Friday, December 23, 2011

Typhoon drills needed

We urge local government units anew to conduct regular typhoon and flood drills in their schools and communities. We also call on local officials to use early warning devices that can help warn residents of urgent evacuation measures and thus save countless lives.

If we can conduct earthquake drills in schools and offices, why shouldn't we conduct typhoon and flood drills when these are our most frequent disasters? We are ravaged by at least twenty typhoons a year, and each year we see the same story of devastation and loss. Schools and communities ought to be prepared for such occurrences to minimize casualties, if not completely avoid it.

We also urged LGUs to adopt the use of sirens, bells, or other early warning devices that can be used to warn communities of rising waters and the need to evacuate. The use of sirens to alert people of rising waters should be mandatory, as should be the propagation and adoption of evacuation procedures. These systems have already been tested in small pockets around the country, with some using public-private partnerships to make such systems work. We should educate our residents on these life-saving measures--especially children--because they are usually the ones who are usually most vulnerable in these situations.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

We hope warrants vs Palparan et al will usher in the end of impunity in PH

We laud the government's commitment to press charges versus retired Major General Jovito Palparan Jr. and six others for the kidnapping and serious illegal detention of two UP activists in 2006. We hope this will send a strong signal to those believing they are still protected by a cloak of impunity.

Kailangang managot ang mga may sala, at ito na ang pinakamagandang pamaskong handog sa mga pamilyang matagal nang nagluluksa at naghahanap ng hustisya.

We also hope the courts will also seek to resolve other similar cases of those who until this day remain missing.

We believe that it is with the unwavering effort of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima that we may finally hope to succeed in our efforts at ending impunity. It is not an easy task, for sure, but we will support all efforts to find resolution, justice, and closure to the cases of missing persons and victims of senseless killings. It is about time we address these issues. Only then can we move on as a nation, one that guarantees equal protection for its citizens.

Friday, December 16, 2011

18-day ceasefire, only first step to renewed talks

We laud President Aquino's declaration of holiday truce with the CPP-NPA.

This gesture will help build confidence among the CPP-NPA ranks on the sincerity of the Aquino government in its commitment to achieving lasting peace.

We hope that the 18-day truce will serve as a period of deep reflection for both parties. Beyond that, we hope that we can see within our lifetime the day when all groups—CPP-NPA, the MILF, and the NDF—will end their respective armed struggles and help the government in rebuilding the country.

This truce is a good first step, but let's not end here. Let's keep lines of communication open and keep on engaging in dialogue. We need to build confidence in our ability to keep commitments and keep the peace. We will also need to ensure that the countryside will be able to sustain former rebels by modernizing agriculture and making it viable.

Only by solving poverty can we truly achieve peace. Let's not lose sight of that end objective.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On calls to inhibit from the impeachment proceedings of Chief Justice Renato Corona

The impeachment trial is a political proceeding and not a judicial proceeding. Rules on inhibition that apply to our court system do not apply to a political trial. There are as many senators who have been critical of the Corona court decisions as there have been defenders. If the rules of inhibition are strictly adhered to in a political proceeding then all the political positions taken by all the senator judges could be made basis of inhibition and there will be no one left to try the respondent.

Ultimately, in a very public trial like this one where the evidence, the line of questioning as well as the answers given for or against are to be seen and witnessed by the entire nation, it will be the public who will decide whether or not we will be biased and it will be the people who will judge us politicians by denying us their vote in any future election should they feel we were remiss or we failed to exercise discretion in our conduct as senator judges. This in essence helps describe the political nature of an impeachment proceeding.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Si CGMA ang sumira sa sarili niyang "puri"

Earlier today, we saw former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a television interview with news anchor Arnold Clavio. Sinasabi niya na puro "paninirang-puri" ang ginagawa ng administrasyong Aquino.

We need to ask: hindi ba siya naman ang sumira sa sarili niyang pangalan at "puri"? Siya ang sumira sa sarili niya dala ng "Hello, Garci", ng fertilizer fund scam, ng NBN-ZTE deal, ng Maguindanao Massacre, at ng marami pang iba... Maraming naging sanhi ng paninira ng kanyang pangalan na ang dating pangulo mismo ang may kagagawan.

