[Andal Ampatuan Jr, a local mayor and member of a powerful political clan in the Maguindanao province, close to corrupt presidente Arroyo, is the chief suspect in the killing of at least 57 people in the southern Philippines]



"The Punisher" populist Rodrigo Duterte headed for victory: a return to dictatorship?


Many people dead in 'calamitous' Philippine quake

At least 107 people are killed and a state of emergency is declared as rescue workers search for survivors.

... more in AlJazeera

Philippines fighting rages in Zamboanga city as truce with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fundamentalists collapses.
Thousands have fled from rebel-held areas as troops press forward to end week-long hostage standoff.

Philippine troops are closing in on Muslim rebel positions and cutting off escape routes to end a week-long standoff that has left more dozens dead in the southern city of Zamboanga, officials say.
Thousands more residents have fled, while sporadic clashes continued as soldiers moved to clear suspected Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters from coastal neighbourhoods on Sunday after a ceasefire plan collapsed.
Day and night operations by at least 3,000 elite government troops have now seen 51 fighters killed, with another 48 captured or apprehended, according to official government figures.
On the government side, at least six soldiers have been killed with another 79 wounded. Civilian casualties stand at four, with another 24 wounded.
The government figures also suggest 51 hostages have so far been released or have escaped.
"We are continuing to press forward with our calibrated military response," Lieutenant-Colonel Ramon Zagala, military spokesman, told AFP news agency on Sunday.
"Fighting is continuing as we speak. They continue to resist and conduct offensive actions against us."
Heavily armed MNLF forces entered the port city's coastal neighbourhoods last Monday and took dozens of hostages in a bid to scupper peace talks between another rebel group and the government aimed at ending a decades-long rebellion in the south.

...more in AlJazeera - BBC - The Guardian - The Telegraph - Le Monde


Philippines in peace deal with Muslim rebels
President Benigno Aquino says the "framework agreement" between government and MILF separatists will be signed shortly.

The Philippine government and Muslim rebels have agreed to a preliminary peace deal for the country's troubled south, President Benigno Aquino has announced, signalling an end to a 40-year conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people and crippled the region's economy.
The deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), announced on Sunday, sets in train a roadmap to create a new autonomous region in the Muslim-majority areas in the south of the mainly Catholic country before the end of Aquino's term in 2016.
Aquino described the deal in a nationally televised announcement as a "framework agreement". It follows marathon negotiations between the government and the MILF in Malaysia, which is brokering the talks.
The agreement is expected to be signed in a few days in the capital, Manila, officials said. It spells out the general principles on major issues, including the extent of power, revenues and territory of the Muslim region.
If all goes well, a final peace deal can be reached by 2016, when Aquino's six-year term ends, according to the officials.
"This framework agreement paves the way for final and enduring peace in Mindanao," Aquino said, referring to the Philippines' main southern region and the homeland of the country's Muslims.
"This means that the hands that once held rifles will be put to use tilling land, selling produce, manning work stations and opening doorways of opportunity."
He cautioned, however, that "the work does not end here," saying "there are still details both sides must thresh out".

...more in AlJazeera - BBC - El Mundo - France 24

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Philippines steps up flood relief efforts
Frantic search for survivors continues after torrential rains claim the lives of 652 people, with 808 others missing.

A massive rescue operation is under way in the southern Philippines where more than 652 people are confirmed to have been killed in the wake of torrential rains.
At least 808 are still missing after a typhoon struck the cities of Iligan and Cagayan De Oro, causing flash floods and landslides and driving tens of thousands from their homes, authorities told Al Jazeera on Sunday.
However, rescue and relief efforts are being hampered by power outages in many areas as well as by damaged and destroyed bridges, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.
The devastated port cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in Mindanao island accounted for most of the deaths, according to the country's National Red Cross.
"The affected area is so wide and huge and I believe they have not really gone to all areas to do a search," Gwen Pang, the secretary-general of the Philippine National Red Cross, said.
But the count was expected to rise as more bodies were being discovered in nearby towns by the Philippine military.

...more in Al Jazeera - BBC - The Guardian - The Telegraph - MSNBC - El Mundo - France 24 - La Repubblica - Die Welt - Frankfurter Allgemeine

Imelda and Me
Veronica Pedrosa, whose family was forced into exile by the Philippines Marcos dictatorship, confronts Imelda Marcos about her past.

