Comelec cancels PWD voter registration for ARMM listing
year, National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week was
also National PWD Registration Week.
(Photo by MARIO IGNACIO IV)
By ARTHA KIRA PAREDES /
June 20, 2012
The special registration for persons with disabilities (PWDs)
nationwide set for next month will be called off following the
Commission on Elections’ decision to give priority to voter
registration in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Comelec Resolution 9443 suspended all ongoing registrations from June
25 to July 31, including the National Special Registration for PWDs
originally planned for July 21. The country marks the 34th National
Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week from July 17 to
The Comelec is holding a general registration of voters in ARMM from
July 9 to 18. It said it would transfer personnel and biometrics
machines from non-ARMM areas to the registration centers in the five
ARMM provinces: Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and
On June 11, three days after Resolution 9443 was issued, Congress
annulled the ARMM voters book that contained more than 1.7 million
voters. Joint Resolution No. 3 approved by the Senate and the House of
Representatives said the book contained “hundreds of thousands of
illegal and fictitious registrants.”
ARMM has two cities, 113 municipalities and 2,470 barangays. As of
2007, the total population in the region was 4.1 million.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said about a thousand voter
registration machines, including several new ones, and a still
undetermined number of personnel from Comelec offices nationwide will
be deployed to the ARMM for the general voter registration.
Although the ARMM general voter registration will last only nine days,
Comelec still has “a lot of things to do” before and after the actual
registration, including hearings of the Election Registration Board
and the cleansing of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System,
“The work of the Comelec doesn’t end with the last day of the filing,”
Jimenez also clarified that although the scheduled PWD registrations
will be affected, PWD voters can register anytime after July 31, as
long as they do so before the deadline on Oct. 31.
The Alyansa ng may Kapansanang -Pinoy (AKAP-Pinoy), which planned the
National Special Registration for PWD Voters with the Parish for
Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), said it is “still
figuring out what can be done.”
AKAP-Pinoy is a national federation of 450 organizations of PWDs (DPOs)
nationwide. “It happens, there is nothing we can do but re-program,”
Manuel V. Agcaoili, AKAP-Pinoy chairman, said, adding that getting
upset will not provide any solution.
He also said Comelec has proposed to hold a special nationwide
registration in mid-August instead and that it has committed to
continue supporting the registration of PWDs until October.
The latest official results from Comelec show some 345,000 registered
PWD voters nationwide. Special registrations were held in Visayas in
March, Mindanao in April and Luzon in May. Results from the latest
registrations are still being tallied.
Emerito Rojas, the PWD sectoral representative of the National
Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), described the cancellation of special
PWD registration on July “unfortunate.”
“Many PWDs are looking forward that the special registration shall be
scheduled again in the future. The right to suffrage of PWDs must be
fully realize(d),” said Rojas, president of the New Vois Association
of the Philippines (NVAP).
Article V, Section 1 of the Constitution states that “suffrage may be
exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise
disqualified by law” and that “no literacy, property, or other
substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage.”
It mandates Congress to design a procedure for PWDs and the
illiterates to vote without the assistance of other persons. “Until
then, they shall be allowed to vote under existing laws and such rules
as the Commission on Elections may promulgate to protect the secrecy
of the Ballot,” according to the Constitution.
The third week of July was proclaimed as NDPR Week through
Proclamation No. 1870 signed in 1979 by then President Ferdinand
Marcos. In 2002, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued
Administrative Order 35 that directed “all departments, bureaus,
government-owned and/or controlled corporations, government financial
institutions, local government units, state universities/colleges and
schools, and other government agencies/instrumentalities to promote
and conduct relevant activities during the annual observance” of NDPR.
The theme for this year’s NDPR celebration is “Mainstreaming Persons
with Disabilities in Economic Development.”
The concept paper prepared by NCDA states the theme aims to promote of
the “full employment” of PWDs and “to tackle barriers and gaps,
facilitate stakeholders’ cooperation, develop innovative approaches
and support human rights-based initiatives for the economic
development of persons with disabilities.”
