by editors

One-on-one fight in Kalinga for the 2013 elections

October 14, 2012 in Cordillera, elections, Featured by editors


TABUY CITY, Kalinga — One-on-one electoral fight for the 2013 national and local elections has become a trend in this province.

According to the official records of the Commission on Election (Comelec) Kalinga, there are only two candidates for the congressional post in the lone district of this province. Incumbent Congressman Manuel Agyao of the Liberal Party (LP) is challenged by Atty. Macario Duguiang of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). Both candidates hail from the Lubuagan tribe.

In the gubernatorial race, Comelec has recorded only incumbent Provincial Governor Jocel Baac (LP) and Conrado Dieza (PDP-LABAN). Baac comes from Tabuk City while Dieza comes from Pinukpuk.

For the vice governorship, only incumbent Vice Governor Sonny C. Mangaoang of the Nacionalista Party (NP) and challenger Farnaw Claver of UNA filed their candidacy. Mangaoang comes from Balbalan municipality while Claver hails from Tabuk City.

For Tabuk City, Comelec has recorded incumbent City Mayor Ferdinand Tubban of the NP and Atty. Laurence B. Wacnang of the LP for the mayoralty race. Tubban is from the Guilayon and Tubog tribes in Tabuk City while Wacnang hails from the Tulgao tribe of Tinglayan municipality. The challenger is a three-termer governor and congressman of this province.

Except for the municipalities of Tanudan and Tinglayan where there are more than two candidates for the positions of mayor and vice mayor, the other municipalities also have one-on-one fight for the said positions.

Aside from the one-on-one fight, there are unopposed candidates like incumbent Mayor James Edduba of Pasil and Tabuk City Vice Mayor Darwin Estranero who filed their candidacy for re-election in the same positions. Incumbent Pinukpuk Mayor Irving Dasayon who is now running for vice mayor is also unopposed.

According to Jimmy Suwagon, secretary general of Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (CPA)-Kalinga, the one-on-one fight in the top elective positions in the province as well as the presence of unopposed candidates indicate the increasing cost of election. “Only few have resources to afford the high cost of election campaign expenses,” he further said.

Jerry Bulaat, secretary general of the Timpuyog Daguiti Mannalon ti Kalinga (TMK) said that the candidates especially for the top elective local positions generally come from the circles of contractors, businessmen, bureaucrats and the rich. “There are no candidates from the peasant sector,” he added.

“The political dynasty in the national politics is also reflected in the local politics of this province,” Bulaat further said. #

by editors

Cordi peasant group to study agri sit

October 14, 2012 in agriculture, Cordillera by editors


BAGUIO CITY — On the month-long observance of October as peasant month, the Alyansa dagiti Pesante iti Taeng Kordilyera (Apit Tako) and the Katribu Party List spearheads a research with analysis on the current situation of peasants both in the upland and lowland parts in the six provinces of the Cordillera Region.

According to Apit Tako Regional Spokesperson Andres Wailan, the purpose of the study Is to gather data and facts on the present state of Cordillera peasants and the magnitude of exploitation inflicted on them under the current social order. He said this will help the farmers in the region and gathering their thoughts on their plight to come up with a united goal and that is to uplift their lives.

Wailan said that staff and member organizations in each provincial chapters of the peasant organization will conduct research and interviews in peasant communities. And when the needed data will be sufficient, he added, they will collate them and collectively study it.

Wailan explained that in a society where the few elite rule and control the economy, the peasants are among the most exploited people. Their lives get harder and harder every time because of the unequal distribution of wealth.

He said that the exploitation of peasants from lowlands differ to that of those from the uplands.

He described that the relationship of the landlords and the farmers of the lowlands is like a master and slave because of the unfair division of inputs, labor and unequal share of produce. He further explained that the common practice is a 75%-25% sharing wherein the farmer will be in charge of the preparations of the land prior to planting, the planting, and the everyday tending of the fields.

“Ti lang bagi diay landlord ket diay inputs, panagpagapas ken panagpakiskis, santo aguray laengen ti bingay na ken diay abang ti mannalon nu agaba-bang man,” (the landlord will only do is take charge of the farm inputs, hire some people for the harvesting, have the harvest milled, and then wait for his share and the rent if ever the farmer is renting) he added.

Wailan cited an example of a harvest of 100 sacks of rice, then the landlord will say that 40 sacks of rice are for his expenses for the inputs; so that means 60 sacks will remain, the landlord will get 45 sacks as his share and the farmer will receive only 15 sacks. “Awan pay a ti 20 a sako ti maala jay mannalon a diay, saan pay a naibilang dagidiay ginastos na met ti inaldaw a panagmintina na idiay talon,” (The farmer will get lesser than 20 sacks as his share, this does not even pay his daily expensesof maintaining the rice fields), Wailan said.

According to Wailan, the upland peasants suffer from the backwardness of the agriculture industry and the lack of accessibility to the market, the exploitation by the middlemen and greedy businessmen.

He also said peasants of the Cordillera who mostly are also indigenous peoples are being displaced and denied of their right to their ancestral lands because of the development aggressions followed by intense militarization.

Wailan said that these are the focal points that serve as guidelines for deeper research on the impacts of heightened forms of exploitations and repression of the peasants.

The output of the research he said will further the understanding of the plight of the peasants here in the Cordillera. #

by editors

Youth key in the recognition of indigenous peoples rights

October 14, 2012 in Baguio City by editors


BAGUIO CITY — Pinatud-Anakbayan hosted a cultural gathering and discussion forum on indigenous people’s struggles and the role of the community youth in the celebration of Tribal Filipino Week, in Bonifacio Elementary School this October.

The activity was attended by 110 youth from different barangays of Baguio including Pico La Trinidad and some of them even came in their cultural attire.

According to their speaker, Gerry Doco of Katribu Indigenous People’s Partylist, the elders pass the responsibility of continuing the struggle for the recognition of their rights as indigenous peoples and citizens to the youth. Doco reiterated that the youth hold the future of the country and the success of their organizations and projects depends on their decision to take up responsibility to lead and to continue the programs the elders have started long ago.

Doco added that they must take into consideration the lessons of their elders in drafting of their programs, be determined and encourage active participation of the youth particularly in organizing events for IPs, like dialogues, petition signing and protests on issues.

Julius Daguitan, Dap-ayan ti Kultura ti Kordilyera (DKK) deputy-secretary, shared that youth must stand for what is right in the pursuit of the truth towards genuine social change by strengthening their leadcrship at empowering the marginalized sectors like the elders did in the fight for their rights.

Doco narrated stories of peoples struggles in the urban poor and workers sector and challenged the participants to learn, work with and support the wider community resolve current issues affecting them.

After the discussion and lecture, the participants formed the youth chapters in their respective barangays. #

by editors

Bontoc celebrates IP month

October 14, 2012 in Cordillera by editors


BONTOC, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE — Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC), Bontoc Campus, Celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) month at the MPSPC Auditorium on October 6, 2012 on the theme “Celebrating Indigenous Peoples Month with pride of our history and culture as we continue to struggle for our rights”, the said activity was attended by three hundred individuals mostly students from different communities, organizations from MPSPC, Poblacion, Bontoc, Mt. Province.

Starting the celebration with a parade of placard bearing stuents who marched from the Bontoc Municipal Hall to the MPSPC Auditorium for the indoor event. To set the tone of the celebration, students of MPSPC and some members of Mountain Province Youth Association (MPYA) reiterated issues affecting their rights as students and indigenous peoples specially on education, health and others through their placards.

The celebration was to commemorate the history and cultures of the indigenous peoples’ in the Philippines with the help of Beverly Longid, the Katribu National president and 1st Nominee. Engr. Francisco Armas who gave the Welcome Remarks, Tracy Anne Dumalo, the Anakbayan Regional Coordinator gave a Solidarity Message and Petra Makliing who inspired the audience with a short but loaded message.

Longid, challenged her audience as she laid out before them the socio-economic situation of the Cordillera and the struggle for the recognition of the right to self-determination. She told her audience, “As Indigenous Peoples, it is our role to educate, organize and campaign for Genuine Regional Autonomy and for Self-Determination” among ourselves and the wider population.

Macliing, who was one of the veterans during the defense of the Ancestral Land and against the Chico River Dam project during the marcos dictatorship encouraged the audience and participants to “Maorkanisa tako am-in ta chepencharan tako nan chaga tako ay fiyag tako, siya nan macapuan nan kaen tako tay ulay no wacha nan siping ya laing tako no maid makan, matumfa tako. Tay faken nan siping si ma-ap-apat sina no chi ket nan chaga, nan fiyag, nan eges, nan makan! Makarit tako ta menkaykaysa tako ay mangituloy sin rinugyan nan Apo tako, nemnemen tako ay nan daga nan kinafaknang tako ay igorot, siya nan fiyag tako. (Continue and organize ourselves in order to Defend our land, Life and Resources. Our land is the basic source of our livelihood. So I challenged everyone to unite to continue the struggle started by our ancestors and our elders, so bear in mind that being an igorot, our land is our Life).

