ASIA: 60th Anniversary
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
By Asian Human Rights Commission
HONG KONG – "There
is no getting away from the fact that despite 60 years being passed
after the UDHR, the actual enjoyment of human rights in most countries
of Asia is even much less than what it was, 60 years ago. There is
more talk about human rights but the systems in the region are mostly
non rule of law systems. In the promotion of human rights in the
region therefore, institutional reform should be the primary focus in
human rights work” said Basil Fernando, director of AHRC on issuing a
statement in regard to the 60th Anniversary of the adoption of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
AHRC has stated that
the primary obstacles for the protection of human rights are the
defects of the systems of administration of justice. These defects are
due to the lack of political will on the part of these states to
invest adequate funds for proper administration of justice and very
often due to deliberate attempts to suppress these institutions in
order to place the executive above the law and outside accountability.
AHRC in its statements
distinguishes rule of law countries with non rule of law countries.
While there are many limitations on rights even in countries where
systems of rule of law are well established, even the possibility of
protection of rights does not exist, in countries where the systems of
administration of justice themselves are fundamentally flawed. In rule
of law countries like the United States and Europe in recent times,
there have been serious problems manifested by such issues as the
Guantanamo Bay detention centre maintained by the United States, new
laws suspending civil liberties and anti-terrorism laws such as the
Patriotic Act of the United States and similar laws in many European
countries. Also many practices still persist in these countries,
against the right of women and other rights relating to sexuality and
other freedoms, and restrictions on civil rights imposed on migrants
Most alarming is the
attempt by the United States to reduce the absolute prohibition
against torture and thereby to challenge one of the most well
established principles in human rights. It is for the human rights
community in these countries and the international community to
utilize the space available within their political and legal
institutions and to fight back against these serious inroads into
However, what is faced
in non rule of law countries is something much worse. Even the
possibility of fighting for these rights is prevented by the absence
of institutions, or fundamental flaws in the existing institutions.
The most prominent of such flaws is the predominant place acquired by
the police, thereby crippling other institutions of the administration
of justice. In many countries there is hardly anything that maybe
called policing according to the rule of law. The police themselves
become the main violators of rights and often arrest, detention and
torture become means of extortion and undue enrichment by the police.
The criminals often find their closest allies within the policing
system. Organized crime is often a combination of mafia elements with
sections of the local police. The police engage in arbitrary
deprivation of life under many pretexts.
Encounter killings and
self-defence killings are terms given to police killings of arrested
persons. Besides this, the police also a play role in causing
disappearances, kidnappings and attacks on journalists, human rights
activists and political opponents of the ruling regime. Many of the
authoritarian regimes in the region have developed many forms of
political manipulations of the police. Within that set-up, the proper
receiving of complaints and investigations into complaints cannot take
place. The result is that people who suffer even grave abuses do not
come forward to make complaints and various forms of fear psychosis
prevail in societies.
The prosecutors can
hardly do anything when the policing system itself engages in
violating rights. Often, the prosecution systems like the department
of the Attorney General in different countries come under the
executive control of the existing political regimes. The judiciary
itself is subjected to executive control and corruption. In many
places, the legal profession is not allowed to play a significant role
in protecting the rights of the people. Often, part of the legal
profession itself is brought under serious corrupt practices when some
lawyers merely become mediators carrying bribes to the police or
others. Very large sectors of the legal profession are demoralized and
frustrated, according to AHRC.
Mr. Fernando said
that, what we have pointed to is a very serious problem. After 60
years of the UDHR, we cannot claim that the human rights situation in
the region has improved. In many countries, both in civil and
political rights as well as in economic, social and cultural rights,
there is a very significant deterioration. We many talk about human
rights more than before. The people may be demanding human rights more
However in actual
fact, violations of human rights have become far greater. Various
forms of arbitrary deprivation of rights, torture, denial of fair
trial, is wide spread in many places. There is more unemployment and
despite greater education among women, the actual enjoyments of rights
have not become any easier for larger sections of the population who
are poor. Various forms of domestic violence and killing of women,
depriving their personal liberties is so common. Anti-terrorism is
often used to bring laws which suspend the rights of the entire
population. Life often for many remains a nightmare.
