This page features some special news reports and documentaries

special report 9



more report...

Post-mining advantages cited

Villahanons saving P65.6 million for own country

Soldiery is my role, war is my game

Samar's role in Leyte Landing

Samar 1st Dist. LGUs budge towards solving flood problem

Iloilo boys choose sex over shabu

Samareños cries foul over mining approval in Samar Island.




Migrant voices against the WTO!

December 28, 2005

HONG KONG –  A major feature of the Hong Kong People’s Action Week against WTO was the participation of migrants and their organisations, carrying banners in different languages but with one message: “Migrants say NO to WTO, Migrants are not for SALE! Migrants are not Commodities! No Deal is better than a bad deal!

Co-ordinated by Migrant Forum Asia (MFA) and the Asian Migrant Center (AMC), migrant organizations of different nationalities based in Hong Kong as well as migrant delegations from several countries in Asia took to the streets of Hong Kong.  Migrant Rights International (MRI) and the Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers (CFMW) from Europe also joined in the week long activities.

Migrants joined their voices with other people’s movements, including fisherfolks, farmers, women, youth, workers, urban poor, seafarers against the corporate-driven neoliberal agenda of the WTO that is anti-people and anti-poor.

A particular focus for the migrant protest was the WTO/General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The liberalization of services (e.g the commodification of water, energy, health and education) is one of the most contested issues in the WTO.  GATS/Mode 4 refers to the temporary migration of specifically skilled professional workers (e.g. Information Technology, company managers), to provide services or fulfill a service contract. This is highly divisive and excludes other categories of migrants such as domestic workers, construction workers and workers in the tourism and entertainment industries. In fact GATS/MODE 4 is basically introducing a global migration regime without human rights.

Mode 4 is being pushed by the governments of the North, the US and the EU to arm twist the governments of the South to make other major concession in the WTO negotiations. However, it is the Transnational Corporations and not the peoples of the South who will benefit from the WTO/GATS.

Migrants were in Hong Kong not only to protest but also to celebrate the gains made in migrant struggles for human rights in different parts of the world. On December 18, all sectors joined in the march celebrating International Migrants Day which culminated in the Rock against the Round Concert.

Recognising and asserting that migration and labor mobility are critical issues of human rights, migrants collectively prepared a quilt tapestry reiterating our calls for - the promotion of the human rights of all migrants, equal pay for equal work and an end to discrimination and racism.

These migrant rallies and activities took place as an integral part of the overall People’s Action Week which combined strategies within the WTO Convention Center as well as the street rallies, fluvial parade, protest swim in Causeway Bay, candlelight vigils, seminars and workshops.

The Hong Kong and international media gave wide and mainly sympathetic coverage to this parliament of the streets - highlighting in particular the creative and sustained protest actions of the Korean farmers and La Via Campesina, the global movement of small farmers.

However on December 17th, when the protesters marched to the Convention Center, the access road was blocked by Hong Kong police and the rally attacked by pepper spray, water cannon and tear gas. About 1,000 protesters were arrested and detained and remained ‘incomunicado’ without access to lawyers and interpreters. Most were again released the following day but 14 were charged with unlawful assembly and refused bail. Many reports of abuse and violation of human rights while in custody are emerging.

On December 18, the WTO Ministerial Conference ended in a deal brokered in the final hours. This was a raw deal, extracting substantial concessions from the South.

In the face of this raw deal, the People’s Action Week in Hong Kong has strengthened the determination to continue the struggle against WTO. As the Korean delegation expressed in their press statement: “Through the struggles in Hong Kong, our struggles and the struggles of all the people around the world against neoliberal globalization and the poverty and violence it brings, will become all the more stronger”.





Migrant Domestic Workers visible and making a difference!

Press Release by
Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers
December 8, 2005

AMSTERDAM  –  Migrant Domestic Workers, women and men work in the Netherlands in conditions where their human rights are unprotected and violated. This was revealed in 'Migrant Domestic Workers Visible & Making a Difference' - a Research Report on the living and working conditions of Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs) launched on December 2 by the Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers (CFMW) in Amsterdam. The Report documents a situation where no contracts are available to workers and when they are undocumented, MDWs are additionally vulnerable to abuse and denial of their rights. 

