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Monday, May 31, 2010

Improving OFWs’ rice production endeavors

From the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice)

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), based in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, is inviting Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families who are into farming to learn the latest rice production technologies.

OFWs are invited to view PhilRice's Pinoy Rice Knowledge Bank (, and inquire about these rice production technologies through PhilRice's Farmers' Text Center +63-920-9111398 (through Ms. Olive Rose Asis).

OFWs are also invited to enrol in PhilRice's online courses at the Open Academy on Philippine Agriculture, at

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Groups seek government action on Cagayan anti-mining activist killings



Groups seek government action on Cagayan anti-mining activist killings


MANILA, Philippines - Environmental and human rights group, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), seeks government help to fast track investigation in the series of killings and violence that targeted anti-mining leaders in Buguey, Cagayan and calls for a stricter implementation of peace and order measures in the province.


"We have already recorded five deaths of anti-mining activists within the span of six months since November last year," said ATM national coordinator Jaybee Garaganera.


"Recently, we [ATM] received report that San Lorenzo barangay liason officer Adamson Arellano was rushed to the Lyceum Hope Hospital in Aparri on May 17 after being shot in the leg and foot by unidentified men while riding his motorcycle in a national hi-way in barangay Villagracia," said Garganera.


"Arellano is lucky to have escaped death. But it is not the same for the five anti-mining activists who have already died from the brutal killings while their respective families have yet to claim justice," said Garganera.


"Mining in Cagayan is a hot political issue. The recent election in Cagayan has been the battleground between the pro- and anti-mining candidates. Right now we fear for the lives of other anti-mining local officials and activists, who remain strong on their position against mining operations in the province specially in Buguey," added Garganera.


"We seek for government's action to fast track investigations of the recent shooting of Adamson Arellano and killings of William Arzadon, Conrado Buenaflor, Gensun Agustin, Pedrito Tabaco and Alfredo Rabit. We also ask government law enforcement authorities to implement stricter measures to keep the peace and order in the Cagayan, specially in Buguey," said Garganera.


Recently, Fula barangay captain William Arzadon died on the spot when he received multiple gunshots from unidentified men while riding his motorcycle on his way home in Buguey on May 15.


Conrado Buenaflor, member of the Citizen Action Unit (CAU) and head of Task Force Lapu-Lapu, which monitors shoreline mining and illegal fishing activities under the leadership of Taruc, was shot by an unidentified gunman in front of his own residence in Barangay Leron on May 9. Buenaflor passed away on May 13, after days of struggle for his life in a hospital in Tuguegarao.


Gensun Agustin, one of the leaders of the anti-mining civil society group Alliance of Buguey Community Development Advocates (Albucoda) and member of the Federation of Anti-Mining Advocates in Cagayan (Famac) was gunned down by unidentified men last March 1 while on his way home after delivering a lecture on mining impacts in Buguey.


Anti-mining advocates Pedrito Tabaco and his brother-in-law Alfredo Rabit were gunned down by unidentified men while riding together in a motorcycle on their way home in Barangay Leron Buguey on November 30 last year.


"Arellano, Arzadon, Buenaflor, Agustin, Tabaco and Rabit were all known strong supporters of staunch anti-mining Buguey mayor Ignacio Taruc who recently ran against the son of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and another contender for the House Representative seat in Cagayan first district," said Garganera.


Taruc garnered 40.42 percent of the total votes in the Congressional race, which was by won Juan Ponce C. Enrile Jr. with 56.23 percent votes according to the Commission on Election (Comelec) results.


Buguey is rich in black sand (magnetite) eyed by mining companies. Its wetlands have been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA), significant in staging and wintering area for migratory waterbirds but the site has no official protected status yet.


ATM is an advocacy group and people's movement composed of more than eighty (80) organizations from mining-affected communities and civil society organizations nationwide convened by HARIBON, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center – Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC/FOEI) and Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA). (30)


Sunday, May 23, 2010

DOLE strengthens ties with Pag-ibig, Philhealth to widen workers' coverage

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will incorporate the
requirements of Pag-ibig Fund and PhilHealth in its inspection and
monitoring of establishments to strengthen efforts aimed at ensuring that
workers are provided Pag-ibig Fund and PhiliHealth coverage.

Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque said the DOLE has
mobilized the assistance of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, or
PhilHealth, and the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), or Pag-ibig Fund ,
in the efforts to ensure wider coverage and labor protection for workers.

