on Kankana-ey Performing Arts which is still on phase one. Another is the Balili, Sebang, Buguias, Benguet SLT on Kankana-ey Tapuey-Making which is already in Phase two. The third is the Dontog, Poblacion, Buguias, Benguet SLT on Binubudan Traditional Food Preparation which is also in phase two. Kakaiw Binubudan is a Kankana-ey traditional food made from cassava which is mixed with bubod (fermenting agent).
NCCA also approved Loakan, Baguio City and Tadiangan, Tuba’s SLTs on Ibaloi Performing Arts.
Kapangan, Benguet has two SLTs on Performing Arts and they are both in their phase two. These are Kankana-ey Performing Arts and Ibaloi Performing Arts.
Moreover, Lower Wangal, La Trinidad has also reached phase two in their SLT on Ibaloi Performing Arts.
On crafts, Carao, Bokod is in its phase one in their SLT on Ibaloi Bamboo and Rattan Crafts. Moreover, Tawangan, Kabayan has an SLT on making Kalanguya Musical drum and Wooden crafts which has already reached phase two. Prudencio said, Bamboo and Rattan crafts are no longer practiced nowadays and unfortunately, the art of making the said crafts was not passed on to the young people. This according to her is the reason why the Indigenous Peoples Organization in Carao initiated the SLT.
On the other hand, Balili, Sebang, Buguias SLT on Tapuey making and Dontog, Poblacion, Buguias SLT on Kakaiw Binubudan will be finishing phase two this month and will be holding a graduation program on December 27.
Meanwhile, three festivals were also approved namely Alibay (thanksgiving) di Badang which was initiated by the Buguias Ancestral Domain Alternative for the Natives Governance (BADANG); Anitap ed Kapangan 2010 through the initiative of the municipal government of Kapangan; Tuba Pansakatan (Good Luck) tan Kagam-es (Thanksgiving) Festival 2010, also through the initiatives of the municipal government of Tuba.
The Anitap ed Kapangan is in its 2nd year of assistance. All the SLTs and the festivals has a total assistance amount of P2,018,300.00. #nordis.net
By ADELA DEYAEN WAYAS
BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan on December 20 said that the Meralco Electric company provided the transformers needed to run the Environmental Recycling System (ERS) machines of the city.
This was revealed during the media briefing after the installation of the ERS in Irisan dumpsite. He admitted the electric system caused the delay of the operation of the machines. Three transformers were bought by the city from Meralco to produce the 167 kva for the machines to be operational.
The Mayor said the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) had passed a letter proposal dated November 16 on the electric system to be utilized for the operations of the ERS and Beneco asked for an electrical plan which was submitted by CEPMO on December 13.
“Beneco said it would take them two to three months to fabricate the transformers.” Domogan clarified. Being available and to avoid added delay the city procured the transformers from Meralco.
The transformers will arrive in the city night of December 20 and should be tested on the 21st. The city would cost about P1.5 million for the materials needed for the transformers and its installation. I hope the Beneco would expedite installing the transformers.
He added that in the agreement between the city and the STG Corporation, the company shall prepare extra spareparts at all times to be used on emergency situations.
Domogan also informed the media that they are planning to buy electric generators as a reserve that could be used if the area is affected by brown-out/black-out or any problem in the power supply.
Three people from the CEPMO are now being trained by the personnel coming from the company on the operation of the machinery as also agreed on the contract with STG Corp.
Meanwhile Domogan said through volunteer registration, the residents living near the dumpsite could still segregate residual waste from the recyclable of which the company agreed to pay one peso per kilo from the residuals segregated by the person. The residents said Domogan can still sell the recyclables to other buyers or to the company itself.
Mayor also informed everyone that after they have cleaned the garbage at the dumpsite, they planned to landscape and reforest it. He said they will soon put up a tree nursery in the area. He added the water being processed by the machine will soon be pplanned for by the city government. He said the company had informed them that the water from the machine is clean. Domogan said it is also a project for the Carbon credit revenue as stated in the Kyoto Protocol.
It could be remembered that the ERS machines amounting to P64 millions each was recommened by the City Solid Waste Management Board after a screening process. CEPMO head Cordelia Lacsamana said earlier that ERS could convert 48 tons of biodegradable wastes into fertilizer from the 66% biodegradable waste the city is collecting from the 160 tons daily waste. In her presentation before the council session, Lacsamana said the two machines will consume 794 liters a day.
On a related isuue, Domogan also said that the P29 million for the improvement of the retaining wall in Irisan was already approved and now being processed by the BAC. He also added that they are currently looking for 5 new garbage trucks. Each truck will more or less amount to P3.9 million pesos.
As of press time, the transformers from Meralco have not yet arrived in the city.# nordis.net
By KIMBERLIE OLMAYA NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY—In their continuing fight for the full recognition of their human rights, gays and gay rights advocates staged the first Progressive Organization of Gays (ProGay)-Metro Baguio general assembly last December 20, here.
ProGay Secretary General William Villacampa pointed out that it is about time for the organized gays in Baguio to formally launch the Metro Baguio chapter as they have been actively participating in nationwide gay rights campaigns.
Villacampa disclosed that among the ProGay-Metro Baguio’s on going campaigns is to rally support for the passage of House Bill 1483, An Act Defining Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Providing Penalties.
He stressed that to ensure the enactment of the law, gays and gay rights advocates should gather in their numbers and call for the passage of the bill.
“Kung walang magpapakita ng supporta hindi mapapabilis ang pagsulong ng house bill,” (a show of wider support would hasten the passge of the bill) he explained.
House Bill 1483 is authored by Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casiño.
Casiño, through a video message congratulated ProGay-Metro Baguio on its assembly. He stated that the formation of the Metro Baguio chapter should inspire the formation of other chapters in the country and strengthen the national organization of gays.
Moreover Casiño explained that everyone should take part in the fight for the full respect of gay rights. He explained that gays are also active players in the different sectors of society.
According to Casiño, House Bill 1483 is still pending at the House Committee on justice.
Paul Sanglay, the first ProGay president challenged his colleagues to strengthen their unity for the assertion of their rights as human beings. “Ipakita natin na may pagkakaisa rin ang mga bakla,” (Let us show that gays also have unity) he stressed.
Sanglay also thanked his colleagues for having faith in him to lead their organization as he called for their continuing support to the up coming ProGay-Metro Baguio activities and projects.
