January 19, 2009

SCHOOL officials, including the principal of the Quezon City Science High School, who imposed a 10-day suspension on four students for posting criticisms in a blog could face charges of violating the anti-child abuse law and the freedom of expression, according to the Commission on Human Rights.

The education department’s National Capital Region office on Friday stopped the suspension ordered by the principal, Zenaida Sadsad, which was supposed to take effect today.

Pinoy Weekly
Enero 18, 2009

MATAPOS magreklamo ang ilang magulang, pinigilan na ng panrehiyong tanggapan ng Department of Education-National Capital Region ang parusang sampung araw na suspensyon na ipinataw kamakailan sa apat na estudyante ng Quezon City Science High School (QCSHS).

Nakatakda sanang ipatupad ang suspensyon sa mga estudyante simula ngayong Lunes, Enero 19, bilang parusa sa mga sinulat na artikulo sa kanilang mga blog na tumutuligsa kay Dr. Zenaida Panti Sadsad, punong-guro ng paaralan.

Last week, I was invited to guest in ANC’s Media in Focus as a resource person on the topic “plagiarism”. The program took off from the CMFR report penned by Hector Bryant Macale.

For those who missed it, has come out with the story below:

Plagiarism and the ‘ponente’ system

When former broadsheet reporter Anthony Ian Cruz wrote an exclusive on a US journal’s assessment of the Arroyo administration, he had no idea that his story would be copied by a rival publication a day later.

Cruz, a former Malaya reporter who now writes for the Asahi Shimbun, said he published his story “Influential US journal says GMA sank RP into morass of corruption” on the January 28 issue of Malaya. That evening, he said he was surprised to see an article on the same topic appear on the Web site of The Daily Tribune.

Journalism, they say, is history written in a hurry. And some hurry more than the rest. The daily dash to beat the deadlines have inspired others to plagiarize, as we can read from this report by Hector Bryant Macale of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility.

As you can see, next to the case of the Alecks Pabico was my own. Yes, one of my articles in Malaya was plagiarized only a day after it was published.

March 31, 2008

PRO-DEMOCRACY groups in Hong Kong yesterday warned investors that “corruption and murders taint their investments in the Philippines” and made true their vow to shame President Arroyo, calling her a “plunderer” and a “murderer” right outside the Conrad Hotel, venue of the 11th Credit Suisse Asia Investment Conference which she attended.

The HK Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (HKCAHRPP) said local police attempted to place its members some 100 meters away from Conrad Hotel, but the residents successfully staged their protest right in front of the venue.

Jackie Hung, the group’s convenor, reminded investors “the experience of ZTE whose deal for a national broadband network in the Philippines has been recently exposed to be tainted with corruption.”

“Will you really entrust your money to thieves in high office?” Hung asked.

March 31, 2008

PRESIDENT Arroyo yesterday left for Hong Kong to attend the 11th Credit Suisse Asia Investment Conference and meet with the Filipino community and foreign investors.

Arroyo boarded PAL flight 306 at around 2:45 p.m. at the NAIA Centennial Terminal, accompanied by First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye, Trade Secretary Peter Favila, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr., and deputy presidential spokeswoman Lorelei Fajardo.

Bunye, in an ambush interview, dismissed the plan of a militant Filipino workers group to greet the President with a rally.

“It comes with the territory and we have to learn to live with it,” he said.

About 2,000 of members of the Gloria Step Down Movement, which is leading the OFW protesters in Hong Kong, welcomed Arroyo with a demonstration in Wanchai district.

The HK Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines said demonstrations will also be held tomorrow at the HK Central Government Office and the Shangri-La and Conrad Hilton International Hotel.

March 29, 2008

A FILIPINA has put herself in South Korea’s history books for being the first foreign-born citizen to run for a seat in the country’s National Assembly.

Ambassador Luis Cruz reported that Judith A. Hernandez is the first candidate without Korean lineage to run for the Philippine equivalent of a congressional seat.”

Hernandez is running under the Republic of Korea Party in the general elections slated on April 9.

Originally from Cavite, Hernandez arrived in South Korea in the mid-90s and married a Korean national.

March 28, 2008

OVERSEAS Filipino workers’ advocate Migrante International on Thursday assailed the “obvious lack of coordination” between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration after the agencies put out conflicting reports on the actual number of OFWs stranded in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia who are set for repatriation soon.

Migrante chair Connie Bragas Regalado said DFA undersecretary Esteban Conejos announced that 27 out of 117 stranded OFWs will be deported soon while OWWA administrator Marianito Roque claimed 84 out of 145 distressed OFWs were coming home soon.