The program drew to conclusion with cultural presentations from the different geographical student organizations like Changyasan, UBAYA, SSO, LPS, KPL, and many others. And a reitieration of the messages delivered by the speakers closed the activity with a call to the youth. #

by editors

Church, IP organizations celebrate Tribal Filipino Week

October 14, 2012 in Baguio City by editors


BAGUIO CITY — With the theme: “Advancing the Indigenous People’s Agenda for Self-determination Towards Progressive Social Change”, multi-sectoral organizations led by the Regional Ecumeical Council of Churches in the Cordillera (Reccord) a celebration and an ecumenical service dedicated to the Indigenous Peoples martyrs of the Cordillera struggle.

Members of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), Metro Baguio Tribal Elders and Leaders Assembly (MBTELA), Organisasyon dagiti Nakukurapay nga Umili ti Siyudad (Ornus), Dap-ayan ti Kultura ti kordilyera (DKK), Panagtignay dagiti nakukurapay nga Agtutubo para iti tarigagay ti Umili a Demokrasya (Pinatud-Anakbayan) and different church denominations and individuals partake in the celebration. The activity was held at the Diocesan hall, Cathedral of the Resurrecton of the Episcopal diocese of the Northern Philippines (EDNCP) on October 12, 2012.

According to Maureen Loste of RECCORD, the first part of the month of October is dedicated as the Trbal FilipinoWeek (TFW). She says the church of the people in this special week recognizes the struggle of the IPs in the defense of land, life, livelihood and resources. She added that the church and the christian community should be with the people as God is with his people in the aspiration of a better society.

Katribu Partylist National President Beverly Longid presented the updates of the Phlippine IP situation and the continuing struggle for the protection of ancestral lands. She said that the biggest problem of IPs are the encroachments to their ancestral domains and territorties by large mining corporations and energy projects.

According also to Longid, it is sad that the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) where most of its personnel are IPs themselves serves as agents for development aggressions over ancestral lands. She added that the most abused and misused government policy which is supposedly to guard the welfare of the Flipino IPs is the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) where the NCIP seemingly push it as a nod from the people affected by a certain project. She stressed that FPIC is a right of the IPs to decide whether they like or not the entry of projects or corporations to their lands.

An ecumenical service followed giving tribute to the martyrs of the IPs and the Filippino masses dedicated in advancing the right to self determination and the protection of the ancestral lands.

The son of Kalinga elder and leader Daniel Ngayaan spoke on behalf of his siblings and relatives on the continuing search for justice for two and a half decades.

On October 5, 1987, Daniel Ngayaan was abducted by members of the paramilitary group Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA). From that day, his remains are never to be found. Ngayaan Jr. said that his family stll wants to find his father’s remains and give a decent burial. Ngaya-an was been the vice-chairperson of CPA and at the same time chairperson of Cordillera Bodong Association(CBA) whose forerunner is the Kalinga Bontoc Peace Pact Holders Association (KBPPHA).

He said that for 25 years, justice has been elusive. And even though CPLA chairman Conrado balweg who had admitted he is the brain behind his father’s murder was already dead, the other perpetrators are yet to be brought to courts. #

by editors

Students hit Baguio mayor’s pro-Cyber law stance

October 14, 2012 in Baguio City, human rights by editors


BAGUIO CITY — The College Editors Guild of the Philippines-Baguio Benguet (CEGP-BB) in a statement said Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan’s remarks of being a victim of cyber-bullying resounds the claim of Senator Tito Sotto who was accused of plagiarizing that prompted him to support the controversial cybercrime law.

According to CEGP, the incumbent mayor raised concerns that the law can redress “acts of ridicule and malicious attacks” which could become rampant especially that the national and local elections are months away. The group added that Domogan and Sotto seems to be so divested of power that they are easily maimed by remarks made against them in the internet.

“They are in fact reversing the situation by making themselves look like the victim of discourses which they control and where they actually dominate. As the internet becomes a viable and widely-used tool to participate in the discourses in the community, a participation that is already stifled in other avenues through bureaucratic measures such as the No-Permit No-Rally policy and the constant breaching of the people’s right to peaceful assembly, opinions of the people with regard to their community and their public officials are conveniently aired online,” the statement read.

The CEGP stated that Cybercrime Law masks the potential quelling of propagation of critical discourses in the internet.

The gorup see the law as public officials’ tactic in protecting their “reputation” which is often rightfully subjected to criticisms due to their anti-people policies and attitude towards governance.

“With the objective of protecting their presently beneficial positions, these public officials mistake valid criticisms with so-called “malicious attacks,” the group added.

The CEGP statement also said that Domogan seems to be prematurely defensive in assuming the role of the helpless sheep in the face of ferocious attackers which can be expected as the mid-year elections approach and as he continues to fall short in addressing key issues in the city such as the waste problem, the privatization of Baguio General Hospital and Baguio Convention Center among others and the cutting of trees in SM Baguio.

“Supporting the Cybercrime Law is only logical for a public official continually threatened by a growing unpopularity and criticism that is increasingly launched online. With his aspirations for reelections next year, we can see that this stance towards the controversial law is nothing but driven by his self-interests and not his true concern to the needs and interests of the people,” the statement read. #

by editors

No fake Baguio titles says new registry of deed officer

October 14, 2012 in Baguio City by editors


BAGUIO CITY — Newly appointed Noel Perez Aperocho vowed no fake titles will enter the City Registry of Deeds (ROD) in his term of office during the flag raising ceremonies in the Baguio City Hall, October 8.

Aperecho said they identified 20 fake titles being sold to unsuspecting victims. He said they already referred the matter to the police for investigation and appropriate actions. He added that the dealers of fake titles are claiming to be victims of enterprising individuals. He said these are alibis of real estate brokers to fool prospected buyers.

According to Aperocho, the City ROD plays an important role and contributes a big part in the collection of taxes. He said that from January to September of this year, the City has collected some P36 million from the registration of land patents. He also said they were able to process 100 patents. He added there will be no transfer of Certificates of Title without the required payment of taxes.

He however advised applicants to be patient as processing of patents takes some time. He said the processing reaches up to one year because they have to go thoroughly over the technical descriptions and other necessary steps. He said there are three types of applications which they scrutinize namely residential, town site and miscellaneous.

He said that in the processing of applications and registrations, the usual problem they encounter include tie lines, projection maps and overlapping.

Meanwhile, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan advised land and property buyers to be extra cautious. He said they should verify the authenticity of the documents and other requisites of the property being offered to them. He said that they should coordinate with the ROD to avoid problems in the future. #

by editors

Celebrating the courage of rural indigenous women

October 14, 2012 in Cordillera, Featured, people by editors


BAGUIO CITY — On the 5th International Day of Rural Women in 2012, the Asian Rural Women’s Coalition (ARWC) highlights the critical roles rural women play in transforming the world into a just and sustainable society. This year, ARWC honours exceptional rural women and advocates from several countries across Asia who have continuously fought for survival, justice and freedom.

Innabuyog, a founding member and steering committee member of the ARWC has chosen four Cordillera women to stand among other Asian women receiving recognition on this 5th International Day of Rural Women.

They are Maria Galong of Conner, Apayao; Leticia Bulaat of Kalinga; Endena Cogasi of Agawa, Besao, Mountain Province and Petra “Tannaw” Macliing of Bontoc, Mountain Province. The many other women leaders who had similar contributions will be given honour as well in their respective organizations.

The Cordillera awardees:

PETRA MACLIING. Photo courtesy of CWEARC.PETRA MACILING, 77, children 10 of Mainit, Bontoc, Mountain Province; Activist, Campaigner, Organiser, Elder-Adviser of Innabuyog, Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA). Issues working on: Human Rights, Land Rights, Indigenous Women And Children’s Rights, Women’s Empowerment, Environment.

Mother Petra is a leading figure for the defense of land, life, resources, and for self-determination. In her advanced age, she is still very active in the campaign against destructive projects affecting the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera Region. She has never wavered in her understanding that the identity and life of the indigenous peoples are intrinsically tied to the protection and conservation of the land. She is a living representation of the role of how rural women protect land and culture. For her, land is the source of life. For her, ensuring life is the role of every woman. Her simple logic is to defend the land in order to ensure life. Her life’s work led to the formation of the Montanosa Women’s Federation (now Binnadang-Innabuyog), and the Cordillera People’s Alliance of which she is a founding member.