Some of NCDA’s planned activities include Early Prevention of Children
with Disabilities and the first Road Safety Seminar for PWDs on July
19, Orientation-Forum on Accessibility Law with Sensitivity Training
on July 20 and the weeklong “Likhang PWD 2012” exhibit of PWD art and
Last year, Comelec declared July 18 to 23, 2011 as National PWD
Philippine eco-school champs gear up for ASEAN Awards
June 16, 2012
Students and faculties of Iliranan Elementary School in Negros
Occidental and the Camarines Sur National High School in Naga City
have something to look forward to in the coming days, aside from the
opening of classes, and that is to represent the country in the 2012
ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) Eco-Schools Awards to
be held on July 17-18, 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
This was announced today by Environment and Natural Resources
Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje, following a report by Malaysia in the 4th
Meeting of ASEAN Working Group on Environmental Education held May
29-30, 2012 in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
“This early I would like to congratulate the students and faculty
members of these two schools for championing environmental protection
in their campuses. Teaching the kids to do simple things like tree
planting and the 3Rs of solid waste management will go a long way in
founding the bedrock of an environment-conscious nation,” Paje said.
He also said the international recognition would serve as an
additional incentive for schools in the country to level up their
respective environmental education program.
The 2012 ASEAN Eco-Schools Awards is organized by the Government of
Malaysia in partnership with Hanns-Seidel Foundation, the US Agency
for International Development (USAID), Japan-ASEAN Integrated Fund (JAIF)
and the ASEAN Secretariat.
The 2012 ASEAN Eco-Schools Awards seeks to recognize institutions of
learning at the primary and secondary level that demonstrates values
of environmental sustainability practices and carries out
environmentally-friendly school policies, teaching programs and
practices for the benefit of the school and surrounding communities.
The criteria for the awards are divided into four categories: (1)
School Policy and Administration; (2) Teaching Modules and Learning
Activities; (3) Facilities and Environmental Practices and (4)
Partnership and Community Outreach.
Further, the awarding ceremony is in line with the declaration of 2012
as the ASEAN Year for the Environment, with the theme “Environmental
Awareness through Eco-Schools”.
A public school in San Carlos City, Iliranan Elementary School won the
grand prize in last year’s National Search for Sustainable and
Eco-friendly Schools for being an active implementer of the Republic
Act 9003, also known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
The school earned the judges’ votes for its efforts in training not
only the pupils, but also their parents and the local community to
reduce, reuse, recycle and segregate wastes, known in solid waste
management as the 3Rs.
To generate extra funds for their school activities, they sell
recyclable items they collect from the students themselves to the
junkshops while the biodegradable wastes are utilized as organic
fertilizers to plants and vegetable gardens within their campus.
The school likewise strictly imposes environmental policies such as
the no-to-open burning and open dumping policy, no smoking, no nailing
and illegal cutting of trees and to conserve water, just to name a
The Camarines Sur National High School (CSNHS), a public secondary
school in Naga City, won the championship for its “Youth for
Environment in Schools Organization (YES-O)”.
The student organization serves to facilitate environmental projects
by mobilizing the school in tree planting like the CSNHS Forest Park
Project), symposia on environment and health concerns, street and
coastal clean-up, and environmental campaigns through signage,
bulletin announcements, green film showing, essays and poster-making
contests, solid waste recovery through Project SAVE (Service Awareness
in Valuing Environment), and participation in international
Earth-saving events like Green Wave, Earth Hour, etc.
In a related development, the DENR has also announced the commencement
process of the 2013 National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly
Schools. The nationwide search is organized by the DENR through the
Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), in cooperation with the
Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, Smart
Communications, Inc., Nestle Philippines, Inc. and Unilever
EMB Director Juan Miguel Cuna said the national search is a direct
response to Republic Act No. 9512, also known as the National
Environmental Awareness and Education Act of 2008.
For further details of the 2013 National Search for Sustainable and
Eco-Friendly Schools, please contact the National Program Secretariat
at the EMB’s Environmental Education and Information Division at
teleafx number 9284674; E-mail: email@example.com;
Websites: http://emb.gov.ph and http://www.sustainableschools.ph
Pintados-Kasadyaan festival tradition lives on
By Philippine Information
Agency (PIA 8)
June 7, 2012
TACLOBAN CITY – Buy your airline tickets and book your hotel rooms
as it is now official - the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival tradition will
once again be in the limelight on June 27 despite all odds and
deliberate moves to prevent its re-staging this year.
Palo Mayor Remedios “Matin” L. Petilla, chairperson of the
Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival and Mrs. Evelina Acebedo, vice-president
of the Pintados Foundation made the pronouncement at a press
conference moderated by PIA Region 8 Director Olive P. Tiu on June 6
at the Gazebo of the RTR Plaza.
