Trial court judges learn about international humanitarian law
Chancellor Adolfo Azcuna, a former Supreme Court justice,
discusses the principles of international humanitarian law to
participant judges from the Eastern Visayas region.
(photo by ICRC/JM Sison)
June 20, 2012
MANILA – As a concrete step towards implementing international
humanitarian law in the Philippines, some 40 regional trial court
judges from Eastern Visayas took part yesterday (June 19) in a
specialized training session that was the first of its kind for the
judiciary in the country.
Organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and
the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA), this session was the first
to cover Republic Act 9851 since the relatively recent enactment of
this domestic legislation related to international humanitarian law.
R.A. 9851 defines, and sets out penalties for, violations of
international humanitarian law and genocide and other crimes against
humanity. The training, held in Palo, Leyte, was organized for
regional trial court judges as they have jurisdiction over cases to be
filed under R.A. 9851.
International humanitarian law is a set of rules that aims to minimize
the effects of armed conflict by protecting those who are not, or are
no longer, participating in hostilities ‘such as civilians, or
detained or wounded fighters’ and by limiting the means and methods of
warfare. The passage of R.A. 9851 was considered a major breakthrough
in the implementation of international humanitarian law in the
"While R.A. 9851 took effect in 2010, insufficient awareness of the
law within the sectors involved in prosecuting crimes remains a
challenge," said ICRC legal adviser Evecar Cruz-Ferrer. "As the
guardian of international humanitarian law, the ICRC supports training
that enables the judiciary to better understand this body of law. The
training session just held is a positive step towards acquainting
judges in the Philippines with real-life applications of international
The ICRC, a recognized authority in the field of international
humanitarian law, provided technical advice to the executive and
legislative branches of government during the preparatory work leading
to the passage of R.A. 9851 and other laws relating to the protection
of people adversely affected by armed conflict. As a neutral and
independent humanitarian organization, the ICRC has a clear and
long-established practice of not becoming involved in judicial
proceedings. It plays no role in investigating, prosecuting or
PHILJA Chancellor Adolfo Azcuna, a former Supreme Court justice, and
Dean Sedfrey Candelaria of Ateneo Law School were among the experts
who delivered lectures at the training event, the first of a series to
be conducted by the ICRC and PHILJA.
The ICRC, which has been working in the Philippines for more than 50
years, reminds parties to conflict of their obligations under
international humanitarian law and participates in the development of
this body of law. The ICRC has been visiting detainees and assisting
people in need throughout the decades of internal armed conflicts in
Rise in maternal deaths due to lack of RH policy, say RH Advocates
June 20, 2012
QUEZON CITY – Following the Department of Health’s (DOH) admission
of the rising maternal deaths in the country, a group of leading
reproductive health (RH) advocates cited the lack of a national policy
that will provide comprehensive services on RH and family planning as
one of the major reasons why maternal mortality rate (MMR) has not
declined in the past decade.
According to Romeo Dongeto, Executive Director of the Philippine
Legislators Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD),
the results of the 2011 Family Health Survey (FHS) present a clear
picture of the current state of our health system and underscore the
grim reality that the efforts of the government have failed to
meaningfully address the poor’s lack of access to health services,
particularly on reproductive health.
Dongeto laments that through the years, access to family planning
services remains a challenge. The government’s Maternal, Newborn and
Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) grant program has not been very
effective since it has resulted in uneven and non-standardized
provision of services. The decision to provide RH and FP education
and services is left to LGU officials. “It has left the impression
that MCHN is optional,” explains Dongeto.
Dongeto also cited the facts that certain LGUs ban family planning
services, which denied their constituents, especially poor women, of
the much needed information and services on how to plan their
pregnancies. The 2011 Family Health Survey showed that between 2006
and 2011, the MMR increased from 162 to 221. This means that the
number of Filipino mothers who died in childbirth had risen from 162
in 2009 to 221 in 2011 per 100,000 live births. “Too close and too
frequent pregnancies, coupled with lack of services are causing the
deaths of poor women.” Dongeto stressed.
“We do not want to point fingers. But we are calling the leadership of
Congress to pass the RH bill now. This is what we’ve got after more
than 10 years of dilly-dallying on the proposed measure – an alarming
increase in maternal deaths,” he said.
not claim that the enactment of the RH bill will address all maternal
health related issues, but a law on RH will help resolve the lack of
access to RH and FP education and services among women, especially the
poor. A national law will ensure that LGUs will allocate funding and
will implement concrete programs on reproductive health,“ Dongeto
ANAD blast Rep. Palatino’s bill vs. religious images and activities in
public offices and spaces
By ANAD Partylist
QUEZON CITY – Maoist communists, particularly their sectoral front
and partylist groups, are baring their ‘true skin’ as non-believers of
God by slowly tearing apart religion and faith in our Creator, the
very foundation of our country’s life and being; and of the family as
The Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD) Partylist issued
this statement in reaction to House Bill 6330 entitled “Religious
Freedom in Government Offices Act” filed by Kabataan Partylist Rep.