LETICIA BULA-AT. Photo courtesy of CWEARC.LETICIA BULA-AT, 42, from Dupag, Tomiangan, Tabuk, Kalinga; Campaigner, Organiwer, Member of the Council of Leaders of Innabuyog, Traditional Village Tribal Leader, Organisation: Innabuyog, Cordillera People’s Alliance; Issues working on: Conflict Resolution, Environment, Human Rights, Land Rights, Indigenous Women and Children’s Rights, Women Empowerment.

“Although we have no money, we have food, good and simple ones on our tables.”

Born in a family of farmers, Leticia knew how hard the job of a farmer is. But despite its back-breaking repetitious movement, she experienced how rewarding it is to till her land. She came to realise that one can live without money as long as one has a land from which to plant and cultivate food. This is the reason for her courage to strong stance against big institutions like the World Bank (WB) and the government when she, together with her people, were once threatened of being displaced in the guise of projects such as the Chico Dam. It was a time when their rice fields were being targeted to be transformed into flower fields and their sub-terrains where being targeted for their gold.

Leticia, along with other communities, stood collectively against the construction of development projects in their lands. From simple dialogues to protest actions and literally blocking the road and trucks with their bodies, they were able to make a strong statement how valuable their land is, and stop the machines from reaching the project site. For twenty (20) years, she did this, along with the communities, until they won. It was a monumental feat since it was the first time in history when a project of the WB and the IMF was shelved. Today, she continues to remain vigilant and campaign for their rights to land, resources and self-determination.

ENDENA COGASI. Photo by CWEARCENDENA COGASI, of Sabiyan, Agawa, Besao, Mountain Province; Organiser, Campaigner, Activist; Cordillera Peoples Alliance. Issues working on: Indigenous Peoples Rights, Human Rights, Women’s Empowerment.

Endena Cogasi raised a family on her own and lived a simple life. But despite her simplicity, she chose to raise her voice and became an invincible icon of the Cordillera region, who continue to struggle for justice. When conflicts arose in the Cordillera area between the armed forces and the community, she rose to become one of the strong leaders of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance. She advocated for peace and courageously defended the human rights of poor indigenous peoples and women despite the harassment and threats she received from the military. She did not yield to military harassment. She even joined delegations for a dialogue with the military. Her presence during the peace rallies in the Mountain Province was even acknowledged by a former senator.

She inspired a number of Cordillera women, young and old, to follow her footsteps of courage and dedication to serve the women and people. On 9 December 2010, Endena Cogasi was one of the awardees of the Gawad Tanggol Karapatan or Awards for Cordillera Human Rights Defenders during the observance of the International Human Rights Day.

MARIA GALONG. Photo courtesy of CWEARCMARIA GALONG, 58, from Conner, Kalinga-Apayao, Agriculturalist (Backyard Farmer), Organiser, Campaigner, Activist. Organisation: Save the Apayao People’s Organization (SAPO), Innabuyog. Issues working on: Environment, Agriculture, Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples Issues, Women’s Empowerment.

“I invite you to be active in progressive women’s organisations. Our mission is to defend our ancestral land, our rights and resources. Let us defend our natural resources for future generations! Until such social inequities exist, we should not give up.”

In the growing conflict between her people and the military, Maria rose to fight the oppression and harassment that the women in her community were experiencing. Since her first involvement in a leadership training conducted by CWEARC in the 1980s, her mind was broadened and learned about empowerment processes undergone by other women’s organisations and leaders. Now, she hosts trainings herself, and continues to campaign for the rights of the indigenous peoples. With her track record of unceasing militancy, she became one of the founding members of SAPO, a local group set up to combat large mining projects. She is an indefatigable volunteer for SAPO, a member of various women, peasant and indigenous people’s alliances, and simultaneously, working on her farm.

Her friends always chide her with, “Maria should be rich by now if not for her commitment to serve people’s organisations”. But Maria will always say with a laugh, “My wealth is living my value of serving fellow poor people”. Indeed, Maria is woman with fire in her heart.

The 15th of October is observed as World Rural Women’s Day (WRWD) as resolved in the UN Conference for Women in Beijing in September 1995 in recognition of rural women who comprise a quarter of the world’s population and their multiple roles as farmers and food producers.

It was also resolved that the WRWD was to highlight the role played by rural women in food production and food security before the October 16 World Food Day. It was first observed the following year. Since then, annual events were conducted by rural women’s organizations and support groups to raise the profile of rural women and bring them out of obscurity, to sensitize governments and the public to their crucial role, and promote action to their support.

On December 18, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly acknowledged World Rural Women’s Day recognizing the “critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women in enhancing agriculture and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty”.

World Food Day was proclaimed in 1979 by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO), aimed at heightening public awareness of the world food problem and strengthening solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. Farmers, rural and indigenous women’s movements labelled the occasion as World FoodLESS Day to highlight the growing hunger and food crisis arising from neo-liberal policies that stole the food resources and facilitated inaccessibility of these resources from main producers, the peasants and indigenous peoples.

In the Cordillera, the annual observance of World Rural Women’s Day and World FoodLESS Day began in 2002 through the CWEARC, Innabuyog-Gabriela and APIT TAKO, the alliance of peasants in the Cordillera region. It created a forum to raise issues faced by peasant and rural indigenous women on the increasing hunger and poverty amidst abundance of natural resources in the Cordillera and the threats rising from commercial agricultural production, extractive industries such as mining and energy projects.

The annual events convinced government agencies to also celebrate it as well.

On this year’s occasion of World Rural Women’s Day and World FoodLESS Day, Innabuyog-Gabriela and CWEARC with their respective members, partners and organizations of indigenous peasant women and food producers will gather in an occasion to honour indigenous peasant women leaders who have contributed significantly in building the strength of rural and indigenous women’s assertion to their land, food and rights. They have dedicated their voluntary service, stood their ground against state repression and militarization, and led exemplary actions for upholding the common good and selflessness.

All over Asia, similar occasions will also be conducted which will be coordinated by ARWC, a formation of rural and indigenous women to celebrate the leadership, strength, creativity and commitment in pushing for gender equality while improving the lives of the general rural populace. #

by editors

Casiño asks Comelec to level playing field

October 14, 2012 in elections, national by editors


QUEZON CITY — Makabayan senatorial bet Teddy Casiño today called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to level the playing field for candidates in terms of media exposure.

The progressive solon issued the call as Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said candidates must refrain from making their presence felt in the mass media for the sake of observing fair election practices even in the absence of a law prohibiting candidates from premature self-promotion.

“The Comelec itself has the power to do this by strictly implementing the limit on campaign ads and by buying more air time which they will distribute equally among the senatorial candidates,” said Casiño.

Based on Section 86 (a) of the Omnibus Election Code the Commission shall promulgate rules and regulations regarding the sale of air time for partisan political purposes during the campaign period to insure the equal time as to duration and quality in available to all candidates for the same office or political parties at the same rates or given free of charge.

Also Section 90 of the Election Code states that the Commission shall procure space in at least one newspaper of general circulation in every province or city which shall be known as “Comelec Space” wherein candidates can announce their candidacy. Said space shall be allocated, free of charge, equally and impartially by the Commission among all candidates within the area in which the newspaper is circulated.

Similarly on Section 92, the Commission shall procure radio and television time to be known as “Comelec Time” which shall be allocated equally and impartially among the candidates within the area of coverage of all radio and television stations.

“These are also contained in the Fair Election Act or RA 9006. This simly means that the Comelec has all the legal means to level the playing field for candidates and it should do all it can so that political cartels would not have a very unfair advantage over those who are more deserving of public office,” ended Casiño. #

by editors

Bayan Muna urges passage of decriminalization of libel bill

October 14, 2012 in law, national by editors


QUEZON CITY — Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares urged yesterday the speedy approval of HB 1009 filed by Bayan Muna on July 28, 2010 which seeks to decriminalize libel by repealing Articles 353 to 362 of the Revised Penal Code.

“Other than HB 1009, the only other bill decriminalizing libel is HB 2979 filed by the late Rep. Sonny Escudero. Considering that HB 1009 was filed more than two years ago, it should be prioritized by the House leadership together with HB 2979 and the recently filed bills amending the cybercrime law,” Rep. Colmenares said.

“HB 1009 seeks to delete libel from the Revised Penal Code together with its penalty of imprisonment and fines. The remedy should be a civil case for damages under the Civil Code. Although a person who commits libel should still be held liable, no one should go to prison for the exercise of the constitutional right to freedom of expression or categorized as an ‘ex-convict’ for such act. The remedy should be a civil case under Article 19 of the Civil Code”. There are currently 6 other House bills on libel, including the bill filed by Rep. Sonny Angara, which, although it provided for the elimination of imprisonment for libel, maintained it as a criminal offense in the Revised Penal Code punishable by fines.