Ten Kasadyaan contingents and ten Pintados tribes, Mardi gras groups
and merry makers are set to participate in the grand
Pintados-Kasadyaan festival, the largest, grandest and most colorful
festival not only in the province of Leyte but in the entire Eastern
The union of the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival caught the eyes of the
national festival connoisseurs as it bagged the Best Tourism Practice
Award – Festival Category (provincial level) during the 2010
Association of Tourism Officers (ATOP) National Convention held in
The year 2012 marks the 17th year of the joint celebration of the
Kasadyaan Festival and the 26th year of the Pintados Festival which is
the oldest festival in Region 8.
As in last year’s staging, no street dance parade will be conducted as
the City Government did not give permit despite request as early as
Mayor Petilla gave the assurance, however, that this year’s
Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals will be as grand if not more
grand as ever with the tribes and the contingents showcasing the rich
history and culture of the Visayans through their world-class
performance at the Leyte Sports Complex (formerly known as
In lieu of the street dance parade, the contingents will hold mardi
gras to celebrate and pay homage to Senior Santo Niño, the Patron of
Leyte, Mayor Petilla said.
There will be nightly activities at the RTR Plaza starting June 8
while trade fairs, pet shows, garden shows and water sports activities
will also be conducted. Also included in the activities is the holding
of the search for Mutya ng Kasadyaan and Ms Pintados.
The first Pintados Festival on June 29, 1987 was in memory of the
first inhabitants of the Visayas called “Pintados” whose art of body
painting amazed the Spaniards. The Visayan men had their bodies
tattooed from ankles up to their upper torso and the neck. The braver
ones even extended their tattoo marks up to their cheeks, around their
eyes and forehead.
The Festival is a brainchild of a group of pro-active businessmen in
the city who saw the need to organize a big relevant event that would
set a joyful mood as a fitting homage to the Patron of Tacloban, Senor
As the late Board Member Roque Tiu, the founding president used to
quip, the Pintados Festival will not have reached its 26th year if the
Taclobanons and the entire people of Region 8 did not accept and
welcomed the celebration of the Pintados Festival on June 29, 1987.
With then Parish Priest of Tacloban now bishop of Naval, Msgr.
Filomeno Bactol as chairman, Atty. Roque A. Tiu as the President, OIC
Mayor Butch Veloso as the honorary chairman, Manager Shane Lim of
Tacloban Coca-Cola Plant, Manager Rommel Gonzales of the Philippine
Airlines, Manager Mon Torralba of San Miguel Corporation, Mr. William
Chan, Mrs. Evelina Acevedo of the Katolinan Dance Company, among
others, formed the Pintados Foundation, Inc.
This group made a thorough research with the help of the experts in
the culture and the arts, and finally came up with the Festival that
kindles appreciation for the Eastern Visayan culture.
The Pintados Festival showcases the ancient practice of body painting
and shows how the Visayan ancestors came to accept Christianity and
develop great love for Santo Nino.
After 26 years, the Pintados Festival evolved to be one of the
landmark events in the province of Leyte drawing Visayans from all
over the world to come home just to be part of the annual festivities.
It is now celebrated jointly with the Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals,
making the celebration of the feast of the Santo Niño, an event the
people of Leyte and the entire Region 8, can truly be proud of.
On the other hand, the Kasadyaan Festival was first staged in 1996 as
project of the Eastern Visayas Regional Tourism Council through the
inspiring leadership of then Governor, former Congresswoman of the
First District of Leyte, now Mayor of Palo, Leyte Hon. Remedios L.
official of a winning contingent some years back said, it is not the
winning that matters but the privilege to be part of the huge group of
people who united and bounded themselves together despite all odds, to
continue paying special homage and tribute to the Senior Santo Niño,
the Patron of the Province of Leyte.
PH government hounded by persistent concerns on extrajudicial
killings, disappearances and torture at UN rights review
By Philippine UPR Watch
GENEVA – As the Chief Justice of the Philippines was being handed
down a verdict in the impeachment trial, the Philippine government was
also undergoing a similar process of accountability, this time before
the United Nations.
Around 69 countries quizzed the Philippine government on its human
rights record, Tuesday, May 29 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Philippines
participated in the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review of
the United Nations Human Rights Council. One after the other, at least
22 countries expressed concerns on the continuing spate of
extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture in
particular, and impunity in general, according to the Philippine UPR
Watch. Several countries also called on the Philippine government to
dismantle all paramilitary groups and militias.
The Australian mission urged the Philippine government to arrest
fugitive Gen. Jovito Palparan, who is wanted for the abduction of two
UP activists. The UK, Spain and the Holy See called on the Philippine
government to “completely eradicate extrajudicial killings”.