Regalado said both the DFA and OWWA should release a complete list of the stranded OFWs, especially the ones reportedly scheduled for deportation. She said accounts of “chaos and emotional trauma” experienced by the said OFWs have reached Migrante’s offices in Manila, Riyadh and Jeddah.

March 28, 2008

MALACAÑANG yesterday said the Philippine government is willing to meet with United Nations officials again to defend the human rights record of the country in view of allegations that it has not made any progress in prosecuting those involved in extrajudicial killings since 2001.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW), which held a press conference with the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) on Thursday to describe the government’s human rights report as replete with “falsehoods and inaccuracies,” has asked the UN Human Rights Council to take the Philippines to task for its alleged failure to prosecute military personnel involved in extrajudicial killings.

The group reportedly said no military official has been convicted for the killings despite the findings of UN special rapporteur Philip Alston and the Melo Commission of military involvement in the death of political activists.

March 28, 2008

PRESIDENT Arroyo is leaving for Hong Kong on Sunday to attend the Asian Investment Conference and meet with the Filipino community.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said Arroyo and her delegation will be back on Tuesday.

Bunye said the President will meet the Filipino community Sunday evening to tell them about the country’s economic growth and about the hedging facilities put up by the government to protect their earnings from the currency fluctuations.

She will also ask them to invest their earnings in tourism, agriculture and real property.

March 26, 2008

MIGRANTE International on Tuesday claimed the Philippine diplomatic mission to Japan is ill-equipped to handle OFW welfare issues, including the recent murder of Cristina Mahusay Lopez-Nagano and her seven-month old son Naomasa Nagano.

Cristina’s husband Masayushi Nagano is now in police custody after surrendering and admitting to killing his wife and infant son last March 17.

Migrante chair Connie Bragas Regalado said “more than the repatriation of their remains, it is incumbent on the DFA and the Arroyo government to ensure justice is served and that similarly tragic events do not befall other Filipinas in Japan.”

Regalado said abuse and domestic violence against Filipinas in Japan is a “long-standing problem. It is abhorrent that until now, the DFA still has no concrete measures in place that will provide immediate relief to Filipina victims of abuse.”

March 18, 2008

VETERAN street parliamentarian Fr. Jose “Joe” Dizon, who is an active leader of protest actions against President Arroyo, last week received South Korea’s most prestigious human rights award in ceremonies held in Seoul.

Dizon received the Tji Hak-Soon Justice and Peace Award on behalf of the Workers Assistance Center (WAC) which he serves as executive director and which he co-founded in 1994. WAC became the first Philippine recipient of the citation, which is the only international and publicly-funded human rights award in South Korea.

The award “commemorates the life, works and beliefs of the late Bishop Daniel Tji Hak-soon” who is referred to by South Koreans as “an icon of the anti-dictatorship movement.”

March 14, 2008

THE United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in a study unveiled Tuesday in Bangkok, said that drowning and road accidents have become the leading cause of death and disability among children older than one year of age in Bangladesh, China, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

UNICEF expressed worry over the finding that “intentional injury” or homicide and suicide were the leading cause of death among adolescents, adding that the gathered information may be underestimated due to the sensitive nature of the incidents.

The study marks the first time that causes of death and disability among a representative sample of all children up to 18 years were reliably recorded, citing face-to-face interviews done with more than half a million households covering more than 2 million people in the five countries.

Done over the last seven years, the study was spearheaded by UNICEF and The Alliance for Safe Children (TASC), and in partnership with local public health teams.

“Nearly half of all child deaths included in the studies happened after the age of five. The most easily preventable causes were suffocation and drowning which mostly occurred in children under five years of age,” said the UNICEF.

March 13, 2008

A LEADER of the Philippine Business Leaders Forum (PBLF) yesterday said the Philippines has become the most corrupt country in the region, imperiling efforts to attract foreign investors and keeping those who are already here.

In an interview at the sidelines of an Asian Institute of Management Policy Center forum, PBLF chair and CEO Michael Clancy said “the level of corruption here and the stink of it is much greater here than I have ever witnessed.”

Clancy, who has lived in Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan, said companies doing business in the region allot about “10 percent” of costs for “facilitation” or bribes.

He said in the Philippines, the figure is 50 percent.

March 10, 2008

THE mother of missing activist Jonas Burgos has obtained expressions of support from the offices of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who is leading the Democratic presidential nomination and Republican presidential nominee Arizona Sen. John McCain.