Raymond Palatino seeking “to empower heads of government offices and
departments to strictly follow the constitutional provision on the
freedom of religion in the exercise of their official functions, and
in the use of government facilities and property.” (Lawmaker wants
religion out of gov't offices, 6/16/2012, www.philstar.com)
“As principal author of the measure, Rep. Palatino deliberately
expressed twisted interpretation of the Constitution that has since
guaranteed every Filipino’s freedom of religion and free religious
expression. Nowhere in any of the provisions in our Constitution that
prohibits the expression of one’s faith and belief in God by prayer or
Mass in any place in the country, even in public spaces and offices,”
emphasized Rep. Alcover.
The pro-democracy solon pointed out that with about 85% of Filipinos
belonging to the Roman Catholic Church, “It is understandable that the
3 o’clock prayer in the afternoon, on weekdays, and the offering of
the Holy Mass in some public offices and edifices, on special occasion
and events, are held. However, non-Catholics are not forced or obliged
to participate but are very much welcome if they do so, in their own
volition,” Rep. Alcover pointed out.
“True to being Mao’s protégé, Rep. Palatino obligingly is plainly
referring to Karl Marx’s doctrine – ‘Religion is the opium of the
people’ and the display of religious images and practices must be
prohibited in government offices and edifices. In reality, House Bill
6330 is just the first step towards what Filipinos should expect under
a Jose Ma. Sison-led communist dictatorship,” Rep. Alcover said.
Pointing to his experience and knowledge in the Maoist communist
underground, covering about 10 years, Rep. Alcover said “We were told
that religion and faith in God is opposed to the doctrines and
objectives of the communist organization. Still afresh in my memory
was the time when we were ordered by the CPP leadership to openly
denounce and condemn the so-called ‘Clerico-Fascists’, mainly the
clergies and nuns of the Roman Catholic Church and other religious
Realizing that religion and faith in God is deeply rooted among
Filipinos, the Maoist communist leadership made a 180° turnaround and
took in many priests and nuns, including pastors of different
Christian churches mainly from the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI)
and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), to their
fold while riding high on the so-called Liberation Theology of Vatican
II, Rep. Alcover explained.
He named some of the erstwhile Clerico-Fascists turned exponents of
the communist ideology as Sister Mary John Mananzan, OSB of the Task
Force Detainees (TFD); Fr. Rustico Tan MSC aka Tikoy of the NPA in
Central Visayas; Fr. Nick Ruiz, Fr. Frank Navarro in Caraga, Fr. Frank
Fernandez in Negros Islands; and many more who are with the Maoist
terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF underground Christians for National Liberation (CNL).
“Through their bills and other legislative measures in Congress,
Maoist communist partylist groups are giving us a peek of their
Godless ideology”, Rep. Alcover said citing the Reproductive Health
and Divorce bills filed by Maoist communist partylist representatives
that are now pending in Congress and the soon to be filed bill
allowing Same-Sex-Marriage, by the same communist group.
“In fact, same-sex-marriage is now openly practiced within their
Godless and violent Maoist organization. Because of these, we should
not be surprised if Palatino and his comrades pursue measures against
religion and destroying the family, the very fundamental institution
of government. Instead the ante of concern and alarm should be raised
among God fearing Filipinos to stave-off Maoist communist assault on
our faith and religion. Remember, non-Catholics are not exempted from
the communist’s wrath!” he stressed.
related article: What is religious freedom?
Shooting incident at Robinson’s Place
By RPCRD, Police Regional
June 20, 2012
CAMP RUPERTO KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – A Security Guard suspect of a
shooting incident was apprehended by Tacloban City Police Station 1.
Suspect was identified as Archie Acebo Riel of Barangay 62, Sagkahan,
Tacloban City and a Security Guard at Robinson”s Place, Marasbaras,
According to report, at about 4:50 PM on June 18, 2012, suspect was on
duty as Security Guard at Robinson’s Appliance Center. He had a heated
argument with the victim identified as a certain Leo Silvano Salogaol,
26 years old, an employee/salesman of Whirlpool products of the
establishment and a resident of Barangay Talalora, Tanauan, Leyte.
It was learned that when the victim was about to go out from the
establishment, he was then frisked by the suspect prompting him to
punch the latter on the left face. The suspect then pulled out his
issued caliber .38 revolver shooting the victim twice on the chest
causing commotion on the mall-goers.
The victim was immediately rushed to Bethany Hospital but was
pronounced dead after several hours of medical treatment.