Other elected officers are Jheza Guiloan, vice president; Renante Cobcobo, treasurer and Freda Manzano, auditor.#
Christmas holds no single meaning even among those who consider themselves Christians. While the Church’s officialdom has tried to emphasize the redemptive promise of Christ’s birth, big business prefers to squeeze the commercial potential of the season by stressing the joy that comes from gift-giving (and gift-buying, of course).
So the images of the gift-bearing Three Kings is a must in Christmas tableaus. But nothing beats the image of the gift-giving Santa Claus as a stepping stone to the commercialization of the season. This commercial drive is the principal cause why Christmas season is celebrated the longest here in the Philippines. The psychological build-up takes the entire “ber” months to make us part with our hard-earned pesos in a frenzy of buying and celebrations.
But pity those who do not have the hard-earned pesos to spare. Hundreds of thousands of our countrymen, if not millions, are jobless but are similarly exposed to those commercial and Christmas jingles daily pounding them to go buy something or else the season is not complete for you.
For those in power or those aspiring to acquire power, the theme closest to their hearts is the message of peace, the absence of conflict during the Christmas season, and so we have all kinds of truces of varying durations and quality. Of course, this kind of peace is not expected to last long because the source of conflict remains unsettled. But for a fleeting moment the harsh images of war are set aside in favor of the peaceful image of the Child Jesus in the manger.
We have no quarrel with that except that we would have preferred a more permanent and lasting peace and not just the seasonal type that leaves us wondering what is keeping our country from enjoying the bounties of uninterrupted peace, justice and prosperity.
For us Filipinos, Christmas celebrations will not be complete without some measure of family reunions, a coming together of loved ones where everyone is in a celebratory mood. This is especially true for extended families, after the children have already left their parents’ house to establish their own and can come together only during life cycle events which are getting more and more infrequent. Christmas provides a good reason to come together again.
The Christmas season has also a distinct flavor for Filipinos as a result of its colonial past. This is one country where its citizens keep “dreaming of a white Christmas” and sings about “dashing through the snow” when for all we know we are in a tropical country and snowy Christmases are part and parcels of our colonizers lives, but not our own.
Christmas has also its distinct meanings across generations. The younger ones look forward to Christmas with the freshness of innocence where undiluted joy flows forth from simpler aspirations like a new pair of shoes or a couple of inexpensive toys and some special meals or outings with family members plus all the carollings and bright lights that go with the season.
The older ones are, of course, now jaded having lost much of the innocence of youth. But Christmas still bring the joyful memories of younger years now gone-by, their greatest happines now derived from bringing joy to the younger ones and less from getting something material for oneself.
In the end, this is perhaps what Christmas is all about: a sense of joy and expectation from the promise of redemption from the Child in the Manger, the flury of shopping and gift-giving, the season’s decors and carols, a brief respite from war and conflict, the coming together of loved ones in family or clan reunions, the happiness of beholding joy in the face of the innocents even as one remembers the joys of Christmases past.
This is the meaning of Christmas. A happy combination of material and spiritual blessings that makes human existence more meaningful and joyful.
Merry Christmas to all! And a Prosperous New Year to everyone!
By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
“ From Aspulan was born Makniba, and now the onjon,” said Professor Morr Pungayan to the audience at the assembly of the Aspulan ne Ibadoy an aggrupation of Ibaloy descendants in the present general metro-Baguio area who believe the purposes of the organization remains to be more relevant today. So it was agreed to revive the organization according to its original objectives and more.
Professor Pungayan, in his inspirational speech gave a short history of the Aspulan Inc. and the influences in his history that strengthens his beliefs and commitment that the Ibaloys should show and work hard to be united as an ethnolinguistic group now more than ever or remain victims of a “genocide” as a people that was united in language, culture and traditions, and now disintegrating in this so-called “highly urbanized” town.
Aspulan, he said, started from a meeting of minds in a gathering years ago (1996) where he sat beside the late Geoffrey Carantes a teacher like him, a prolific artist and a strong believer in the Ibaloi; and to his great surprise discovered that he did not speak (fluent) Ibaloi. He asked why and the late Geoffrey, in short, said he had a father who insisted he speak English to his parents and in the house, otherwise he got scolded. It was along these lines, the loss or disintegration of traditional and common or community practices, that the group extended their meeting.
It was not just the issue of ancestral lands but things happening among the ka-kaet (among their people). This included close relatives not knowing each other and marrying each other, the disintegration of family or clan formations, the loss of language, the loss of respect for elders, the loss of their history as known by their kind, the loss of traditional livelihood, etc. It was here then that they resolved to put up a venue to organizationally meet on their issues and gather opinion or consensus, keep up with their community. So from the Ibaloi words panaaspulan (meeting place, common ground), panaaspul (to meet) came the name for Aspulan, Inc.
Tracing his roots to illustrate who the Ibalois in Baguio were and are now. He then expressed appreciation of the likes of Otto Scheerer, a German traveller, for recording the genealogy of the Ibalois who took him in. He (Scheerer) so then decided to settle here, recorded and documented the life of the indigenous peoples communities around Baguio, mainly. The professor said Scheerer’s documentation and writings helped us (Ibaloys) know who we are and where we are as a people.
Pungayan traced his roots to a sister of then Ibaloi chief baptized by some Spanish priest as Dangvis Ortega, father of Bayosa Ortega. He also enumerated the roots of some of the clans in Benguet and traced them all up the ladder to the ancestor Amkidit. And, “so we (Ibaloys) are one people.” Displaced from our home and identity.
He pointed out that his family was driven out of the Ambuklao dam area by the simple building of a mega dam because the national government did not think there were people who lived there in their farms and estancias for animals. Well his family did live there among and with their cousins, uncles, aunties, etc. As with the Ibalois of Baguio when government (the US colonial) decided to build a Summer capital for the Philippines.
The descendants of Amkidit were there in the setting up of the first Adivay, The Mateo Cariño Foundation, incorporated earlier, the ancestral land claimants in La Trinidad and Baguio and they were there when Aspulan was put together. Now, from the Aspulan has stemmed out more organizations with more focused interests like the Makniba with Roger Sinot, the Chiva of Loakan with Roselle Camte-Bahni, and then the onjon. These groups in their own way shall work more towards the unity of the Ibalois towards achieving their dreams and asserting their rights. Let us open our minds and speak for unity and peace, not for divisiveness.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!#
By REV. LUNA DINGAYAN
“She gave birth to her first son, wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger
—there was no room for them to stay in the inn.”
