Dispatches: President Aquino’s Shameful Silence on Human Rights

Moments after Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III finished his final State of the Nation Address today before Congress, a group of left-wing legislators in the audienceunfurled a protest banner that read: “human rights violator.”
However one feels about Aquino’s personal responsibility for ongoing human rights violations in the Philippines, it’s hard to deny their existence. That’s why Aquino’s miserable failure to even discuss the Philippines’ many pressing human rights problems in his speech is so troubling.
Instead, Aquino spoke for more than two hours on such issues as his administration’s accomplishments on the economyeducation, and the peace process in Mindanao. Aquino drew applause for promising a bill outlawingpolitical dynasties. He also recounted in detail the many shortcomings of his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and thanked everyone from his political allies to his housemaid and hairdresser.
But, perhaps unsurprisingly, Aquino barely touched on any of the serious human rights problems his administration has largely ignored since he took office in 2010. That omission adds insult to injury to the manyvictims of the government’s failure to adequately grapple with those issues. The closest he came to acknowledging human rights was his mention of the arrest of retired Gen. Jovito Palparan, who is on trial for the enforced disappearance of two activists.
More Filipinos will likely pay a heavy price for the failure to press for greater accountability for alleged abuses by the state security forces. The cost of that failure will be a rising body count from extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearance, and torture.
Aquino won the 2010 election on a political platform that included explicit human rights commitments and a promise to tackle the lack of accountability for the military and police. But unless Aquino finds his voice on human rights as he begins his last year in office ahead of the next presidential election in May 2016, those promises may remain empty rhetoric. (Carlos H. Conde,Philippines Researcher,Human Rights Watch)
Posted by: Freda Migano


A suspected lady pusher and two listed drug personalities
were arrested by combined anti-narcotics agents of the Philippine Drug
Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police during
simultaneous implementation of search warrants in Puerto Princesa
City, Palawan on July 30, 2015.

PDEA Director General Undersecretary Arturo G. Cacdac, Jr.
identified the suspects as Cristy Kilem y Moncatar, alias Lovely
Lagrada, 27 years old, single; Marlito Benasa y Orbita, alias Dodong,
49, both residents of Typoco Village, San Manuel, Puerto Princesa
City, Palawan; and Roberto Ordoñez Jr. y Morta, alias Onyok, 34, and a
resident of Abrena Compound, River Road, San Manuel, Puerto Princesa
City, Palawan.

At around 6:00 in the morning, combined operatives of PDEA Regional
Office 4B (PDEA RO4B) under the direct supervision of Director Archie
A. Grande implemented a search warrant issued by Hon. Angelo R.
Arizala, Presiding Judge of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 52 in
Puerto Princesa City, at Typoco Village and Abrena Compound, San
Manuel, Puerto Princesa City, which led to the arrest of Kilem, Benasa
and Ordoñez.

Confiscated from Kilem were five pieces of small
heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing white crystalline
substance suspected to be shabu weighing 60.1758 grams with an
estimated value of P240, 703.00, one pencil case containing assorted
drug paraphernalia and one black digital weighing scale. Benasa
yielded 10 pieces of small heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of
suspected shabu weighing nine grams, one silver coin purse, one match
box containing three aluminum foils. Ordoñez yielded five pieces of
small heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of shabu weighing
55.0598 grams with an estimated value of P220,239.00, and assorted
drug paraphernalia.

Kilem, Benasa and Ordoñez will be charged for violation of
Section 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs), and Section 12 (Possession
of Equipment and Other Paraphernalia for Dangerous Drugs), Article II
of RA 9165, or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. (Mr. Glenn J. Malapad, OIC, Public Information Office, PDEA

Posted By: Edrillan Pasion


The Department of Agriculture said it is proud of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ (BFAR) achievements, foremost of which is the swift removal of the yellow card imposed on the Philippines by the European Union, proof of our fast action in accordance with international regulations against Illegal, Unreported Unregulated Fishing or IUUF.

Even President Benigno Aquino III, in his sixth and last State of the Nation Address, specifically lauded the BFAR for the swift reaction to the yellow card warning which, if not corrected, could have escalated to a trade sanction banning the Philippines from exporting fisheries products to the European Union, one of its biggest markets.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said, the BFAR is also spearheading the drafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Fisheries Code as Amended by Republic Act 10654.

“We are hoping that by September the IRR will be complete so that we could effectively implement the law against IUUF,” Alcala said.

The Secretary added, to strengthen the country’s fishery law enforcement, BFAR has thoroughly trained fishery law enforcers.