The suspect then was brought to Police Station 1, Marasbaras, Tacloban
City for proper disposition and subsequently detained at TCPO lock-up
cell. Confiscated from him was the issued caliber .38 Armscor Revolver
with serial number 1094081 containing two (2) live ammos and two (2)
was filed before the suspect charging him for Homicide before the
Regional Trial Court of Tacloban City.
PH retains Tier 2 status in U.S. trafficking report - VP Binay
By OVP Media
June 20, 2012
MANILA – The Philippines has retained its Tier 2 status in the
latest Global Trafficking in Persons (GTIP) Report of the United
States Department of State, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay announced
today in Jeddah.
“As Chairman Emeritus of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking
(IACAT), I am pleased to announce that the Philippines has retained
its Tier 2 status in the U.S. State Department’s Global Trafficking in
Persons Report for 2012,” Binay said.
Binay said the country’s consistent performance was the result of the
effective coordination from all member-agencies of the IACAT.
He congratulated the members of the council and thanked the
non-government organizations (NGOs) involved in the anti-trafficking
drive of the government.
“Under President Benigno Aquino III’s leadership and in a span of two
years, we have exceeded what the previous administration had
accomplished in five years. We were able to achieve 39
trafficking-related convictions in a span of 22 months compared to the
29 convictions the previous administration had from 2005 to June
2010,” the Vice President said.
He added that under President Benigno Aquino III, the country has
remained consistent in the Tier 2 category.
“Being in Tier 2 status means that we are making significant efforts
to comply with the requirements of the U.S. Trafficking Victims
Protection Act (TVPA),” he said.
“We were in Tier 2 Watch List status during the previous
administration, in danger of being placed under Tier 3, which means
being included in the list of countries that do not cooperate in the
fight against trafficking and subjected to US foreign assistance
sanctions,” he added.
Binay said that IACAT has taken note of the U.S. State Department’s
recommendations in the report.
Recommendations included in the report were for the government to
“sustain the intensified effort to investigate, prosecute, and convict
an increased number of both labor and sex trafficking offenders in the
trafficking of Filipinos within the country and abroad” and increase
funding for anti-trafficking programs of all IACAT member-agencies.
The report also noted that the government needed to “address the
significant backlog of trafficking cases by developing mechanisms to
track and monitor the status of cases filed with the Department of
Justice (DOJ),” conduct “immediate and rigorous” investigations of
government officials complicit in trafficking activities.”
Furthermore, the GTIP report recommended the strengthening of
anti-trafficking training for police recruits, front-line officers,
and police investigators, and to improve collaboration between NGOs
and law enforcement authorities.
Smart expands ‘Piso Sale’ lineup
June 20, 2012
MAKATI CITY – An Apple iPhone, a Samsung Tablet, and a Windows Phone
each for only one Peso each: these are just some of the great gadgets
that wireless leader Smart is putting up for grabs as it adds more to
its Piso Sale lineup.
With every postpaid application or contract renewal from June 18 to
25, 2012, both new and existing Smart All-In Plan 1800 subscribers can
purchase the premium Apple iPhone 4, the business-centric Nokia E7, or
the entertainment-savvy Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 for the price of a
piece of candy.
Similarly, Smart All-In Plan 1200 subscribers can take home the
stylish Apple iPhone 3GS and the robust Nokia E5 for the same price
while All-In Plan 800 subscribers can have their pick between the
elegant Nokia N9 (16/64GB) or a functional Netbook PC.
Budget postpaid subscribers can also join in on the savings spree as
the Windows-powered HTC Mozart, the intelligent Samsung Wave II S8530,
and the quirky QWERTY Nokia E72 are also available for one Peso at
All-in Plan 500.
Lastly, those looking to own basic yet functional phones such as the
Netphone 501 and the Nokia C2-03, can do so by signing up for a Smart
Unli Call & Text Plan 599.
“We’ve made owning the best devices on the best network easier than
ever before,” said Smart Postpaid Marketing Head Kathy Carag. “And to
top it off, we also have the only network that will let you and your
gadget Live More than how you thought was possible,” she said.
more information on the Piso Sale and other Smart Postpaid offerings,
visit www.smart.com.ph/postpaid or go the Smart Store nearest you.
Cayetano called on the government to investigate killings of
environmentalists and DENR employees
June 19, 2012
PASAY CITY – Senate minority leader Alan Peter S. Cayetano called on
the government to act on the reported killings of employees of
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and
He said that the fact that the killings are not sensational media
items, it is no reason for the national government to take the deaths
“It is disappointing to note that nothing has been heard of results of
investigations on the deaths. Are these deaths all in vain? ,” he
He noted that to date, 14 DENR employees and environmentalists have
been killed under the Aquino administration, DENR Butuan employee
Ricardo Magallanes being the most recent on June 1.
“This series of events has a chilling effect on various environmental
groups,” he said.