Currently in the Netherlands and in some other countries in Europe, domestic work in the private household is not recognised as proper work nor as a category for immigration.  At the same time, the demand for migrant workers in the private household has increased significantly in the past decade due to changes impacting on the labour force resulting in many more women working outside the home. 

The Research involved interviews with a 182 MDWs – 116 Filipinos,  28 Ghanaians, 29 Nigerians and 9 from other nationalities working in the private household in Amsterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. Among those interviewed, 144 were women and 38 were men.

It is widely accepted that domestic work which takes place in the private home is invisible and isolating, and is not easily accessible to the public domain. Workers in this sector are frequently not protected and trade unions do not have access to the private household. 

Violation of labour rights and human rights

Besides the lack of written contracts between family employers and workers, this Report also documents that MDWs work without any social benefits; do not have access to health care or education opportunities; work multiple part-time jobs when 'live-out', including weekends; are on 'total availability' when 'live-in'; are subjected to 'no work - no pay' i.e. when employer is on holiday, or worker is ill; experience constant job insecurity and are afraid to protest experiences, since they fear losing their job. Besides, many MDWs do not have a contract for their accommodation and therefore their tenure is very insecure and can be terminated at the whim of the owner or sub-renter. The Report also identified the difficulties of accessing doctors and medical care. Most MDWs do not have any preventative health check-ups - for blood pressure, heart condition, reproductive health or early cancer detection.  Besides, African MDWs reported how racism effected work availability and rates of payment made as compared to other MDWs.

Unequal power relations & being undocumented

The Report identifies two key issues which underlie these working and living conditions of MDWs: the issue of the unequal power relations between the employers and the workers and being undocumented. According to Fe Jusay, CFMW's Women's Programme co-ordinator, "the major issue here is not the personal qualities of the employer. MDWs interviewed also record fair treatment from employers but the issue is the overwhelming sense of complete dependency on the good will of employers".

Allan, an MDW described it like this "it is as if our human rights are being 'privatised' and depending on the good will of our employer".  The other issue, which lies at the center of this unequal power relation with the employer is the fact that many MDWs are undocumented. Many employers value the work of MDWs and admit that they perform a very important function towards Dutch family and social life.

However, since domestic work is not currently recognised as a category for immigration, this creates a situation where MDWs become undocumented when their original visa expires. As MDWs express it: "circumstances force us to become undocumented – we have no choice".

Urgent need to address the situation of MDWs

The Report calls on the Dutch government and Dutch policy makers to give urgent attention to the vulnerable situation of MDWs and to:

· Recognise work in the private household as proper work

· Ensure the protection of the rights of MDWs as workers

· To put in place an immigration status related to their work as migrant domestic workers

The Report was presented by Fe Jusay during a Round Table discussion followed by a moving performance of Forum Theatre directed by Claire Fossey and presented by MDWs who engaged the audience in lively spect-actor exchanges. This programme was co-organised by CFMW, TNI, Trusted Migrants and Respect NL. 

The Round Table discussants, chaired by Brid Brennan (Transnational Institute) included Amsterdam City Council member Jupin Haffmans (Amsterdam Anders-De Groenen); Charlotte van Baren - ABVAKABO Trade Union; Evelyn Schwarz - Diakonie; Bob ter Haar – Pastoral Programme Rotterdam; Lourdes Gordolan, Compas Research Center- Oxford; Margaret Healy, KALAYAAN-UK & RESPECT-Europe; Wytze de Lange, X min Y Solidariteit Fonds and Petra Snelders Migration policy expert.

At the conclusion of the programme, which also marked the celebration of December 10, Human Rights Day and December 18, Migrant Rights Day, the panelists expressed their responses by committing their co-operation and participation in further developing the campaign for the rights of MDWs in the Netherlands.