Another bill, HB 4031 authored by Rep. Romeo Acop, swings to the other side as it seeks to specifically define and penalize internet libel.

“We also urge the immediate passage of bills amending the cyber crime law. While HB 1009 will repeal libel laws, whether committed through the internet or any other medium, it should be complemented by the repeal of the other draconian provisions in the current cybercrime law” he added.

Review of rules in bicameral meeting

Colmenares also proposed making bicameral committee hearings transparent and the ratification of bills approved by the bicameral committee subject to deliberation in cases were a provision not found in the House version was inserted.

“This deliberation will guide House members in deciding whether to ratify the bill and make sure that unwanted insertions are deleted. If the bill approved by the bicam committee is antagonistic or substantially different from that previously approved by the House, then we have the option to say no to that bill. The House should not be subservient to the bicameral committee,” Colmenares said. “The recent outrage over insertions in the cybercrime law shows that there is a need for the bicameral committee hearings, including those on the budget, to be transparent. Its scheduled meetings should be published and opened to the public. The media should be allowed to cover these meetings and given access to the minutes of the proceedings in these bicameral committee meetings, even those meetings of both Houses finalizing the budget bills.”

“The cybercrime bill approved by the House did not contain the questionable provisions found in the Senate version and the law. The House version did not contain the ‘electronic libel’ provision found in Section 4(c) 4 of the law. There was no mention at all of the DOJ’s ‘blocking access’ power found in Section 19 of the law. Section 4(b)4 (cc) of the House Bill did not contain the phrase “provided that the penalty to be imposed shall be one degree higher than that provided by the Revised Penal Code, and Special Laws”. While Section 9 of the House version allowed ‘real time collection of computer data’ it requires the need to “secure a court warrant’. The Senate version, found in Section 12 of the law, deleted this very important warrant requirement” said Colmenares.

“While there are still many concerns on the issue of cybercrime law sanctions, including those in the House version, the Senate version, which was the worst version practically trampled on the House’ during the bicameral committee hearing. Worse, the House allowed itself to be trampled upon, easily giving up on its version by ratifying the Senate version in the House. We are equal to the Senate in terms of wisdom and intellect and must assert our version during these bicams.” #

by editors

Editorial Cartoon

October 14, 2012 in editorials, Featured, opinion by editors

by editors

Editorial: It is Tribal Filipino Sunday today

October 14, 2012 in editorials, Featured, opinion by editors

In 1978, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines declared every second Sunday of October as Tribal Filipino Sunday. This was in recognition of the historical injustice against the indigenous peoples of the Philippines and the socio-economic conditions these people were made to live in. The celebration of mass on this day has helped in opening the eyes of non-tribal Filipinos, Catholics and non-catholics, to the plight of indigenous peoples. Furthermore, it helped push for the realization of justice for indigenous peoples themselves by building support for their demand to protect the ancestral domains and preserving the indigenous cultural heritage. As once stated, this is the Church’s means of “relating Gospel to the situation of indigenous brethren, respectful of their cultural practices.”

This yearly celebration became a venue to bringing light to the true identity of a proud and freedom-loving people; a forum to recognize the diversities and similarities of the peoples and cultures that bound a nation of Filipinos. It still is a venue and a forum that continues to sharpen the identification of class differences, common resources, biodiversity and environment, indigenous peoples practices of sharing, conservation, defense, respect and humanity.

Tribal Filipino Sunday was also instrumental for the recognition of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, human rights and support the right to self-determination and the Philippines’ Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). It was a venue to ventilate and condemn violations against the indigenous peoples rights to the ancestral lands and domains as well as the right to build, to give or take back the peoples’ free, prior informed consent (FPIC) on any development made in these ancestral domains.

Even with the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples as stated in IPRA and in the United Nations charter, the government continues to sacrifice the indigenous peoples in the name of national development. Multi-million corporations that bring “large scale development projects” in ancestral lands have continually been favored even if indigenous peoples have not given their consent. And to add insult to injury, these “development projects” not only displace indigenous peoples but bring large scale evironmental problems.

Furthermore, discrimation of indigenous peoples continue. They have been ridiculed, called ignorant or uneducated or unschooled and refused certification as legitimate indigenous communities.

Besides, there is the prevailing state of poverty in the country that greatly tips the balance in the negotiation for a free prior informed consent against the indigenous peoples. On top of which are the mispriorities of government programs, unbridled use of military force, graft and corruption that increases depravity.

One prayer for this Tribal Filipino Sunday is for strength and courage for the indigenous peoples to resist the temptation of selling their ancestral lands and their collective culture. Strength to also continue to practice their culture and traditions that have historically been proven to be environmentally sound. And an earnest prayer that their common aspirations and options for the use and development of their ancestral domain the way they collectively want to and when they want to, be recognized and respected. Amen. #

by editors

Advocate’s Overview: Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, institutionalized rights repression

October 14, 2012 in columns, Featured, opinion by editors


Republic Act No. 10175 otherwise known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 was hastily passed by Congress and signed into law on September 12. It took effect on October 3 after its publication. The Supreme Court on October 9 issued a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) after media practitioners, bloggers, and rights advocates questioned its constitutionality and sought for the said TRO.

The TRO is a tactical victory for those who questioned the constitutionality of the legislative measure. Their main aim is to declare the said law unconstitutional through the court, the Supreme Court in this case. They are asking for the repeal of the law which is a power that belongs to Congress.

I am basing my discussion on the substance of why the case was brought to the Supreme Court; it might be interpreted as contravening the subjudice rule. I am airing my views and exercising my constitutional rights to the freedom of expression at most.

Congress has the power to propose, enact, amend, and repeal a law. In exercising its legislative power, Congress however must conduct public hearings or consultations on any measures that is proposed. This is the basic tenet of democracy – for the people’s right to be consulted.

When introducing and passing the Cybercrime Prevention Act, its proponents have missed out on a democratic process that is a requisite to the introducing of legislative measures. There were limited public hearings and consultations done that could have been maximized to involve more of the stakeholders. But then the stakeholders just woke up to the existence of that law. Remember, though however good a law is worded and crafted if it was done by undermining the right of the public to be heard and consulted, then the law is a product of surreptitious moves that is anti-democratic, anti-people.

The law is crafted and presented as anti-cybercrime. But the law if unclothed would actually reveal an ugly face: that will institutionalize the repression of our basic rights under the constitution. These are explained in the petition to the Supreme Court, and it would be to our interest to understand the substance of that petition.

What is also nauseating is its reiteration and adoption of the e-libel. It institutionalizes and reiterates e-libel as a cybercrime. Libel was already condemned by the international community, particularly the UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council). UNHRC in fact recommended the decriminalization of libel as it violates international human rights instruments where the Philippine state is a signatory. I also believed that libel contravenes our constitution which is the fundamental law of the land.

Very interesting also to point out is the discriminatory way by how Congress introduced legislative measures. The Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill has been supported by journalists and rights advocates for its immediate passage. However, the chairman of the House Committee is sitting on the measure and there is no movement, or public hearings called on the measure. In fact, it is already in the ICU (intensive care unit) as claimed by its author Rep. Erin Tanada. Tanada has been urging for the discussion of the measure so that it can be passed the soonest, instead he only received the cold treatment from his colleagues in Congress. It is very clear that members of Congress give least prioriy to any measures which are for the realization of peoples’ rights as provided for by the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. #

by editors

Crossroads: Lahat ng bagay ay magkakaugnay

October 14, 2012 in columns, Featured, opinion by editors


Some two weeks ago, we had a staff development training for KADUAMI staff at Bengao. On the second day we had an input on concepts in ecology and climate change given by prof Celia Austria of the University of the Philippines Baguio. In my introduction to Cel, I said she was refused recognition by that commercial establishment on Luneta Hill as an expert on ecology because her major is Zoology. She was not allowed to take the stand as an expert by the lawyers of that commercial establishment.

Ecology and climate change. Of course the two things are interrelated as everything else is inter-related. Ang lahat ng bagay ay makakaugnay. One law of nature we must never break.

Whether we are talking about cutting trees, earth balling trees, pollution in the central business district, erosion of mountain slopes, mine tailings spilling into San Roque dam as is now happening at the Philex tailings pond, Agno river pollution and rising sea waters – ang lahat ng bagay ay magkakaugnay. The greed of these big companies is always related to how we view and take care of our environment. Hindi pwedeng sila lang ang nakikinabang at tayo at ang kalikasan ay iitsipuwera na lang dahil sa kanilang kagustuhang lumaki pa ang tubo.

Prof. Austria said that years ago when the beautiful island Philippines was still above water animals and plants were easily carried over the islands. Thus the diverse biodiversity of the place. However in the process of the earth’s eons and millenium of changes, the melting of the snow caps in the north and south poles the seas rose and the islands became more separated from each other.