“The offices that we have visited showed a great concern on the human rights situation in the Philippines,” said Edita Burgos, who is in the US on a seven-city speaking tour to drum up support in her quest to find her son.

The offices of Senator Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) and Richard Lugar (R., Ind.), both senior members of the Senate foreign relations committee, also opened their doors to Burgos.

March 8, 2008

FILIPINAS are among the growing number of women who are working but are mostly in low-productivity, low-paid and vulnerable jobs, with no social protection, basic rights nor voice at work, according to a new International Labor Organization report issued for International Women’s Day.

The report “Global Employment Trends for Women – March 2008” said the number of employed women grew by almost 200 million over the last decade, reaching 1.2 billion in 2007 compared to 1.8 billion men.

However, the ILO said the number of unemployed women also grew to 81.6 million from 70.2 million over the same period.

Citing results of the October 2007 Labor Force Survey, the ILO said labor force participation for Filipinas was only 36.5 percent compared to men at 63.5 percent.

“Although there are more unemployed men, many Filipino women remain in low-paid jobs at 26.25 percent with only 10.94 percent for men. In addition, women in the Philippines tend to get jobs which are low in productivity,” said ILO.

According to Linda Wirth, director of the ILO subregional office in Manila, “creating more and decent work and promoting gender equality at the workplace in the Philippines can help reduce the necessity for women to migrate and face risks entailed in overseas jobs as well as mitigate the critical skills losses in health and educational services.”

March 8, 2008

THE joint seismic study agreement the Philippines struck with China in 2004 preparatory to oil exploration in the disputed Spratlys covers an area that laps the western shores of Philippines, Malaya was able to establish yesterday.

The agreement has been kept secret by the Philippine government, but Malaya was able to secure a copy of Annex “A” which delineates the boundaries of the area covered.

At its farthermost eastern edge, the area is around 25 kilometers from the southern tip of Palawan. At its northern boundary, the area abuts the Malampaya oil field and includes an area the Philippines had long awarded to a British company for oil exploration.

Of the total 142,886 kilometers, around 24,000 square kilometers clearly belong to the Philippines and fall outside the areas in the Spratlys which are claimed either in whole or in part by the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia and Brunei.

The area also swallows almost 80 percent of the Kalayaan Group which the Philippines claims.

The Spratly island itself, which serves as the reference when referring to the Spratly Group, is at the westernmost edge area covered by the agreement. The island is about 700 kilometers from Palawan.

Malaya publisher Amado Macasaet, in an article, has said that President Arroyo and then Speaker Jose de Venecia might be held liable for treason for signing the agreement in exchange for loans “attended by bribery and corruption.”

March 7, 2008

THE Arroyo administration’s much-touted “highest economic growth” is “among the most inequitable” in the region, according to a new report of the Asian Development Bank which also said government corruption continues to hamper development in the country.

In an 83-page study “Philippines: Critical Development Constraints,” the ADB downplayed Malacañang’s declarations of an economic take-off, saying that “while growth has picked up in recent years, with the economy in 2007 posting its highest growth of 7.3 percent in the last three decades, both public and private investment remain sluggish and their share in gross domestic product has continued to decline, raising the question of whether the current economic momentum can be sustained.”

“In per capita terms, the growth was even less favorable,” said the ADB, pointing out from 1961-2006, “per capita gross GDP grew 1.4 percent annually compared with 3.6 percent in Indonesia, 3.9 percent in Malaysia, and 4.5 percent in Thailand.”

The low per capita GDP growth has resulted in a slow pace of poverty reduction and high income inequality.

The government yesterday reported that 26.9 percent of families in 2006 were below the official poverty threshold.

“In 2003, about 25 percent of Philippine families and 30 percent of the population were deemed poor and, in 2006, the Gini coefficient of per capita income – at slightly over 0.45 – was among the highest in Southeast Asia,” said the ADB.

The Gini coefficient measures inequality of income or wealth distribution.

March 4, 2008

THE United Opposition yesterday asked the Senate to act on a resolution filed by detained Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV calling for an inquiry into the “Spratly Deal” allegedly entered into by the Arroyo administration with China “in exchange for dirty loans.”

Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, UNO president, said if Arroyo has indeed signed the deal allowing China to explore Philippine territorial waters, “she has given away our sovereignty to a foreign power in exchange for loans that are the source of multi-million-peso kickbacks and a campaign war chest for the 2010 elections.”

The opposition call came as the Department of Foreign Affairs said a Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) signed on Sept. 1, 2004 with China “does not impinge on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Philippines.”