On the occasion of
the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the UDHR, these grim
realities need to be reflected. And the governments and the people
have to reckon with this serious deprivation of rights. Local and
international communities need to develop their energies to fight for
improvement of the institutions of protection of rights which means
improvement of the institutions of the administration of justice.
Body punches 'killed'
De La Hoya, says Roach
By ALEX P. VIDAL / PNS
LAS VEGAS, Nevada –
It was Manny Pacquiao's well-executed body punches as early in the
second round that brought down Oscar De La Hoya and put a grotesque
finale of the much-ballyhooed "Dream Match" at the MGM Grand here
This was confirmed by
Freddie Roach who explained that De La Hoya started to deteriorate in
the second round after he felt Pacquiao's power while being bombarded
with body shots in the opening round. "The body punches killed De La
Hoya," quipped the 48-year-old Roach. "I knew it because he started to
slow down in the third and fourth after he felt Manny's power."
Roach said the whole
plan to tire out the taller De La Hoya worked effectively as early in
the fourth round when De La Hoya could no longer avoid Pacquiao's
dizzying body shots.
In the fourth round,
the good-looking 10-time world champion had an ugly gash in the lower
left eye courtesy of the Filipino buzzsaw's powerful jabs that
flickered like howitzers.
The slower De La Hoya,
35, did not answer the bell in the ninth round thus the bout, touted
as the biggest fight transaction in 2008, went down as an 8th round
technical knockout (TKO) defeat for the man known as Golden Boy who
once conquered Hollywood with his good looks aside from winning the
United States' lone gold medal in boxing in the 1992 Barcelona
Nacho Beristain, De La
Hoya's Mexican trainer, admitted he had to halt the fight "because
that was the right thing to do, De La hoya being a prominent
personality in boxing."
He did not go down
from Pacquiao's avalanche of body punches but De La Hoya was brought
to the hospital "as a precautionary move" although he wasn't hurt,
confirmed De La Hoya's childhood friend Eric Gomez who presented a
grim face during the post-fight press conference.
De La Hoya's second
TKO loss in a checkered career impaired his record to 39-6, 30 KOs. He
had been busted by middleweight champion Bernard "The Executioner"
Hopkins who joined him in the ring and had predicted "De La Hoya will
send Pacquiao to school."
comfortably ahead on the scorecards of judges Stanley Christodoulou
(79-72), Adalaide Byrd (80-71) and Dave Moretti (80-71) at the time of
Referee Tony Weeks
admitted he didn't expect the fight to last in the eight round but
said he was prepared to pull the plug if De La Hoya was hurt and
wouldn't fall because he was protected by the ropes. Pacquiao, who
improved to 48-3-2, 36 KOs, outpunched De La Hoya, 585-402. Pacquiao
connected 224 as against De La Hoya's 83.
De La Hoya, who owns
the Golden Boy Promotion that co-promoted the pay-per-view show, did
not show up on the post fight press conference. He submitted only 51
power punches against Pacquiao's 195. De La Hoya, however, connected
32 of his 238 jabs as against Pacquiao's 29 of the 252 thrown.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum
said the press people was right when they reported earlier that the
fight would be a mismatch for De La Hoya. "They are right, it was a
mismatch," he said.
Several Mexican fans
cried when Pacquiao's hand was raised by Weeks. Filipino fans who were
outnumbered by De La Hoya's supporters inside the arena, bursted in
jubiliation when it was confirmed their idol, the underdog, had scored
a big upset.
"De La Hoya is my
idol. He is still my idol. It so happened that there are lots of
Mexicans in my division. I am not really a Mexican killer. I love the
Mexicans," declared Pacquiao who was unmarked and could have fought De
La Hoya for 20 rounds.
