Cash and in-kind
prizes are at stake for winners who will be adjudged by a selection
board, to be composed of Villahanons. The cash incentives will mostly
come from friends and relatives of distinguished and respected
personalities whose memories are being honored for having excelled in
their own craft and whose lives made a difference to most people of
Mr. Torres mentioned
the names of Edele Dalwatan Vegamora, Esdras Romano Villanueva, Boots
Fua, Ms. Gilbuela Mendoza, Atty. Ranulfo Mendoza, Ms. Aster Tandinco
Hilvano, Mr. Ramon Hilvano, Ms. Felisa Gelera Rafin, Mr. Virgilio
Latorre, Mr. Carlos Valera Jr., Ms. Socorro and Ms.Ygat Segado as
providers of the cash awards.
conceptualization, the (THP) coordinated with the Office of the Mayor
and the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Reynato Piczon for its formal
implementation. In fact, Mr. Torres recalled having visited the
legislative council in one of its scheduled sessions to explain the
details of the project. Unfortunately, there was no quorum. Likewise,
Torres was not able to discuss the possibility of the inclusion of the
awarding activity with the Fiesta Executive Committee since Mayor
Latorre was then preoccupied with his new appointment as President of
the League of Mayors in the Philippines (LMP), Samar Chapter.
In the same letter,
Mr. Torres, appealed for the rescheduling of the THP awarding ceremony
from December 2010 to March 11, next year to enable him to attend a
back-to-back national conference with the Philippine Political Science
Association (PPSA) and the Department of Political Science gathering
at the same time, here in the Philippines.
As of press time, THP
organizers successfully awarded the lone Outstanding Spear Fisherman
from Brgy. Pangpang held during the eve of their town fiesta
celebration. Cash amounts were awarded to fishermen who use the
traditional methods of fishing and do not engage in dynamite fishing.
Moreover, an incentive for the barangay folks to engage in sustainable
environmental activities like general clean-up drive in their
community was also provided.
In a related story,
two (2) minor collateral projects were also considered by the group.
One of which is the grant of a financial assistance to two children in
Brgy. Pangpang, who were assessed to be of dire need. The assistance
was coursed through the DSWD who will plan for sustainable livelihood
projects for the families of both kids. Another project is the
dispersal of piglets to selected beneficiaries province-wide.
For all these
projects, THP had requested for Mr. Miguel Presnilla to be the point
person or official LGU representative to the said organization. They
further request that they be allowed access to the town’s facilities
like the Municipal Plaza and during town parades, if necessary.
Furthermore, support from other agencies like the DEPeD, the CSOs and
private organizations and individuals like Ms.charo N. Cabardo, Ms.
Araceli Abainza-Fabilane and Ms. Victoria Gabral were solicited for
At conclusion of two-year project
Samar stands ready to combat human
December 2, 2010
International Justice Mission-led project markedly increases
local capacity to address trafficking in province
International Justice Mission (IJM) concluded a successful two-year
anti-trafficking project on
Samar Island. Using a
community-based approach for this U.S. government-funded project, IJM
trained more than a thousand local government officials and equipped
local citizens to continue an effective fight against human
trafficking on the island. The project focused on six local government
units (LGUs) in the province of Samar (also known as Western Samar) –
Calbayog City, the Provincial capital of Catbalogan, and the towns of
Daram, Gandara, San Jorge, and Santa Margarita.
“With thousands of
individuals – from government officials to citizens – trained in
effective responses to human trafficking cases, and 70 barangays
mobilized to take key roles at the grassroots level, we believe the
legacy of this project will literally be lives saved as communities
protect vulnerable girls and women from the horrors of human
trafficking,” said IJM Philippines National Director Andrey Sawchenko.
Over the past two
years, IJM has trained more than 1200 government employees responsible
for addressing human trafficking in the six LGUs, including 1150
barangay officials, judges, court personnel, police officers, and
social workers. The training focused specifically on the Philippine
anti-trafficking law, R.A. 9208, and on trainees’ roles for preventing
trafficking and protecting the rights of its victims effectively.
To raise public
awareness of trafficking and the law, IJM provided additional training
and information to another 3500 citizens, including members of women’s
groups and churches. IJM also launched a massive information campaign
through media interviews, flyers, and advertisements on local
transportation. With support from IJM, 70 of the LGUs’ barangays have
organized and adopted action plans for the Barangay Councils for the
Protection of Children (BCPCs), local councils tasked by law with
ensuring the protection of their children.