So if rodents or other such animals could easily swim from one island to the next in search of food and mates, now with the rising water it was difficult for the animals and plants to cross. That explains why there are no tarsiers in Luzon or in Cebu and only in the island of Bohol.

The buot or cloud rat is a modification of adaptation to the food, weather and mating patterns from the earlier rodents. Maybe that also explains why only in the island of Mindoro can one find the tamaraw. Or why the Philippine orchid was first spotted in the heights of Mt Apo before it was commercially cultured and propagated.

Masasabi nga natin nga wala nga naman tayo sa north pole o south pole para maapektuhan ng pagkatunaw ng mga yelo doon. Pero dahil tayo ay isang bansang arkipelago o pulo-pulo ang pagtunaw ng yelo ay nangangahu-lugan na ang ating mga isla ay lulubog sa tubig alat. Kung ano ang tutubong mga bagong isda at halaman sa mga maaalat na na isla sa pag-ikot at pag-inog ng mundo ang susunod na ika-sampung salinlahi na siguro ang makakakita (kung papalarin silang mabuhay pa).

Sabi nga nila ang pagbabago ng klima ay may pulitika. Sa mga nababasa natin sa sinusulat ng mga siyentista hinggil dito, kagagawan ng tao ang dahilan ng mabilis na pagbabago ng klima. Umabot sa 12,000 taon ang panahon ngayon na istable ang mundo. Pero sa huling 100 taon, bumilis ang pag-init ng mundo dahil sa Industrial Revolution na gumamit ng sandamukal na enerhiya at nag-ubos ng mga kagubatan na tumutulong sa pag-istabilisa ng init ng kalawakan.

Nasaan ang pulitika? Kasi ang mga nagbubuga ng maraming nakakalason at nagpapainit na usok ay ang mga bansang mayayaman. Saan pumunta ang mga punong pinapuputol sa mga kagubatan ng mga pobreng bansa? Saan pumunta at gumagamit sa maramihan sa mga coal, oil, petro-chemical na kinukuha sa mga pobreng bansa? Di ba ang nakinabang sa lahat ng ito ay ang mga mayayamang industriyalisadong kapitalistang bansa?

Ngayon tayo ang ninakawan, sila ang yumaman at ang masaklap, tayo lahat damay sa paglubog ng mga isla, pagkakaroon ng mga mararahas na bagyo, malalakas at matataas na pagbaha at nanghihina ang kalusugan dahil lang sa iilan. Tama talaga ang ginawang pagpapagising ng Occupy Movement sa mga industriyalisadong imperyalistang bansa sa ating lahat. Hindi na uubra na iilan lang (1%) ng mundo ang nakikinabang sa kayamanan ng mundo.

May kailangang baguhin sa equation. Kasi ang lahat ng bagay ay magkakaugnay. Hanggat hindi pa naman sila pwedeng itapon sa buwan para hindi na makapanira sa mundo, may kailangang baguhin. #

by editors

Labor Watch: Bonuses and holiday countdown

October 14, 2012 in columns, Featured, opinion by editors


“I wouldn’t say that holidays are manufactured by corporations, but they’re certainly exploited and mined by them.” — Dan Savage

On television and radio, anchors and hosts intermitently announce the countdown to Christmas Day. Among the well-to-do as well as the not-so-can-afford people, the coming of the holiday season is ushered in with growing excitement as people anticipate the season of gift giving, vacations, get-together parties among others. But to the impoverished Filipino people especially the workers, it is the time of the year that most of them, even if they do not admit it, is the hardest days or months because they have to look for the extra money to afford the celebration parties, gifts and contributions that is now so much a part of this Christian culture.

The workers have now pinned high expectations for their thirteenth month pays. If they are lucky to have a generous or conscientious employer, they will get paid in full and maybe with a little more bonus. Sadly that is hard to say considering that most of the workers here in this country are not being given their 13th month pay. In one of the big mining companies here in the Cordillera Region, the workers complained and even organized concerted actions against their management who held back their pay for a long, long time. After having legally filed complaints of non-payment, accumulating debts and starving with their families, the workers were shamelessly paid by the company on installment basis that stretch for months.

As the Christmas season draws near, workers and employees do worry they will not have enough money to meet the very commercial demands of this festive time of the year. Though many people keep on saying that Christmas is not about the gifts, the food, the parties but more of being or coming together, still reality dictates and demands that one must have money so that one shall not be deprived of the joyous celebration of Christmas.

The employees of the local government of this city of disappearing pine trees got their 1st tranche of Christmas bonus. Thanks (?) to the nearing national and local elections for which most of the incumbent officials have filed their candidacy.

Some employers maybe hate this time of the year as they have to pay their employees the legally required 13th month bonuses (a portion off their profit). Many capitalists on the other hand are happy that they will accumulate bigger gains from their sales during the most expensive season of the year.

Who invented Christmas anyway?! #

by editors

Statements: Condemn the killing of Gilbert Paborada

October 14, 2012 in Featured, opinion, statements by editors


The Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (TFIP), once again condemns the murder of another indigenous leader, Gilbert Paborada. He was the chairperson of Pangalasag, a member organization of the regional alliance Kalumbay, the organization of Higaonon indigenous peoples in Opol, Misamis Oriental.

We believe that this killing is to threaten the stand of Pangalasag against the Oil Palm plantation, that took away the ancestral domain of the Higaonon in the municipality of Opol. It is alarming that Gilbert is the fourth member of Kalumbay and victim of extrajudicial killings under the Aquino administration.

For more than two years, the A. Brown Company, Inc. has operated an oil palm plantation in barangays Tingalan and Bagocboc in Opol. These lands were occupied by the company through massive land grabbing committed against the indigenous peoples who reside in these areas. An International Fact-Finding Mission organized by the Pesticide Action Network-Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Asian Peasant Coalition (APC), and the Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization found incidents of harassment and violence committed against the Lumads who refused to give up their lands. Aside from these, due to the chemical-intensive activities in the production of oil palm, adverse effects on the peoples’ health and the environment were experienced. Given these facts, there is no doubt that the struggle of Gilbert Paborada and Pangalasag is a legitimate one .

This is a very sad time for the Higaonon tribe, the Lumad of Mindanao and the indigenous peoples in the Philippines. The decades of dispossession of their ancestral lands has eroded the culture and customary laws of the Higaonon in Opol. But some of their leaders, including Gilbert, stood up and formed the “Pangalasag” which means shield. The Higaonon members of Pangalasag viewed their organization as a driving force in the resurgence of their customary laws especially in decision-making and granting of consent, aside from its literal meaning to defend against aggressors.

Like Genesis Ambason, another indigenous leader who was killed about two weeks ago, Gilbert Paborada lived to serve his fellow Higaonon in the defense of their ancestral land. This latest killing highlights the impunity enjoyed by big corporations and the state as they blatantly violate human rights in order to stifle dissent of indigenous peoples against destructive projects aimed to generate profit for a few.

This incident further shows that this government has completely veered off its supposed “straight path” and has further victimized and marginalized indigenous peoples. We call on all concerned agencies to pursue and punish the perpetrators of these heinous crimes and to bring justice to the victims.

We also extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, co-members in Pangalasag and village folk of Gilbert Paborada. Let us strengthen our resolve and turn our grief into indignation as we seek justice for Gilbert and all other victims of extrajudicial killings. #

by editors

Weekly Reflections: Some thoughts on Theodicy (2/6)

October 14, 2012 in columns, Featured, opinion by editors


“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? I have cried desperately for help, but still it does not come.” — Psalms 22:1

Responses to questions of Cathryn Taylor of Australia
Second of six parts

Click here for the first part

2. Can you tell a personal story that explains your understanding of how God relates to people in suffering – your own suffering or someone close to you?

Our country at the moment is still mourning over the death of Secretary Jesse M. Robredo of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). He died of plane crash accident off the shores of the Province of Masbate few weeks ago. Sec. Robredo is one of the best, if not the best cabinet secretary, we ever had, so far. He exhibited in his life and works what we mean by genuine servant leadership. Some would call his leadership style as “Tsinelas (slippers) leadership,” because of wearing slippers and casual clothes instead of formal attire while at work with people, even in supposedly formal gatherings, reflective of the kind of person he is.

I never had the chance to meet Secretary Robredo in person, but all the people whom I talked with about him and all the reports and write ups I read concerning him have only one thing to say: he is a good person – simple, humble, approachable, kind and compassionate, especially to the poor and oppressed. He is the kind of leader our country badly needs in this trying time. His untimely death is a great tragedy for the whole nation, indeed. Thousands of people from all walks of life – rich and poor – came over for his state funeral, many of them in their slippers. This would show the extent of people whom he touched with his life. They turned the funeral into a festival of faith and hope.

