When peace is an
By Rev. EUTIQUIO ‘Euly’ B. BELIZAR, Jr., SThD
War is raging again in
Mindanao. And it’s being felt throughout the archipelago. The sight of
people fleeing their homes on prime time television, of soldiers being
hit and killed at times because of allegedly delayed rescue and
reinforcement operations, of rebel attacks and military counter
attacks while politicians blame one another for the pass the country
has come to again – all these have made me think of whether we really
are on the right side of the planet. Even here in Borongan,
Eastern Samar, my hometown, we are feeling part of the impact. There
are Mindanaoans, mostly fisher-folks, in some of our barangays, some
of them Muslim, many more are Christian who have taken refuge in our
shores, despite our obvious poverty. It’s not hard to see why. “I’m
running from having to run for my life,” one man at our B.E.C. meeting
said to me. For many in the
Philippines it feels,
(too) many times, like the side of the earth where we are is
constantly turned away from the sun. It seems we are just moving from
darkness to darkness, with no one to blame for it but ourselves. We
have successfully kept our sun from dawning. Darkness has come to
settle upon us like a veil. The rice and fuel crisis has scarcely left
us but just as fuel prices are beginning to ease down, here comes a
major government fiasco involving a Memorandum of Agreement with MILF
rebels that has met intense opposition and cynical suspicions for lack
of proper consultation. Rebel expectations having been raised, the
negative reaction appears to have fanned violence and counter
violence. We are told that lasting peace is the ultimate aim of the
MOA. Time for a reality check. Peace has now become even more elusive
instead, a victim in fact of the country’s brand of politics.
Only when our side of
the earth faces the sun again will the veil be lifted. I’m not simply
talking of the sun of reason or of common sense. I’m talking of the
real Sun Christians recognize as their Lord and Master. (And, may I
add, we Christians shouldn’t be embarrassed to talk like Christians).
It’s true, it would not be realistic to expect everyone, especially
non-Christians, to see things from this perspective. But, again, have
we Christians who make up the majority of the Philippine population
faced the real Sun and allowed him to lead us through the darkness we
are in? I have heard so many songs that describe the loved one as the
“light”. Nothing lights up more than God’s love that Jesus Christ
brings. No wonder he also calls himself “the light of the world. He
who follows me will not walk in darkness. He will have light and
life”(Jn 5:12). Don’t we find here a simple explanation to why we are
where we are?
As human beings we
experience that life can be so “veiled” until we discover love or
meaning. St. Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians, for
instance, says the same thing of the experience of Israel during Old
Testament times when seen in regard to his and other disciples’
discovery of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament, as we know very well,
tells us of so many excesses, such as of kings marrying so many wives
or justifying the massacre of their enemies as part of God’s
providence etc. All these tell us that the old covenant looked and
pointed to a more perfect stage and phase. The Old Testament is like
the side of the earth not yet turned towards the sun; it is covered
with a veil like the
the world of today. It is only in Jesus Christ,
reminds us, that that veil is removed and the face of God as well as
his will revealed. “Up to this day”, he notes, “however often they
read Moses, the veil remains over their understanding. But for those
who turn to the Lord, the veil will be lifted” (2 Cor
When our lives face
the sun who is Jesus Christ, he even makes clear to us how we are to
live so as to have peace and the blessings of ‘shalom’. The way is
exposed by and through his gospel which teaches that, to truly live, a
human being must go through a total personal transformation that
begins with the heart and the interior life fired by the Spirit of
God. This is in real contrast to the all-surface existence exemplified
by the scribes and Pharisees of his time as well by the lifestyles the
world we live in approves of today (when ‘looking good’ is preferred
to ‘being good’, to paraphrase Pope Paul VI). (I notice my laptop’s
WORD capitalizes Pharisee every time I write it but not Jesus
Christ—which makes me wonder in recognition of who its makers must
be). If peace were to be decided by a scribe or a Pharisee in
Mindanao or in the whole
Philippines or in the
entire world, he would be satisfied, for example, with people not
being killed or murdered. Jesus tells us to go farther and deeper than
that. “But,” he emphatically declares, “I say to you, whoever gets
angry with his brother will have to face trial…So if you are about to
offer a gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has
something against you, go at once and make peace with your brother.