The question of impunity in the Philippines has a special meaning for Al Jazeera's Veronica Pedrosa. In 1971 she and her family were forced into exile by the Marcos regime after her mother, also a journalist, wrote an unauthorised biography of the then first lady Imelda Marcos.
Imelda has never been successfully convicted despite hundreds of cases of corruption and human rights abuses being brought against her. A commission that was formed to find the missing millions allegedly stolen by the Marcoses will soon be abolished, partly because past commissioners themselves are said to have profited from their positions.
Recently, Imelda was elected to Congress and her son, Ferdinand Jr, is tipped to run for the presidency in 2016. With the Marcoses rising again in Philippine politics, Veronica Pedrosa tells the story of her family's exile and their campaign against Marcos rule. She examines the Philippine authorities' failure to bring the powerful to account for their alleged misdeeds and confronts Imelda herself about her past and her future political ambitions.
The programme will also examine the actual impact of relative freedom of expression in the Philippines. It is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists to work. The media have not strengthened democracy; instead they have become political instruments and pawns

...more in Al Jazeera

Time in Manila:

'I don't have any formula for ousting a dictator or building democracy. All I can suggest is to forget about yourself and just think of your people. It's always the people who make things happen.'
Corazon Aquino

noticias : Asia - PACIFIC :: PHILIPPINES


President Aquino promises justice

Philippines president Benigno Aquino has promised justice for the 58 people who were brutally murdered in the south of the country a year ago.
It was a crime that shocked the nation and was also the country's worst political violence.
Marga Ortigas finds out what has been done over the year in the search of justice for the families of the victims.

...more in Al Jazeera - BBC - Manila Standard Today - Philippines News

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President says militias to stay despite rights abuses

The abuses of police and army forces in Philippines:

Police in the Philippines have relieved 11 officers of duty after the release of video footage showing the apparent torture a naked detainee.
The torturer, allegedly a police commander in Manila, shouts insults as his victim screams in pain as a rope tied around his genitals is pulled.
The victim is believed to be a suspected thief caught in Manila's Tondo slum district. It is unclear when the video was taken but it was given to a local TV station on Tuesday.
Al Jazeera's Marga Ortigas, reporting from Manila, said: "This isn’t the first time police have been accused of brutality, but such an incident, caught on tape, has not been seen by the Filipino public before".
"The man in this video is believed to have died in the hands of the police," she said.
The source of the video is now reported to be in hiding.
...more in Al Jazeera - Democracy Now - and in the blog Justice for Melissa Roxas - and the web Karapatan

Benigno Aquino III vows to end corruption and poverty in Philippines: Son of former leader Corazon Aquino likens president's job to a biblical burden as he is sworn into office. Benigno Aquino III vows to end corruption and poverty in Philippines Son of former leader Corazon Aquino likens president's job to a biblical burden as he is sworn into office.
Benigno Aquino III, sworn in as the Philippines' 15th president today, promised to prosecute the corrupt and end poverty as he urged Filipinos to help him in a job he likened to a biblical burden.
The son of two Philippine symbols of democracy, Aquino, 50, succeeds Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whose stormy nine-year rule was rocked by four failed coup attempts and allegations of corruption, vote-rigging and human rights abuses, which she denied.
Some 500,000 attended his oath-taking at a seaside park in the capital, Manila, police said. Aquino aimed his speech at the many Filipinos exasperated at the country's enduring problems, that also include decades-long Islamic and communist insurgencies.
"This day marks the end of a leadership that has long been insensitive to the suffering of the people ... and this is the beginning of my own Calvary," Aquino said, referring to Christ's crucifixion. "But if many of us bear the cross, we will lift it, no matter how heavy."
...more in The Guardian - Al Jazeera - France 24 - El Mundo - El País

