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The US State Department report on the human rights abuses in the Philippines is hypocritical because the United States is equally responsible for the abuses through military aid, deployment of troops and a counterinsurgency blueprint that is anchored on the Aquino administration’s Oplan Bayanihan.
By Conrado de Quiros
There were a couple of seemingly unrelated stories on our pages last weekend.
The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) announces the formation of the People’s Claim Board, in protest of President Aquino’s appointment of a retired police director, Lina Sarmiento, to the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB), a week before the law that creates it, the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 or Republic Act No. 10368, turns one year old.
Will 2013 usher in some pleasant improvements for the Philippines, or will it be just a repeat of 2010, 2011 and 2012? The past three years have been about economic gains, some of which can be traced to the previous administration’s initiatives—not new growth, just a continuation from the past. In 2012, the Aquino administration [...]
By Amando Doronila
THE AQUINO administration has exploded with jubilation over the 7.1-percent economic growth for the third quarter that exceeded expectations. It prompted Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan to be exuberant when he briefed reporters: “We are well on our way to surpassing our growth target of 5 to 6 percent this year.” The unaccustomed GDP [...]
EDITA BURGOS, mother of enforced disappearance victim Jonas, has a very serious concern about Malacañang’s branding of human rights violations as “leftist propaganda.” “I fear that the message relayed in such blatant act by authorities can be a justification for human rights violators to continue their abuses,” she said.
President Aquino’s third State of the Nation Address was a speech by a reluctant, even awkward, politician come into his own. There was no mistaking both the ease and the energy which marked the President’s effective delivery; he clearly relished the moment, and the small departures from the prepared text were subtle revelations of personality. It’s a pity that he decided not to spend any of the massive political goodwill he enjoys to advance the public agenda on certain central issues.
By Raul C. Pangalangan
I wrote many years back that, for the martial law torture victims, the “unkindest cut of all” is not in being forgotten but in being misunderstood. The other day, they suffered another legal setback, in yet another instance of foreign courts misunderstanding the role of the extraterritorial adjudication of human rights abuses. The US court [...]
By Christopher Ryan Maboloc
Thomas Friedman is wrong to say in his celebrated book, “The World is Flat,” that the world is always within one’s reach, or just a click away with the use of a mouse. Think, for instance, of people who live in the poorest provinces of the Philippines or workers who earn below the minimum wage, and one will realize that the Internet is not readily available to all. This is for the simple reason that the flat-world economy that Mr. Friedman is talking about is no more than the egocentric forces of capitalism that continue to hound the poor masses and keep them in oblivion and disease, ignored by their fellow human beings.
Published reports about the failure of the administration of President Aquino to curb the rampant violations of human rights in the Philippines (Inquirer, 1/20/12) are absolutely correct, and must be taken objectively as a challenge to government agencies tasked to administer disciplinary sanctions against the violators and to the security forces, particularly the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police.
By Philippe Dam
GENEVA—There were high hopes when the Philippines rejoined the 47-member Human Rights Council in June that President Aquino would make human rights a centerpiece of his foreign policy. But so far, the Philippines has fallen well short of expectations. The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) finally found its footing about a year ago, taking [...]
Actual victims of Ferdinand Marcos’ human rights violations during martial law, including those like us who were dubiously stricken from the list of 9,200 victims, are further disgusted with the new irregularities that attended the distribution of the supposed $10-million compensation (at $1,000 per victim). The exposure of a scam that has been going on [...]