Roque said the DOLE entered into a memorandum of understanding and
cooperation providing for closer partnership and collaboration with
Pag-ibig and PhilHealth. The partnership completes the process of housing
and health benefit coverage with DOLE's enforcement and inspection in labor

The Labor and Employment Secretary signed the memorandum providing for
DOLE-Pag-ibig Fund collaboration with HDMF Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Jaime A. Fabiana. He also signed another memorandum providing for
DOLE-PhilHealth partnership with PhilHealth president and CEO Rey Aquino.

Pag-ibig Fund was created by Republic Act (RA) 9679 to provide housing
assistance to Filipinos through the mobilization of funds for shelter
finance. It specifies mandatory contributory support of employers for their
workers who are Pag-ibig Fund members.

PhilHealth was created by RA 7875 to provide universal health insurance
coverage aimed at providing affordable and accessible health care services
to all Filipinos.

Under the memorandum with Pag-ibig Fund and PhilHealth, the DOLE will
incorporate Pag-ibig Fund and PhilHealth requirements in its inspection and
monitoring of establishments under the labor standards enforcement framework
(LSEF). The framework seeks to ensure employers' compliance with labor
standards through self-assessment, inspection, and, advisory services.

"This will ensure that employers comply with the law," Roque said adding
"the DOLE will subsequently provide the two agencies with inspection and
monitoring reports."

Meanwhile, Pag-ibig Fund and PhilHealth will pursue efforts aimed at
encouraging employers to comply with their requirements and to take
appropriate actions on those found with violations.

Both agencies will provide additional assistance to DOLE including orienting
the DOLE personnel on their programs and services. They shall at the same
time support the programs and services of DOLE and its attached agencies.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

ICTSI signs agreement with Port of Portland

RA 9993
Officers of International Container
Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) and the Port of Portland in Oregon, USA recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement for a 25-year lease to operate the
container and breakbulk facility of Terminal 6. Photo shows the officers at the signing event
(seated, left to right): Sam Ruda, Port of Portland port director of marine and industrial development; Elvis Ganda, ICTSI Oregon,
Inc. chief executive officer; and Bill Wyatt, Port of Portland executive director. Witnessing the event
were (standing, left to right): Keith
Leavitt, Port of Portland corporate real estate manager; Marcelo Suarez, ICTSI
senior vice president, and Judi Johansen, Port of Portland commission president. The agreement, the largest financial
transaction in the history of the city's maritime port, is ICTSI's first
venture in the USA.
ICTSI is a port management company involved in the operations and development
of 19 marine terminals and port projects in 13 countries worldwide. For over 20 years, ICTSI has been the private
sector partner of choice for world-class trade facilitation in the economies it

Monday, May 17, 2010

PPCRV's partial and unofficial precinct results

As of May 17, 2010, 5:34 PM, Clustered Precincts Counted: 68,978 of 76,475 (90.20%)

 Presidential Race








41.85 %




26.48 %




15.16 %




11.11 %




3.10 %




1.41 %




0.15 %




0.13 %




0.12 %

The difference between the top 2 Presidential candidates, Aquino and Estrada: 5,083,063 votes.

 Vice-Presidential Race








40.79 %




38.33 %




11.52 %




2.83 %




2.14 %




1.00 %




0.17 %




0.14 %

The difference between top 2 Vice-Presidential Candidates, Binay and Roxas: 812,251 votes.

 Senatorial Race








53.91 %




52.68 %




48.17 %




44.14 %




43.57 %




38.14 %




36.77 %




34.47 %




33.13 %




32.35 %




30.45 %




28.65 %




25.45 %




24.05 %




23.32 %




20.86 %




20.41 %




18.85 %




18.26 %




17.69 %

The difference between the 12th and 13th Senatorial Candidates, Guingona and Hontiveros: 1,057,480 votes.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

PPCRV Invites Volunteers for ER encoding extension

As of May 16, 2010, 3:45 PM, YouthPinoy, (the CBCP youth group assisting in volunteer mobilization) together with PPCRV Archdiocesan Coordinator in NCR, were able to invite volunteers from different groups and parishes who are willing to spend their time encoding the election returns. These groups mostly from Manila came to PPCRV office to fill-up the slots in encoding those election returns. These groups are as follows:




    SM Corp.


    Daughters of Charity

    Diocese of Pasig



    Society of Saint Vincent de Paul

    Hospicio De San Jose

    Military Ordinariate

    Sagrada Familia

    Youth Encounter batch 21 (pasig)

    Miraculous  Medal Parish

    Religious of the Virgin Mary Sisters

    Religious of the Virgin Mary Lay

    Diocese of Antipolo

    Far Eastern University

    Diocese of Paranaque

    Poveda Parent Teachers Association

    Diocese of Maasin



Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fw: PCID PRESS STATEMENT_Will the new president speak for Muslim Mindanao?