Key witness in Maguindanao massacre by the Ampatuan clan murdered as he was refused protection by the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo:
He knew he was a dead man walking the moment he fled the hinterlands of Shariff Aguak in Maguindanao.
In an interview with a select group of reporters on March 9, Suwaib Upham disclosed that he feared for his life as he bared an alleged plot by Andal Ampatuan Jr. to silence him.
He said it was a matter of time before hired killers would get to him.
Barely three months after the interview, an assassin’s bullets felled the man who may have been a vital witness in prosecuting the powerful clan accused of orchestrating the country’s worst election-related murders.
“Datu Unsay (Andal Jr.) will stop at nothing to kill those who knew about the massacre, including myself,” Upham told reporters in a thick Maguindanao accent.
By Upham’s own account, Andal Jr. talked to Kanor Ampatuan over the phone sometime in February. During the conversation, he said he heard Andal Jr. say he wanted him killed to prevent him from spilling the beans on the influential political clan about their role in the November 23 slaughter of 57 people in Maguindanao.
At that time, Andal Jr. was already locked up at the National Bureau of Investigation jail in Manila.
“They were really powerful. He was able to talk with Datu Kanor regularly even if he was already inside the jail,” Upham said.
He said he and a number of militiamen went with Kanor, then the vice mayor of Salibo town, to seek refuge in the mountains of Shariff Aguak after state forces launched a manhunt for them.
The interview, done inside a rented room of a hotel in Ortigas, Pasig City, was arranged by public interest lawyer Harry Roque and his colleagues who had been helping some of the massacre victims’ families.
At that time, Roque requested the media not to divulge Upham’s real identity for security reasons.
Upham himself chose the name “Jesse” as alias for the one-hour interview.
A burly man in his late 20s, Upham wore a shawl to cover his face while answering questions from reporters as TV crews shot footage of the interview.
During the interview, columnist Ellen Tordesillas helped him translate some of his statements in a Visayan dialect as he could barely speak Filipino.
At times, he would remove the shawl as he sneered at how Andal Jr. wielded his power in the impoverished province of Maguindanao.
Journalists who heard him talk of Andal Jr.’s notoriety were bowled over by his stories about the chainsaw murders and other horrid crimes purportedly perpetrated by the scion of the most powerful family in his province.
Once, he said, Andal Jr. gunned down a man after the hapless victim refused to “share” his wife with him.
...more in - Al Jazeera -

A radio journalist was shot and killed on stage as he hosted a singing contest before shocked spectators in the southern Philippines: Desidario Camangyan of Sunshine FM radio died from a gunshot wound to the head on Monday night inside the gymnasium of Davao Oriental province's Manay township, said Inspector Ariel Nueva, the town's police chief.
Camangyan, 52, was sitting on stage when the attacker shot him from behind, Nueva told The Associated Press.
The gunman escaped on foot. Police were trying to determine the motive, including if the attack was related to Camangyan's work as a broadcaster.
The Philippines prides itself on having among the freest media in South-east Asia, but it also is among the world's most dangerous places for journalists.
In the world's deadliest single assault on media workers, at least 30 reporters and their staff were among 57 people massacred on Nov 30 in the southern Philippines. The victims were in a vehicle convoy targeted in political violence before the May national election.
Prior to that attack, 75 media workers had been killed in the country since 2001, according to the International Federation of Journalists.
...more in The Telegraph

Philippines elects as Governor of Maguindanao Mr. Esmael Mangudadatu who was the target of a massacre by his mafioso rival Ampatuan: A Philippines' politician who lost several family members in a massacre in the southern province of Maguindanao last November has been elected as the provincial governor. Esmael Mangudadatu's wife, two sisters and four other relatives were among 57 people killed in the attack as they drove to register his candidacy for the election. Mangudadatu, the deputy mayor of the ltown of Buluan, was proclaimed Maguindanao governor by the election commission on Friday, beating two rivals with links to Andal Ampatuan Sr, who is awaiting trial over the massacre.
Ampatuan Sr, the patriarch of a clan that ruled the province for nearly a decade, finished in second place in the race for the post of Maguindanao province vice-governor. His son and namesake is accused of organising the massacre on a remote road to stop Mangudadatu challenging him for the governorship in Monday's national elections.
"This is a victory for the victims of the massacre and for the people of Maguindanao who have been suffering under oppressive rule," Mangudadatu told a crowd of supporters gathered at the capital building in Shariff Aguak town.
"But the battle is not over yet. The culprits have to pay first. Our battle against poverty has also just started."
Escorted by heavily-armed soldiers and combat-trained police officers, Mangudadatu rode in an armoured vehicle to the local election agency office to be proclaimed winner. The convoy passed through the town where his wife and relatives were murdered along with 30 journalists and 20 other civilians last November. They had been on their way to witness the filing of nomination papers for Mangudadatu to stand against Andal Ampatuan Jr in the elections.
...more in Al Jazeera - Philippines Star

Benigno Aquino III set for Philippines electoral victory:

Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III is set to be confirmed as the winner of the Philippines presidential election after partial results gave him a huge lead in the race.
With most of the votes counted on Tuesday, the 50-year-old had secured just over 40 per cent of the ballot, the election commission said, placing him on track for a landslide win.
Aquino's nearest rival, former president Joseph Estrada, had just 25.5 per cent, giving him an insurmountable lead. Manuel Villar, who was trailing in third place with 14.2 per cent of the vote, has already conceded to Aquino. "The Filipino people have decided," Villar told a news conference. "I congratulate Senator Noynoy Aquino for his victory."
Al Jazeera's Veronica Pedrosa, reporting from Manila, said that 85 per cent of results have been counted. in depth
"However, these are unofficial results, and they have to go through a legal process in order for them to be verified. "But at the moment it looks like Aquino has scored an overwhelmingly convincing victory."
Christian Monsod, a former head of the Philippines' Electoral Commission, also known as Comelec, told Al Jazeera that the whole process of verifying who has gained every seat will take "up to two days".