U.S. Ambassador Harry
Thomas praised the project’s efforts, noting that “The U.S. State
Department, through the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in
Persons, has been proud to support the fight against human trafficking
in Samar through our funding for the Anti-Human Trafficking Project of
the International Justice Mission’s Samar Satellite Office, and we
know that LGUs’ dedication to this cause will ensure the project’s
IJM also assisted
Calbayog City Council in drafting an ordinance, passed on November 22,
2010, that directs city resources to monitor the transportation of
minors in and out of the city and to develop better techniques for
investigating and interdicting trafficking. IJM joined forces with the
Local Government Unit of Calbayog in renovating its
for Women and Children (CRESCENT), a safe shelter where trafficking
victims may receive counseling and support criminal cases against
traffickers. IJM funded materials and supervised the center’s
renovation; the city showed very significant support through the
provision of manpower.
Calbayog City district
public attorney Jennylyn D. Sumagang-Durmiendo praised the
Samar project: “Through the project, IJM and its partners – the
LGUs of the five municipalities and one city, other non-government
organizations, civic groups, private institutions and academic
institutions – have greatly strengthened the local ability to fight
trafficking in persons in the
she said. IJM carried out most of the work from a two year satellite
office in Calbayog City established for the project. IJM’s Samar
Satellite Office will conduct its closing ceremonies on December 2.
The event will include a turn-over of the CRESCENT to Calbayog City.
“As this project in
Samar comes to a close, International Justice Mission thanks its many
dedicated partners who will continue to defend Samar’s most vulnerable
against exploitation,” said IJM Philippines National Director Andrey
Sawchenko. “We are grateful for the partnership of the Honorable Mayor
Reynaldo S. Uy, M.D. of Calbayog City who, among other achievements,
encouraged the recent passage of an ordinance and assisted with the
CRESCENT renovation. We believe that
Samar now stands ready to defend its most vulnerable citizens
against human trafficking.”
1,501 OFWs have HIV
MANILA – A total of
1,501 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have tested HIV positive, and
they now comprise 26 percent of the 5,729 reported cases in the
National AIDS Registry as of end October, the Trade Union Congress of
the Philippines (TUCP) said Monday.
"One out of every four
Filipinos diagnosed HIV positive is an OFW," said TUCP
secretary-general and former Senator Ernesto Herrera.
"This is very
unfortunate, because if we look closely at the median age of HIV
positive OFWs, at 36 years old, they are the prime of their lives and
productivity," said Herrera, former chairman of the Senate committee
on labor, employment and human resources development.
He said 96 percent of
the HIV positive OFWs were infected through sexual contact.
"This underscores the
need for government to aggressively encourage safe sex through the use
of male and female condoms," the former senator said.
"OFWs are particularly
vulnerable to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases because they
are exposed to foreign cultures that tend to abet high-risk behavior,
including casual sex," he said.
Herrera said Filipino
sailors are exceptionally susceptible, after spending lengthy periods
at sea. "Sailors are often deluged by commercial sex workers at their
foreign ports of call, and they have the money to pay for the
services," he pointed out. TUCP's member federations include the
Philippine Seafarers' Union.
Of the HIV positive
OFWs, Herrera said 75 percent or 1,127 are male.
Herrera urged the
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to include AIDS
preventive education in the free seminars for departing workers.
He likewise prodded
the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to invest in
activities that raise AIDS awareness among OFWs and their families
In the local labor
front, Herrera said Congress should mandate the inclusion of AIDS
preventive education in all bargaining contracts between management
TUCP earlier backed
President Benigno Aquino III's pro-choice family planning policy,
calling it "a courageous demonstration of political leadership," amid
strong resistance from Catholic Church officials.
"We are absolutely
behind the President's decision (for government) to provide condoms
and other modern contraceptives to couples who would prefer to limit
their number of children and avoid unplanned pregnancies," Herrera
He described the
President's policy as "a fair and sensible approach" to human
development and population management.
TUCP is also pushing
for the inclusion of family planning and reproductive health clinics
and services at the workplace in every bargaining contract between
union and management.