Many are saying that his death is God’s will, but I emphatically say: NO! Not everything that happens in this world is God’s will. God’s will for us is always for our good. I don’t believe that a good and loving God wills that a good man like Secretary Robredo would die in a plane crash accident. I do believe God also mourns with us; God also weeps with us. Prophet Ezekiel said that God doesn’t want even an evil person to die, but to repent and live (cf. Ezek. 18:23).

Secretary Robredo’s tragic death points to us first of all how limited we are as human beings. We are not perfect, even if we claim that we have conquered and tamed the natural world; that we can fly like birds. Accidents do happen. And even good people like Secretary Robredo are not exempted from this human tragedy. Suffering is not only meant for evil people; it is also meant for good people who are faithful to God. But if and when we suffer because of our faithfulness to God, we do realize that God suffers with us. This is one of the realizations of Job in his experience of suffering.

And the good news is that God can turn our tragedies into blessings. Secretary Robredo’s death may be tragic, but the Robredo Family also claimed they have been blessed not only by his life but also by his death. The great number of people who had come to comfort them enabled them to rise above their grief and inspired them no end to keep alive the Secretary’s legacy in life. In fact, the whole nation had been blessed by his death.

We can say that Secretary Robredo was able to accomplish in death what he was not able to accomplish in life: his tragic death had caught the attention of the whole nation to the truth that it is possible to serve the people genuinely, especially the poor and oppressed through the instrumentalities of the government without being tainted by corruption. Besides, his death focused the attention of the whole nation to the kind of leadership needed in order for our country to move forward in the right path. And hopefully, we, especially our leaders, could learn our lesson no matter how painful it may be. #

Click here for the third part

by editors

Makan a la Pinoy: Pad Thai

October 14, 2012 in Featured, food by editors


Pad Thai wenno fried Thai style, ginisa a rice noodles, nadumaduma a nateng ken itlog a nalaokan ti tarmarind sauce. Nalatak a luto ti Thai nga inyallatiw dagiti Vietnamese iti pannakinegosyoda idiay Thailand. Immallatiw metten ditoy pagilian ken inaklon tayon a maysa kadagiti makan para iti managaliwaksay a panagraman.

PAD THAI. Photo by Brenda S. Dacpano

Mabalin daytoy a lutuen a vegetarian wenno masagpawan ti pasayan, karne ti baka, baboy wenno manok. Ti orihinal a pad thai ket maidasar kakuyog ti sabunganay a saan a naluto ngem naperresan ti dalayap.


½ kilo a rice noodles (flat rice noodles)
2 kutsara a mantika
6 a bulong ti kutsay wenno bulong ti sibuyas, naiwa iti agarup ½ pulgada
4 a ngipen a bawang
1 kutsarita a laya a nakaros wenno tinadtad
1-2 itlog
1 berde a bell pepper, naiwa iti paatiddog
Carrots a naiwa iti naingpis a paatiddog (optional)
Betsuelas a naiwa iti naingpis (optional)
2 tasa a toge (mongo/bean sprout)
½ tasa a wansoy (coriander/cilantro)
½ tasa a kinirog a mani, narumek

Pad Thai sauce:

¾ kutsara a tamarind paste wenno kalangakang a salamagi
3 kutsara a soy sauce
¼ tasa a danum wenno naglambongan ti natnateng/karne
1 kutsarita chili sauce wenno segun iti kayat a timpla
3 kutsara nga asukar a brown
½ kutsarita a paminta a narumek


1. Iyuper ti noodles iti napudot a danum aginggana nalap-it ngem saan a nalammuyot unay. Paik-ikan ken ipaigid pay bayat nga isagsagana dagiti dadduma pay a ramen.

2. Paglaoken dagiti ramen ti pad thai sauce. No awan ti magatang a tamarin paste agusar ti kalangakang a bunga ti salamagi. Iyuper ti naukisan a kalangakang iti 3 kutsara a napudot a danum santo ramasen. Ikkaten dagiti bukel ti salamagi. Saan nga itimpla amin daytoy no naalsem unay. Ibalanse ti raman a naalsem, nasam-it, naapgad ken nagasang.

3. Iti dakkel a pariok, igisa dagiti sibuyas/kutsay, bawang ken laya. Inayon ti carrots ken bell pepper.

4. Ilisi dagiti ginisa a natnateng iti igid ti pariok, agnayon ti mantika no kasapulan ken ipettak iti tengnga iti pariok ti itlog. Paspasan a kiwaren. Inayon ti noodles, kiwaren. Nayonan ti danum no namaga unay ken no saan pay a naluto ti noodles agingga iti al dente wenno nalukneng ngem saan unay a nalammuyot. Ikiwar met laeng ditoy ti sauce.

5. Adawen ken parabawan ti wansoy ken kinirog a mani. #

by editors

Free the new media, defy e-martial law

October 8, 2012 in Featured, human rights, media, national by editors

As outrage against the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 continues to snowball and create unprecedented unity and defiance among netizens, the Aquino administration has not backed down in its resolve to implement a clearly draconian measure designed to curtail our most basic civil liberties—the right to freedom of expression, of speech, and of the press.

As alternative media practitioners, filmmakers, bloggers, and artists who maximize the new media to bring to the public information, opinion and analysis, as well as works of art that serve to illuminate social conditions and present ideas for social change, we believe that the government’s repression of the medium is the message. With the Cybercrime Act, the government wants to ensure that no avenue for expression exists that is free from control by the rich and powerful elite.

The existing law on libel has long been used by powerful public figures mostly to harass and prosecute journalists for doing their job. Instead of decriminalizing libel as urged by international human rights and media institutions, the government has even increased penalties. Worse, it now considers each and every citizen who uses Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as potential criminals.

With the rise of new media, ordinary citizens have been given the extraordinary power to reach large audiences, a power that has previously been the monopoly of the government and corporate media. The new media has been the recourse of citizens who see, report, and interpret social realities that traditional institutions ignore, hide or obliterate. Citizens have long been marginalized from discourse on national issues through the agenda-setting powers of the government and corporate media. Through the new media, citizens have the opportunity to counter this marginalization—to give voice to the poor and oppressed, to gain an audience without the need for huge capitalization, to criticize freely and creatively.

We believe that the Cybercrime Law is primarily a tool that exploits the rise of the new media and the use of ICT to suppress dissent and spy on citizens. The way the law is being defended by those who crafted it, and especially by the President who signed it, reveals that they enjoy, and will use to their own interest, the immense powers that the Cybercrime Law has given the government, such as the ability to take down websites, undertake surveillance, and seize electronic data.

Abuses that will surely arise from such powers will undermine any gains that this law claims to have against “cybercrimes.” For instance, online child pornography and sex trafficking should be addressed by the strict implementation and strengthening of existing laws to reflect the developments in ICT. It is still debatable if hacking and cracking, spamming, online piracy, and cyberbullying are indeed crimes or if they can be covered under a single piece of legislation. What is clear is that these “cybercrimes” will not be addressed by a law makes expressing oneself online punishable by a jail term, or one that assumes that authorities can dip their hands into private electronic communication. In other words, a law that throws us back to the dark ages won’t protect our women and children, nor our personal identities and safety. On the contrary, it makes every citizen using ICT vulnerable to abuse by the biggest band of criminals: a government that is corrupt, loathes criticism (as can be judged by President Aquino’s reaction to the online phenomenon ‘Noynoying’), and uses all of its resources to crush dissent.

Even the US government—the footsteps of which the government only follows—did not confer such broad powers unto itself when it attempted, but failed, to pass its Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect Intellectual Property Act. However, the Cybercrime Law probably pleases the US government, as it strengthens their existing network of surveillance in the country, and boosts the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan. The said law also pleases local and foreign big businesses that operate in utter secrecy in this country, further shielding them from public accountability and oversight while penalizing those who use ICT to expose wrongdoing and abuses in the private and public sectors.

For e-martial law only reflects the de facto martial law already in place. Under Oplan Bayanihan, more than 100 citizens have been killed for their advocacies, forever silenced by bullets. More than 350 are imprisoned for their political beliefs. The Cybercrime Law makes it even easier to slap dissidents with trumped-up charges and send them to jail. After all, it now takes so little to be considered a cybercriminal.

Repression and lack of freedom is a daily reality for millions of Filipinos in the militarized countryside, violently demolished urban poor communities, and highly controlled workplaces and schools. Now it has become a daily reality as well for netizens who seek comfort in the freedom, however limited, of the new media.

As poverty, exploitation, and repression worsen, the duty to speak up and express ourselves through new media is more necessary than ever. As we begin to feel the grip of Aquino’s iron fist rule, it becomes more urgent to struggle to break free through actions both online and offline. E-martial law has been declared, and as those who fought the Marcos dictatorship taught us, the only way to end it is to start defying it.