A Tribute for our Heroes

December 3, 2005

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar – In celebration of the Andres Bonifacio Day, the 8th Infantry (Storm Troopers) Division, Philippine Army commemorated the heroism and indomitable spirit of the Filipino heroes. November 30, 2005, marks a significant date in the history of the Province of Samar as the Provincial Peace and Development Forum was conducted here at the Camp Lukban grandstand with the theme “Patriotism for Peace and Progress”. Among the special guests who graced the occasion were Secretary Norberto Gonzales, National Security Adviser, Honorable Governor Milagrosa Tan and the Municipal Mayors of Samar Province, along with the Most Reverend Jose Palma, Bishop of the Diocese of Calbayog. An estimated 8,000 delegates from the Barangays of the different Municipalities of Samar participated in this momentous occasion.

Wreath Laying

The symbolic day started with a Wreath Laying Ceremony which immediately followed upon the arrival of the invited guests and visitors at 8ID Heroes Memorial. A solemn ceremony of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to honor the fallen heroes, this activity gave special honor to both officers and enlisted personnel of the 8th Infantry Division who sacrificed their lives in service to the people and in the preservation of peace and democracy of the country. Secretary Norberto Gonzales and Gov Tan led the wreath laying ceremony. A fitting recognition for the unsung heroes for their unselfish service, heroism and indomitable spirit that serve as a guiding light to all Filipinos in the quest for a peaceful and progressive country.

Field Mass

The “Mass for Peace” was officiated by Bishop Jose Palma of the Diocese of Calbayog. In his homily the good Bishop thanked the Lord for His blessings even as he urged his flocks to seek the guidance of the Lord for unity and peace. He gave tribute to the martyrdom of the Apostles and Andres Bonifacio as well as the modern day heroism of the Overseas Filipino Workers and the soldiers who have sacrificed a lot for the sake of peace.

Peace and Development Forum Highlights

Stressing to the Samareños the importance of Peace to attain development, Mr. Pastor “Jun” Alcover, Chairman of the ANAD Partly-list gave his vivid testimony how the CPP/NPA/NDF employ the “Art of Deception”. The efforts of Legal Front Organizations to deliberately deceive, organize and mobilize the people in the countryside to fight and topple the democratic government in order to grab political power. Likewise, Alcover expressed his dilemma and ordeal while in the communist organization before and explained briefly to the audience the methodology of agitation and propaganda being waged by them.

LtGen. Emmanuel Teodosio, Commander of Central Command on his part stressed that he was overwhelmed by the Samareños in their response in the fight against terrorism and insurgency in Samar. He challenged everyone to continually unite and support the government.

On the other hand, Secretary Norberto Gonzales, in his message before thousands of Samarnons he lauded the efforts of the Command for initiating the Peace and Development Forum. He urged the 8ID to synergistically work with the Local Government Units and the people in its efforts to totally eradicate the menace of CPP/NPA/NDF and in order to attain peace and development of the province. “We can’t attain development if the problem of insurgency exists in the area” he said. He challenged the legal front organizations like BAYAN MUNA, ANAKPAWIS, GABRIELA, SUARA BANGSAMORO, MIGRANTE, and ANAKBAYAN not to cloak their communist ideology and to stop fooling the people of their real intentions of sowing terror and grab power.

Giving inspiration to the youth, two (2) students from Calapi National High School namely: Jocelle Gaviola and Rosalinda Olinar were given Plaques of Appreciation by the Command and cash prizes for their simple yet meaningful contribution of their Winning Poem Entries which depict the Evils of Communism that affect the youth today. Adding memorable insights to the celebration was a testimony given by a former NPA Commander, Ms Helen Acebedo Alias “Lyka” formerly operating in the Eastern Samar areas. She emotionally shared to the audience her ordeals while in the communist organization.  She was so thankful for her capture because the government gave her   another chance to live a new life.