- Luke 2:7
Christmas means differently to different people. For some it means a time for family re-unions. Members of the family here and abroad will come home and celebrate Christmas together with parties and sumptuous food. For others, it means a time to decorate their homes and business establishments with Christmas lights, lanterns, and various kinds of decorations, and exchange gifts with each other.
For the indigenous peoples, like the Lumads in Mindanao, the Mangyans in Mindoro, the Aetas in Zambales, and some old people in the Cordilleras; it is a time to come down to the lowlands and beg in the streets and in the homes. For the various offices, both public and private, it is a time to give Christmas bonuses.
Generally speaking, when Christmas comes, people suddenly become generous and considerate, and spendthrift. Thus, business establishments will take advantage of the situation and make all sorts of promos and business gimmicks to gain more profits using various forms and symbols of Christmas. Similarly, civic and religious organizations do all sorts of fund-raising during the Christmas season.
Perhaps, Christmas is the most celebrated of all Christian festivals, but also the most distorted and most commercialized. It is sad to say that Santa Claus becomes more popular than Jesus during the Christmas season.
Two Dates of Jesus’ Birth
Subjective interpretations of Jesus’ birth are not new. The universal church was first divided in 1053 into two parts: the Western Church called the Roman Catholic Church, and the Eastern Church called the Greek Orthodox Church. The Western Church celebrates Christmas on December 25, while the Eastern Church celebrates Christmas on January 6. For the Western Church January 6 is the Feast of the Wise Men from the East.
We don’t really know the exact date of Jesus’ birth. This was not preserved in the Scriptures. But why do we celebrate Jesus’ birth in the Philippines on December 25? Churches in our country, Roman Catholic and Protestant alike, belong historically to the Western Church. When Rome became a Christian city in 313 BCE under Emperor Constantine, the Roman Christians continued to celebrate their thanksgiving festival on December 25 as they used to do when they were still pagans to honor the birth of their gods and goddesses.
Before Rome became a Christian city, the Romans believed that the gods and goddesses are born on December 25, which is the beginning of the solstice. And since there was no record of Jesus’ exact date of birth, the Roman Christians therefore adopted December 25 as Jesus’ birth like their pagan gods and goddesses. This is precisely the reason why some Christians today do not celebrate Christmas on December 25, because of its pagan origin.
However, some would think that the date of Jesus’ birth does not matter. Any day of the year can be a Christmas day. It is the life that Jesus lived that really matters, that makes a Christmas day significant, whether the celebration is on December 25 or January 6.
Two Stories of Jesus’ Birth
Aside from the date, there are also two stories of Jesus’ birth as recorded in the Scriptures: one in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 1:18-2:23) and another in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 2). There is no nativity story in the Gospel of Mark, while in the Gospel of John Jesus came on earth like the story of Adam in the Book of Genesis (cf. Gen. 2) without passing through the pain of childbirth.
The two stories in the Gospels are completely different from each other. Obviously, the stories speak more of the concerns of the Gospel writers rather than the details of what really happened in Jesus’ birth. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus was born in a house, while in the Gospel of Luke Jesus was born in a manger. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus was visited by the wise men from the East, while in the Gospel of Luke Jesus was visited by the shepherds of the fields.
Obviously, the interpretations of the Gospel writers were colored by their respective emphasis. Matthew addressed his Gospel to the relatively rich Jewish Christians of his day who believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the King of the Jews they were longing to come in the fullness of time to set them free from their colonizers; while Luke addressed his Gospel to the poor Gentile Christians of his time who believed that Jesus was the savior not only of the Jews but also of the Gentiles, not only of the rich but also of the poor, like those who are born in a manger.
Meaning of Jesus’ Birth
Indeed, people through the ages have interpreted Christmas, the birth of Jesus, in terms of their own social location. They put meaning to the celebration of Jesus’ birth in terms of their own personal convictions and cultural experiences. Thus, we find varied interpretations of Christmas in different contexts. This somehow affirms the faith that God comes to us in concrete situations we are in.
The meaning of Jesus’ birth is found in his death; the meaning of Jesus’ death is found in his life. Jesus’ birth has become significant and meaningful because of the way Jesus lived his life in the service of the people, especially the poor and oppressed, even to the point of death. And so, the best way to celebrate Christmas is to live the kind of life Jesus lived not only in this season of joy and merriment, but everyday of our life the whole year round. God bless.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
BY NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUJP)
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemns the arrogant and totally illegal manner in which supposedly visiting American soldiers ordered Zamboanga City-based journalists to stop taking footage while covering a visit by retired general Edilberto Adan, executive director of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) Commission, on Monday.
Adan’s visit, which included the headquarters of the US military’s Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines inside the Western Mindanao Command, is in line with Section 3c of Executive Order 199 mandating the VFA Commission to monitor the activities of foreign military and civilian personnel covered by the defense agreement.
NUJP Director Julie Alipala, who is based in Zamboanga, quoted a local television reporter as saying one of six American soldiers guarding the task force headquarters told the news crew: “I am ordering you not to take footages.”
When one of the reporters asked what the basis for the order was, the American replied: “I don’t understand you but don’t make me take your camera.”
Sought for clarification, Westmincom spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang clarified the Americans’ actions by explaining that the journalists were in a secure facility “and persons going there need clearance” to shoot video and other images, Director Alipala said.
But as reported by Director Alipala, the news crew was taking footage outside the task force headquarters.
Even granting Cabangbang’s explanation, we maintain that foreigners still have absolutely no authority to tell Filipinos what we can or cannot do in our own country, much less threaten to confiscate their property. If they had any issue, they should have conveyed it to their local counterparts who could then have relayed these concerns to the journalists concerned.
As far as we are concerned, even the task force headquarters is not sovereign American territory but Philippine territory visiting foreign troops are allowed to use as part of a defense agreement.
We believe that ultimate authority over the facility resides in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine government, unless they have conceded this authority to what would then essentially be foreign occupiers.
We ask the VFA Commission to conduct an investigation into this matter for this arrogant behavior of foreign visitors goes beyond mere security concerns and strikes at the very heart of our sovereignty as a nation and a people. We also demand that the VFA Commission put the Americans in their proper place and warn them against any repetition of this arrogance. To let this incident pass is to abrogate our rights and liberties to foreigners.
Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
By RUDY LIPORADA
In a manifesto addressed to the Filipinos, dated December 15, 1896, Jose Rizal categorically stated that he is against an armed rebellion in the Philippines, saying:
“From the very beginning, when I first received information of what was being planned (the revolution), I opposed, I fought against it, and I made clear that it was absolutely impossible. This is the truth, and they are still alive who can bear witness to my words. I was convinced that the very idea was wholly absurd – worse than absurd – it was disastrous…When later on, in spite of my urgings, the uprising broke out, I came forward voluntarily to offer not only my services but my life and even my good name in order that they may use me in any manner they may think opportune to smother the rebellion. For I was convinced of the evils which that rebellion would bring in its train, and so I considered it a privilege if at whatever sacrifice I could ward off so much useless suffering. This is also of record.…. I have written also (and I repeat my words) that reforms, to be beneficial, must come from above, and those which comes from below are irregularly gained and uncertain. Holding these ideas, I cannot do less than condemn, and I do condemn this uprising-which dishonors us Filipinos and discredits those that could plead our cause. I abhor its criminal methods and disclaim all part in it, pitying from the bottom of my heart the unwary that have been deceived into taking part in it.”
The basic question is: would a hero advise a people ready to fight for their independence, to lay down their arms – basically not to fight…to say that the revolution was wrong?
Rizal, in this context, should be understood by his ilustrado perspective. He belonged to the landed elite. While it is true that he was among those who exposed the oppression of the poor Filipinos in the hands of the Spaniards, he did so not for the sake of the poor but for his class.
It should be noted that the ilustrados did not advocate outright revolution or separation from Spain. They merely requested that the natives be equals to the Spaniards and that the Philippines be a mere province of Spain. They requested for equal representation to the Spanish Cortez which was the governing body of Spain in running all the colonies under her tutelage. This would make the ilustrados become eligible, not the poor masses, representatives to the Cortez or become governors for that matter.
The Last Farewell of Jose Rizal, like Sound and Fury, is full of Emotions signifying Nothing.
Right after his studies in Spain, Rizal returned to the Philippines and established the La Liga Filipina which failed, not only to institute reforms but to call the indios to arms against the colonialists. Nonetheless, the Spaniard still considered him seditious and exiled him to Dapitan in 1892. There, for four years, he did nothing to arouse the revolution. In fact, when Andres Bonifacio asked for guidance from him when and how the revolution should start, he admonished Bonifacio to hold off the armed insurrection.
He reasoned that the wealthier Filipinos should be attracted to join (which proved futile because they just wanted reforms). Rizal also contended that the revolution cannot start without the insurrectos having arms almost equal to the enemies. This would be tantamount to saying never because it would take forever for revolutionaries to equal the arms of the colonialists. Most emphatically, Rizal said that there should be no revolution unless the masses are educated, ready to govern themselves in the proper manner when the revolution is over. This would be waiting for the masses to transform themselves first into ilustrados who would only seek for reforms.
When the Cuban-American war broke out, Rizal volunteered to be a doctor for the Spanish army as Cuba was a territory of Spain. Released from Dapitan, he subsequently prepared to sail for Cuba via Spain. As soon as he reached Spain’s port, however, he was deported back to the Philippines. The armed insurrection of the Katipunan had already percolated and the colonialists held him culpable as instigator of the sedition. He was tried and scheduled to be shot by a firing squad after a brief imprisonment in Fort Santiago in Intramuros.
On the night before his execution, he wrote the poem, My Last Farewell. To be translated into numerous languages and venerated, even read on the floors of the US Congress in the years to come, true to the end, written by an ilustrado, it never was an incendiary poem. It was, again, never a call to arms. It is a weeping of a hopeless romantic about to die without realizing his goals.
Consider the first stanza:
Farewell, my adored Land, region of the sun caressed,
Pearl of the Orient Sea, our Eden lost,
With gladness I give you my Life, sad and repressed;
And were it more brilliant, more fresh and at its best,
I would still give it to you for your welfare at most.
Rizal here exhibits a hypocrisy which is a stamp of the ilustrado class. When he says, “with gladness I give you my Life,” one should ask why he was trying to escape to Cuba instead of escaping to join the revolutionaries who were really ready to shed their blood in the struggle against the colonialists? In “And were it more brilliant, more fresh and at its best, I would still give it to you for your welfare at most,” we beg to question, is there an age limit to die as a revolutionary for your country? If he really wanted to die for the revolution, he should have escaped when invited by Bonifacio to do so instead of taking the chance and trying to go to Cuba. It was easier for him to be a doctor under the Spanish flag in Cuba than to fight and, perhaps, die with the revolutionaries.
In the second stanza, Rizal continues:
On the fields of battle, in the fury of fight,
Others give you their lives without pain or hesitancy,
The place does not matter: cypress laurel, lily white,
Scaffold, open field, conflict or martyrdom’s site,
It is the same if asked by home and Country.
Realizing that he was going to die anyway, even if he was just a reformist who abrogated the concept of an armed struggle, he tried to equate his death with those real martyrs (whom he also should have recognized) in the battlefield. Thus, “On the fields of battle, in the fury of fight…The place does not matter…or martyrdom’s site, It is the same…” The place or how you are looked at does not matter? In his pomposity, Rizal already considered himself as a martyr. In “Others give you their lives without pain or hesitancy,” could he be referring to himself as one who was hesitating? After all, was he not trying to escape to Cuba? “…if asked by home and country” yet he refused to join the armed struggle which was the call of the times?
The other stanzas are lamentations of Rizal to have failed in his reform efforts. He also weeps, asking that he be remembered for his deeds.
The eighth and ninth stanzas reveal his vacillations.
Let the burning sun the raindrops vaporize
And with my clamor behind return pure to the sky;
Let a friend shed tears over my early demise;
And on quiet afternoons when one prays for me on high,
Pray too, oh, my Motherland, that in God may rest I.
Pray thee for all the hapless who have died,
For all those who unequalled torments have undergone;
For our poor mothers who in bitterness have cried;
For orphans, widows and captives to tortures were shied,
And pray too that you may see your own redemption.