From four fishery law enforcers for the entire country in 2010, the Philippines now has 188 who have undergone a training course conducted by Philippine National Police and Philippine Military Academy personnel and community organizers.

“Three of those who were trained were among those who accosted poachers in Batanes in May,” Alcala said.

More than 1.5 million fisherfolk have already been registered in the National Program for Municipal Fisherfolk Registration (FishR), which is now being crossmatched with the National Household Targeting System-Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Fisherfolk listed on both registries will be automatically qualified for Philhealth coverage.

The fisherfolk database has also been crossmatched with the Department of Budget and Management’s Registry System for Basic Sector in Agriculture (RSBSA). Fisherfolk whose names appear on both lists will be able to avail of free full insurance bundle by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).

The Targeted Actions to Reduce Poverty and Generate Economic Transformation (TARGET) in the Fishery Sector that aims to reduce poverty incidence in the sector by 4% is also being implemented.

To support the post-harvest requirement of sustenance farmers, government has established 13 municipal fish ports, ice plants and cold storage for 25,323 fisherfolk from 2011 to 2014.

At present, there are 50 municipal fishports, ice plants and cold storage facilities in various stages of development.

“Let us look for ways to further enrich and protect our fisheries and marines resources,” Alcala said.

He, added, there is a need to review the current Comprehensive National Fisheries Industry Development Plan or CNFIDP to determine if it still meets present challenges. (DA-OSEC)

Posted by: Lynne Pingoy

DAR turns over building and farm equipment, distributes lands to farmers

Four units of farm equipment and one processing center were recently turned over by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to the local government of Siargao, Surigao del Norte.

DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes together with Surigao 1st District Representative Francisco Matugas and Surigao Norte Governor Sol Matugas led the turn over rites in Sta. Monica, Surigao del Norte on July 14, 2015.

Under the Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity Economic Support Services (ARCCESS) project, the DAR handed over two rice reapers and two floating tillers worth P549,000.00 to the farmers of Del Carmen municipality.

“These farm machines would greatly help the 587 farmers in Del Carmen in their rice and sweet potato production and marketing project,” said de los Reyes.

Farmer Benito Comon, who could not wait to use the equipment for their farming activities said, “These machines will truly help us simplify our job, minimize our expense and increase our income.”

For the farmers in Barangay Sta. Monica, the DAR turned over a processing center to the Garcia Farmers and Fisher folks Credit Cooperative (GAFFARCRECO).

Tesie Virtudazo, chairperson of GAFFARCRECO shed tears when she received the documents of the building for their turmeric processing project. “The events are just coming too fast, but thank you. It’s a dream come true,” she said.

Governor Sol Matugas committed to support the turmeric processing effort of the organization. She vows to help in the marketing and making turmeric the “official health drink of Siargao.”

Congressman Francisco Matugas offered to help make the organization’s request of a farm-to-market road come true. The proposed road would make the organization’s 10-hectare expansion production area accessible, as well as, their existing two hectares.

During the turn over rites, the DAR awarded land titles to 94 farmers from the municipalities of Dapa, Del Carmen, Burgos, General Luna, San Isidro, San Benito and Sta. Monica.

Present during the ceremony were DAR Regional Director Julita Ragandang, Sta. Monica Mayor Hon. Fernando Dolar, Del Carmen Mayor Hon. Alfredo Corro Jr., General Luna Mayor Hon. Jaime Rosellon and Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer Jose Sebucao. (Joie Ceballos)

Posted By: Edrillan Pasion


Vice Mayor: Hon. Ma. Josefina G. Belmonte
Vice Mayor: Hon. Ma. Josefina G. Belmonte

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Kanina lamang ay ginanap ang graduation exercises walongpu’t siyam (89) na guro mula sa iba’t ibang pampublikong paaralan dito sa Quezon City na nagsipagtapos ng Animation and Programming sa Korea-Philippines Information Technology Training Center (KPITTC) para sa  pagsasakatuparan ng 2016 K-12 / Senior High School Program.

Ginanap ang training ng mga guro noong April-May ngayong taon. Ang mga guro lamang na nagtuturo ng IT ang napiling ipadala ng Division Office para umaten sa nasabing IT training. Ang itinuturo sa seminar ay mula sa basic hanggang sa most-complicated. Ang tinuro sa mga IT teacher ay Animation. At ang mga nagtuturo sa kanila ay talagang nagtuturo ng Animation at nagtatrabaho din bilang mga Animator kaya alam nila ang mga preliminaries at ginagawa talaga ng mga Animator.

“Actually hindi naman siya computer eh, it’s more on drawings about a characters, how you will be able to work on a character na nagmo-move.” Sabi ng isa sa mga grumadwayt kanina.