Then come and offer your gift” (Mt 5:22, 23-25). In high school Latin
I remember translating a saying of the ancient (Christan) Romans: “Qui
iracundiam vincit, magnum inimicum vincit (he who conquers anger
conquers a great enemy)”. But, we need ask, how do we do that
precisely? For the disciple the key to the answer lies in the
commandment of brotherly love which opens up three options to him:
dialogue (Jesus’ instructions on fraternal correction), reconciliation
(the command to mend a wounded relationship before offering the altar
sacrifice, and the Parable of the Prodigal Son) and forgiveness (the
cry at Calvary: “Father, forgive them…”). In the Philippine context
all three are under direct threat from the cycles of deceit and
treachery, of violence and revenge. In effect, we only have the
specter of more and more destruction of life, property and good will
looming in our horizons. I say we Christians be the first to pinch
ourselves from this nightmare to the words of St. Maximilian Kolbe:
“Hatred is not a creative force. Only love is.” When Lincoln greeted
one of his enemies, some of his friends said to him: “He is your
enemy. You should rather eliminate him.” To that
Lincoln said: “Isn’t that what I do when I make him my friend?” Such
a Christian advice from a politician!
Add to that my next
suggestion: Let’s take Lincoln’s advice on what to do with out
enemies, but let our prayer be that of St. Francis of Assisi: “Lord,
make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow
love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there’s despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. And where
there is sadness, joy. O Master, grant that I may not so much seek to
be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be
loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in
pardoning that we are pardoned. And it is in dying that we are born to
eternal life.” Let every cleric or lay, every soldier or rebel, every
student or teacher, every farmer or fisherman, every professional or
amateur—let everyone say or hear this prayer as often as every day.
Then peace will elude
us no more.
drive efforts to protect Samar’s fishing grounds
By CHITO DELA TORRE
The GIOS-Samar Inc., a
non-government organization with main office based in Catbalogan City,
continues with its intensive campaign to protect Samar province’s
marine resources in a bid not only to help balance the world’s
ecosystem but also to help insure that the coastal waters will always
abound with fish and other marine creatures and their food so that
such fresh marine food will always be available all year round to
Samarnons and so that marine-based livelihood activities will always
flourish, producing income for small fishermen and other fisherfolk.
While the non-profit,
non-stock community organization does not produce moneyed people from
among its personnel who are self-empowered to keep the momentum of
their noble campaign, it is able to keep up its varied people-oriented
services and projects, quite with success, always. Using their own
talents, skills and reservoir of experiences in community service and
managing community-based resources, the officers and members of
GIOS-Samar are able to carry out their NGO’s goals and objectives.
Its commendable track record for the 17 years now that it has been in
operation has therefore continued to draw support from international
organizations and foreign governmental institutions. Such support
enables this NGO to address more fisherfolk concerns and, to some
extent, it has somehow enabled some of GIOS-Samar’s project
beneficiaries to appreciable produce income, albeit indirectly and
after a sufficient period of time spent in sustainable livelihood
activities. International funding support enables GIOS-Samar to also
widen is coverage area. That is why some government officials are now
looking forward to work out partnership agreements with this NGO.
In my latest
conversation with Gerry Malinao, chairman of GIOS-Samar who is also
the Philippine’s fisherfolk representative in the National
Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) which, by the way, is one of the highly
reliable government institutions relied on by President Gloria
Arroyo particularly in the area of decision-making along poverty and
people empowerment issues, I have learned that the GIOS-Samar also is
already producing information materials that it circulates and
distributes to individuals and groups of Samarnons who want to
voluntarily help undertake their own community-based information
Among the latest info
materials now available is a primer, entirely presented in the
Samarnon language, that deals with marine resources. It is backed up
with color photographs some of which depict its engagements through
training fisherfolk and dialoguing with them. This material
introduces the Samarnon to the ecosystem that is found in Samar’s
coasts and sea waters. According to the primer, the ecosystem that
Samar has includes the “bakhawan” or mangrove forests, the “estuwaryo”
(estuaries), “bahura” (coral) and “banwa ha dagat” (seaweeds).
A “bakhawan” refers to
the “bakhaw” tree that abounds on seashores where sea waters meet.
The “bakhaw” tree could easily be identified through its multiple
roots that go high above the ground or seashore on survives in
community with other “bakhaw” trees. The roots that go under water
and penetrate its salty ground base or bottom provide a favorite
habitat for fishes and crabs, among others. Removing the “bakhaw”
from the seashore means removing an important ecosystem balance.
Without, or with a less growth of mangrove forest, that marine life
would be without food and sustenance support system and with the
resulting disappearance of marine life, Samarnons will be without
marine food from that site of marine life and without an important
protection against natural disturbances.