Rizal has been said to have joined the Masons. He also castigated the friars for their injustices. Moreover, he blamed religion to be among those that made the indios lose their identity. In these stanzas, he prays…” Pray too, oh, my Motherland, that in God may rest I…Pray thee for all the hapless who have died…And pray too that you may see your own redemption.” Now, if you despised Catholicism, why would you pray? Moreover, realizing that reformism has failed, he now leaves the faith of the masses on a supernatural being, not by their own efforts, in their accord, through a revolution. Moreover, instead of using the death of those who have died as sacrifices that should not be wasted and should serve as continuing inspiration to carry on with the revolution, he merely pities them and their parents.
It is said that Rizal also reverted to being a Catholic before he died. Was this a ploy on his part so he could, perhaps, be forgiven by the Spaniards?
In the second to the last stanza, he intones:
My idolized Country, for whom I most gravely pine,
Dear Philippines, to my last goodbye, oh, harken
There I leave all: my parents, loves of mine,
I’ll go where there are no slaves, tyrants or hangmen
Where faith does not kill and where God alone does reign.
Here, Rizal starts to say his last goodbyes, lamenting but joyful that he will “…go where there are no slaves, tyrants or hangmen.” Again not ever advocating armed struggle and depending on a supernatural being to solve everything, which he hated in his earlier writings, he says: “Where faith does not kill and where God alone does reign.”
In the last stanza, he says his final goodbyes:
Farewell, parents, brothers, beloved by me,
Friends of my childhood, in the home distressed;
Give thanks that now I rest from the wearisome day;
Farewell, sweet stranger, my friend, who brightened my way;
Farewell, to all I love. To die is to rest.
Rizal said goodbye to everyone except to revolutionaries whose cause he should have supported, because, presumably he had inspired them. Again, to the very end, he never called for the indios to rise in arms. Moreover, he showed that he was tired for “To die is to rest.” He has virtually accepted defeat.
The following day, December 30, 1896, Rizal was shot at Bagumbayan by a firing squad from the 70th Regimento de Magallanes composed of indio soldiers. It would seem ironic that while the first hero of the islands, Lapu-Lapu, slew Magellan; a Magellan regiment composed of Filipinos killed the ilustrado, Jose Rizal.
It is also said that Rizal was supposed to be shot blindfolded and at the back. He refused to be blindfolded and at the last count, he turned to face the shooters. It is said that he did not want to be blindfolded and faced the firing squad because he was not a traitor.
If this was true, he was not a traitor against whom?
Jose Rizal – the Philippine National Hero?
In the years to come after his death, Jose Rizal would be venerated as the national hero of the Philippines. Theodore Friend, in his book, Between Two Empires, says that Taft “with other American colonial officials and some conservative Filipinos, chose him (Rizal) as a model hero over other contestants….” In short, the American colonialists wanted the Filipinos to emulate an ilustrado who would just advocate reforms, one who is against an armed uprising. It is no wonder that Rizal is depicted in his shrine at Luneta as one who is just standing passive, holding a book, just looking scholarly; not fiery advocating resistance – which the colonialists want every Filipino to just be.
Moreover, for bogey’s sake, it should also serve as warning that even if one just merely agitates for reforms, one could still be shot.
And so it was that the face of Rizal was and is everywhere, in stamps, in magazines, on school walls, in peso bills, as the venerated national hero. His poem, Ultimo Adios, was praised to high heavens, translated to around 40 languages; even read in the US House of Representatives. His books and other works were inculcated into the minds of every Filipino who had to go through the educational system designed by the American colonialists after they have subjugated the Filipinos.
Question is, given all these, we beg the question: whose hero is Jose Rizal really for and why?#
BY ADELA DEYAEN WAYAS
BAGUIO CITY – She started at a young age. She unblinds herself to understand the things around her. She talks of culture preservation and the advancement of Indigenous Peoples’ rights and self-determination.
Meenakshi Munda is the chairperson of the Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN). She belongs to a family in Jharkland, India that is very traditional who has inspired and influenced her in the struggle of the Indigenous Peoples.
At the global scene
She attended the conference of APIYN held here last November 2010 where she was elected. Meenakshi challenges all IPs of the world to unite in the struggle for the recognition of their rights. She said all countries must be one for the effective execution of the goals and objectives of APIYN in their communities.
“It is a great responsibility and I am honored (as a chairperson of APIYN),” she said. Being challenged by the proximity of the countries, she said regional reports will be submitted to the national focal point and from the national to the international headquarter of APIYN through social media as the channel for information.
She said all indigenous peoples of the world face common problems. “IPs are related with common problems on land, forest and water, and the recognition of their identity and rights,” she added.
The different governments of the countries, she pointed out, do not recognize IPs. They are being marginalized as fruits of development do not reach the regions because of the corruption in their governments, she continued.
Militarization became rampant in the regions all over the world she said. She said this causes the displacement of the IPs and violations of their rights.
“These are the reasons why there is a need for the IPs all over the world be one in the struggle for their recognition and their rights,” she stressed.
Meenakshi also attended different forums and conferences of IPs in various countries. Some of which she had attended were in the 3rd Session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in July 12 to 16, 2010 held at Geneva, Switzerland where she presented a paper on Naxal (armed rebellion) movement in India.
She also attended the United Nations Committee on World Food Security in Rome, Italy last October, 7th (2007) and 8th (2008) permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues,International Training Center of Indigenous Peoples in Greenland, 23rd session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations (2007), United Nations Higher Commission for Human Rights in Geneva (2005). She has also presented a paper on the importance of Indigenous Language for the welfare of the community in the national and regional meetings concerning IPs in India.
In her own land
At the age of 15, Meenakshi became an active member of Mundari Literary Council, a non profit organization established in 1968 in Jharkland that preserves their mother tongue. According to her the organization has been working for culture preservation and for the Mundari (language of the Munda Tribe), Santhali (language of the Santhali IPs) and Ho (language of the Ho IPs).
Meenakshi added she started here as a ground worker with the goal of promoting their language since it was endangered. At this age she started to motivate youth and women for the preservation of their language. She said many from the youth were forgetting their mother language.
Later on, as the president of the youth wing of the organization, she said they include other issues concerning IPs. “I was never contented with the amount of work we were pursuing, there are more issues to address,” she added. She with determination then joined other IP organizations.
Jharkland is the most exploited state, she said. It is the center of economy for rich mineral resources, hydro electric potentials, great avenues of industrialization and other kinds of development that affects the IPs.