The post fight press
conference extended for two hours after more than 500 journalists, who
came from different countries, obliged the ring superstar for
autographs and photo-ops. Filipino politicians led by environmental
secretary Lito Atienza and Ilocos Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson did not
leave Pacquiao's side from start to end of the press conference.
DENR cites Tanauan
mayor for invaluable help in marine turtle conservation program
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte
– The efforts of the local government of Tanauan, Leyte on
protecting and conserving marine turtles has caught the attention of
the national agency in charged of protecting the natural resources of
The Department of
Environment and Natural Resources Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau
Pawikan Conservation Project presented a Certificate of Recognition to
Mayor Roque Tiu of Tanauan, Leyte for his invaluable contribution to
the Marine Turtle Conservation Program.
The citation was
signed by Director Theresa Mundita S. Lim, DVM and Assistant Director
Jose Andres Diaz, DVM on September 15, 2008 at Quezon City,
However, the same was
presented to Mayor Roque Tiu on December 3, 2008 by Mr. Tito Simbulan
of DENR Region 8. Another citation was presented to Vice Mayor Agapito
Pagayanan Jr., and Mr. Ricardo Macapanas, the fisherman who caught the
first marine turtle that was returned to the coastal waters of Tanauan
Mr. Simbulan was in
Tanauan, Leyte on December 3 to put a tag on an Olive Ridley marine
turtle which was caught by a Tanauan fisherman from Barangay San Roque,
Mr. Ricardo Grabillo, on December 1 at the San Roque, Tanauan shores.
Before returning it to
the sea, Mr. Simbulan first measured the marine turtle and found out
that its carapace was already 48 inches in length and 46 inches in
Mr. Simbulan put the
tag PH 098313 on the Olive Ridley marine turtle so that anyone who
will catch it in the future will know that it came from Philippine
waters. He then asked the Bantay Dagat Task Force of Tanauan to guide
the “ocean ambassador” back to the waters where it truly belongs.
It would be recalled
that two Olive Ridley sea turtles were successively found by a local
fisherman of Tanauan, in the first week of October 2007. Two weeks
after, another sea turtle was found and returned to the sea after the
DENR staff put a tag on the creatures.
Later, a big green sea
turtle was found by a local fisherman and then less than one month
later, the Olive Ridley sea turtle measuring 18 inches in width and 20
inches long was found and guided by towards its natural abode after
being tagged by Mr. Tito Simbulan of the Department of Environment and
Asked to comment on
the Tanauan shores as becoming to be known as a Haven for ocean
ambassadors, Mayor Tiu said it is an honor to host the endangered
species of sea turtles even as he gave the assurance that the
officials and the people of the municipality will see to it that these
creatures will be always be safe in their own rightful abode.
Mr. Simbulan said that
scientists refer to sea turtles as the only living remnants of the
dinosaur age, but maybe not for long. Unless sincere efforts are
undertaken, sea turtles might follow dinosaurs into extinction.
There are more than
220 species of sea turtles, popularly known in the Philippines as
pawikan, in the world, but only seven are considered marine
Five of these seven
species are present in the
These are the GreenSea Turtles (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys
imbricata), Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys
olivacea) and the Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea).
The most common
species in the Philippines is the Green Sea Turtle, which is also
found in all tropical and sub-tropical seas. Its most distinct feature
is a more blunt and wider head than that of the Hawksbill Turtle. It
grows up to 1.5 meters long and weighs up to 185 kilograms.
The largest species is
the Leatherback Turtle, which grows more than two meters in length.
The Hawksbill Turtle, as its name suggests, can be identified with its
pointed beak and attractively marked shell of overlapping plates. On
the other hand, the Loggerhead Turtle is known for its
disproportionately bulky head. Of the five Philippine species, only
the Olive Ridley Turtle is considered as carnivorous.
The Olive Ridley sea
turtles, named for the olive color of its heart-shaped carapace, are
considered as the smallest marine turtles measuring only 2 to 2 ½ feet
and weighing 35 to 40 kilos.