“Instead of speaking out against illegal loggers and other violators
of the country’s environmental laws, they will cease to do so for fear
of their lives,” he added.
He cited the case of the illegal logging operations discovered inside
the 13,800-hectare forest traversing Zambales and the Pangasinan town
The senator said the Aquino administration’s call for environmental
protection should be matched by measures that will protect those who
respond to the call.
“Violators have no qualms resorting to violence to keep their
operations profitable. Government must send a strong message to those
who intimidate and silence environmentalists with impunity that these
acts will not go unpunished,” he said.
The minority leader suggested the creation of a joint DENR and
Department of Justice (DOJ) task-force to investigate the deaths and
recommend measures to counter the deadly tactics of the syndicates and
stressed that with local agencies manning the front lines, it is
incumbent upon the national government to provide all the support in
the campaign particularly against illegal loggers and miners.
VP Binay to meet Pope; flies to Rome from Saudi
By OVP Media
June 19, 2012
MANILA – Vice President Jejomar C. Binay will fly to Rome to meet
with Pope Benedict XVI after he conveys the country’s condolences to
King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud on the passing of Crown Prince
Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“Prior to the death of the Crown Prince, I was originally scheduled to
leave for Italy a few days from today, to meet with our OFWs there.
Because of this change in timetable, I will now be proceeding to Rome
from Saudi Arabia after a short stop in Dubai,” the Vice President
said in a statement before his departure.
Binay said he considers the private audience with the Pope “a great
privilege” knowing how busy the Pontiff is.
“I look forward to it with great joy and expectation, coming as it
does on a date so close to the scheduled canonization of a new
Filipino saint, Pedro Calungsod, in October, and my own 40th
wedding anniversary on July 4,” he said.
“I hope to convey to the Holy Father all the good wishes of our
people, most of whom are members of the Church, and for whom he has
shown so much love and affection,” he added.
The Vice President further said that the Pope also had just announced
that the next Eucharistic Congress, one of the biggest events of the
Catholic Church every three years, would be held in Cebu in 2015.
Binay flew to Saudi as President Benigno Aquino’s representative.
The Crown Prince died of an unspecified lingering illness on June 16
at a hospital in Switzerland. He was 78 years old.
Binay said the Crown Prince was “a good friend of the Philippines and
the Filipino people” who helped keep the people of Saudi Arabia,
including the one million or so Overseas Filipino Workers, out of
harm’s way through his anti-terrorism campaigns.
“For this alone, the Prince deserves the gratitude and prayers of our
people,” he said.
While in Jeddah, the Vice President will also meet with the Filipino
community in Saudi Arabia. He did the same during his last visit to
the Arab state.
“Last year, I had a most memorable and productive meeting with
thousands of Filipino workers who were stranded and awaiting
repatriation at the Hajj Terminal. Through the help of His Majesty,
the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, we were able to facilitate
their return to the Philippines shortly after my visit,” he said.
Binay is the Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)
Landmines recovered by Army troops in Samar
By DPAO, 8ID PA
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar – The 63rd Infantry (Innovator)
Battalion, 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine Army
commanded by LTC Dante B Barotilla INF (GSC) PA encountered around 30
NPA members at vicinity Brgy Geparayan, Silvino Lobos, Northern Samar
yesterday June 17, 2012 around 1:57PM.
Pfc Rolly S Lapitanfrom Geparayan CAFGU Active Auxiliary Patrol Base
led the operating troops during the encounter which resulted to the
recovery of four (4) landmines, six (6) backpacks, six (6) rolls
electrical wires, one (1) ICOM, one (1) binocular and assorted
magazine with live ammunitions. No casualties were reported on the
government side while undetermined numbers on the enemy side.
The 8ID is continuously conducting Peace and Development Activities
(PDA) in Samar to assist the local governments in identifying and
addressing the primary needs of the communities. The PDA is in close
coordination and collaboration with the Local Government Units, Local
Government Agencies, Civic Oriented Groups and other Stakeholders in
order to have a peaceful and progressive community. However, the NPA
continuously perpetrates terroristic and illegal acts such as landmine
operations in order to sow fear among civilian communities and hamper
development in the region.
“The Philippine Army is calling civilian communities and all Samareños
to denounce all terroristic acts done by the NPA for continuously
utilizing landmines against civilian targets and government troops.
These landmines not only cause undue harm but also endanger the lives
of the civilians living in the area” said BGen Gerardo T Layug AFP,
Commander, 8ID, PA.
“The 8ID troops will continuously pursue its military operations in
order to safeguard the communities against all forms of threat to
peace and development. I personally commend the troops of LTC Barotilla
for their successful Peace and Development Activities and also for
pre-empting incalculable damage to the community in Silvino Lobos that
would have been caused by the NPA’s use of landmines” added Layug.