I noted that Tacloban
City is no longer a display and market center for “bakhaw” stems and
branches that are cut to 15-20 inches in length for use as kitchen
firewood. Many areas near the old supermarket in Tacloban used to be
sights of piles of the firewood. Because it could sell fast, I had
joined other Taclobanons in the business of selling that “bakhaw”
firewood. I often bought up to 500 bundles and in less than seven
days I had to buy my supply again. This stayed on until the few
months after Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. was shot to death on
August 21 at the Manila international airport tarmac. The government
had begun a massive campaign to prohibit the destruction of mangrove
forests and the sale of “bakhaw” firewood. (No, I’m not hinting that
the assassination of Ninoy was the way to stop human beings from
destroying the “bakhawan”.)
of GIOS-Samar, I am sure, will be a way to keep
Samar on its ground.
Meanwhile, let me
reecho Ka Gerry Malinao’s plea to all: “Ayaw gad kami pasagdi para
hit tidaraon, among kabubuwason iyo gad hunahunaon” and assurance:
“Natuod kami hit iyo mga sagdon, unta iyo liwat ini yana buhaton basi
ha tidaraon kami may ada pa kakaunon.”
A clear sample of
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
“To give real service
you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money,
and that is sincerity and integrity,” a famous quotation goes.
turn-around of the authors of Senate Joint Resolution No. 10 which had
called for a Constituent Assembly to amend the 1987 Philippine
Constitution to be able to divide the Philippine republic into 12
autonomous federal states, including Metro Manila, has been met with
dismay by people who feel that afterall, there is no sincerity on the
part of these Senators and that they are just toying with the welfare
of the Filipino people.
Funny that when
Malacañang announced its support for the Senate Joint Resolution
calling for Charter change to establish a federal form of government,
immediately, there was a lot of criticism coming from the Senate and
some opposition saying that it can’t be used by Malacañang for its
For a while the
Filipino people believed that the opposition has at last seen the
light, but Alas, that was just wishful thinking because just as soon
as the opposition opened its mouth, it immediately retracted what the
mouth has spoken.
Even without the
benefit of logical analysis, one would know that the issue is being
tarnished with politics. One would think that the very proponents of
the joint resolution are now retracting their support just because
Malacañang has expressed its support for the proposal.
Who really has a
hidden agenda? In fact the opposition has just bared its agenda – that
it is not really after the welfare of the Filipino people and the
country as a whole, it is after the head of President Gloria. It will
oppose anything that the Administration will advocate.
administration was all set to sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on
ancestral domain with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the
Muslims in the South to be able to set up their autonomous Bangsamoro
Juridical Entity (BJE) which is much like the Bangsamoro state that
the Senate’s Joint Res. No. 10 proposes to create.
It is hoped that
through mutual understanding, sincerity and goodwill, and with great
wisdom and broad views, the leaders on both sides should jointly
initiate new opportunities for peace, stability, cooperation and
Eastern Samar LGU
assumes road repair
By ALICE NICART (PIA Eastern
August 1, 2008
Now it can be told:
finally, Eastern Samar’s bad roads are now undergoing repair. For the
ordinary citizen, it doesn’t matter which office is spearheading this
vital renovation for as long as basic services come quickly and
unhampered and progress and development are not obstructed.
For the last two weeks
or so, Governor Ben Evardone ordered to start at least filling up the
“Sungkaan”-like holes that spread all over the national highways of
the province, hoping that it would somehow ease up the travelers.
Using a white sand they popularly call “Aras -as”, the barangay
volunteers began the urgent solution to the “thousand lakes” by at
least filling them up which have long been dreamed of by many of us.
In a radio program in
Tacloban recently, Board Member Dodoy Sabulao said they, as elected
officials cannot just afford sitting down looking at the serious
problem, which was why they backed up the resolution that was passed
earlier by the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) which
authorized the Provincial Government to intervene for the
improvement of the 317 kms stretch national highway.
“Our move which
authorized the province’s Chief Executive to effect the urgent
solution was legal; it is provided in the General Welfare Code”, the
lawyer turned law-maker said on air over a Tacloban-based radio
statement was premised on some negative reactions pertaining to the
province’s intervention on the road repair. He further claimed that
it was because of necessity that they took the action.