She added migration of tribal members especially the women is on its peak. “Women moved to metro cities where they are exploited sexually and economically.” Agents who are not IPs, she explained, lure the women and sell them in the cities. Until now, Meenakshi said this is one problem they have been working on.
Moreover she said “displacement, unemployment, migration, poverty,and poor programs for health and wellness became our identity.”
Meenakshi grew observing her grand father’s dedication towards the development and upliftment of Indigenous population in India. She said her grand father has done much for their tribal society by educating them and at the same time documenting oral myths and stories, songs etc.
“ Personalities from my family had influenced me right from the beginning,” she shared. Her father Paras Nath Singh, and her mother Usha inspire and guide her in the struggles of the IPs in their state. Dr. Ram Dayal Munda, her uncle, gave her insights on what she could do for the plight of the IPs in their place.
According to her, constant activities at their house and outside gave her an immense exposure to understand her society and her social participation.
Meenakshi graduated Bachelor of Science in Social Anthropology in Jharkland and got her Masteral degree in New Delhi in 2005. At present she is pursuing her PhD at the Department of Anthropology, University of Delhi.
“Being an anthropologist I had a fair understanding of the life of the IPs and how to respect other culture,” she said. Meenakshi added “Anthropology basis its foundation on empathy where we look into different aspects with the eyes of the person of the respective community. This discipline has given me humanitarian insights.” #
By MYRA CAGUIOA
INA ENDENA COGASI
INA ENDENA COGASI. She was baptized by the state military as “Mother Cordillera” and “Kumander” because of her intense passion and unwavering commitment in protecting the land, life and resources of the Igorots. Her house in the village of Agawa in Besao, Mt. Province can be easily found because of the campaign posters of past Cordillera Day celebrations, Innabuyog-Gabriela, Gabriela Party List and Bayan Muna, are all plastered on the front wall of her house. But the depth and breadth of her advocacy goes beyond the slogans and calls in those posters.
Ina Endena has been a human rights advocate since the Martial Law years. For her, part of human rights is to be humanitarian, and in very concrete and basic terms for her, feeding the hungry So much so that her house became the “half-way” house of people with different political leanings who visit her house. However, she observed that when elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) come, she has to cook for them, feed them, tend to them and clean up after they have left. Worse, they even get her chickens and harvest her fruits without her permission.
On the other hand, activists would cook for her, feed her, tend to her and clean her house and her backyard. She says, with a laugh, that she feels like a “donya” when they visit. She considers activists fondly as her children, welcoming them always in her home that the soldiers set up a check point at the foot of the hill where her house is located.
Every time she would pass by the checkpoint with a sack or basket, the soldiers ask what was inside. She sarcastically replies “granada” for the pineapples and “landmine” for the avocados and even invites the soldiers to help her bury the “landmine”.
She was also detained by the military because of the suspicion that she was an NPA commander. She was released the next day because she chattered the whole night, scolding the soldiers, which irritated the soldiers. She recalls with enthusiasm how she recounted all these military atrocities to Senator Jovito Salonga during a senate hearing in Bontoc in the 1980s.
She was among the women who actively campaigned for the pull-out of military troops from the communities during the worst years of Oplan Lambat Bitag in the 80s and 90s. They trooped to the barracks of Bontoc to demand justice for human rights violations and a stop to militarization which prompted the government to transfer notorious officials like Jovito Palparan out from Mountain Province.
Ina Endena, who approximates her age to be 86, still continues to fight for the rights of Indigenous people. She has been an active participant in every Cordillera Day celebration. She has also been vocal in community dialogues with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and in the frontline of many protest actions in and out of the region with all courage and militancy. Her courage continues to warm our spirits up to the present. We know that when we will visit her in Agawa, Besao, we will be welcomed by the high-spirited smile of Ina Endena.#
Ni RENDA SUBIDO-DACPANO
Ti refrigerator cake ket maysa kadagiti nalaka nga aramiden a mabalin nga idasar iti paskua ken iti baro a tawen. Saanen a kasapulan ti oven ngem masapul nga ikabil iti refrigerator wenno cooler tapno maporma a cake.
2 a pakete wenno 36 pidaso a graham crackers
4 a pakete/lata nga all-purpose cream
1 lata a gatas kondensada
1 lata (480g) peaches wenno fruit cocktail
1. Iti dakkel a mixing bowl, paglaoken ti gatas kondensada ken all-purpose cream.
2. Paik-ikan ti fruit cocktail wenno peaches. No agusar ti peaches, iwaen iti naingpis.
3. Iti molding pan wenno container, iplastar ti maysa a layer a graham crackers santo bukbokan ti mixture a gatas ken all-purpose cream iti apaglipos dagiti crackers. Isaruno nga ikabil ti maysa a layer a peaches wenno fruit cocktail. Uliten daytoy aginggana maikabil amin a crackers ken prutas ngem ti akin-rabaw ket peaches.
4. Ikabil iti refrigerator (saan nga iti freezer) iti dua nga oras wenno agpatnag. # email@example.com
By MERING DASON
BONTOC, Mountain Province — Representatives from the different municipalities of Mountain Province stood united against the operation of large scale mining in their province in a forum on the mining and human rights situation.
Two hundred delegates from the nine municipalities of the province and their local government officials and representatives from the business, church, women, youth and peoples organizations agreed that mining is destructive to their communities.
The delegates came up with a position paper expressing their opposition to the destruction wrought by large scale mining which is addressed to and copies of which will be sent to appropriate government agencies and officials for due action.
Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA)-Mountain Province, the federation of sectoral organizations of indigenous peoples in the province maintained that large scale mining violates indigenous peoples rights.
Loreta Yocogan of CPA reiterated that mining operations should not be allowed in indigenous communities because aside from being destructive it does not respect the rights of indigenous peoples over their territories.
She added that the approval of the law that opened the province and the Philippines to multi national mining companies did not follow the procedures of consultations with affected communities.
Yocogan added that areas covered by mining applications are also heavily militarized. She explained that military and paramilitary forces set up their detatchment in communities covered by mining applications especially in areas where community opposition is strong.
She added that human rights violations against residents, especially among women and children, were recorded in areas where state military forces are encamped and frequently visit.
Mountain Province Governor Loenard Mayaen, who also attended the forum expressed his opposition to large scale mining saying that it is not socially viable. He, however, said he will support small scale mining (SSM).
A joint resolution opposing the large scale mining operations in their areas was drafted by the local government units of Sagada, Bauko, Tadian and Sabangan.