As PH hosts Asian RH gab
Maternal, reproductive health remain serious concern
F. HIBIONADA, Philippine News Service (PNS)
November 22, 2010
[ Note: In 2000, the
Philippines (Ph) joined 188 countries in a global battle to combat
extreme poverty. With targets set to be met by 2015, eight Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) were then identified. Today with 5 years to
meet the deadline, concern is highest in the Philippines with MDG 4
and MDG 5 - Maternal Health and universal access to Reproductive
Health. No less than the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU)
have taken the cudgels for the world. Last September 15 to 17,
Philippine lawmakers converged in Manila for the “WOMEN DELIVER
PHILIPPINES” conference along with youth delegates from all over the
country, international representatives, health policy experts and the
This week, the country
hosts a 5-day exchange visit among parliamentarians, member
associations of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
and media practitioners. With target countries Cambodia, Fiji,
Indonesia, Lao PDR, Mongolia and the Philippines, the visit is aimed
at increasing resources for sexual and reproductive health (SRH)
programs here. ]
– Ph and the MDGs.
USA and the MDGs. The
UN. The EU. Beyond these alphabet of nations and alphabet of targets
as set forth in the global battle against poverty are grim realities
and grimmer statistics in the Philippines.
Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). The Asian Forum of
Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD). The Family
Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP). The Philippine
Legislators Committee on Population and Development Foundation (PLCPD).
More ‘alphabet advocates’ with one message – the time is now to
invest, understand and embrace the urgent need for Reproductive Health
(RH) Bill and for every Filipino and the Philippines to uphold sexual
and reproductive health and rights.
Why? Primarily because
11 Filipino women should not die everyday from a treatable
complication of pregnancy. 4,950 Filipino babies should not be born
everyday to 5,205 Filipino women who get pregnant everyday without
intending to. And everyday too, 1,530 Filipino women should not go
into induced abortion.
In the everyday of
statistics as sourced from the 2005 UN World Estimate and the
country’s 2007 National Statistics Office (NSO) Census on Population, the
Philippines have these
to contribute to the world – 5.2 million Filipino children are not in
school as 30 million Filipinos struggle to survive on a dollar a day
While at it, the
“countdown” begins to meeting the targets in 2015.
Is there a reason to
take action? Is it time to make serious actions?
In the words of US
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton in a previous Women Deliver
conference, “The women delivered…it is time the world delivers.”
In the words of Iloilo
First District Representative Janette Loreto Garin, “We need to act as
a nation. We need to heed other nations for indeed, women’s rights
and children’s rights are the most basic in human rights.”
And there are more
“words” to hear.
European Union (EU)
Ambassador Alistair MacDonald in an interview expressed grave concern
as “there is very very little progress in terms of maternal health.”
The EU Ambassador took special note on how Filipino women are dying as
a result of inability to access proper maternal care.
“It is anti-development..having
more kids is not helping the Philippines,” Ambassador MacDonald added
as he sounded off similar concern for the Filipino fathers. “What
does the father feel when there is not enough money to feed his
children?....The European Union’s help..it is not and never about
funding…it is about our concern on children dying..mothers needing
help…..and it is up for the Philippine Congress to decide..we respect
that….This is a question of national policy and not a doctrine.”
Asked on the
Philippines’ failure to pass a comprehensive Reproductive Health
policy, Ambassador MacDonald chose to be optimistic though.
“It means18 years of
building consensus,” he said with a smile. “It is not up to me…I
don’t have a vote but I hope the legislature can have an outcome this
time…this is so important for the future of the Philippines.”
echoed by Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona who has since expressed the
department’s agreement that “every pregnancy is at risk and that no
woman should die giving life.”
The administration and
government of President Benigno Aquino, Secretary Ona stated, is out
to save women’s and children’s lives. As such, he ensured that
“universal access to reproductive health is a pillar of the Universal
Health Care Agenda of the Aquino Government.”
Further still, the
Department of Health (DoH), Secretary Ona said, remains committed to
the achievement of MDG 4 and 5 which are to reduce child deaths and
maternal mortality in the Philippines.
In fact, he said,
critical reforms in the country’s health policies have been effected
saying safe motherhood and a healthy childhood “have been the
centerpiece of actions and reforms of the DOH in the last three
And there are “bold
and explicit” policy in place too, Secretary Ona added, that
“mainstreamed the rights of women and children to access critical
health services particularly during childbirth.”