He also said that the repeating pattern of family dynasties taking power is "kind of like a game of musical chairs with the unfortunate consequence of little improvement being seen in the lives of ordinary Filipinos".
Aquino is the son of one of the Southeast Asian nation's most revered democracy icons, and he tapped into popular sentiment for his parents by pledging a new style of clean government. His mother, Corazon Aquino, led the "People Power" revolution that overthrew the former leader Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and then served as president.
His father, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, was shot dead in 1983 as he attempted to return from US exile to lead the democracy movement against Marcos.
Aquino was a latecomer to the presidential race, declaring his candidacy only after his mother's death from cancer last August plunged the country into mourning and demonstrated the power of the family name.

Questions however remain as to whether Aquino, who has had a lacklustre career as a politician, has the ability to deliver on his reform and anti-corruption promises, and also tame a budget deficit that analysts expect to exceed $6bn this year. "Tackling the deficit would be the number one priority for the next government," said Paul Joseph Garcia, chief investment officer of ING Investment Management Philippines.
"We're not in a Greece-type level of fiscal crisis, but definitely the fiscal deficit is a priority for the next administration. They may have to increase taxes, that will of course need a lot of political will."
Despite Aquino's expected victory, the political presence of the Marcos dynasty remains. His widow Imelda won a seat in congress, daughter Imee won a local governor's position and son Ferdinand Jr is on track to be elected as one of 12 senators.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the outoing president, also won a seat in congress, and analysts and political opponents have said that she wants to become the house speaker from where she could push for the introduction of a parliamentary system to create the role of prime minister and reduce the power of the president. ...more in Al Jazeera - The Independent - The Guardian - El País - France 24

Philippines gears up for polls without representation for the Muslim population:

Campaigning in the Philippines has ended ahead of Monday's elections. Sunday was a cooling off period after candidates held their last rallies before official campaigning for the presidential, congressional and local elections ended at midnight.
More than 17,000 positions are up for grabs on Monday and around 80 per cent of the country's 50 million registered voters are expected to cast ballots using a computerised tallying system for the first time.
A computer glitch in the machines has fed suspicion of vote-rigging after tens of thousands of memory cards containing software for the machines from all over the country had to be replaced or reconfigured.
Al Jazeera's Veronica Pedrosa, reporting from the capital Manila, said according to the national election commission, testing of the new memory cards on Saturday went well and there were no new reports of faulty machines so all systems were a go for Monday's polls.

In the past four months, at least 24 people have been killed in election-related violence, according to police, and our correspondent said there were scattered reports of political violence on Saturday.
Liquor sales were banned for 48 hours from midnight on Saturday to reduce the chances of alcohol-fuelled violence, while security forces have set up checkpoints to arrest illegal gun holders.
In the presidential race, opinion polls indicate Benigno Aquino III, a senator and the son of the country's democracy icons, has a two-to-one lead over his nearest rival, Joseph Estrada, the former movie star and ousted president.
But Aquino, whose father, Benigno Aquino Jr, was assassinated by soldiers in 1983, told thousands of supporters at a Manila rally on Friday that "this fight is not yet over".
Aquino's father was killed moments after stepping off a plane on his return from US exile to organise opposition to Ferdinand Marcos, the then president.
The killing triggered massive protests that culminated in the "people power" revolt in 1986 that toppled Marcos and installed widow Corazon Aquino as president.
Aquino's presidential bid was launched in the wake of an outpouring of sympathy for his family following the August 2009 death of his mother, Corazon.
The 50-year-old bachelor said he was confident he would win if the people are "allowed to vote and their votes are counted properly".
...more information in Al Jazeera - And in the webs AQUINO FOR PRESIDENT - i am ninoy i am cory

Ampatuan political mafia ambushed and murder dozen of journalists and relatives of an honest political candidate for Mindanao province:

