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Anti-APEC protest snuffed out by riot police


ILOILO CITY
May 11, 2015

To show that Aklan Province is prosperous and peaceful, the Aquino government flooded it with soldiers and police instead of simply letting Akeanons go about their daily grind.

The northwestern Panay Province now crawls with at least 6,000 Armed Forces members and police personnel, particularly the capital Kalibo, New Washington and Malay, the town having jurisdiction of Caticlan port and Boracay Island resort.

The Caticlan jetty port links mainland Panay with Boracay.

That militarized atmosphere will last until May 24 when the ministerial meeting of the Asia-Pacific Cooperation (APEC) held in Boracay Island ends.

George Calaor, chair of the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) – Aklan, bewails that economic activities in Aklan and Boracay have been disrupted affecting thousands of entrepreneurs, small businesses, laborers and farmers.

Among his report:

* Over 1,000 sustenance fishers kicked out of their fishing ground, affecting mostly the town of New Washington. The Philippine Navy barred fishers from extracting in their traditional source, the portion of the sea between the town and Boracay, and the sea surrounding the island resort itself. Fishers are no longer allowed to dock their pumpboats on the beaches nor berth off New Washington because the Navy forbid them to.

*Construction workers are barred from entering Boracay because the tools of their trade like hammers, bores, chisels are considered “deadly weapons”. The only construction work that has not been disrupted is at the hotel owned by Lucio Tan, a Chinoy taipan.

*Farmers and households are no longer allowed to practice their tradition of drying their palay on the roadsides from Kalibo to Caticlan, a stretch of 60 kilometers.

*Ambulant vendors in Kalibo and the towns leading to Boracay are now restricted from displaying their wares on roadsides.

*Tricycles, the main mode of transport in Kalibo are now barred from plying their traditional route to present a semblance of order in traffic management.

*Tight security has turned off potential tourists. Even resort owners and their workers are subjected to measures like body frisk. The police at the Caticlan jetty port no longer search bags: they order the owners to disgorge their contents in their presence to prevent the entry of weapons incidentally to include scissors and nail-cutters.

That means, the affected sectors above have no choice but bear the loss of income and food until May 24.

At the presscon today, Bayan members denounce the Aquino administration for placing Aklan under “martial law”.

The presscon was held here to air what transpired yesterday in Kalibo when Bayan members staged a rally at the roadside.

The protesters were about 100 and were lining along the roadside. They expected more coming had not for the quick arrival of two trucks carrying riot police and another two trucks of battle-ready Army soldiers, about 400 in all. Two firetrucks showed up to reinforce the armed contingent.

The police staged “operation katok” in urban communities evening of May 9, warning dwellers to stay away from protests actions staged by Bayan. Morning of next day, riot police swarmed on urban poor commuinities to prevent members from joining the anti-Apec mass action.

At the scene of the rally, riot police, three-men deep, surrounded the anti-APEC protesters box-type and gradually closed down on them forcing the rallyists, who earlier formed a single line two meters apart to huddle together as their space constricted.

George Calaor said they were only exercising their constitutional right to peaceful assembly to redress grievances, and their freedom of expression. He was one of the two persons who the riot police shoved to the ground when the latter started pushing in.

Calaor showed reporters contusions in his right arm. He is incidentally a person with disability (PWD), a polio survivor to be more specific.

Elmer Forro, spokesperson of KMU-Panay says: “Wherever APEC holds meetings, people greet them with mass mobilizations.

APEC promises member countries prosperity but so far, it pushes people to poverty, particularly the workers, farmers and low income groups because of policies it imposes on member states like compliance to deregulation, liberalization and privatization. Filipinos are among the victims of such policies.

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Igo man lang magtikal World Mayor mo


Iloilo, both city and province, has no “AAA” or “triple A” abattoir. All it has is the lonesome “AA” in Passi City.

Passi erected its slaughterhouse sometime in 2003 at P45 million. Critics rued it was “overpriced” but somehow, its local chief executive Jesry Palmares managed to overcome that as the facility became an income earner after notching an exclusive contract with Monterey, the country’s major producer of frozen choice cuts of pork and beef.