Mayor Tiu said that
municipal government and the fishermen of Tanauan are aware that the
Philippine government has launched the Pawikan Conservation Project
which is aimed at securing the protection of all the Philippine Sea
Turtles. The LGU is bent on doing its best to support and make this
program a success, Mayor Tiu added.
8th Infantry Division
holds fellowship with region 8 media
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte
– The 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army led by its
commanding officer, Major General Arthur Tabaquero, is scheduled to
sponsor the 8ID - Media Fellowship on December 9, 2008, 2:00 o’clock
in the afternoon at the Division Headquarters based at Barangay
Maulong, Catbalogan, Samar.
The fellowship is
being conducted with the end-in-view of creating an atmosphere of fun,
improve physical fitness and closer camaraderie between the media and
the army, MGen. Tabaquero said.
The highlight of said
activity is the holding of a sportsfest which will consists of
badminton, basketball, volleyball and table tennis events where the
members of the media can socially mingle with the Commanders, Officers
and Men of the 8th Infantry Division thru sports activities, Major Leo
Lorenzo A. Madronal, Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil-Military
Operations, G7, informed.
The Sportsfest will be
followed by a “boodle fight” dinner and fellowship with the officers
and men of the 8th Infantry Division led by MGen. Tabaquero.
informed that media practitioners in the Region have been invited to
attend the 8ID - Media Fellowship. Major Madronal expressed hope that
the invited media practitioners will honor the humble invitation.
True to its slogan “At
Your Service, Across the Land,” the Philippine Army is not only the
protector of the people but also a partner in nation building because
of its participation in the socio-economic programs of the country.
counterinsurgency campaigns, the Philippine Army helps provide
assistance in areas that lack needed vital facilities and service like
roads, bridges, schools, health and sanitation, livelihood, among
Judge to DPWH: Eastern
Samar bad roads, an insult to its people
By ALICE NICART (PIA Eastern
December 5, 2008
BORONGAN CITY, Eastern
Samar – “We respectfully disagree that the weather is the culprit of
our bad roads. As if we do not have a government! This is so much an
insult to the people of Eastern Samar and we hold the Department of
Public Works and Highways (DPWH) responsible, but it always
understands the contractor, why?”
These were the fuming
words cum impromptu speech of San Julian Municipal Judge Reynaldo
“Lulo” Alconaba during the Samar Island Partnership for Peace and
Development (SIPPAD) Assembly on Wednesday at the Provincial Capitol
as he referred to the worsening road condition of the province.
his manifestation to the DPWH which was solely represented in the
forum by Engineer-III, Tili Sabulao of ES District, Alconaba argued
that it is not always raining in the province as what is always heard
of DPWH men as an alibi for the very slow rehabilitation of the road
“Sometimes the weather
is fair and sunny! Huwag niyo na kaming lokohin! I am an ordinary
citizen but I travel everyday to San Julian, my goodness! Kung intact
ang pera bakit hindi na-i-implement ang project? Ang hirap diyan may
mga 40% daw na cut-off from the total cost of the project which goes
to private pockets. I donno! Pokpokin niyo ang contractor, ask him
kung hindi niya kaya. And if it is necessary, let us replace the
district engineer and the regional director or anybody who does not
perform his assignment”, Alconaba’s frankness continued.
Engr. Sabulao who was
sitting across their “accuser” was very professional though and
remained silent until he was asked for comment, and, as in previous
assembly of this kind, he was consistent to say that any project
involving beyond P20M is not of their District’s concern but of the
A few minutes after,
the Municipal Judge was somewhat apologetic to his Kumpadre and
clearly said, “I don’t want to hear your reasoning, but of course, I
am not taking it personally against you but please tell your boss,
diri rason it uran”.
His Excellency Bishop
Immanuel Trance (Catarman) who played moderator in the forum impressed
upon the body that a resolution addressed to DPWH be signed, urging
them to implement the road rehabilitation.
32 former rebels
formally enlist in govt’s social integration program
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte
– In line with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s peace and
development efforts, about 32 former rebels were formally accepted
into the government’s social integration program during the formal
reception ceremonies conducted at the Municipal Gym of Kananga,
December 23, 2008.