To note, the efforts
towards MDG realization has since banded governments and advocates
with the media playing a cohesive role.
Benjamin De Leon,
President of The Forum for Family Planning and Development, Inc. is in
the forefront of the media initiative.
In the “Women Deliver
Philippines” September conference, The Forum organized a media
congress highlighted by De Leon as “an opportunity to talk about the
real situation and what we can do about it.”
“We hope to send an
even louder message to government that they can no longer ignore our
maternal and infant health situation. For every Congress that ends
and for every new administration that gets elected without policies
and financial investments for women’s health, thousands of lives have
been lost,” De
countdown continues and the country hosts the exchange visit of key
stakeholders in East and South East Asia and Oceania Region.
Once again series of
presentations and discussions will be made on the challenges and
impact of SRH advocacy here. Such as Filipino lawmakers and media
representatives meet with foreign counterparts geared towards
strengthening SRH programs.
Also set in this
week’s visit is a look into the efforts of the Quezon City Government
in pushing for Family Planning and Reproductive Health Programs here.
The exchange visit
will be marked by a “Commitment Setting” at the end of the week.
original plaintiffs in case vs. Marcos to counsel Swift: consult us on
the settlement agreement
November 7, 2010
The daughter of one of
the original named plaintiffs in the historic class suit versus former
President Ferdinand Marcos and class members among the 9,539
plaintiffs in the said class suit today raised questions on the
proposed settlement agreement negotiated by counsel Robert Swift on
the Marcos ill-gotten wealth which are in the name of Jose Y. Campos
or the corporations owned or controlled by Campos.
whose parents are lead plaintiffs in the class suit and is the current
chairperson of the Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at
Aresto (SELDA) as well as the human rights alliance KARAPATAN, said
class members were able to know of the said settlement agreement only
during the last week of September this year upon receiving the class
SELDA, an organization
of former political prisoners since Martial Law and established in
1984, led the Marcos victims in filing the class action suit against
former Pres. Marcos for crimes against humanity in April 1986, two
months after the EDSA People Power I. In September 1992, the US
Federal District Court of Hawaii decided in favor of the 9,539
Filipino victims and ordered the Marcoses to pay the victims almost
$2B for damages. In 1997, the Swiss Supreme Court ordered the
transfer of the then US$540 million Marcos ill-gotten Swiss deposits
to an escrow account of the Philippine National Bank, in favor of the
“As in the previous
agreements which our class counsel tried to enter into, we have
requested for Atty. Swift to consult the named plaintiffs and class
members on this recent settlement agreement, yet he refuses to do so.
In the interest of transparency and in accordance with his duty, he
should duly consult the class members on the contents and issues of
the settlement,” Hilao-Enriquez said. She is among the four Hilao
siblings who were arrested, tortured and detained during Martial Law,
while one of them, Liliosa, was raped and murdered.
“While we welcome his
efforts to supposedly collect money for the compensation of Marcos’
victims during martial law, we would like to remind Atty. Swift to
always consult the victims every step of the way of such agreements,”
Hilao-Enriquez said. “In order for class members to make informed and
intelligent decisions, they must not be kept in the dark about the
details of such negotiations so that it is not only left to the
counsel to make unilateral decisions as such would have ramifications
to a large number of class members,” Hilao-Enriquez added.
In the class notice
sent to and received by some class members, it was stated that “Not
all Class Members are eligible to receive payment. The Hawaii Federal
Court required Class Members in both 1993 and 1999 to submit Claim
Forms. Only those Class Members who submitted complete Claim Forms in
each of those years will be eligible to receive payment. It is too
late to submit or supplement a Claim Form.” Such decisions must be
explained to the class members especially on the question of who were
delisted and the reasons for such.”
“We would also like to
know how the alleged true value of the real estate properties of the
Camposes was determined in this new agreement and was valued at US$78
million. With this, is it not in the interest of the class members to
proceed with the litigation instead of the $10 million settlement? It
is important to know if class members have thoroughly studied the
agreement, with all our questions answered and if we are amenable to
the said settlement. This is not just about money, it is one of the
ways of realizing justice as victims of human rights violations under
the Marcos dictatorship,” Hilao-Enriquez pursued.
its call for Atty. Swift to conduct a consultation with the plaintiffs
and class members and answer the questions posed before him.