The National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) accredited the Passi slaughterhouse “AAA” until about two years ago when the national government entity downgraded it to “AA”.

Iloilo City’s abattoir already absorbed over P200 million funding, first in the time of Jerry Trenas (2001 – 2010) and later his successor and still incumbent mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog. Despite the huge money it has gobbled up, the city abattoir at Tacas, Pavia, never went beyond single A.

The provincial veterinary quotes the NMIS classification of abattoir to be based on the authority-to-market. Triple A means it can export frozen cuts to other countries, double A the abattoir is authorized to ship outside Iloilo, and single A only within its territorial jurisdiction like that of Iloilo City which is only allowed to distribute meat to markets within the city, explains Dr. Tabuada, assistant provincial veterinarian.

He adds that three more double A abattoir are being constructed all owned by the municipalities – San Joaquin whose facility is almost done, Barotac Viejo and Barotac Nuevo.

During the time of Trenas, Iloilo city’s abattoir enjoyed “AA” accreditation with three personnel having trained in Bulacan and headed by a veterinarian Tomas Forteza. After Mabilog took over the city, however, the facility which was earning in Trenas’s time plummeted in quality.

Mabilog ‘s seat hadn’t warmed up yet in 2010 when he ordered a group of persons from his place in Molo district to take over and unceremoniously eased out the workers appointed by Trenas.

The new crew, headed by one Vincent De La Cruz, took only two months to demolish what Dr. Forteza had established. The chain block where the animals are processed while suspended above the floor, and also serving as conveyor, conked out. Workers no longer wore protective gears like rubber boots, hard hats, aprons and gloves and reverted to the primitive way of butchering and processing carcasses on the floor mixing them up with sludge and dung. The workers no longer don protective gears some only in short pants and slippers and many times shirtless.

The waste disposal system, despite the additional P100 million from the pork barrel of Senate President Franklin Drilon, deteriorated as well and the facility is now an object of complaints from Pavianhons (it is located in Pavia town) due to the foul smell emanating from it.

Dr. Forteza resigned from the abattoir and returned to his mother unit, the city veterinary which he heads. He brought along with him butcher knives, chopping boards, buckets and fiberglass basins, boots, aprons and hard hats all of which he bought from his own pocket if only to start up the facility. He also tore down the staff bunker, a sort of rest house, which he erected on his own.

With this development, Passi City’s abattoir will continue enjoying the lucrative contract with Monterey.
Three other abattoirs expected to be rated “AA” will soon be joining the market in Iloilo which has been tagged as the biggest supplier of hogs to Manila, Cebu and Davao, three biggest cities in the Philippines.

Sayang ka, Ciudad de Iloilo. Igo man lang magtikal si World Mayor mo!

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Interntional fact-finding mission bewails LGU and PNP inaction


Oton, Iloilo

August 15, 2014

The Philippine embassy in Germany, more than 10,000 kilometers away from the Philippines, seems to know who murdered Romeo Robles Capalla, chair of the Panay Fair Trade Cooperative (PFTC), ahead of local governments and the police.

The local police as well as the officialdom of Oton, Iloilo, residence of Capalla and scene where he was attacked –five months to this date–March 15, 2014 are still caught in catatonic inaction. A gunman shot Capalla at the public market after he disembarked from his SUV to fetch his mother-in-law. About the same time, armed men lobbed bombs at the muscovado mill in Januiay run by the PFTC network.

In both attacks witnesses point to members of the Revolutionary Proletariat Army – Alex Boncayao Brigade as culprits.The fury among Capalla’s supporters hardly died down but another PFTC partner, Dionisio Garete was killed in an ambush in Janiuay, Iloilo two months after, May 29. Garete was the driver of the truck that transports sugar cane and muscovado sugar of farmers within the network of PFTC.

Despite positive identification by witnesses in Januiay town still has the local government and police trapped in catatonic inaction. The suspect who was identified by an eye witness, still roams publicly armed. The police seems helpless to arrest and disarm him, or at least, interview more people to gather information.