The United States said that “impunity in human rights violations”
continued. It cited institutional barriers to the attainment of
justice for victims of rights abuse. Ireland called for “decisive
measures” to address the problems. Germany urged the strengthening of
accountability mechanisms and the conduct of impartial investigations
in cases involving state forces, reminding the PH government of the
recommendations of Prof. Philip Alston, former Special Rapporteur on
Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions. The Netherlands asked
that the issue of impunity be addressed and called for the
prosecution, trial and conviction of perpetrators. Denmark called for
the full implementation of the anti-torture law, saying that state
forces are still involved in abuses.
Spain and Canada called for the dismantling of all paramilitary groups
and militias, a position that has gained support after the Maguindanao
massacre in 2009, with the latter mincing no words, saying that
despite training programs on human rights for security forces, human
rights violations are “still serious and all too widespread.” Belgium
asked the PH government on measures to record cases of EJKs and urged
the Philippines to ratify the convention against enforced
disappearances. Austria expressed concerns over attacks on journalists
and cases of torture.
France said it was “alarmed by extrajudicial killings and enforced
disappearances and continuing violations against journalists and human
rights defenders”. Japan echoed this, saying “extrajudicial killings
continue as a significant political issue.”
The questions and comments from the foreign missions were directed to
the GPH delegation headed by Philippine Justice Secretary Leila de
At least six countries meanwhile asked the Philippines to act on
requests of UN special rapporteurs who want to visit the Philippines
to examine the rights situation in the country. To this, de Lima
remarked that they are still studying the requests and said the PH
government cannot act on all requests because of alleged shortage in
“We view the questions and statements of continuing concern by the
different foreign missions as very telling. It shows even greater
interest by the international community on the human rights situation.
They know that the Philippine government has not lived up to its
commitment to completely eliminate extrajudicial killings, enforced
disappearances and torture. The language used may have been
diplomatic, but clearly the international community wants the
Philippine government to do more,” said Fr. Jonash Joyohoy of the
National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and co-head of
delegation of the Philippine UPR Watch.
Present during the session were two Filipino human rights victims, Fil-Am
activist and torture and disappearance survivor Melissa Roxas and
Aklan municipal councilor Ernan Baldomero, son of slain councilor
Fernando Baldomero, the first victim of extrajudicial killing under
the Aquino administration.
Leaders from Karapatan, NCCP, Tanggol Bayi, NUPL, Bayan, KAMP,
MCPA-Kawagib, Children’s Rehabilitation Center, Defend Job
Philippines, Migrante, Cordillera People’s Alliance, Promotion of
Church People’s Response, IFI-Ramento Project for Rights Defenders,
Migrante International, International Coordinating Committee on Human
Rights in the Philippines (ICCHRP) and Campaign for Human Rights in
the Philippines-United Kingdom and CHRP-Switzerland also attended the
session. Prior to the start of the session, the UPR Watch delegates
flashed their I-Pads bearing calls to end extrajudicial killings and
impunity in the Philippines.
“The questions raised by the foreign missions were nearly identical to
the questions we have submitted to them prior to the UN session. Human
rights defenders, the victims and their families have submitted
reports that belie the overstated achievements of the Philippine
government. We count 76 victims of extradjudicial killings since
Aquino took office. While the PH government now claims a dramatic
decline in the killings, – no thanks to its supposed efforts – our
data shows that the PH government has not lived up to its commitment
to eliminate these violations altogether,” said Karapatan chair Marie
Selective presentation of data
Atty. Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of People’s
Lawyers and also a UPR Watch delegate commented that the Philippine
report was very selective in its presentation of data. “The report
tends to highlight lesser achievements by gloating over showcase steps
it has belatedly done while conveniently drowning the more essential
issues such as the almost nil conviction rate of perpetrators of
rights abuses, the failure of the Aquino government to press charges
and arrest suspects, and the continuing effects of the government’s
counter-insurgency program on the people. There is basically deafening
silence from the GPH on all these issues,” he said.
Even on the issue of social and economic rights, the GPH report was
very selective in its presentation, says Bayan secretary general
Renato Reyes, Jr. “They highlighted so-called achievements in the
conditional cash transfer program while glossing over rising poverty,
unemployment and hunger,” Reyes said.