Will the new president speak for Muslim Mindanao?

After the historic first automated elections last May 10, Senator Benigno Aquino III is poised to take the presidency as the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines.

The Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy ( congratulates Senator "Noynoy" on his resounding landslide victory. While the race for the vice presidential post and some senatorial slots have yet to be settled, PCID offers its congratulations to all newly-elected officials of the Republic. The voice of the Filipino has been heard.

We are not sure though if the voice of the Muslims in this country were heard.

While some attempted to inject a genuine discourse on the important issues, the issues of Muslim Mindanao (surprise, surprise) were largely relegated to the margins.

We hope that the electoral victors will not ignore the issues of our Muslim brothers and sisters that were basically ignored during the campaign. We hope that President Noynoy becomes, not just a President of the Christian majority, but also a President for Muslim Mindanao.

During the campaign PCID issued a Bangsamoro/Muslim Mindanao Agenda for the next President of the Republic. We sent this document to all the presidentiables. Sadly, when we organized a presidential forum to discuss this agenda only Sen. Loren Legarda, Sen. Richard Gordon and Engr. Bayani Fernando attended.

Which is why we are re-issuing the agenda for the benefit of President-in-waiting Noynoy Aquino. The agenda, summarized below, is divided into short and medium to long-term:

1.    Demilitarize ARMM and strengthen the National Police Force.
2.    Review cases of Muslims arrested under the Human Security Act and free the innocents.
3.    Give the Muslims significant representation and participation in government, per the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.
4.    Create the Shari'ah Appellate Court.
5.    Immediately put into place a catch-up budget for conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.
6.    Provide reconstruction and rehabilitation assistance to the IDPs.
7.    Approve the executive order setting up the Funds for Assistance to Madrasah Education (F.A.M.E.) to strengthen Madrasah education.
8.    Support Islamic Studies Institutes.
9.    Ensure autonomy for institutions of higher learning.

Medium-Term to Long-Term
1.    Put in place a holistic and inclusive peace process.
2.    Rethink government strategy in relation to the peace talks.
3.    Uphold the primacy of peace, not military objectives.
4.    Ensure the full implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.
5.    Strengthen the rule of law.
6.    Reform the electoral process.
7.    Ensure genuine fiscal autonomy for ARMM.
8.    Capacitate the ARMM-Regional Government.
9.    Pass legislations pertaining to anti-discrimination against any cultural, religious or other groups; equality of opportunities in education, economic pursuits, and employment; certification of Halal food and other products.
10.    Should there be constitutional change, support amendments to the charter that would be beneficial to Muslims and that would address issues on ancestral domains.

Despite many problems in the automated elections, we also congratulate the teachers and election workers who persevered to ensure that the first automated national elections of the nation are "fairly successful."

While PCID agrees that it is important to make accountable those responsible for the glitches that caused the nation undue anxiety, we are more interested in learning the lessons of this automated election in preparation for the 2011 ARMM regional elections.

We hope that the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) will provide ample time for preparation to avoid the problems encountered in this national election.

We likewise commend Senator Manny Villar for his act of statesmanship in conceding the electoral contest a day after the elections. We urge all candidates, national or local, to do the same to ensure peaceful transitions in our government.

Finally, PCID lauds Muslim teachers, volunteers, civil society members, the Ulama and the Aleemat for their active participation in ensuring the success of this election.


HALAL to Comelec: Too soon to proclaim. Too many questions.

Early reports of discrepancies between machine and audit counts in Manila highlight the need for prudence, especially since machine-count winner Alfredo Lim was prematurely proclaimed May 11, 3 p.m., barely 15 hours after election day and without waiting for the audit results.

People want a successful election so badly, that it is easy to get carried away by flood of incoming election returns. Many want to believe that a clean and speedy election has finally happened, at last. But let not the public euphoria at the speed of counting erase the persistent concerns about the process.

The vice-presidential election is yet to be settled. The contest between the 12th and 13th places in the senatorial race still has to be settled too. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of local races also await to be settled.

Already news is coming in about delayed Election Returns (ERs), malfunctioning, missing or otherwise questionable memory cards, and other indicators of potential or emerging problems.