Letters-condemnation from PFTC partners deluged the Philippines embassies and consulates in Europe, over 200 of them. Philippine ambassador to Germany Maria Cleofe R. Natividad, took pain to answer one letter (by one Gudrun Chopin). Part of her letter, dated May 23, 2014, reads:

              “Please be informed that the Philippine Embassy in Berlin received the following Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Manila as follows:

Xxx

              “The PNP created a “Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Capalla on 17 March 2014 to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Capalla. The investigation was headed by the Iloilo Provincial Police Office.

              “Based on the SITG findings, the shooting to death of Mr. Capalla was perpetuated by the Revolutionary Proletariat Army – Alex Boncayao Brigade, a breakaway faction of the CPPNPA//NDF in retaliation to the killing of the RPA/ABB’s leader, Demetrio Capilastique aka Ka Hugo on 20 December 2013.”

Members of the “International Fact Finding Mission” joined by five Koreans and two Italians expressed dismay at the “inability of the local governments and the police in protecting their people and arresting the suspects.”

The police charged one suspect though, an alleged lookout. But the fact finding team is prompted to raise yet another question: how he was not summoned or arrested to identify his co-conspirators, six of them riding on three motorcycles, especially the triggerman and mastermind?Almost all of them chorused: the suspects were known how come no arrest were made and none were summoned for investigation.

Streamers fluttering at the concrete walls of PFTC and at the gathering inside, identified the killers as members of the RPA-ABB, tagged as “death squad” of the government military.

Geraldine Labradores, representative of PFTC counterpart in Cebu, said their sources said that government death squads target 12 PFTC officers, two of them – Capalla and Garete — already killed.

The foreign supporters of the murdered PFTC workers told reporters here this afternoon, they were not just dismayed.

“I am not only dismayed: I am frustrated, I am shocked, I am angry,” said Rudi Dalvai, from Italy, and president of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). He singled out Januiay Mayor Frankie Locsin who not only failed to act, but perfunctorily dismissed the incident as mere “internal struggle.”

The fact-finding team paid Locsin a call to ask him to help stop the attacks on PFTC people. It also visited Oton mayor Vicente Flores, who not only forgot his duty to solve the Capalla murder but blamed the family and supporters “for not cooperating.”

WFTO partners, more than 200 of them, in Europe, N. America and Asia, flooded the embassies of the Philippines and different offices of the government within the country condemning the slaying of Capalla and Garete.

“The killings were done by professionals how could the police and local officials do nothing to protect their own people and arrest the murderers?”  asked Dalvai.

Kim Sumin, fair trade team member of ICOOP Union of Korea said she was stunned by the inaction of local officials and police. She declared: “Unbelievable! The killings of Romeo (Capalla) and Dionisio (Garete) shocked the whole world, particularly us in Korea. The local police and local governments consider these like ordinary car accidents.”

PFTC, an institution that has links to partners in Europe, Japan, HongKong, Korea, the United States and Canada, advocats “alternative trading practices”. For example, it buys farmers’ produce (sugar cane, sab-a bananas, and ginger) at prices higher than the dictates of middlemen, and processes in its processing plant with labourers who enjoy better deals than workers of malls.The Korean ICOOP has 200,000 members, “consumers of PFTC products”, which deluged the Philippine embassy in Korea with indignation letters signed by almost all members.

It exports its muscovado, banana chips, instant tahu and ginger chew to foreign partners who in turn buy them at prices higher than those set by the “free market.”

Ko Doohwan, chair of the Fair Trade Korea, read out the recommendations of the international fact findig body: investigate the killings of Romeo Capalla and Dionisio Garete, arrest and prosecute the murderers, and protect the people in the network of PFTC.

Marie Hilao-Enriquez, general secretary of Karapatan and also fact-finding team member, added that the killings of Capalla and Garete, are happening elsewhere in the Philippines, as offshoot of Oplan Bayanihan, a counter-insurgency measure of the Aquino government, “that is just an extension of Bantay Laya of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.”

“That’s one major reason why we must press for the ouster of President Aquino to put an end to culture of impunity that results in senseless murders, abductions, arrest and torture of unarmed and innocent civilians,” Hilao-Enriques said.