State prosecutors in the Philippines have shown a graphic video in court showing the aftermath of last November's massacre in the south of the country.
Two 90-minute films of the aftermath of the killings were shown on Wednesday at the resumption of the trial of Andal Ampatuan Jr, who is facing 41 counts of murder for allegedly leading the attack on a convoy of political rivals and a group of accompanying journalists in Maguindanao province.
Filmed by a local government employee who accompanied police as they retrieved the victims from the mass graves, the video showed bloodied bodies, some of which were already decomposing.
As the footage was shown, a sister of one of the female victims broke down and had to be helped out of the courtroom.
A male lawyer representing the victims also rushed out of the silent courtroom, covering his mouth as he headed for the bathroom to vomit.
However, observers in court said Ampatuan Jnr, who has pleaded not guilty, had displayed no visible reaction to the footage.
"He looked bored. It was like the most ordinary thing to watch," Lilian de Lima, head of the government's Commission on Human Rights who was in the courtroom, told reporters.
According to prosecutors, at least 10 witnesses have said Ampatuan Jr led 100 of his armed men in the ambush on the convoy on November 23.
Prosecutors allege they then murdered 57 people, including the wife and two sisters of political rival, Esmael Mangudadatu.
...more in Al Jazeera - The Times - BBC - France 24 - Philippines Star - Inquirer - Bulatlat - The Manila Times

Filipinos a la fuga a un ritmo de 140 a la hora con destino EEUU y Dubai: ¿Qué ocurre cuando en un país no hay oportunidades para las clases medias? ¿Qué pasa cuando la incompetencia política y empresarial, agravada por la corrupción y el clientelismo, deja fuera del sistema a los profesionales que deberían vertebrar una sociedad? Aunque se podría responder a estas preguntas desde muchos países en desarrollo, existe uno donde la fuga de talentos y la emigración masiva de los más capaces han alcanzado dimensiones de modelo económico. Una nación situada en nuestras antípodas, pero que aún conserva el nombre de un Rey español.
Uno de cada diez ciudadanos de las Islas Filipinas trabaja fuera de su país. Se marchan a un ritmo de 3.377 al día, unos 141 a la hora. A pesar de la crisis, en 2008 encontraron trabajo en el extranjero 1.236.013 filipinos, un 15% más que el año anterior. Según algunos estudios, la economía de la ex-colonia española es tan dependiente de su esfuerzo que se colapsaría por completo si regresasen tan sólo la mitad. En un país con innumerables riquezas naturales y otras muchas posibilidades económicas, alrededor de un 12% del Producto Interior Bruto (PIB) proviene del dinero que los emigrantes envían a sus familias.
En algunos sectores la presencia filipina es ubicua. Por ejemplo, uno de cada cuatro marineros en todo el mundo tiene pasaporte de la ex-colonia española y cientos de miles de enfermeras del país asiático trabajan en hospitales y clínicas de Estados Unidos. Los obreros cualificados, electricistas y fontaneros de Arabia Saudí y Dubai suelen hablar entre ellos en tagalo: casi dos millones de filipinos hacen los trabajos cotidianos de los estados árabes bañados en petrodólares. Y eso por no hablar de las asistentes domésticas.
En Italia, “filipina” es la palabra que se usa para referirse a la chica de la limpieza. En Singapur y Hong Kong quizá no haya calado en el léxico, pero viene a ser lo mismo. Hasta en China, donde lo único que sobra es gente, hay filipinos en todo tipo de empleos. Sin ir más lejos, la señora que viene una vez por semana a limpiar mi apartamento de Pekín nació en Manila. En España, curiosamente, no hay demasiados filipinos. Tan sólo 41.780, quizá porque hablar inglés no es un plus en la mayoría de los trabajos que ofrecía, cuando los ofrecía, nuestra economía. ...más en El Confidencial


Secuestran a 65 personas, la mayoría estudiantes, en Mindanao: Unas 65 personas, entre ellas niños y profesores, han sido secuestradas hoy por pistoleros en una escuela de un pueblo del sur de Filipinas, informaron fuentes oficiales. Por el momento, la confusión reina en la zona. Diversas fuentes apuntan a que los raptores han liberado a 18 personas, enter ellas 17 niños. El vicegobernador de la provincia de Agusan del Sur, Santiago Cane, indicó que en el secuestro participaron al menos 19 hombres armados. Los secuestradores entraron en el pueblo y usaron a los residentes como escudos humanos. El secuestro se ha producido en la isla de Mindanao, cerca de donde hace unas semanas hubo un ataque a un grupo que causó la muerte a 57 personas. Un portavoz del Ejército filipino, Maj Michelle Anayron, declaró a France Presse que "una banda criminal" está detrás de los secuestros.
... An armed group in the southern Philippines is holding at least 57 civilians hostage, government officials have said. The hostages, including several schoolchildren and their teachers, were among a group of 75 kidnapped in the small village San Martin in the province of Agusan del Sur on Mindanao island early on Thursday. Eighteen people were released following several hours of negotiations, Chief Supt. Lino Calingasan of the Philippine National Police told local media. It later emerged that those released were schoolchildren. Military officials have said they believe the kidnappers are members of a civilian paramilitary force known as the "Perez group". Police were reportedly pursuing the gunmen, who appeared to be using the hostages as human shields to escape after a clash with authorities in a nearby village on Wednesday. Al Jazeera's Marga Ortigas, reporting from Manila, said it was unclear what the group wanted although police say there is no political or religious motive for the kidnapping. She said the group was known to local police having been armed by the Philippines government a decade ago to fight against communist insurgents in the area.
...más en El Mundo - Al Jazeera - France 24