This is not to say we advocate a full return to the old manual system, but only a prudent scrutiny of the automated process in the light of its earlier miscounts, apart from the automated results. In 2004, many who wanted "anyone but FPJ" embraced the results, relieved that the elections fulfilled their expectations, and chose to ignore the niggling questions that eventually exploded in our collective faces as the "Hello Garci" scandal. Let us not repeat the same mistake; let the niggling questions be answered satisfactorily, before we finally accept the final results.

As in the manual system, the precinct level count is always the fastest. Even when election inspectors, watchers and the public counted votes by hand, most of the election results had always been available past midnight or early morning. Even under the manual method, the biggest challenge has always been at the municipal level and higher, where wholesale cheating operations occurred.

In fact, the automated election system failed spectacularly its first truly public test a week before election day, when many candidates got zero – a "bawas" -- and some got more than the votes actually cast for them – a "dagdag". The results were worse than most manual counts. An embarrassed Comelec quickly called off the public test, and traced the problem to misaligned ovals on the ballot. Because of a last-minute change from single-spacing to double-spacing in the ballot layout for local candidates, their oval locations did not anymore match the coordinates stored in a configuration file in a memory card within the PCOS machine.

Reconfiguring the memory cards was somewhat easier than reprinting ballots, so that is what the Comelec and Smartmatic tried to do.

Smartmatic only had 18,000 spare memory cards, so in addition to the spares, Smartmatic recalled the cards that could still be recalled; imported the rest from Hongkong and Taiwan; edited each of the 1,631 ballot layout configuration files (unique for every town); programmed these configuration files into 76,340 memory cards (one for each machine); delivered the 76,340 newly reconfigured memory cards to the waiting machines all over the archipelago; found the right machines for the right memory cards; replaced the misconfigured memory card; and conducted a second round of public testing and sealing of the PCOS machines. All within a span of five days – 120 hours. Aside from some 400 machines that malfunctioned, the rest of the 76,340 machines worked fine and gave the country its first successful automated elections. So they say.

Can we now trust the machine results?

These machines had grievously failed to count a few days earlier. This was followed by a mad rush of recalls, importations, file reconfigurations, card reprogramming, deliveries, reinstallations, and a second round of testing and sealing. In the rush, were security procedures and chain of custody guidelines still observed? Did anyone see an election inspector with an ultraviolet lamp to check for authentic ballots, for instance? (We have not found anyone who did.) What about more subtle potential problems that a ten-ballot test set was insufficient to detect – ovals that were misaligned by only one or two millimeters, for example, or oval coordinates that were purposely changed slightly to shave votes from targetted candidates. Were tests done at all for these potential problems?

Suppose an ATM had earlier given you only half the money than it deducted from your account, and the bank tells you the machine is now ok. Wouldn't you count the money yourself at least once in subsequent withdrawals? Suppose most ATMs of a bank network shortchanged its clients, wouldn't you demand every ATM of that network to be carefully tested and recertified for its counting accuracy?

For exactly the same reason, every candidate who lost – and won – in the machine-counted 2010 elections should demand thorough post-election testing and audit for accuracy of every counting machine and its results.

Losing candidates should demand it, because they might have actually won.

Winning candidates – especially those who lead by a huge margin – should demand it, because the gross machine errors a few days earlier and subsequent doubts about machine accuracy have devalued their victory.

Apparent president-elect Noynoy Aquino should demand it, if only for the sake of his running-mate. We welcome his reported intention to revisit "all issues his camp raised during the campaign against the automation," especially since one of the more than 400 counting machines that failed conked out on him. The results from the random manual audit must be awaited, and the issues that may arise from it resolved. Questions that were unsatisfactorily addressed before election day and especially about the CF memory card fiasco must be answered.

There was no time for proper testing in the mad rush to the May 10 elections because few wanted the elections postponed. But we have fifty days before June 30, when the new set of elected officials are scheduled to take over. Remember, haste makes waste. We still have enough time check, double-check, and be sure about the results of the 2010 elections.

In the meantime, the Comelec and local election authorities should not be in a hurry to declare the elections a success and to proclaim winners, especially in close contests.






Manila – 12 May 2010


The World Forum for Democratization in Asia (WFDA), the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict-Southeast Asia (GPPAC-SEA) welcome the successful conclusion of balloting in the Philippines on 10 May. The hope, as WFDA expressed last week, that the elections could help to return the Philippines to the path of democratic development, at this point appears on track to be fulfilled.