PFTC today produces 1,000 metric tons of muscovado, banana chips and ginger chew; 800 metric tons of that are exported to partners in Europe, N. America, Korea, Japan and HongKong.
It network benefits 10,000 persons — direct employees, farmers and landowners in Panay producing organically grown sugarcane, sab-a banana, and ginger.

PFTC is not just an exporter: it also trains farmers in organic farming and promote the earth-friendly technology to non-members.

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Diputado or legal counsel?


Legal counsel or diputado?

Iloilo City
August 14, 2014
 
WHEN broadcast stations here Tuesday (August 12) broke the news of Rep. Jerry Trenas (LP) authored a resolution for the privatization of the Metro-Iloilo Water District, I didn’t hear a congressman acting in behalf of his riding or constituency which is Iloilo City and its residents. 
 
When he castigates the MIWD in his resolution for, among others, its “lackaidisical” services, I don’t see a public servant riling to defend consumers.
 
I only see a lawyer in loyal service of a client, FloWater, a bulk supplier of the MIWD. The Trenas law firm is among the choiced counsels of mogul Rogelio Florete whose group of companies to include a bank and a network of radio stations are clients of Trenas the lawyer.
 
Trenas’s initial move was to hold a “congressional inquiry” which I was able to attend as it was just three floors above our office at the Iloilio Provincial Capitol. The inquiry, supposedly, in aid of legislation, appeared more like “in aid of collection.”
 
It was preceded by days of unrelenting broadcast tirades against the MIWD. Florete through his broadcast station has been castigating MIWD for failure to pay him P15 M at P5 M per month. The water district, a government facility, refused to pay insisting that it is only bound to pay the volume of water actually entering its pipes.
 
Florete’s engineers installed 800-mm pvc pipes from his source in Pototan, bigger than the recipient’s main line of only 200 mm. He now wants the MIWD to shoulder the snafu, ineptitude even, of his own engineers.
 
Trenas, the counsel of Florete’s latest manuever against the MIWD — privatizing it, is not intended to promote the general welfare nor protect public interest. 
 
To be blunt about it: the resolution filed by Trenas the legal counsel of his high paying client is to promote his business interests which is to take over the water facility.
 
Trenas is just one among the bureacrats peddling the yarn that privatization is a magic wand that solves poor social services in one stroke.
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People of the Philippines vs Porquia, Bosque


ILOILO CITY

August 6, 2014

 

Under the PNoy presidency, shouting protest words when he is around is mortal sin, a crime even that two hapless students knew rather too late after a band of PNP physically assaulted them June 27, 2014 for heckling Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III during his visit in Iloilo City.

 

Militants picketed the Hall of Justice here this afternoon in support of Tsinkai Porquia and Bryan Bosque, both members of Anakbayan, during their preliminary investigation before the city prosecutor. Both were charged for “alarm and scandal” after they allegedly jumped off a jeepney to slip through the cordon of the venue where President Benigno Aquino was delivering his address.

 

The complainants or signatories to the complaint affidavits, two cops ranked PO1, though admitted they neither saw the two accused shouting at the scene nor heard their utterances when their grouped ganged up on protesters, one of them (Porquia) sustaining a  blooded lips in the aftermath. The two officers further hinted before the investigating public prosecutor they might as well drop their complaints.

 

The youths’ counsel, Atty. Rene Estocapio told the officers his clients would be glad if the charges were dropped “immediately now or by tomorrow”.

 

Estocapio, member of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, reminded them that since they admitted the case they had against the two accused was flimsy, “then drop it now.”

 

What if the case were dragged and the two accused exonerated after a long and arduous inconvenience on their part?

 

Estocapio’s answer to the cops: “Drop them or face administrative charges for human rights violations, grave misconduct and conduct unbecoming.”

 

“Since when is shouting protests against the President a crime? Since when the exercise of freedom of speech a crime?” he asked.

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Notorious firm starts exploration in southern Iloilo


While our eyes are glued on the West Philippine Sea and we rage at alleged incursions and bullying by China, the latter in fact is steadily expanding its reach inland, thanks to the government that profligately grants it unlimited access to the Philippines’ mineral resources.

 

Now that the cat is out of the bag officials of a southern Iloilo town are rattled after a broadcast station exposed that they allowed a Chinese mining firm to start exploration sans public consultation.