Political clan close to president Arroyo killed at least 200 in the island of Maguindanao: A politically powerful clan in the Philippines, already charged with a massacre last month that left 57 people dead, has been accused of killing at least 200 other people during its rule in Maguindanao province. Leila de Lima, the Philippines' human rights commissioner, said the bodies were believed to be buried in mass graves scattered across the southern province. "We are looking at a minimum of 200," the chairwoman of the Commission on Human Rights said. "These are victims of the same clan and the private armies." De Lima said there were witnesses to the previous killings who were only now feeling confident to speak out against the Ampatuan clan because its leaders had been arrested over the November 23 massacre of 57 people, many family members of a rival political clan. Five police officers who had direct knowledge of some of the earlier murders were among those now willing to speak out against the Ampatuans, according to de Lima, adding that "given the right opportunity there will be witnesses who can exactly pinpoint these mass graves". Andal Ampatuan Sr, the patriarch of the clan, had been governor of Maguindanao and an ally of the president, Gloria Arroyo. Police allege his son, Andal Ampatuan Jr, a local mayor, led last month's massacre to stop the challenge of a political rival in next year's elections. The government allowed the Ampatuans to run a private army as part of a strategy to contain a long-running Muslim separatist insurgency in Maguindanao and other parts of the south. But the brazenness of the massacre sparked public outrage across the country and Arroyo pledged swift justice against the culprits. She declared martial law in Maguindanao last week and accused the Ampatuans of rebellion; government forces arrested 62 people, among them Ampatuan Sr and other clan leaders. ...more in Al Jazeera - El País - France 24 - El Mundo - BBC

Pobreza y miseria humana:

The calvary inherited from Spanish catholicism :: "Sex and religion in Philippines": Manila is one of the fastest growing cities on Earth and evidence of population pressure is everywhere. In a devoutly Catholic country, Seyi Rhodes reports on moves to introduce a reproductive health bill to provide free contraception. The Church fears a breakdown in Filipino family values and is resisting the move, blaming the widespread poverty on bad government and corruption rather than population growth. But there is evidence that many young Filipinos, while retaining their Catholicism, are now moving against the teachings of the Church on Contraception. ...Watch the documental by the BBC clicking on the screen

Watch also: 'Paalam, Soledad'
(musical drama on sex, religion, reproductive health, RH bill issue, Philippines)



Un gran incendio deja un muerto y 300 familias sin hogar en Filipinas probablemente para agrandar el barrio de lujo y financiero: Una persona murió, cien edificios quedaron calcinados y unas 300 familias se quedaron sin hogar después de que un incendio arrasara ayer parte de un barrio humilde en el distrito financiero de la capital filipina. El fuego se desató sobre las ocho de la mañana, hora local, y en dos horas destruyó buena parte de Guadalupe Viejo en Makati, uno de los 16 municipios que integran la región metropolitana, antes de que fuera extinguido por los bomberos. Un anciano falleció poco después a causa de la inhalación de humo, según la misma fuente. Las autoridades están investigando la causa del fuego en una de las zonas más pobres de Makati, plagado por rascacielos y edificios de lujo a escasos kilómetros de Guadaluje Viejo, donde viven unas 5.000 familias.
...más en Diario de Mallorca