Most importantly, we were impressed by the dedication and patience of the Filipino people, who turned out in very large  numbers, despite having to grapple with an entirely new voting method and enduring very long waits often under hot sun. Likewise, we applaud the polling station staff (BEI) who made great efforts to implement the new system, as well the many civil society organizations, such as the National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), Bantay Eleksyon, and others, to scrutinize the process. Finally, we also commend the many other institutions which made significant contributions, notably the media and the security and law enforcement agencies. Taken together, this collective commitment demonstrates the high value the Filipino people place on their democratic rights, which should be an inspiration for all democrats around the region.


Of course, there were a wide array of technical difficulties, mostly related to the new automated voting system, the hasty preparation of which had unfortunately raised public anxiety. These issues will be reported in more detail by ANFREL, which deployed a nationwide international observer mission. At present, these issues appear to have been random, so they ought not to have a significant impact on the results for most races. Nonetheless, the right of candidates to lodge protests must be respected, and any such complaints addressed in a thorough and credible fashion. This is a necessary step to further strengthen public confidence in the fairness of the system.


However, we regret that many incidents of violence still occurred at all stages of the process, resulting in at least 29 deaths since the official start of the election period in January, more than 10 of these on election day. As the results are being confirmed, we call on all candidates and members of the public to refrain from any violent responses to the elections.


Finally, as the next group of leaders prepares to take office on 30 June, we remind them of the immense task that faces them. The expectations of the Filipino people are very high for rebuilding the public institutions of democratic governance and bringing lasting peace to all parts of the country. The regional community too expects that the Philippines can regain the place it held after the 1986 "People Power" revolution as a leader of regional democratic development.



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fw: poll results as of 11:04pm

As of 11:04pm, 40.1% of all poll precincts were counted and yielded this Partial/Unofficial results:

As of 11:04pm



Aquino 8,639,933 42.2%

Estrada 5,478,252 26.76%

Villar 2,935,641 14.34%

Gibo 2,259,657 11.03%

Villanueva 654,698 3.19%

Gordon 331,402 1.61%

Perlas 28,641 0.14%

Madrigal 26,029 0.12%

De los Reyes 23,764 0.11%


As of 11:04pm



Binay 8,629,593 43.2%

Roxas 7, 873,773 39.42%

Legarda 2,200,815 11.02%

Bayani 621,965 3.11%

Manzano 375,642 1.88%

Yasay 207,575 1.03%

Sonza 35, 872 0.18%

Chipeco 26, 484 0.13%


As of 11:04pm

Magic 12 Senatorial Candidates


Revilla                   11,230,597           6.41%

Estrada                 11,197,752           6.39%

Santiago               10,314,987           5.89%

Drilon                    9,464,855             5.4%

Enrile                     9,362,004             5.34%

Cayetano             8,223,561             4.69%

Marcos                 8,076,889             4.61%

Recto                    7,340,120             4.19%

Sotto                     7,210,127             4.11%

Serge Osmena  6,821,532             3.89%

Lapid                     6,331,274             3.61%

Guingona            6,140,501             3.5%


Hontiveros          5,572,834             3.18%

Biazon                   5,208,130             2.97%

De Venecia         4,996,940             2.85%

Sunday, May 09, 2010

As efforts to child labour slow, ILO calls for "re-energized" global action


MANILA (ILO News) - Amid growing concerns over the impact of the economic downturn, the International Labour Office (ILO) warned in a new study that
efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour are slowing down and called for a *re-energized* global campaign to end the practice.

In its quadrennial Global Report on child labour, the ILO said that the global number of child labourers had declined from 222 million to 215 million, or 3 per
cent, over the period 2004 to 2008, representing a *slowing down of the global pace of reduction.* The report also expressed concern that the global economic crisis could *further brake* progress toward the goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016.

"Progress is uneven: neither fast enough nor comprehensive enough to reach the goals that we have set,* said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. *New
and large-scale efforts are needed. The situation calls for a re-energized campaign against child labour. We must scale up action and move into a higher

Mr Somavia added: "The economic downturn cannot become an excuse for diminished ambition and inaction. Instead it offers the opportunity to implement
the policy measures that work for people, for recovery and for sustainable development."

The new ILO report, entitled Accelerating action against Child Labour, comes on the eve of a Global Child Labour Conference organized by the Government of the Netherlands in The Hague in cooperation with the ILO. Mr Somavia said the impetus for action will be given a boost at the Global Conference, which is to consider a new "road map" for the elimination of child labour.

Trends since 2006

The new report*s findings are in contrast to the last quadrennial evaluation in 2006 which found greater cause for optimism. The updated picture is one of
*uneven* progress toward the goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016. The report warns that if current trends continue the 2016 target
will be missed.