 

And they further owe the people of Igbaras town, 40 kilometers from Iloilo City, an explanation why they surreptiously let Century Peak come in hiding behind the legal veneer of constructing two dams for irrigation and electricity.

 

Bombo Radyo broke the news evening of June 3.

 

A mining license is supposed to undergo requisites of public consultations but in this case, it sailed on smoothly in cahoots with local officials in pulling the wool down the eyes of their constituents.

 This writer earlier raised an alarm that the real purpose for the purpose of the entry of the Chinese firm is not to construct the dam. Century Peak is notorious for destroying the ecology and in using force to intimidate lumads and farmers in Mindanao. Its armed support consists of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on top of its array of private security armed with assault rifles and machine guns.

 In fact, the rebel New People’s Army (NPA) considers Century Peak a “legitimate target” of its armed attacks that it in fact carried out in several places in Mindanao.

“Watch out,” warned Edmund Esporas, former vice mayor of Igbaras. “During our term, we only enacted a resolution of non-opposition to the proposed hydro project.”

 Added Esporas: “We have insiders telling us that Juvic and his cabal have surreptitiously modified our resolution.

 Juvic is Vicente Escorpion, Jr., mayor of Igbaras.

 Asked by Bombo Radyo why he allowed Century Peak to divert from its contract of building the dams, Escorpion answered: “That’s not a problem after all, it’s only an exploration.”

 Jaime Esmeralda, MD, former mayor of the mountain town, confirmed Esporas’ statement. “We issued only a resolution favoring the hydro project but not for mining and not for any specific company like Century Peak,” he said.

 Exploration is the process of finding ores for mining. The mountains of Igbaras are rich in bauxite, copper and gold.

 It’s almost like mining where commercial extraction is allowed as shown in this webpage:

http://mcpharinternational.com/services/mining-exploration orhttps://www.google.com.ph/search?q=mining+exploration&newwindow=1&es_sm=122&tbm=isch&imgil=cVcmOvywp_ANLM%253A%253Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fencrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com%252Fimages%253Fq%253Dtbn%253AANd9GcTaBSvGj2hNBnfOcZXfrJ7zTG370YVILrdBVZ2B7KyiyEXczvivbg%253B644%253B344%253BFHa5dqe-cAp7tM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fmcpharinternational.com%25252Fservices%25252Fmining-exploration&source=iu&usg=__uBpKcaRHgVLBBVtIEXyBYKISJ5I%3D&sa=X&ei=qcqPU6WuKsXk8AWxqoGgAw&ved=0CEsQ9QEwAw&biw=1024&bih=475#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=cVcmOvywp_ANLM%253A%3BFHa5dqe-cAp7tM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fmcpharinternational.com%252Fuploads%252Fcategories%252F85e9e8fa739ed81b4ed6162899c8b3c9e0a88804_wide.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fmcpharinternational.com%252Fservices%252Fmining-exploration%3B644%3B344 .

Please click on it to view the despoliation it causes.

 

Indeed Escorpion and his cabal who won the 2013 elections through the controversial “Hocus PCOS” have a lot of explanation to do.

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CENTERLAW Statement on the Supreme Court’s Decision to Dismiss the Motions for Reconsideration Against the Constitutionality of Cyber Libel


Harry Roque's Blog

“The Court will only have itself to blame if the International Community condemns its Decision on the Cyber Crime Prevention Law as contrary to Human Rights”

(CENTERLAW Statement on the Supreme Court’s Decision to Dismiss the Motions for Reconsideration Against the Constitutionality of Cyber Libel)

Ref: Prof H. Harry L. Roque, Jr.

The Center for International Law (CenterLaw), counsel for newsmen Alexander Adonis, Ellen Tordesillas et al. expresses its disappointment over the Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss all pending motions for reconsideration of its earlier decision declaring libel in cyberspace as being constitutional.

CenterLaw believes that this latest decision is an affront anew on freedom of expression and is a blatant disregard of the view expressed by the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) declaring criminal libel in the Philippines as being incompatible with freedom of expression.

As a result, more journalists face the possibility of spending time in jail for…

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