Gov Milagrosa Tan led the mass Affirmation of Support expressing full support to the government for the attainment of peace and development and never again support the CPP/NPA/NDF whose aim is to destroy freedom and democracy. The Governor gave very impressive closing remarks as she captured the audience in praise. She expressed her thanks for those who continually trust and support her leadership in the province. She declared on the spot Educational Fund Support to the attendees of the said forum to be released upon request from the Local Chief Executives and likewise promised a Livelihood Fund Support to be released next year.

Gov. Tan and MGen. Ramos led the provincial and municipal officials in the burning of effigies that symbolized the complete denouncing of the CPP/NPA/NDF from their lives while altogether singing the song “AN PAGKAURUSA”.

March for Peace

After decades of fear, threats and manipulation by the CPP/NPA/NDF, an estimated 8,000 people coming from the different barangays and municipalities of the Province of Samar and Calbayog City, headed by Gov. Milagrosa Tan of Samar, Municipals Mayors, Vice-Mayors, councilors and Barangay Captains, Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVO), religious organizations, students, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), People’s Organizations (POs), military officers and personnel enthusiastically  joined the “March for Peace” that started from Olay Filed, Camp Lukban and ended at Provincial Capitol and Pier area.

This noble endeavor was the longest and largest march for peace that ever happened in Samar. The Samarnos publicly denounced communism and the violence and atrocities being perpetrated by the CPP/NPA/NDF and their allied legal front organizations in their respective localities. They explicitly expressed wholehearted support to development programs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the government.





Land tilling: An act inciting to rebellion?- SAGUPA

Press Release by
November 29, 2005

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  - Perpetrators involving elements of the 19th Infantry Batallion under the command of Lt. Adrian Luel Benedicto asserted that those innocent-civillian farmers who were unconstitutionally arrested in the bloody incident in Brgy. San Agustin, Palo, Leyte would face criminal charges before the provincial prosecutor’s office for illegal assembly and inciting to rebellion. Isn’t it illogical to file charges against these legitimate farmers when their weapons only include “bolos” and agricultural/farm implements like hand tractors?

Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB), the regional alliance for peasants strongly condemn the brutal killings of nine farmers and seriously wounding five others, and further denounce the criminal case filed against the 16 farmers involving some Bayan Muna members.

“The 19th IB headed by Maj. Louie Dagoy should be the one to be prosecuted for illegally “planting” evidence which includes different firearms and ammunitions which they claimed they have recovered from these innocent civilians and most especially for harboring terror and the sadistic killing of the innocent farmers”, lashed Diana Ragub, Campaign and Advocacy officer of the peasant group.

Based on a fact finding mission conducted by human rights advocates, church people, militant groups, mediamen with Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Teddy Casiño on November 22, 2005, exactly a day after the massacre  happened, evidence showed that bullets were sprayed only in one direction using high powered guns like M-16 and M-203.

Roots of the massacre was a land dispute between the four farmer-beneficiaries and Pedro Margallo. The latter claimed that the 12 hectares of land occupied by these farmers is part of the property which his family owns. The said farmers had been declared as legitimate beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (RA 6652). The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) reiterated its decision that Brgy. San Agustin area is covered by CARP with their organization as San Agustin Farmer Beneficiaries Multi-purpose Cooperative.

“Land dispute have triggered the November 21 Palo massacre. The presence of the military elements in the area is even questionable as they have no jurisdiction to settle agrarian disputes”, stressed Ragub. She further lamented that the idea that Pedro Margallo may have contacted the soldiers and attracted their attention by explicitly saying there are ‘armed’ groups in the vicinity of the barangay is not a remote possibility.

According to the reports gathered by Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas, Executive Order 448 which dates back from the time of former president Corazon Aquino paved the way for the inclusion of all lands in Leyte Sab- a Basin Development Authority (LSBDA) to be included in the CARP- covered areas, including 24 hectares of land in Brgy. San Agustin, Palo, Leyte declared as public lands. Under the CAR Program, the declared and identified agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) are Renato Dizon, tilling an area of 2.8 hectares, Rene Margallo has one hectare, Ariel Santizo has 2 hectares and Francisco Cobacha has 2.4 hectares with Bernabe Burra as his (Cobacha) successor. These farmers have served as share-tenants to Gorgonio Margallo, Cresencio Pardilla and Pedro Margallo since 1970’s and they claimed that they are giving regular rentals/shares both to Gorgonio and Pedro Margallo.