Junk the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012!
Don’t criminalize criticism!
Defend our freedom of expression, speech and the press!
Resist tyranny!

Signatories as of 10/09/2012

Media & Audio-visual organizations:

Pinoy Weekly Online/ PinoyMedia Center
Davao Today
Northern Dispatch Weekly
Burgos Media Center
Mayday Multimedia
Tudla Productions
Kodao Productions
Southern Tagalog Exposure
UPLB Zoomout

Artists & Filmmakers:

JL Burgos
King Catoy
Renan Ortiz
Katsch SJ Catoy
Adjani Arumpac
Kiri Dalena
RJ Mabilin
Bobby Balingit
Bonifacio P. Ilagan
Rogelio Ordoñez
Marie Boti
Ji-An Manalo, Artists for Change
Rommel Mendez, Panday Pira Professionals
Camille P. Sueno

Journalists & Media workers:

Melani Pinlac, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
Rupert Mangilit, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
Nonoy Espina, NUJP Director
Jeffrey Tupas, TV5/
Karlos Manlupig, Phil. Daily Inquirer
Alaysa Escandor, GMA
Edmalynne Remillan, GMA
Richard Gappi, Rizal News Online
Cong Corrales, Freelance
Ritchie Salgado, Freelance
Pigeon Lobien, Cordillera Today
Silvestre Quintos, Baguio Chronicle
Thom Picaña, GMA Baguio
Antonio Pekas, ZigZag Weekly
Gregory Taguiba, Mountain Province Exponent
Samuel Bautista, Sunstar Baguio
Alfred Dizon, Northern Philippine Times
Kathleen T. Okubo, Northern Dispatch Weekly
Fred Villareal, The Voice


Jes Aznar
Raymond Panaligan
Angelica Carballo
Buck Pago
Alex Felipe


UP College of Mass Communications Dean Rolando Tolentino
Prof. Danilo Arao, UP Asst. Vice-President for Public Affairs
Former UP CMC Dean Luis V. Teodoro
Former UP Fine Arts Dean Leonilo Doloricon
Prof. Paul Grant, University of San Carlos Cebu

Artists organizations:

Pixel Offensive
Artists Arrest
Baluarte Artists Collective
Hiringgilya Collective
Habi Arts Collective


Tonyo Cruz
Vencer Crisostomo
Kenneth Keng, Filipino Freethinkers

Student publications:

College Editors Guild of the Philippines
CEGP chapters in Central Luzon, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Cagayan, Baguio, Cordillera, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Bicol, Southern Tagalog, Palawan, Romblon, Samar, Tacloban, Bacolod, Cebu, Panay, Cagayan de Oro, Lanao, Bukidnon, Greater Cotabato, Davao & Socksargen

Solidaridad (UP publications alliance)
Philippine Collegian (UP Diliman)
Kalasag (UP Diliman)
The New Frontier (National College of Business and Arts)
Trinity Observer (Trinity University of Asia)
aSTIg (STI Araneta)
The Torch (Philippine Normal University)
Manila Collegian (UP Manila)
The Scholastican (St. Scholastica’s College)
EARIST Technozette (EARIST Manila)
Alyansa ng Kabataang Mamamahayag (PUP publications alliance)
The Catalyst (PUP Manila)
Business Torch (PUP Manila)
The Communicator (PUP Manila)
Paradigm (PUP Manila)
The Warden (Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa)
The Philippine Artisan (TUP Taguig)
The Chronicler (PUP Taguig)
Atenews (Ateneo de Davao)
The Pillars (Ateneo de Naga)
UP Outcrop (University of the Philippines – Baguio)
Lorma Highlights (Lorma Colleges)
Technoscope (Pangasinan State University – Urdante)
The Pioneer (Palawan State University)
Tolentine Star (University of Negros Occidental – Recoletos)
The Angelite (Holy Angel University) #

by editors

Baguio lists 2013 candidates

October 7, 2012 in Baguio City, elections, Featured, politics by editors


BAGUIO CITY — As the filing for Certificate of Candidacy (COC) closed 5pm of October 5, there are six contenders for congress representatives and seven for the mayoralty post in the city of pines.

THE INCUMBENT AND THE CHALLENGERS. Three of the mayorables that have filed before the Comelec deadline. Left to right: Incumbent Mauricio G. Domogan of UNA, Peter D. Puzon (independent), and Jose M. Molintas of NPC.

The mayoralty candidates include Jose Melencio Molintas of the National Peoples Coalition (NPC), Ferdie Gonzales of the Liberal Party (LP), Guillermo Hernandez (independent), Junior Mina (independent), Peter Puzon (independent), former Mayor Ramon Labo Jr.(independent) and incumbent Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

In the congressional race are Mark S. Go (LP), incumbent Councilor Nicasio Aliping Jr.(independent), Miguel Arvisu (independent), Rolly Manuel (independent), Richard Zarate (independent) and incumbent Representative Bernardo Vergara (UNA).

The Vice-Mayor candidates are Dwight Bello III (independent), Van Oliver Dicang (NPC), Francis Padawil (Independent), Jeffrey Pinic (independent) and incumbent Vice-Mayor Daniel Fariñas (Nationalista Party).

Meanwhile there are 51 candidates vying for a seat at the city council.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Baguio has yet to evaluate the COCs of the candidates before coming out with a final list of candidates.

Aspiring to be included in the City Council are 51 candidates. According to the Commission on Elections here in Baguio, 52 actually filed their candidacy but one of them submitted his CoC past the deadline for filing which was October 5. #

by editors

Philex mine leak hurts Benguet folks

October 7, 2012 in Cordillera, Featured, mining by editors


BAGUIO CITY—The leaks of Philex Mining Corporation’s tailing pond 3 has adversely affected the source of livelihood of indigenous peoples of Benguet as shown in the results of the recently concluded fact finding mission (FFM) last September 16 to 17.

The FFM team reported a drastic decrease in yield and contamination of fishes along the Balog and Agno rivers resulting to deprivation of livelihood opportunities to the Benguet community near the mouth of the creek where the tailings spill was concentrated.

According to the FFM report there are around 45 families living near the merging point of Balog and Agno River. The area, Sitio Pangbasan, part of Barangay Dalupirip in the Municipality of Itogon, Benguet is populated by Indigenous Peoples (IP).

The IP community relies on fishing as livelihood. The average fish catch is 25 kilos every two days for tilapia and 75 kilos a week for eel. Since the leak, fish catch decreased significantly. Tilapia catch is now down to six kilos every two days, while in areas near the mouth of Balog river, they cannot catch any fish anymore.

Alipio Lictag, head of the Pangbasan Goldpanners and Fisherfolks Livelihood Association told the FFM team that the IPs are not aware of the status of the tailings pond, its volume nor its impacts. He added that the water level is still very high and the smell of the water is unusual, particularly during the leak.

Barangay Dalupirip, Itogon, Benguet Barangay Chairman Eddie Amuasen disclosed that around 30 familes in sitios Calaguian, Tayum and Pangbasan are adversely affected by the Philex leak. He said toxic wastes can be seen in the dried plants, trees and branches where the discharges from tailings pond 3 flowed.

Amuasen added that mutant tilapias are found in the pond. “They looked different, with big heads and small bodies, which the workers eat,” he said adding that mining wastes include sand and minerals.

Amuasen, a three-term elected barangay official in Benguet is also a member of the Mine Rehabilitation Fund Committee (MRFC), and chairperson of the Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (BDRRMC).

When the FFM team interviewed Nestor D. Domenden, CESO V, Regional Director, BFAR Region 1 in San Fernando, La Union, he admitted that he is unaware of any reports about the mutant tilapias within Philex Mines.

Domenden disclosed that testing results on fish samples from three stations of the San Roque Dam showed the presence of five heavy metals; lead, arsenic, copper, cadmium and mercury. He said the results showed that the “level of toxicity is not harmful for human consumption hence, is allowable.”

According to Domenden, the first testing done on fish samples after the mine tailings leak was on August 6. Fish samples for Tilapia and Carp were taken from a depth of 50 meters in the 3 stations of San Roque Dam; Spillway, middle part, and headwaters. The findings had lifted the fishing ban after it was implemented when the first report of leakage had surfaced.

However, only pelagic fishes such as the Tilapia and Carp were tested. There was no testing done on other fish species in the dam such as gurami, catfish, dojo and shrimps. No sample was taken from the deepest part of the dam which is at 130 meters. San Roque Dam is 280 meters above sea level.

Earlier, Philex Chief Operating Officer Engr. Eulalio Austin Jr. claimed the water and sediments that leaked from the tailings pond are safe and non-toxic. The company is now faced with penalty charges for the destruction it caused to the IP communities and the environment.