“While Aquino and his allies whoop it up in their victory in the
Corona impeachment, human rights victims are still fighting for the
longest time for accountability from a state that continues to commit
and condone abuses with shameless impunity,” Reyes added.
end of the review, the whole Philippine UPR Watch, who were all seated
in one long row inside the session hall of the Palais des Nations and
wearing different pins with various calls for justice and
accountability, simultaneously gave a thumbs-down sign of the
US naval ship Mercy is set to visit Catbalogan by June
By ADOR LEANDA HURTADO
CATBALOGAN CITY – A two-week humanitarian and civic action (HCA)
activities is to set foot on Samar from June 18 to July 01, 2012 for
the Pacific Partnership 2012, as shared during the PP12 Meeting last
May 24, 2012 at Ciriaco Hotel and Resort, Calbayog City.
The PP12 is a mission that will take medical, dental, veterinary,
engineering and civic assistance projects to the Philippines.
USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), one of the two modern hospital ships in the US
Navy, will dock the shores of Calbayog City for the PP12 mission. It
will serve as the command platform of the mission sought to build and
strengthen alliances, partnerships and relationships with regional
host nations, partner nations, foreign humanitarian assistance actors
and non-government organizations (NGO), and U.S. government
interagency organizations by conducting HCA and other civil military
operations. The PP12 is set to visit Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam,
and Cambodia for this year’s leg of the mission.
For the Philippine leg, although majority of its mission will be held
in Samar, a deployment will visit Mindanao to do minor outreach and a
number of activities. For Samar, the mission will conduct a series of
Surgical Civic Action Program (SURGCAP), Medical Civic Action Programs
(MEDCAP), Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE), Civic Military
Operations (CMO), and Public Affairs Operations (PAO).
As reported during the meeting last May 26, 2012 at the Office of the
City Mayor with the team from the PP12, activities to be conducted in
Catbalogan City will mostly be from June 25-30, 2012. Present during
the meeting were Hon. Stephany Uy-Tan in behalf of Mayor Tekwa, Dr.
Gerarda Tizon and Dr. Amalia Tirazona from the City Health Office and
Dr. Antonio Cinco from the City Veterinary Office.
As shared, the SURGCAP will be held only in Calbayog City since actual
surgeries will be performed inside the USNS Mercy ship. Dates for the
enlistment of possible patients will only be on June 18 and 24, 2012.
For the MEDCAP however, missions will be held at different
municipalities on various dates. The MEDCAP will include services on
medical, dental, optometry, women’s health and general out-patient
consultation. According to LCDR Weatherup, the Catbalogan MEDCAP will
be from June 25-28 at the Silanga Elementary School, Barangay Silanga.
With the assistance of the City Health Office, the MEDCAP is set to
cater at most 400 patients per day and will further be assisted by RN
Heals nurses stationed at CHO as revealed by City Health Officer Dr.
Tizon. A sub-activity will also be conducted called VETCAP or
Veterinary Civic Action Programs at Barangay Guinsorongan to cater to
animals raising and to be assisted by the City Veterinary Office
through Dr. Cinco.
For the SMEE, a series of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management
seminar workshop will be conducted on June 28 & 29 in Catbalogan City
to cover topics on fire fighting, and search and rescue operations. A
culinary expert exchange will also be conducted, a first for the
mission, through Mr. Ruben Tan, owner of Flaming Hat Restaurant.
Under the CMO, 15 pallets are set to be donated to various schools and
organizations in Catbalogan City, which include medical and school
supplies, toys and other items from donated by various companies. To
facilitate the donation drive, Councilor Stephany Uy-Tan shared that
said task will be forwarded to the Local School Board and through the
newly-reopened Division of Catbalogan City, Department of Education.
For the PAO activities, these include a series of Band Clinics from
June 25-28, 2012 tentatively to be conducted at the Samar National
School Social Hall to cater to different music enthusiasts and
students alike. The said Band Clinic will be led by the mission’s
17-member band. Consequently, a journalism and photography clinic will
be conducted on those dates to be conducted in partnership with the
Catbalogan City Camera Club (CCCC).
On June 29, a Basketball Clinic is set to be conducted at Catbalogan
City in partnership with the Catbalogan Basketball Association (CABA).
And on June 30, a Children Activity is scheduled in the city to cater
to out-of-school youths for a possible outreach and some joint
Also for the PAO, an Acoustic Concert will be conducted on June 20 and
a Rock Concert on June 22 to be held at Nijaga Park at Calbayog City.
The mission are also inviting student groups, NGOs, and different
organizations to actually visit the ship itself for a guided tour.
inquiries on the schedules for the medical activities, do get in touch
with Dr. Tizon at City Health Office (055) 251-6937 at Pier Dos, Allen
Avenue Extension, Catbalogan City, Samar.