“When the lands were declared as public and disposable through the CARP, the tenants have openly expressed their desire to own the lots they have been tilling for many years now, something which Pedro and Gorgonio Margallo vehemently opposes”, said Maritess Macabuhay, Research Officer of SAGUPA-SB.

Based on records of the DARAB Case No. R- 0801- 431- 98 of “Maintenance of Peaceful Possession and/ or Reinstatement, the Dizons, the Margallos, Santizo and Cobacha have complained that their rice seedlings amounting to P10,000.00 were destroyed by Cresencio Pardilla and the sons of Pedro Margallo; that they have apparently lost 260 cavans of palay and that most of their produce were destroyed by hand tractors operated by Pardilla and the sons of Pedro Margallo.

“Thus, these farmers sought the help of Bayan Muna and other farmers to organize a ‘tiklos’ in order to abate resistance from Pedro Margallo and his sons”, said Macabuhay.

“How could tilling the land appropriated to these farmer- beneficiaries be anywhere near rebellion? How could ‘tiklos’ be an illegal assembly when it is the collective farming practice done by farmers for many years now?” lamented Macabuhay, who is part of the SAGUPA-SB team researching on the land dispute.

SAGUPA-SB, along with the survivors and the families of those killed, is demanding justice and an end to killings done by criminals clad in military uniforms.





Get together of Rebel Returnees in 43IB Camp

November 21, 2005

SOGOD, Southern Leyte  – The press conference held at the 43rd Infantry Battalion camp on November 18, had been more of a reunion for the former members of the NPA who surrendered and are now living a new life with their loved ones. LtC Raul M. Farnacio, Commanding Officer, 43rd Infantry Battalion, said that this was also a chance for the rebel returnees to see how the others are doing after surrendering and compare their lives just before they returned to the mainstream and now that they are living freely.

LtC Farnacio stressed that the first surrenderees from the Evelyn Dublin Command (EDC) are the couple from Bgy. Maligaya, Mahaplag, Leyte namely Alejandro Sepada Y Torion alias Edmond/Joe and Erlinda Daniel Y Saga alias Lean/Nancy who surrendered last July this year, and are now living together with their family. This was followed by Marcelo Montilla Y Pacombaba from Bgy. San Antonio, Hilongos, Leyte, next was former CTM Raul Mejia Y Barcos alias Bayani/Rara of Bgy San Juan, Mahaplag, Leyte who was apprehended and eventually surrendered.

A few days after, Rodolfo Cagadas Y Ecat alias Nelson/Satur of Bgy San Antonio, Hilongos, Leyte was surrendered by the Mayor of his town. Subsequently, from the All Soul’s day encounter of the 43IB with the NPA, two of their members were captured namely - Eddie Opo Y Lor alias Meyong/Tekloy and Roberto Montilla Y Pacombaba who ended up cooperating with the army upon learning that they could also be given a second chance to start anew.

LtC. Farnacio revealed that there were other captured and surrendered Communist Terrorists (CTs) who chose not to be identified due to pending operations and for security purposes. There are several CT members who lay low and still hiding because of fear and threat from their own organization.

He added that these surrenderees are not anymore treated as former CTs or captured, in fact, he said, these CTs were instrumental in the latest encounter and recovery of 16 assorted firearms. In an interaction with the surrenderees and captured, it appeared that they have the same sentiments to the CT armed group. They said that since there is no mass support now from the barangay folks, they often resorted to stealing root crops or anything that can somehow satisfy their hunger and at times they think that they could no longer go on with their sufferings. They said that what took them so long to surrender was the fear that they will be killed by the army if they surrender, which is a popular propaganda and deception of their leaders. Worst is that these CT surrenderees are longing for the promises of a better life but it was entirely the other way- the hardest.