President Aquino ran under a campaign of cleaning up corruption. The Arroyo administration had a long history of corruption cases and scandals, and we cannot just turn a blind eye to all of this. This administration is just doing its job and fulfilling a campaign promise. What would we have this administration do--simply let things go because she is a former president? No--true justice is about uncovering the truth and holding people accountable for their actions regardless of their positions in office or society.

At habang ang dating Pangulo ay inililipat ngayon mula St. Luke's papuntang VMMC, ang hiling lang natin sa mga opisyal ng pamahalaan ay: puwede nating bigyan si GMA ng "courtesy" gawa ng kanyang dating puwesto bilang pangulo, but let's please not go out of our way to give her special treatment.

Ingat po sa smuggled goods at botcha

Malapit na naman po ang Kapaskuhan kaya kailangan ng kaunting ingat sa pamimili ng mga karne, gulay, at iba pang bilihing pang-noche buena.

Kapag masyadong mababa ang presyo ng mga bilihin sa merkado, kailangan nating tingnan kung saan ba ito nanggagaling at baka smuggled ang mga ito. Kapag hindi natin maseguro ang source ng mga bilihin, may posibilidad na ang iba rito ay delikado sa kalusugan ng mga mamamayan.

Mag-ingat rin po tayo sa "botcha" o "double-dead" na karne na minsa'y binebenta sa mga palengke kapag ganitong mataas ang demand para sa mga ganitong produkto.

Kailangan po nating protektahan ang kapakanan ng mga mamamayan, lalung-lalo na sa mga gahamang negosyante na ang nais lang ay kumita sa iligal na paraan. Baka mura nga ang bilihin, e sa ospital naman ang tuloy ng mga bumibili. Kung ano ang natipid sa pamamalengke, mababawi naman sa panggamot.

Bukod pa rito, kailangan rin nating pangalagaan ang kita at kabuhayan ng mga magsasaka. Kapag smuggled ang bilihin at bagsak-presyo ang mga ito, nasisira ang kabuhayan ng ating mga magsasaka. Wala na nga silang Christmas bonus, mawawalan pa sila ng kita ngayong Kapaskuhan.

Hinihingi po natin ang tulong ng lahat ng mga sangay ng gobyerno na maging mas mapagmatyag ngayong mga panahong ito. Bigyan natin ng ligtas at masaganang Pasko ang ating mga kababayan.

Monday, December 5, 2011

We welcome resumption of peace talks with MILF and urge peace panel to address gaps in peace process

We welcome the resumption of the formal peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), set to begin Monday in Kuala Lumpur.

The peace talks are a sign that both groups are now willing to move forward after the deadly series of clashes that occurred between government forces and the separatist group starting October this year.

Nobody wins when Filipinos kill fellow Filipinos, and the whole country continues to grieve for all the losses incurred by both sides. Pilipino silang lahat, at bawat isa sa mga namatay ay may mga naiwang pamilya at mahal sa buhay. While nothing will be able to take back the lives of these slain men, we can ensure that their deaths will not be in vain by continuing to push for genuine peace. That is the only way forward.

Four decades of war has cost us at least a hundred billion pesos, and the atrocities made to our people have been unspeakable. We need to end this war within this generation for our country to finally take off, but the framework has to be clear and the loopholes must be addressed for the peace process to move forward. We urge both sides of the panel to be clear about the terms of the peace process and for them to abide by these terms. We also urge that those who will disregard these terms be held accountable under the full force of the law.

We also hope that, from here on, peace will be our primary agenda in the South. History has taught us that a military solution in Mindanao has failed time and time again. We must look at the Ramos administration’s aggressive peace initiatives in the 90s that helped create the window of opportunity that laid down the foundation for economic progress in cities like GenSan (General Santos), Cagayan de Oro, and Davao. In the Mindanao experience, war has brought only misery while aggressive peace initiatives have brought real, tangible progress and development in these areas.