Leyte Governor Carlos
Jericho Petilla, Brig. General Arthur Tabaquero, commanding general of
the 8th Infantry Division, PNP Regional Director Abner Cabalquinto,
Kananga Mayor Elmer Codilla, PA Cynthia Nierras, Office of the
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Atty. Reuben Lingating, PIA
Director Olive Tiu and Provincial Social Welfare and Development
Officer Clotilde Malatbalat attended the formal reception ceremonies.
In the Reception
Ceremonies, Governor Petilla presented each of some 20 former rebels
with the basic assistance of P5,000. Several of the former rebels
have already received financial assistance and rewards from the
Governor Petilla gave
an additional P25,000 to one former rebel who surrendered an M-16
rifle. For surrendering 25 pieces mortars, another rebel was awarded
P200,000 by Governor Petilla.
Government, through OPAPP Social Integration Program, in support to
the efforts of the Provincial Government of Leyte, a milestone in the
pursuit of genuine and lasting peace in the community, also awarded
the 32 former rebels with P20,000 financial assistance.
ceremony, a Social Integration Program Orientation for Local Peace
Partners and service providers in the
was conducted to increase awareness of the Program and to further drum
up support and participation to the Program.
With the promulgation
of Administrative Order No. 172 signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
on March 23, 2007, the National Committee on Social Integration was
created to implement the Social Integration Program.
The Social Integration
Program is a process whereby former rebels and their dependents are
provided a set of interventions to facilitate their integration into
mainstream society. The program provides an increased remuneration for
surrendered firearms, explosives and ammunitions.
The program also
provides immediate cash assistance of P20,000 each while the former
rebels undergo the process requirements for the grant of
socio-economic interventions. The Socio-Economic interventions in the
amount of P50,000 is in the form of capital goods.
with other agencies are exerted for the former rebels’ livelihood
skills development, job placement, educational assistance, health
services, “balik-probinsiya” or access to other basic social services.
9th SIPPAD Assembly condemns killing of
By ALICE NICART (PIA Eastern
December 3, 2008
BORONGAN CITY, Eastern
Samar – The 9th Assembly today at the Eastern Samar Provincial
Capitol of the Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD)
marked the drafting of a resolution which strongly condemned the death
yesterday afternoon, of radio broadcaster Leo Luna Mila who according
to reports was shot near the gate of Radyo Natin (FM) in San Roque,
Northern Samar while on his way home after his radio program.
The victim sustained 6
gunshot wounds, 2 on the thighs, 2 on shoulders, 1 breast and 1 on the
head. Responding authorities saw his motorcycle with the engine still
running, but his dead body was found few meters away from the
station's gate. The report added that
Mila was known to be vocal and “hard hitting” against irregularities
However, Eastern Samar
Governor Ben Evardone who also has the heart for media practitioners
reacted by saying that the crime must had been done to silence the
media thus, he insisted that the inclusion of the following clause be
included in the draft: “We view the killing as another assault to
press freedom”. Evardone also stressed that a thorough investigation
be conducted by police authorities so as to put the perpetrators
Asked to comment on
the crime, Gen. Lanuza of the 8ID said that to arrest the criminals,
they need the full support of the public, referring to the much needed
information which will contribute to their immediate arrest.
The resolution was
signed on the spot by the three bishops of the Samar Island: Crispin
Varquez (Borongan, ES), Isabelo Abarquez of Calbayog, Emmanuel Trance
of Catarman and Gov. Evardone and the assembly participants.
Samar acting governor
fast tracks agricultural needs of constituent-farmers
By NINFA B. QUIRANTE (PIA
December 3, 2008
CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar
– Fast tracking provision of services to his constituents, acting
Governor Jesus Redaja personally delivered tilapia fingerlings,
certified seeds and fertilizer coupons to farmers in Basey, Calbiga
and Paranas, on Tuesday.