Moreover, farmers claimed they are most affected by the operations of large scale mining as they are the ones who work the soil. They assert that mining operations destroy the soil and water sources.
According to CPA data, Mountain Province is covered with overlapping mine applications. Some applicants applied for the same application under different names to confuse people.
The same data show that this year, three companies namely Cordillera Exploration Inc. (CEXI) a subsidiary of Anglo-American covering Tadian, Sagada, and Bauko; Mt. Franz Company covering Tadian, Bauko, Sabangan, Sagada, Besao; and Horizons Resources Corp covering Bontoc and Sadanga; were added to the string of supposed “investors” .
In their position paper, the participants to the forum also called for the resumption of peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
The said forum was held at the Ridgebrook Hotel in Samoki, Bontoc on December 7. # nordis.net
By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — The community tension caused by the entry of the small scale mining (SSM) application of Dennis Tan in Ambassador, Tublay since 2009 still persists. A number of community petitions expressing opposition to the said application had been forwarded to the provincial government of Benguet and several relevant government agencies, but to no avail.
Members of the opposition group fear that the SSM which covers 13.57 hectares once operational will adversely affect their environment and livelihood. They specially fear that the application would affect their water resources like what happened during the operation of Sto. Nino Mines which greatly depleted their water and mineral resources.
Their experience with the said mining firm was, according to them, a great lesson that should not happen again. That is why they are always reiterating their opposition to every large scale mining exploration or operation in their area. Ambassador is one of the barangay in Tublay that is very near the area applied for by Sto Nino Mines.
Their opposition to large scale mining is evident in their strong rejection of the mining exploration of Horizon Resources Corporation September this year that covered lands in several areas of Benguet, Mountain Province and Ifugao.
On the other hand, some residents in Ambassador chose not to meddle in the issue of Tan’s SSM because what they understand about the tension is just a misunderstnading between two individuals. These are Joseph Cosente, the head of the opposition and Ben Polig, the resident who signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Tan and owns the said 13.57 hectares lot. Polig claimed in an interview that Cosente is opposing Tan’s SSM application because of envy. He explained that Cosente’s lot had been subjected to mineral assessment but it failed, while his lot passed the assessment that is why the MOA with Tan materialized.
However, a non government organization, the Community Volunteer Missioners’ (CVM), claims that the SSM application of Dennis Tan in Ambassador is just a small portion of a large scale mining application of Landwealth Mines Minerals Resources Inc. The mining application, CVM claims, covers a total land area of 2, 430 hectares. According to their research, the mining application does not only cover barangay Ambassador, but also more barangays and sitios in Tublay, Atok, Bokod and portions of Itogon and La Trinidad.
Pablo Abluyen, CVM field coordinator, told this writer that the people in Ambassador must unite in order to see the bigger picture behind the issue of Tan’s SSM application. “This is not only about personal issues of certain people but this is about a bigger threat not only to their barangay, but even beyond” he said.
Landwealth’s existence in Tublay
Documents made availabe by CVM shows that the KM 21 Mining Exploration Corporation has a mining claim in Brgy. Ambassador with a total land area of 423.5 hectares. On August 16, 1964, the corporation then known as KM 21 Mining Association entered into an agreement with Baguio Gold Mining Company for the latter to explore, develop, exploit and operate the former’s mining claim.
Moreover, on November 3, 1982, through a “compromise with dacion in payment”, Baguio Gold assigned its operating rights to Philex Mining Corporation. The contract was renewed by Philex and KM 21 Mining Exploration Corporation on November 3, 1988.
In February 2009 before Philex cancelled its rights to the mining claim, it applied for a new Mineral Sharing Production Agreement (MPSA 069) in behalf of KM 21 making the original mining claim to expand up to 2, 430 hectares. But for unknown reason, the MOA between KM 21 and Philex expired by virtue of a cancellation letter of Philex dated February 20, 2009.
Landwealth now entered the scene in the person of its president, Robert Chan. He proposed to KM 21 that they will explore, develop, and operate their mining claims. Thus, the MOA between KM 21 in the person of Delfin Balajadia and Robert Chan of Landwealth was done and registered in the Mines and Geosciences Bureau – Cordillera Administrative Region (MGB-CAR) on March 5, 2009. The MOA stated that the rights and interest of KM 21 over the MPSA 069 and their original mining claim will be transferred to Landwealth.
The dangerous thing in the MOA, Abluyen said, is the part where it is stated that “the claims shall also include all mining surface, water and timber rights, roadway rights, properties and priveleges of any kind of nature within the claims which now belong or may hereafter be acquired by KM 21 Mining Exploration Corporation directly or indirectly”.
The MOA also includes a condition that KM 21 shall secure a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) from the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) against current small scale miners within the claims of KM 21. Also, Landwealth shall assist proper government agencies in enforcing the CDO. This according to Abluyen would be unfair to the residents who are venturing into small scale mining in the area considering that SSM is an alternative livelihood of the community.
Relationship of landwealth to Dennis Tan
Within the applied concession area of Landwealth under MPSA 069, Polig owns a lot which his family is using for both farming and SSM. In the mineral assessment done by Landwealth, his lot passed. Thus, on April 30, 2009, Chan and Polig signed a MOA and in the said MOA, Landwealth was granted the exclusive right to prospect, explore, develop, mine, operate, own and sell mineral deposits within Polig’s property in sitio Salaksak along the Labey-Bokod provincial road. It was also stipulated that Landwealth shall exclude 10 tunnels for Polig to maintain.
Abluyen said “kulang na lang sinabi sa MOA na bahala na kayo kung ano’ng gagawin niyo sa lupa basta bigyan niyo lang ako ng sampung tunnels”.
On the other hand, documents showed that Tan submitted an application for SSM permit in the offices of PMRB in May 2009.
Moreover, On June 21, 2010, Chan of Landwealth granted Tan authority to operate SSM in Landwealth’s claim specifically in Polig’s lot.
Abluyen said, they found out that Tan and Chan have their offices in the same building that is located in Atlanta Centre, Annapolis St., Greenhills, San Juan City. Because of this, he alleged that Tan’s existence in Landwealth’s mining claim is a strategy to divert the attention of the community. “They did that in order for the community to be mislead,” he said. He further claimed that the community conflict would be beneficial to Landwealth because according to him, their attention will be focused on Tan’s SSM without seeing the bigger threat which is Landwealth.