“The road serves as
the backbone and an important ingredient in moving the province
forward; as elected officials we cannot just be sitting on our laurels
specially in times of necessity as in the bad roads which affect
largely the economic activity in our province.” Sabulao added.
however, it became a public knowledge that her Excellency President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had released some P478M for the repair and
rehabilitation of the Taft-Guiuan national highways and with the
Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) now made available, probably
more concrete repairs will soon be done.
Para han ngatanan
nga may mag-upay an kaburot-on
by Fr. Noel C. Labendia of Isog han Samar Movement
July 24, 2008
"Nagbunga gihapon an
aton gintikangan. An aton ginkabudlayan nagkaada gihapon hin
An Order han
Sandiganbayan pag-suspender hiton gobernador ug 4 pa nga iba, usa nga
masesering naton nga kadaugan, diri la han Isog han
Samar, diri la
han pipira nga naugop han pareho nga hig-waos, kundi ha aton ngatanan
nga Samareños, nga nag-uungara hin maupay ug tangkod nga pamunuan
dinhi aton probinsya.
Upat ka tuig an
lumabay tikang an Isog han
Samar nagsampa han kaso ha Ombudsman, ug ha sulod hini nga panahon,
an pipira ha aton nawarayan hin paglaum, an iba nagin negatibo han ira
pagkita, kay an ira kasabot amo gihapon an mahitatabo – waray
mahingangadtoan an kaso. An iba ha aton, katapus mapukaw ngada han 'maupay'
bumalik ngadto han maraut, nagpahimo nga instrumento han kadautan nga
magpadayon, nagpahugay hin salapi.
Yana nga nagin
positibo man an nahingadtoan han kaso, hinaut unta, makapabalik ini
han aton paglaum ngan makaaghat man ha aton bumalik pagtuman ug
pagsunod han maupay ngan pagsupil han maraut.
An Isog han Samar
naaro han iyo guti nga pasaylo kon waray man niyo regular nga nababati
hadto nga anunsyo, update o panawagan tikang mismo ha amon hiunong han
kaso, tungod kay diri kami maaram kon hin-o an ungod nga naugop o diri
naugop ha aton dida hini nga advocacy. An amon paghilom bisan kon kinahanglan
unta magpasabot, usa nga taktika nga amon ginpili basi mas maupay an
dangatan han kaso. Diri ungod an iyo nabatian nga an paghilom han Isog
han Samar, usa nga pag-abandunar nira han advocacy nga ira gintikangan.
Dida han kahisampa na
han kaso ha Sandiganbayan, natapos man an direkta nga obligasyon han
Isog han Samar Movement. Kon mayda man sadang pasalamatan naton
ngatanan tungod han maupay nga bunga hini nga kaso yana, waray lain
kundi an opisina han Special Prosecutor Atty Dennis Villa-ignacio,
lakip an iya mga kasagabay nga prosecutor, labi na gud hi Fiscal
Ha katapusan, an
advocacy naton para hin maupay nga pamunuan (good governance) diri
naka-sentro dida hin pag-ubos, pagtamay ug pagraut hin mga
personalidad, sugad han pahinumdom hiton ebanghelyo, "ikondenar an
sala, diri an makasasala." Dida hini nga aton pagka-urusa ha
huna-huna ug ungara unta an aton pirmi nga dumdom amo an kamaupay, an
kamatuoran, ug an kauswagan han ngatanan.
Masesering nga nag-daug
kita yana tungod kay may-ada na Order hin pagsuspender han mga
nahitutungdan, kundi sadang naton mahibaro-an nga diri pa ini an
penalidad han magraut nira nga buhat. An kamatuoran, nagtitikang pala
an hearing proper ha korte ug huruhilaba pa nga panahon an
ginkikinahanglan. Aton ginlalauman nga unta magdaug kita gihapon
tubtub han pagtapus hini nga kaso ug an ungod nga may sayop malusaran
han kaangayan nga patok o sentensya.
Akon ko kamo personal
nga gin aaro-an hin pag-ampo ug suporta para kanda Mr. Aurelio
Bardaje ug Mr. Numeriano Legaspi. Hira an duha naton nga
whistle blowers o magtetestigos dida hiton agosto 4 & 5, ngan
Septyembre 8 & 9. Sugad man an aton pag-ampo ug suporta
iginpapahinungod liwat para han ira mga abugado nga hi Atty. Allan
Mijares ug Atty. Persida Acosta.
Ha iyo ngatanan, an
bendisyon han dios unta dayuday magpabilin.