The Samar Provincial
AIDS Council (SPAC) spearheaded the commemoration. Samarnons in red
had an early morning warm up exercise before jogging around downtown
They returned to
Imelda Park, Samar Capitol Grounds for a brief program that featured
Ms. Rina, an HIV/AIDS victim who testified the life she is living with
HIV/AIDS. She narrated that she went abroad because of poverty and did
not expect such an affliction would shatter her dreams.
However with the
support group that she met, she has been given a chance and vowed to
join the advocacy group to educate her fellow Filipinos. She also
urged the policy makers to make the anti retro viral drug be available
to victims like her as most of them may not be capable to buy the
The lady also enjoined
her audience to spread the information and education that HIV/AIDS can
be transmitted through body fluids like semen, cervical mucus, breast
milk and blood. She also told her audience that a mere handshake will
not infect another.
Lore Donceras, a nurse
at the Provincial Health Office (PHO) told the audience ways to avoid
AIDS like abstinence, being faithful to one’s partner, correct use of condom, avoiding taking drugs and education or
the correct information as regards HIV/AIDS.
Ms. Eunice Babalcon,
Samar Board member who chairs SPAC said that HIV/AIDS is not just a
health issue but a social concern. She noted that Ms. Rina left the
country because of poverty.
SPAC with other NGOs
have been holding activities for HIV/AIDS awareness since November 24
when the group unveiled the WAD icon.
Waraya and Kartada
Samar, two youth groups have been replicating the adults’ advocacy on HIV/AIDS.
Other groups include
the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), Leyte
Family Development Organization (LEFADO), Population Services
Pilipinas Inc. (PSPI), Population Commission, schools like Samar
College, St. Mary’s
College, Samar State University, Red Cross, Catbalogan City
government, JIL, and the two fraternities called Alpha Rho and Alpha
National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army also provided the
critical mass of joggers to draw attention to World Aids Day 2008.
COMELEC official in
Biliran urges new voters to register
By RODRIGO S. VICTORIA (PIA Biliran)
NAVAL, Biliran – The
Provincial Election Supervisor (PES) of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)
here urged new voters to register as COMELEC registration of new
voters starts today in preparation for the 2010 elections.
Atty. Sabino C.
Mejarito in an interview this morning, disclosed that all the
Municipal Election Offices (MEOs) are now ready to register new voters
starting today, December 2, 2008 until December 15, 2009 nationwide.
He said all MEOs are
open from 8:00 o’clock in the morning to
5:00 o’clock in the afternoon, Monday to Friday so that maximum
number of new voters can register.
He added that those
who are qualified to register are the youth who already reached the
age of 18, voters who changed their family name due to change in
marital status or the correction of entry and active voters who
transferred to a place as his new residence.
The COMELEC official
clarified that deactivated voters who wanted to be reactivated from
the list of voters due to his failure to vote twice in the last two
consecutive elections and those transferees with reactivation can
register by next year yet after a hearing to be conducted by the
members of the Election Registration Board (ERB) for that purpose in
Youth voters who will
reach the age of 18 in May 2010 cannot register this year but they are
qualified to register next year, the COMELEC official added.
explained that the processing of the registration of new voters will
be made through Data Capturing Machine (DCM) where a registrant’s
personal information such as picture and other relevant data will be
encoded in the machine.
Another feature of the
DCM is that taking of the registrant’s fingerprint will be done
through a process called biometrics in order to ensure that there will
be no double registration, he said.
In order to maximize
the registration of voters, Atty. Mejarito plans to establish
satellite COMELEC offices in schools in far-flung barangays in the
province. This he said, will provide comfort and convenience to the
new voters to register aside from encouraging bigger participation in
He projected an
increase of 20,000 new voters especially coming from the youth group
after December 2009 that will be added to the 88,541 registered voters
in Biliran province during the synchronized local and national
elections in May 2007.
He estimated that 20
million new registered voters nationwide will come from the voting
population aged 35 below after the registration in 2009 which when
added will make the total voting population of the country from 48 to
50 million in 2010 elections.