The good news is that the overall pattern of child labour reduction has been maintained: the more harmful the work and the more vulnerable the children
involved, the faster the decline. However, a staggering 115 million are still exposed to hazardous work, a proxy often used for the worst forms of child

The report breaks down data by age and gender.  Progress was greatest among children aged 5-14, where the number of child labourers fell by 10 per cent. The number of children in hazardous work in this age range fell by 31 per cent. Child labour among girls decreased considerably (by 15 million or 15 per cent). However, it increased among boys (by 8 million or 7 per cent). What*s more, child labour among young people aged 15 to 17 increased by 20 per cent, from 52 million to 62 million.

The Global Report also includes data aggregated by region. It shows, for example, that Asia Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean continue to
reduce child labour, while sub-Saharan Africa has witnessed an increase both in relative and absolute terms. This region also has the highest incidence of
children working, with one in four children engaged in child labour.

Constance Thomas, Director of the ILO*s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), outlined some of the key remaining
challenges in tackling child labour, including the scale of the problem in Africa, a much needed breakthrough in agriculture - where most child labourers
work - and the need to address sometimes *hidden* forms of child labour, which are often among the worst forms.

*Most child labour is rooted in poverty.  The way to tackle the problem is clear. We must ensure that all children have the chance of going to school, we
need social protection systems that support vulnerable families - particularly at times of crisis - and we need to ensure that adults have a chance of decent
work. These measures, combined with effective enforcement of laws that protect children, provide the way forward*, Ms Thomas said.

The ILO IPEC programme was launched in 1992, and in the 2008-09 biennium it was operational in over 90 countries.

The global conference on child labour in The Hague on 10-11 May will gather some 450 delegates from 80 countries. The meeting will also serve as a platform for the launch of an interagency report by the ILO, the World Bank and UNICEF.
The report, *Joining forces against child labour - Inter-agency report for The Hague Global Child Labour Conference of 2010*, calls  for child labour to be
placed at the forefront of national development agendas and presents a range of evidence indicating that child labour constitutes an important impediment to national development.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Nominees of OFW Party-list groups:


Here is a tally of nominees of party list groups claiming to specifically represent OFWs.:

Adhikaing alay ng Marino sa Sambayanan (ALON): nominees include Richard Ritual (a vice president of the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy), Joseph Vernon Patano (former executive director, Presidential Anti-Graft Commission), Jaime Quiñones, Telesforo Solda, and Rodolfo Aspillaga.

Alyansa ng OFW: Abolcair D. Guro, Nhazrudin Dianalan (who had initially sought to run as senator for the 2011 elections), Meycauayan Atil and Gerardo Cuartes are its representatives.

Akbay Pinoy National Organization (APOI): Melchor Rosales (an undersecretary of the DILG), Rosario Dizon, Arturo Tomaneng, Katherine Mari Garcia (a lawyer for the Puno and Puno law offices) and Adelaida Lazaro.

Ang Kapisanan ng mga Seaman (AKSI) - its five nominees are Reynaldo Valeros, Jr., Lamberto Torres, Jimmy Besinio, Nestor Vargas and Carlito Gesalan

Ahon Pinoy: Dante Francis Ang II, Emerito Remulla, Von Bryan Cuerpo, Efren Villaseñor, and Fundador Soriano.

Pamilyang OFW-SME Network (OPO): Joel Itallo, Rafael de Leon, Vicente D. Millora, Alfredo Ramos and Irene A. Rentino as its nominees.

Action Brotherhood for Active Dreamers (ABROAD)- First two nominees are Danilo Magsino Dy and wife Angela. The other nominees of the party are Divine L. Puno, Rema S. Valencia and Jerico Magsino

KALAHI: Eleazar Quinto, Apostol Poe Gratela (representative for landbased workers POEA, and was also a nominee of the party in the 2007 elections, Charles Medillo, Jovita Dacquil and George Bautista.

UFS does not have a list of nominees as per the official Comelec tally although it is one of the accredited party-list groups.