Padre Noel C. Labendia
Natindog ha ngaran han Isog han Samar
If only signs can talk
By CHITO DELA TORRE
There are signs in the
sky that continuous rains will be tragically coming back, according to
the grapevine. Whether true or not, that is not anything to debate
on. We should thank those who pass on unofficial information –
meaning, perception – about these “signs”, rather than condemn them.
We should also thankful for these “signs”. At least, they are all
saying, we must all be prepared for something that we aren’t used to
manage well – such as the landslides and flashfloods.
There’s no use arguing
that there is no scientific basis for those “signs”.
Even science can make
a mistake. Not all its findings are entirely correct. For instance,
typhoons Undang and Frank, remember? Some scientific findings are
just like some decisions of the Highest Tribunal: they can be
amended, altered, or rendered obsolescent, or even entirely corrected.
There’s no sense
arguing that the conclusion about those “signs” is illogical. Even a
cause and effect theoretical application would be moot and academic.
Let’s just say, the
planet Earth is enmeshed in complexities many of which cannot be
explained and many of whose previously acceptable explanations are
debunked by a change in a complexity.
Many had said World
War III was coming. Some said, many years later, it did not come.
Thank you. Many said, it did come, only that it was not how it was
expected to be like. Some said, however, that, when it was
predicted, world leaders and small contributors to decision-making
were able to avert it.
Nobody believed at
first that the world is round. Nobody later on believed that there
could be another planet, that there could be another universe outside
the solar system where life springs from our Sun. Everybody believed
a status quo – on the might of men’s thinking power to manage things
and events around them. And all of them were proven wrong.
Today’s signs may be
tell-tale, or, even enormous!
But let’s not argue on
In a democracy, where
freedom of expression is as much sacred as the right to live and
survive, we need to listen what others speak of, and try to understand
what others think. We should also think, at least for our own
gratification. That is why we are sometimes reminded, it’s never a
sin to dream – whether the dream is good, or turns out to be an
incubus. Hence, many believe that freedom of expression is the
virtual manifestation of one’s freedom to think. Every mode of
expression is a vehicle for one’s own thoughts.
This freedom guides us
to safety, in some respect.
Many old men and those
who live happily and healthily are sometimes said to have achieved
such happiness and health from out of their own appreciation of
certain signs. In olden times, or more specifically, when human life
first sprung on Earth, humans responded or behaved “naturally” or by
When we take in
abandon how others see things and events around them only the worst
can happen, when it comes: we are the victims. Then we start blaming
ourselves. Or, we start pointing accusing fingers at someone, or
anybody. That’s normal, but it’s abnormal normality. This comes
about often immediately after a political winner is proclaimed
officially. Blames come out and are hurled at those thought to be the
precursors of failures.
Never mind if no
tragic rains actually come. But, by all means, do something. In so
doing, you might be saving a neighbor, or your own soul. How to
prepare for a heavy, continuous rains?
My gosh! Many of your
neighbors or in your community may not actually know how! Will you
leave them alone? You may be, then might be, on a safe level that
you’d think you don’t need to care for others, but you are not
alone. Somehow, in the end, we will all know, Someone up there is
watching and there’s no escape from His watchful eyes. Those who can
help others, even at an early stage of a preparation, such as for what
may result from continuous rainfall, reap a reward in the end. And
WARAYA marks its 4th
By ADOR L. HURTADO
Since its foundation on July 04, 2004 from a group of young idealistic
volunteers whose dream helped give birth to the organization armed
with the vision of a society that understands, respects and nurtures
the rights of young people to sexual and reproductive health, to now
with more than a hundred members reaching out majority of the
municipalities and cities of the Province of Samar, it is but
necessary to pay tribute to all who made Waray-Waray Youth Advocates
or WARAYA not just a youth organization but a lead partner in
advocating for the youth.
May we first pay
tribute to our mother organization, the Family Planning Organization
of the Philippines – Samar Chapter (FPOP-Samar) who trained and
nurtured us to be the best in our advocacy. To all the CPMs and
Council Members throughout the years who inspired us to do better, to
all the clinic staffs who guided us, to all the CBVs who are our
fellow community servers, and to all the FPOP family from all the
different Chapters in the country who shared their expertise,
knowledge and passion. We thank you.
gratitude to the City Government of Catbalogan headed by our City
Mayor Hon. Coefredo T. Uy along with our City Vice-Mayor Hon. Manuel
Van A. Torrevillas and the City Officials especially to our fellow
member and officer of WARAYA Hon. Stephany U. Tan as well as the
Provincial Government of Samar headed by the Provincial Governor Hon.