The surrenderees even convinced the armed group of EDC to lay down their arms and join them in living a new life, no more hiding and killing. They are appealing to Glecerio Roluna alias Ka Jay R, their leader and commander and to the other members of the EDC to give peace a chance and return to the government’s fold for good.





Ex-NPA commander “leaks” how village officials support NPA rebels

November 3, 2005

CATBALOGAN, Samar   –   A 22-year-old former commander of the Communist’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) operating in the municipalities of Eastern Samar divulged on Sunday the “ways” how village officials support the underground movement.

Ka Lyka

Yelen Acebedo, alias “Ka Lyka” or “Ka Silay” exposed the manner of some of the village and big government working politicians extend support to the underground movement, prior and after they were elected into office.

Ka Lyka, who formerly leads a unit with 15-20 full time members, revealed these “top secrets” before MajGen. Bonifacio B. Ramos, Commanding General of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division, LGU officials and some 800 residents attending the 3-day Peace and Development Forum which ended last October 23, 2005 in Motiong, Samar.

The former rebel said village officials contribute 10% of their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) without being detected by the government’s Commission on Audit (COA).

“These village officials and my (former) comrades accomplished that the 10% share be chargeable to the village’s affairs such as official travels, community labors to avoid detection in terms of audit,” Ka Lyka said in vernacular.

She said those villages that sliced 10% from their IRA are considered as “organized” communities. Those villages that have small IRA “gave” only 5-8% share to the movement.

Other village officials, Ka Lyka said, who are afraid to slice amount from their village IRA were search out the amount from their pockets “out of fear” of possible retaliation from the rebels.

“Aside from cash donations, village officials and barrio folks supported the movement by also giving foods and protection,” the former rebel leader revealed.

This information leaked by Ka Lyka confirmed earlier military reports that most, if not all, villages in the island are NPA infested and controlled areas. But when MajGen. Jovito Palparan assumed as 8ID top post last February, these were reportedly minimized and “controlled.”

On one hand, the lady added that some prominent politicians in the regions also supported her comrades by giving weapons, cash and food supply.

“(Especially), in the election time, we usually bargain for them (election candidates) their “sure-winning” in the remote, upland and mountainous villages,” she said in her 45-minute testimony.

The NPA collected millions in every elections and additional high-powered firearms from the politicians. Thus, according to her, the “support” was extended even after the election lapsed by providing or lending government vehicles to rallies, hiring of a full  time NPA members to local government units.

The former rebel, however, failed to identify any of those village officials, government personalities and particulars LGU’s supporting the rebels.

In an interview, Ka Lyka told media how she was recruited and her “sad plight” while inside the underground movement. Along with other minors, she was recruited through the movement’s Social Investigation and Class Analysis (SICA) in Samar’s controlled villages.

According to her, she was recruited when she was still 16 years old in Maslog, Eastern Samar. Her “friend” and one of her close relative made her decide to join the movement sometime on 1998.

Inside the movement, she was assigned as “youth organizer and recruiter” and later on elevated to a higher rank, as commander of the 15-man unit of the North-East Guerilla Front of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee of the New People’s Army.

But contrary to what promised to her, “the movement didn’t fulfill their promise to send me in school, instead they forced me to marry a full-time NPA member, whom I do not like,” she said.

“My life in the mountains was miserable, it’s like hell. We ran almost all of the day. We have no peace in mind, thinking that a platoon of Army might find out our camp,” she said.

In her almost 7 years in the movement, Ka Lyka said she never been engaged into firefight with government soldiers but only once served as “blocking force” when they attacked police and army detachments.

Until one day, a trusted man approached her and arranged her return to the folds of law. She said she hid her M16-armalite rifle before she surrendered but later on recovered it along with the army.

A skinny girl Ka Lyka, who once quits schooling because of her joining the underground movement now lives inside the Camp Fatima village, inside the 803rd Infantry Brigade in Taft, Eastern Samar awaiting the government’s promise to send her school again in due time.

This former rebel, dreams to become a successful teacher someday, it was learned.

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