*Source Comelec Law Department
Thanks to Ruben Jeffrey Asuncion for the compilation of the list.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Green Groups Pray for SC Urgent Action on Marinduque Mining Tragedy

Green Groups Pray for SC Urgent Action on Marinduque Mining Tragedy:
Says Legacy of Destructive Mining Must Go Away with GMA
Manila – A national group of environmental organizations pleaded today with the Supreme Court to act speedily and in favor of local residents from Marinduque seeking justice and compensation from the mining tragedy that befell the province 17 years ago.   Expressing their support to plaintiffs from elderly and ailing residents of the province, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), expressed faith that the Supreme Court will uphold the rule of law and confer environmental justice to Marinduquenos, who became victims of a mine spill in Mogpog River in 1993, by a mine operated by Marcopper Mining Corporation. 
Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of ATM, said that with the rules on environmental cases promulgated by the Supreme Court recently, "we are hopeful that Chief Justice Puno and the rest of the Supreme Court will act swiftly, decisively and impartially bestow justice.  This is a fitting legacy that CJ Puno will be giving as he anticipates his retirement a few days from now." He added that this "ugly legacy of the Marinduque tragedy is a concrete reminder of the serious threats that large-scale mining poses to our environment, our livelihoods and even lives".  He compared the horrible calamity to the continuing tragedy that is the GMA administration which has aggressively promoted large-scale mining.  "This should be an important lesson to all candidates in this elections, that they should heed the call of the rural poor who are against large-scale mining and looking for genuine rural development through agriculture and agro-industrialization productivity", he concluded.
"HARIBON supports the efforts made by the residents of Marinduque to seek and claim justice that long eluded them.  Although this will not bring back the original biodiversity of the area, their action resonates of hope for themselves and another chance to renew life", said Blas Tabaranza, Executive Director of HARIBON.  HARIBON is a co-convenor of ATM.
Meanwhile, human rights groups expressed solidarity with this move.  "This is the final resort to seek redress for the human rights abuses resulting from this mining tragedy in Marinduque, and we are supporting the plaintiffs", said Nymia Pimental-Simbulan, Executive Director of the Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights).
In the early hours of December 6, 1993, at the height of typhoon Monang, the siltation dam of Marcopper in Marinduque broke, sending a flashflood down the Mogpog River. Two people were reported killed, along with the destruction of residents' crops, homes and loss of numerous livestock due to mine tailings and toxic effluent. The incident led to the eventual death of the Mogpog river, which, prior to the disaster, was a valuable community resources to barangays along the river. Only 3 years after the storm, a leak in the mine's drainage tunnel caused more toxic materials to empty out into the Boac River in the provincial capital.  In addition, corrosive tailings and other mine waste were dumped in Marinduque's Calancan Bay continuously for 16 years, endangering fisherfolk communities by the sea, as well as the smaller creeks and rice fields traversed by the drainage pipes.
ATM is a national campaign of more than 80 organizations all over the country against the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines.  They are actively supporting more than 20 mining-affected communities who are opposing the entry or expansion of mining operations in their areas, including the continuing struggle of the people of Marinduque. ATM is convened by HARIBON, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC) and the Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA).  (

MEDIA RELEASE: Halalang Marangal May 6, 2010: PCOS can be used for targeted "bawas"



MANILA -- Halalang Marangal (HALAL) Secretary-general Roberto Verzola today warned that the recent spate of gross errors by the PCOS machine has revealed "an easy way to shave votes from targeted candidates, by making minor changes in the PCOS configuration file".


Verzola explained the current PCOS problems as follows: "There was a mismatch between the PCOS configuration and the ballot layout for the local candidates. The ballot layout for the local candidates was changed from single-spaced to double-spaced, but the PCOS configuration was not changed to account for the new locations of the double-spaced ovals. Thus, from the perspective of the PCOS, the ovals were misaligned. Ballot printing had changed the alignment of ovals due to the modified layout, but the PCOS was still looking for the ovals based on their original alignment. The PCOS couldn't find most of the ovals anymore, resulting in missed votes."


"Smartmatic simply needs to adjust the coordinates of the ovals for the local candidates, to conform with the modified ballot layout, to correct the misalignment. This will require changing the configuration file containing the coordinates. I agree that, properly done, this would solve this particular problem," Verzola said.


"However, this can be exploited by cheats to do targeted cheating – mostly through vote-shaving – with the PCOS machine," Verzola warns.


Verzola explained how: "All that needs to be done is to slightly change the coordinates of the oval associated with a targeted candidate, so that the printed oval on the ballot for that candidate becomes slightly misaligned with respect to the new coordinates on the configuration file. The larger the misalignment, the greater the possibility of missing the mark on the oval – this is called a false negative or a 'bawas'. Of course, the cheat would not make such a big change that the PCOS machine will miss the mark entirely – a consistently zero count would be too obvious and easily detected. But a slightly misaligned oval might be missed occasionally, say one in every ten marks, leading to a 10% shaving of votes for that particular targetted candidate."


"The COMELEC must make sure that this kind of cheating doesn't happen," Verzola said.