Abluyen further said that because Landwealth is knowledgeable that Tublay folks are against large scale mining, they are entering the community through small scale mining or SSM. He added that Landwealth will possibly enter into several MOAs in its claim using different individuals like the case of Tan. # nordis.net
By ADELA DEYAEN WAYAS
BAGUIO CITY — PhilHealth-Cordillera seeks a dialogue with the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMCo) on the remaining unremitted workers’ contributions.
Catalina Adawey , the Chief Social Insurance Officer of PhilHealth-Cordillera Collection Section in a weekly Kapihan confirmed that LCMCo’s still has to remit workers contributions for 2009 and November 2010. She added the November contributions amounts to P 620,000 while the 2009 amounts to P 1 million.
“Wala pa silang qualifying contribution sa mga empleyadong nagpa-ospital,” ([The company] has yet to submit their qualifying contributions for hospitalized employees) she added.
Adawey said LCMCo remitted P1.8 million on November for the August to October 2010 premiums however the attached reports were not clear. She added that the report of the company regarding their employees’ PhilHealth remittances is not updated.
“They were able to remit the premiums (for August-October 2010) however their report needs clarification,” Adawey said. She added that the company reported to have submitted the contributions for 1,639 employees.
In addition, Adawey pointed out that the company has yet to remit the contributions for the retrenched workers. She said the workers were retrenched sometime in November and the company has not yet submitted PhilHealth contributions for the said month. She reiterated that they hope to discuss these issues with the company.
Meanwhile, Atty Eric Mandiit, legal officer of PhilHealth, explained that they already had discussed payment terms with the company. He said they already negotiated with Lepanto payment terms in installment. He clarified however that PhilHealth has no condoning program.
Mandiit said companies whether big or small that do not comply with the scheduled remittances are being sent billing statements with corresponding due dates. It is still a criminal case and a violation to the PhilHealth law, he said. He explained that based on the implementing rules and regulation (IRR), in the initial billing statement, the company is given 20 days to comply; in the 1st initial statement a demand letter they are 15 days to comply; in the final demand they have10 days to comply.
Mandiit said PhilHealth will file charges should the company still fail to comply after the final demand. He added PhilHealth will wave the charges after the company complies but will still implement surcharges indicated in the IRR. # nordis.net
By NORTHERN DISPATCH
BAGUIO CITY — Dr. Caster Palaganas, spokesperson of the Cordillera Health, Education, Services and Trainings in the Cordillera Region (Chestcore) welcomed the release of 38 of the Morong 43 saying this is a meaningful Christmas gift for the families and friends of the detained health workers.
Palaganas in behalf of the Chestcore and the health workers thanked all those who supported, believed in the cause and fought alongside for the freedom of the Morong 43.
Palaganas, however, said they are still longing for the release of the remaining five once they are cleared of their alleged admission that they are members of the New Peoples Army (NPA). She said the circumstances during their alleged admission should be investigated as reports showed that they were under duress at the time.
She also expressed support for the demand of the Human Rights Watch, an international group monitoring the case of the Morong 43, for an investigation of the alleged torture of the Morong 43.
Thirty eight of the 43 health workers illegally arrested and detained for more than 10 months were released yesterday evening, December 17 after the courts issued a release order. The other five as of press time are still being held by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Lawyer Jules Matibag of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL) said the five in Camp Capinpin are included in the release orders and they should be immediately released to their families by their military custodians.
The said release order was issued at around 4:30 PM a week after President Benigno Aquino III ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to drop all charges against the Morong 43. RTC Branch 78 Judge Gina Cenit-Escoto and Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC) Judge Rodrigo Posadas favored the motion filed by the DOJ withdrawing the charges against the health workers. The judge also directed the AFP to dispose of the items obtained from the raid, which included, weapons and ammunition that the authorities claimed they had found in the possession of the 43 when they were arrested in Morong in February 6.
Escoto also denied the opposition to the release filed by Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD) Rep. Pastor Alcover.
Thirty five of the Morong 43 were illegally detained at the Metro Manila District Jail inside Camp Bagong Diwa. Two women, Carina Judilyn Oliveros and Mercy Castro, gave birth during their detention and have been placed under “hospital arrest” at the Philippine General Hospital, while one of the detainnes, Franco Romeroso, is confined at the Taguig-Pateros District Hospital after he suffered from dehydration due to diabetes. Five of the Morong 43 remains under AFP custody in Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal for alleged other offenses.
The 43 health workers were arrested on February 6 this year by around 300 combined elements of police and military. They were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives and were tagged as members of the New People’s Army (NPA), armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) by the AFP, an allegation which they continuously denied. # nordis.net
By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
BAGUIO CITY — During the soft launching of the book that compiled the speeches of former congressman William “Billy” Claver, an Indigenous Peoples (IP) rights defender who first brought the issue of ancestral domain in the halls of congress, his criticism of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) law and the role of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) was read.
In the absence of Billy Claver, one of his grandsons, Rev. Father Andrew Claver read the short but stinging rebuke of Billy Claver . “IPRA and the NCIP appear not to be protecting the Indigenous Peoples rights of which they are called to do so. Instead, they are facilitators for mining, logging and timber permits and other big companies entering in IP areas,” Billy’s statement read.
Fr. Claver in an interview expressed his agreement with the observation of Billy Claver. He explained that with the experience of the Cordillera region with regards to mining applications, it is already difficult to believe that IPRA and NCIP are there to uphold the rights of IPs. He further explained that the true essence of an ancestral domain is deteriorating with the entry of large scale mine firms and other destructive projects that are facilitated by the NCIP and other government agencies. This he said is the reason why his grandfather, Billy Claver is very firm with his statement.
Fr. Claver further said that large scale mining should be stopped in the region. “The implications of Lepanto and other mining companies are enough. The sufferings of IPs due to this kind of mining should be stopped,” he iterated. This according to him is supposedly the role of the IPRA law – to ensure that the IP rights are protected. However, the sad reality on the ground is the exact opposite, he said.
Moreover, Fr. Claver reacted vehemently regarding the so-called neutral stand of NCIP with regards the process of obtaining free prior and informed consent (FPIC) of IPs . “Mali! They should be the one asserting the rights of the indigenous peoples because that’s the purpose of that office,” he stressed. He added that they should not be simply neutral. “We need to have a stand specially for the IPs,” he reiterated. # nordis.net