Milagrosa T. Tan, District Representative of the 2nd District Hon.
Sharee Ann T. Tan along with the Vice Governor Hon. Jesus B. Redaja
and all the Provincial Board Members for their continued support to
the advocacies of the organization. We may have constantly sought
their support with our never-ending solicitation letters and proposals
but they never closed doors on us, we could have not done things
without them. We extend our gratitude to them. Tinuod gud man nga it
kabataan, pwede maging kabulig hit mga programa hit gobyerno para hit
kaupayan hit sosyidad!
Our special thanks to
An Waray Party-list, to Party-list Representative Hon. Florencio "Bem"
Noel, to Mr. Noel Montejo, Mr. Philip Jude Acidre, to all our Kuyas
and Ates, and to all the volunteers and members of An Waray
Party-list, an amon daku nga pasasalamat ha iyo ngatanan. An Waray
Party-list has been a significant partner and played a great role in
WARAYA's success and sustainability for their support to our programs
as well as their commitment to the Filipino youth.
Our salutation and our
appreciation to the agencies, advocates, networks, councils, and other
partner organizations that respected our rights and gave us chance and
the opportunities to do our work and in one way or another contributed
to the success of the initiatives. Dire gud man kami nag-uusahan! With
that realization, we thank them and we hope for more fruitful
partnerships in the future.
We congratulate all
the members, Officers, Peer Educators, Peer Counselors, Peer
Facilitators and all the volunteers throughout the years who
continuously share their time, talents, knowledge, commitment and
passion for the young people. We may find our own places in the sun
but we know, once a WARAYA would forever be a WARAYA. We may have
differences and misunderstandings, which are but normal in the
complexity of life, let us maintain an open mind and spirit for we are
not doing these things for ourselves but for others primarily. May we
have more successful and fruitful years in the coming future!
To our fellow
youth, may we serve as a beacon of light as we call upon unity and
solidarity for this common goal of educating, empowering and making
responsible young people to be better adults in the future for which
our future depends on. Burublig Kita!
RP's election as VP in
UN HRC does not mean that it is doing its homework
A Press Statement by
the Philippine UPR Watch
July 1, 2008
The Philippine UPR
Watch is appalled at the way the Arroyo government is making a big
deal of the Philippines' election as vice president of the United
Nations Human Rights Council. Lest people are misled and deceived, we
have it in good authority that these positions are usually filled on a
rotation basis within the regional/continental groups.
This means that the
Asian countries merely appointed one of its members to be vice
president for a year. This year is the Philippines turn. That is why
a country with a bloodstained human rights record can be accorded such
administrative position on the rights body.
It does not mean that
the HRC is patting the Arroyo government at the back for being
"committed to the protection and promotion of human rights". It does
not mean that the Philippine Government is doing its homework, plain
Hence we find it
deplorable, that the government through the Department of Foreign
Affairs is crowing about the government's election as though it is
worthy of admiration. The government's spin doctors are at it again,
just like what they did during the session of the HRC last June 2-18.
The Philippine Government boasted that it is a 'rights-based' State
signing UN core documents and enacting laws that supposedly protect
the rights of its citizens.
But the grim reality
is that the killings, disappearances and other rights violations
continue with impunity. Instead of really addressing the human rights
situation in the country, the Arroyo government has resorted to
various forms of window dressing and lies before the international
community to hide their accountabilities. But the Filipino people
know for a fact that it is a complete failure in fulfilling its
obligations to international rights treaties. Justice for the victims
remains elusive. Only a handful of low-level perpetrators have so far
Furthermore, the VP
election would be worth bragging about if the Arroyo government would
really uphold the UN processes and mechanisms. The problem is, the
Philippines undermines these same process and mechanisms.
Last April, Sec.
Eduardo Ermita made a mockery of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
when he presented a report of the country's human rights record that
is full of lies even hypocritically stating that "there is an open and
vibrant democracy in the Philippines" and that the government is "a
human rights defender".
This June, Ambassador
Erlinda F. Basilio through a six-page statement uncouthly lambasted
and vilified the report and recommendations of Prof. Philip Alston,
Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
Moreover, towards the end of the UPR process, the Philippine
government chose to ignore Alston's recommendations as well as the
recommendation to invite other special procedures with regard to human
rights on the country. This is the kind of Vice President that the
Human rights council will have to bear.