Halalang Marangal (HALAL) convenors include former Senator Wigberto Tañada, retired General Francisco Gudani, former COMELEC Commissioner Mehol Sadain, former St. Scholastica's President Sr. Mary John Mananzan, PRRM President Isagani Serrano, TOYM awardee Atty. Ma. Paz Luna, and IT expert Roberto Verzola.


HALAL had earlier estimated the chance of success of the election automation project at 32%.


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Struggle continues for the Sentosa Nurses Migrante slammed NLRC’s latest decison




The largest alliance of Filipino migrants' organization slammed the latest decision of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) ruling in favor of the Sentosa Recruitment Agency (SRA) and dismissing the charges of the 31 health workers who accused Sentosa of contract substitution.


"The latest decision of the NLRC comes as a no surprise, as it only further   proves what has been clear to us since the start of this case: that the Philippine government's consistency in defending a labor/migrants' rights violator rather than protecting the rights and welfare of migrant workers," declared Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International.


In 2006, 26 nurses and 1 physical therapist, known as the Sentosa 27++,   quit their jobs in various nursing care facilities in protest of the various contract violations Sentosa has committed against them. They filed illegal recruitment charges and other labor complaints against Sentosa in the Philippines and a class action suit in New York against their employer, Sentosa Care Group, for breach of contract.  In retaliation, Sentosa filed administrative and criminal charges such as patient endangerment against the healthworkers. US courts ruled in favor of the nurses. Meanwhile, with the NLRC decision, all the cases filed against SRA in the Philippines at the DOJ, at the POEA and at the DOLE have been decided in favor of SRA.


"It was clear the nurses will not get any justice from this government when no less than former POEA Administrator Rosalinda Baldoz told the families of the nurses that the POEA 'could not sacrifice the thousands of jobs in the pipeline'," disclosed Martinez. "The bias for SRA was patently clear, even from the start."


"Nakakapanlumo na sa sarili nating bayan ay walang makamit na katarungan ang mga nabiktima ng SRA," continued Martinez. "Mga dayuhan pa ang nagbigay depensa sa sarili nating mga kababayan laban sa pagsasamantala sa kanila ng Sentosa. Mukhang ang hangganan ng kagarapalan ng gobiyernong ito ay walang katapusan!"


Martinez also related the NLRC decision to the plight of workers in the Philippines who will not get any pay wage hikes on this year's commemoration of Labor Day.

"For us –this is GMA's legacy—paparaming nabibiktima na OFWs na di nakakakuha ng katarungan, paparaming mga kababayan na kumakapit sa patalim sa ibang bansa dahil hindi na makaya ang napakatinding kahirapan sa ating bayan."###




The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) has deployed 41 international observers from 14 countries to observe the Philippines election, which is scheduled for the May 10, 2010.  ANFREL believes that the upcoming General Elections could be  a new chapter of clean and credible elections for the country and an admirable initiative for the Asian people towards ensuring freedom of elections in the region.


ANFREL appreciates the endeavour undertaken by the civil society groups and the media regarding civic and voter education campaigns to encourage all the eligible voters to be acquainted with the new Automated Election System (AES) and duly exercise their franchise in the upcoming elections.


The unabated acts of threat and intimidation to voters and candidates will undermine the sanctity of the elections and a prime time in the Philippines' democratic advancement.  We hope that the government and the concerned authorities will leave no stone unturned to create a conductive atmosphere for free, fair and peaceful elections by curbing potential incidences of violence and other election related irregularities across the country with zero tolerance of impunity.  We also urge the political parties and the candidates to redouble their efforts to fully respect the relevant election laws, regulations and code of conduct during the campaign and beyond.


Even though the Philippines is the first country in South East Asia to attempt a synchronised nationwide election using an automated machine, ANFREL believes that the testing and performance of the Precint Count Optical Scan (PCOS) should be more transparent to ensure public confidence of the machine.  ANFREL expects that other electoral concerns will be taken into account i.e. strict maintenance of law and order, ensuring the secrecy of voters and the prevention of election related irregularities such as underage voting, vote buying, rigging and campaigning during cooling hour and the polling day.


The ANFREL observation mission will be led by Mr. Hassan Ariff from Bangladesh together with Mr. Koul Panha from Cambodia and Dr. Gopal Krishna Siwakoti from Nepal. 

Established in 1997, as Asia's first regional network of civil society organizations, ANFREL strives to promote and support democratization process at national and regional levels in Asia. From its very inception, ANFREL has concentrated all its strength on supporting the process of democratization in different parts of Asia.