Ang pagtetraining ng mga guro ay walang bayad, sagot lahat ng Division Office kasama ang Quezon City Government.

Nagpasalamat si Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte sa mga tao, sector ng gobyerno, pampubliko at pribadong ahensya na sumusuporta at naging dahilan o naging daan sa pagkakasakatuparan ng KPITTC. (Lynne Pingoy)


The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) today, June 16, 2015
destroyed P205.37 million worth of dangerous drugs.

“Destroyed were a total of 119,690.9 grams (119.6909 kilograms) of
assorted pieces of drug evidence composed of methamphetamine
hydrochloride, or shabu, cocaine, marijuana, diazepam or valium,
alprazolam and expired medicines,” said Undersecretary Arturo G.
Cacdac, Jr., Director General, PDEA.

The destruction was held at the Integrated Waste Management, Inc.
(IWMI), Barangay Aguado, Trece Martirez City, Cavite.

Based on the record and consolidated report of the PDEA Laboratory
Service, these considerable volume of illegal drugs and expired
medicines were properly turned-over and endorsed with corresponding
documentation to PDEA by other law enforcement agencies like the
Bureau of Customs (BoC) and Regional Trial Courts (RTCs) in the cities
of Antipolo, Las Piñas, Makati, Malolos, Mandaluyong, Manila,
Parañaque, Pasay, Quezon City and Valenzuela; and in the provinces of
Batangas, Nueva Ecija and Rizal, for destruction.

Among the illegal drugs destroyed through thermal decomposition were
44,506.5 grams of shabu worth P178,026,000; 4,526.9 grams of cocaine
worth P27,161,400; 3,554.7 grams of marijuana worth P177,735; 2.8
grams  of valium worth P108.50; and 67,100 grams of alprazolam and
expired medicines.

Thermal decomposition is the process by which various compounds are
broken down into single units by the application of heat wherein
reconstruction of the substances is impossible.

Key officials of PDEA and other law enforcement agencies,
representatives from the Department of Justice, the Dangerous Drugs
Board (DDB), the Pubic Attorney’s Office, Non-Government Organizations
(NGOs), media and the guest speaker during the ceremony, Police Chief
Superintendent Theresa Ann Cid, Director of PNP Crime Laboratory,
witnessed the destruction activity.

Cacdac said that the destruction of the dangerous drugs is in
compliance with the guidelines set on the custody and disposition of
seized dangerous drugs required in Section 21, Article II of Republic
Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, and DDB
Regulation No. 1, series of 2002.(Mr. Glenn J. Malapad, OIC, Public Information Office, PDEA)


Posted By: Edrillan Pasion


Two suspected drug group members and a drug pusher were arrested by combined anti-narcotics agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police during separate implementation of search warrants in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur on June 16, 2015. PDEA Director General Undersecretary Arturo G. Cacdac, Jr. identified the suspects as Rhealiza Oco y Parel, alias Rea, 36 years old, a member of Iking Drug Group and a resident of San Julian Sur, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur; Frankie Ramos y Cirilo, 38, a member of Casin Drug Group and a resident of Barbar, San Juan, Ilocos Sur; and Hipolito Paa y Abarquez, 46, residing in San Julian, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. On June 16, 2015, at around 5:00 am, combined elements of PDEA Regional Office 1 under Director Adrian G. Alvariño, Vigan City Police Statio, San Juan Police Station, Ilocos Sur Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group (ISPAIDSOTG), Ilocos Sur Provincial Public Safety Company (ISPPSC), Region 1 Intelligence Unit, and Region 1 Intelligence Division implemented three separate search warrants against Oco, Ramos and Paa. The search against Oco yielded three pieces of heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of suspected shabu weighing eight grams, 10 pieces of opened transparent plastic sachets containing suspected shabu residue, improvised glass tooter, one improvised burner and assorted drug paraphernalia. Seized from Ramos were 15 pieces of heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of suspected shabu weighing 2.5 grams and P5,680.00 cash in various denomination. Confiscated from Paa were eight pieces of heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet of suspected shabu, assorted drug paraphernalia and assorted ammunition. Oco and Paa will be charged for violation of Section 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs) and Section 12 (Possession of Equipment and Other Paraphernalia for Dangerous Drugs), Article II of RA 9165 or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. An additional charge will be filed against Paa for violation of RA 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act). A case for violation of Section 11, Article II of RA 9165, will be charged against Ramos.(Mr. Glenn J. Malapad, OIC, Public Information Office, PDEA)

Posted By: Edrillan Pasion