“Although Philex, the country’s largest mining corporation, is already facing penalty charges amounting to 1B Pesos for violating the Clean Water Act and its own Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) and losing 30M per day from its suspension, the direct impact of the mining tailings to its immediate surroundings had not been given significant media attention,” the FFM team’s press release read.

The fact-finding mission was led by the National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP-NASSA) and the Climate Change Congress of the Philippines (CCCP) together with representatives from Philippine-Misereor Partnership and its Northern Luzon Cluster, Caritas Baguio, Cordillera People’s Alliance, Peace Foundation, Pambansang Kaisahan ng mga Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Katribu Indigenous Peoples’ Partylist, and Community Volunteer Missioners. #

by editors

No wage hike under the two-tiered wage system

October 7, 2012 in employment, Featured, national by editors


BAGUIO CITY — National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU) national president and Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement or KMU) national Vice-chairperson Joselito Ustarez said that the Regional Tripartite and Wage Productivity Board (RTWPB) will be more useless under the new two-tiered wage system (2tws).

Ustarez who was the guest speaker during the 25th general assembly of the Union of Faculty and Employees of Saint Louis University (UFESLU) at the SLU Burgos Gymnassium explained that the wage system is the newest scheme of the government to the delight of the employers and greedy businessmen to suppressing the workers’ right to decent living. He said that this should be exposed and opposed the soonest amidst the continuous rising of prices of basic commodities.

Under the 2tws, Ustarez said that there will be a floor wage for the workers that will be based on the poverty threshold of their respective regions. For instance, he explained, if the government will declare that the poverty threshold of the Cordillera Region is P200 a day, then the daily minimum wage of non-agricultural sector which is P280 may be adjusted to P250-P260.

The labor leader said the second tier is that wage increase will depend on the productivity of the company. According to Ustarez, the employers can use the productivity issue not to raise at all the wages of their employees. He cited his experience as an industrial workers for 29 years. He said that in their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the company, they will have an appraisal based on the productivity of the company but their boss did never admit that his company had high productivity.

“Wala pa akong alam na mga kapitalista na nagsabing kumikita ng malaki ang kanilang kumpanya at pumapayag silang itaas ang suweldo ng mga mangggawa,” (I have not heard of capitalists saying that their companies accumulated high profits therefore agreeing to raise their workers’ salaries) Ustarez said.

According to Ustarez, there will be no wage hike for five months. The wage boards will not entertain any petition for wage increases.

Ustarez said they are still seeking the passage of the House Bill 375 proposed by Anakpawis Party List Representative Rafael Mariano seeking a P125 nationwide increase to the minimum wage. He said the wage hike demand is already long overdue, it was being demanded by the workers in the late 1990’s and was proposed by the late Bayan Muna Party List Representative Crispin Beltran.

“Ang kailangan natin ay isang nakakabuhay na pagtaas ng sahod at hindi mga mapanlinlang na mga polisiya tulad ng 2tws,” (We need is an essential wage increase and not deceitful policies like the 2tws) said Ustarez. #

by editors

Farmers to re-green tree-less farms

October 7, 2012 in agriculture, Cordillera by editors


BUGUIAS, Benguet — Vegetable farmers, who have transformed a forested plateau into commercial vegetable plots, now want to bring back the trees into their land, which used to be mossy and pine forests.

“I hope these trees you planted return the green cover of this community,” said Henry Bataclao, a vegetable farmer now in his 80s.

The father of nine and grandfather of 15 last September 29 was thanking staff members of the Cordillera Green Network (CGN), a Baguio-based environmental nongovernment organization, which the residents of Amgaleygey Barangay contacted to help them to reforest their community.

As chair of the newly formed Caaduan Elders Association, Bataclao said the community’s reforestation project was long overdue.

“Our farm lands are already eroding and topsoil is being washed to the sea so it’s really time to bring back the trees,” also said Benita Botiw-an-Bataclao, a retired Department of Education district supervisor of Buguias. “Our problem then was where to get seedlings, but thanks to CGN.”

Taking advantage of the rains of this year’s last quarter, residents and CGN staff, who accompanied five young Japanese and six Koreans (all enrolled in various English classes in Baguio) on September 29 participated in planting some seedlings of caliandra (a fast-growing and nitrogen-fixing tree), alnus, and pine seedlings.

CGN provided 9,500 caliandra, 5,000 alnus and 2,000 pine seedlings. These seedlings were targeted to be planted on the edges of garden plots in a seven-hectare property owned by the Bataclao clan.

“I appreciate your decision to plant trees in your vegetable farms,” CGN executive director Mariko Sorimachi told leaders and members of the Caaduan Elders Association. “Your vegetable farms may have given you good income but you must also face other problems like where to get your water.” #

by editors

MP sued for polluting Chico River

October 7, 2012 in Cordillera, environment by editors


BAGUIO CITY — A Kalinga-based environmental group sued Mountain Province officials for their failure to address the continuing pollution of the Chico River.

Kalinga Anti-pollution Action Group (KAPAG) filed a petition for Writ of Kalikasan and a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO)at the Supreme Court on October 4.

Among the repondents are Bontoc Mayor Pascual Sagcgaca, Maountain Province Governor Leonard Mayaen for the provincial government; Secretary Ramon Paje and Regional Director Clarence Baguilat for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); and OIC Oscar Cabanayan for the Environmental Management Bureau.

KAPAG is represented by the group’s president Rev. Luis Aoas, Rt. Rev. Renato Abibico, Dr. Jaime Almora, Estanislao Albano Jr., Rev. Claudio Bagano, Petra Baguiwen, Rev. Daniel Balacang, Rolando Carbonel, Councilor Alma Uyam, Errol Comafay, Gerry Dona-al, Fidel Pan-oy, Rev. Regino Ramos, agriculturist Corazon Ryan and Engr. Dominic Sugguiyao.

The group also calls for Bontoc to stop dumping garbage along the Lagkangew dump site located along the Chico River at barangay Caluttit, Bontoc.

As early as 2004, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Peter Osbucan had requested then Bontoc Mayor Alfonso Kiat-ong to find another dumping area as required by RA 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act of the Philippines.

The following year, the provincial government of Kalinga started protesting the dumping of garbage in the area and demanded the Bontoc local government to implement proper solid waste disposal to prevent further pollution of the Chico River.

Kalinga Natividad Sugguiyao of the Chico River Quest, Inc., one of two whitewater rafting outfitters operating in the Chico River, also urged the closure of the Bontoc dump site saying that, along with the garbage of various communities along the river, it is a threat to the whitewater rafting industry in Kalinga.

Bontoc officials, however, are having a hard time looking for another dump because not only is the price of land in the Mt. Province capital prohibitive but “everything flows towards the Chico River in this town.”

Environment officials in Bontoc earlier bared that during the previous administration, then Mayor Kiat-ong identified a land some four kilometers upstream of the town center but that the Sangguniang Bayan did not appropriate funds for the purchase after the owner raised the price drastically on account of the concreting of the national road along which it is located.

Bontoc officials also denied the allegation that due to Lagkangew dump site, Bontoc is the primary polluter of the Chico River “as grossly unfair pointing out that communities from Bauko, Mt. Province where the river begins down to Kalinga and those along tributaries of the river all contribute to the pollution of the river.

Earlier, Mayaen also denied responsibility of the province in polluting the river.

Though it is an open secret, KAPAG claimed, that garbage is being burnt in the Lagkangew dump site.

The Lagkangew dump site is located on a 30-meter high precipice below the Bontoc-Tabuk Road.The base where the waste is accumulated is cordoned with a five-meter high retaining wall.

KAPAG claims that the downstream end of the more or less 40-meter retaining wall does not curb towards the base of the precipice leaving a gap through which waste could escape onto the bank of the river and be swept away when the water is high.

“The continued dumping of waste in the Chico River by the Municipal Government Unit of Bontoc will cause grave and irreparable violation of the constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology of the affected inhabitants and will cause grave, irreparable, and catastrophic damage to their environment, life, health, property, and livelihood,” the Writ of Kalikasan petition read.

The Writ of Kalikasan and TEPO petitioners also charged Mayaen, Sacgaca, the DENR officials and others for failure to implement the Solid Waste Management law. “Likewise, the other respondents have unlawfully neglected their duty to clean up the pollution of Chico River. Worse, they have allowed the further and continued pollution of the Chico River,” the petition read.

The petition is the second filed against officials in the Cordillera. Earlier, Tuba, Benguet with Aringay, La Union officials petitioned the Supreme Court for a Kalikasan order and TEPO versus Baguio City officials after the August 7, 2011 trash slide st the Irisan dump site in Baguio City that killed 6 and contaminated water sources in Tuba, Benguet. After several months, the SC ordered Baguio officials to permanently close the Baguio dumpsite and rehabilitate the disastrous dumping area. #