El ejército frustra un intento de rebelión contra la corrupta y cruel presidenta de Filipinas, un país sumido en la miseria y la ignorancia con la ayuda de una curia romana con mentalidad feudal:
El general Danilo Lim y el senador Antonio Trillanes, con varias decenas de soldados, se atrincheran en el lujoso hotel Península para pedir la salida de la presidenta. El ejército asalta el edificio y fuerza su rendición. El ejército filipino ha frustrado un intento de asonada contra la presidenta del país, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Varias decenas de soldados, encabezados por un general y un senador rebeldes, se han atrincherado en un lujoso hotel del centro de Manila, desde donde pedían la renuncia de la presidenta. Sin embargo, el ejército, que había rodeado el hotel, ha actuado sin contemplaciones y, tras evacuar a los clientes, ha asaltado el edificio, incluso entrando con vehículos blindados, forzando la rápida rendición de los rebeldes. La presidenta ha anunciado acciones legales contra los líderes de la revuelta y ha decretado el toque de queda en la capital. Según Macapagal, ya se están preparando cargos contra el senador Antonio Trillanes y contra el general Danilo Lim, que han encabezado el intento de asonada. Ambos, acompañados de un par de docenas de soldados, han salido del tribunal que les juzga por un intento de golpe, también frustrado, en 2003 y han iniciado una marcha que ha terminado en el Hotel The Peninsula del centro financiero de Manila. Allí se han unido a un grupo de políticos de oposición y obispos que se encontraban en el hotel y se han atrincherado, pidiendo la renuncia de la presidenta. El ejército ha rodeado inmediatamente el edificio con un centenar de soldados de élite, fuertemente armados y apoyados con tanquetas. Tras horas de negociación frustrada, las fuerzas de seguridad han empezado a disparar contra los amotinados. Ante la negativa a negociar de los rebeldes, el ejército ha sacado del hotel por el sótano a la mayoría de los civiles, incluidos huéspedes y periodistas, y lo ha asaltado con tanquetas y gases lacrimógenos, forzando la rendición de los amotinados.

"Vamos a salir por la seguridad de todos", ha dicho el senador Trillanes al poco de comenzar el asalto, dando por terminada la aventura. Minutos después, salía del hotel esposado. Trillanes y Lim, antes de ser reducidos, pedían la renuncia de la presidenta Macapagal. "Hemos sido testigos y víctimas de la crueldad de esta administración. Ahora, como soldados, vamos a hacerle frente", decía Trillanes tras ser arrestado. Tras el golpe, el Gobierno filipino ha decretado el toque de queda desde la medianoche local (16.00 GMT) hasta las cinco de la madrugada (21.00 GMT) de mañana en la capital Manila y dos provincias circundantes, según un portavoz presidencial. La presidenta se enfrenta a acusaciones de corrupción de la oposición, por lo que su popularidad está en horas bajas. Pese a ello, ha sobrevivido a al menos dos intentos de golpes de estado y tres intentos de recusación.
...más en El País - Prensa Latina - Libertad Digital - El Mundo


El sacerdote liberado en Filipinas dice que quiere volver a ejercer en la isla donde le secuestraron: El sacerdote italiano Giancarlo Bossi, liberado anoche tras 40 días de cautiverio, declaró hoy que desea volver a ejercer el sacerdocio en Payao, la parroquia de la isla de Mindanao donde fue secuestrado. ...El religioso, que perdió unos cinco kilos durante el secuestro, declaró que había sido bien tratado por los captores y que nunca temió por su vida. Añadió que los secuestradores se identificaron como miembros del grupo radical islámico Abu Sayyaf, aunque hoy la policía filipina confirmó que pertenecen a un grupo escindido del Frente Moro de Liberación Islámica, la principal guerrilla separatista de Filipinas. También hoy, la Policía aseguró que ningún gobierno o institución ha pagado rescate a los secuestradores del sacerdote, liberado anoche en el pueblo de Karumatan, en la provincia de Lanao del Norte. El mando policial en la región, el superintendente Jaime Caringal, declaró que la liberación fue producto de las negociaciones mantenidas por un ex alcalde de la isla de Basilan, al sur de península de Zamboanga, con los secuestradores, a los que identificó como "comandante Idi" y "comandante Abu" Bossi fue trasladado a un campo policial en Zamboanga para someterse a un examen médico, después de que su liberación fuera anunciada en Italia por el primer ministro, Romano Prodi. Miembro del Instituto Pontificio de Misiones en el Extranjero, Bossi fue capturado por una docena de hombres armados el 10 de junio pasado en Payao, en la provincia de Zamboanga Sibugay.
...más en Diario de Mallorca

Al menos 13 muertos y 130 desaparecidos al naufragar un barco en Filipinas: Los equipo de emergencia ha rescatado por el momento a 106 pasajeros con vida. Los accidentes marítimos son frecuentes a lo largo de las 7.100 islas que forman el archipiélago filipino, debido a la antigüedad de las naves y al exceso de carga y de pasajeros, muchas veces por encima de su capacidad. Al menos 4.300 personas perdieron la vida en 1978 al colisionar el transbordador MV Doña Paz con un petrolero en aguas cerca de la costa de Leyte, a unos 600 kilómetros al sudeste de la capital filipina. País que ha heredado lo peor de España, caciquismo, corrupción y blasfemas supersticiones propagadas por un catolicismo romano que domina las mentalidades y les mantiene en un atraso y miseria escándalosa para el siglo XXI
...más en diario El País


Un artefacto de fabricación casera provoca varios muertos al hacer explosión en Filipinas: Una fuerte explosión ha tenido lugar en un mercado de la localidad del sur de Filipinas de Tacurong, provocando varios muertos y heridos. El alcalde de la localidad, Lino Montilla, ha precisado que la deflagración ha estado provocada por un "artefacto de fabricación casera". El jefe de policía de Tacurong, Benjamín de los Santos, ha señalado que al menos tres personas han muerto y 13 han resultado heridas, informan fuentes policiales, que en un principio cifraban los fallecidos en cinco. Fuentes policiales indicaron que la bomba fue depositada por unos desconocidos en un salón de billar situado en el mercado. Tacurong está situada en Mindanao, una isla del sur de Filipinas marcada por las reclamaciones separatistas de los islamistas de Abu Sayyaf, un grupo considerado como "terrorista" y vinculado a Al Qaeda por Washington y Manila.
...más en diario El Mundo

Kabataan Party, the Youth Party of the Philippines dreaming of a better future for all based in Justice and Peace


El dueño de una guardería secuestra un autobús con 32 niños a bordo en Manila para llamar la atención de las autoridades sobre la necesidad de asegurar la educación gratuíta para los menores y ayuda económica para sus familias
... Un niño de seis años ha sido liberado del autobús porque se encontraba con fiebre ... Un hombre armado con metralletas y granadas ha secuestrado un autobús en el centro de Manila con 32 niños y cuatro profesores a bordo. El secuestrador, propietario de la guardería donde ofrece de su bolsillo educación a los niños, ha demandado educación gratis para ellos. Según ha declarado el senador Ramón Revilla tras finalizar las negociaciones dentro del vehículo...
Revilla dijo a la televisión local que el secuestrador mantiene obstruido con los dedos el orificio del arma y que dispone además de una submetralladora Uzi y de una pistola del calibre 45. pero que lo único que quiere es llamar la atención sobre la injusta pobreza que padecen las familias de esos niños
...más en diarios El Mundo - El País - The Manila Times (en inglés).


Un activista pro Derechos Humanos local es asesinado a tiros a la puerta de una iglesia:Un activista pro Derechos Humanos filipino perdió la vida este domingo en Filipinas al recibir varios disparos delante de una iglesia, según comunicó la organización para la que desempeñaba su labor, que acusó al Gobierno del país de hacer la vista gorda ante la matanzas de activistas. Rodrigo Catayong, de 55 años, presidente del grupo de Derechos Humanos local Latungod y profesor de la Universidad del estado de Samar, recibió varios disparos en un ataque perpetrado por dos atacantes no identificados. La víctima y su esposa se disponían a acudir misa en la ciudad de MacArthur, a 620 kilómetros al sureste de Manila, según informó la Policía filipina, que aseguró que los asesinos se dieron fuga en una motocicleta. El secretario general del grupo, Jigs Gigas, señaló que la organización cree "firmemente" que el ataque previene de las fuerzas de seguridad estatales en el área ... que tiene etiquetado al grupo como un frente comunista". Según su versión, la organización que lideraba Catayong --que ha estado reuniendo pruebas del presunto abuso militar y de la Policía del país--, había recibido amenazas de muerte con anterioridad.
...[visite las webs de Amnistía Internacional - Human Rigths Watch - Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team - Asia Human Rigths Commission (including Pacific countries).]



Grupos de derechos humanos protestan en Manila por el asesinato de cinco activistas:
Denuncian que el número de asesinatos políticos desde 2001 asciende a 824. Aseguran que el móvil es eliminar a la izquierda filipina del mapa político
...Varios grupos defensores de los derechos humanos se han manifestado en Manila en protesta por el asesinato de cinco activistas políticos en los últimos días, y han acusado a la presidenta filipina, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, de no hacer nada para frenar la ola de violencia contra las organizaciones de izquierda. La protesta, que ha tenido lugar frente a Camp Aguinaldo, la sede del Ejército, ha estado protagonizada por miembros de Karapatan (Derecho) y Hustisya (Justicia), que han denunciado que ascienden a 824 los asesinatos políticos desde 2001, año de la llegada al poder de la presidenta.
...más en diario El Mundo.

The Stolen Generation

Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia, says sorry to the Aboriginal people on Feb 13th 2008

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