Archive for December, 2008

PASKO!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 28, 2008 by MASP

Pasko na naman! Parang kailan lang yung ikalawang nabigong impeachment kay Gloria, ngayon, nalibing na ang ikatlo. Ang bilis talaga ng panahon.

Malaki ang posibilidad na hindi birhen si Maria kundi isang ordinaryong ngunit napakabuting tao (katulad ni Jose, na kanyang asawa). Ang ‘virgin birth’ ay isang karaniwang mito ng iba’t ibang relihiyon bago pa man ang kristiyanismo. Malaki rin ang posibilidad na hindi Disyembre 25 ipinanganak si Hesus. May kinalaman ang petsang ito sa winter soltice-isang paganong pista ipinagdiriwang ang muling pagkapanganak ng Diyos na Araw-at ang pagkamatay naman ng daigdig na muling mabubuhay sa Ostara (unang araw ng tagsibol o spring).

Subalit ano man ang tamang petsa-pwede naman kahit na kailan- ang mahalaga ay ipinanganak ang Diyos-naging tao-kaya dapat may pasko. Dapat, ipagdiwang. Bakit? Sino ang hindi magdiriwang sa katotohanang, sinamahan tayo ng Diyos sa buhay na ito? Isang napakahalagang araw ang pagtatayong ito ng tent ng Diyos kasama natin-kaya tinatawag siyang Emmanuel-kasama natin! Mayroon bang ganitong Diyos? Wala. Siya lang. Kakaiba. Nakakabilib! Kayat magsaya tayo-kasi Pasko!

Ngunit, sandali. Bago tayo rumagasang magdiwang, ilagay natin sa konteksto ng ating pampamilya, pambansa at pandaigdigang konteksto ang ating Pasko.

Inamin na ng bansang Hapon na ito ay nasa recession-isa sa pinakamalala. Ang Europa, inamin na rin na ang buong rehiyon ay nasa recession. Tinatayang 2milyon ang mawawalan ng ttrabaho sa Britanya sa susunod na taon. Nitong nakalipas na 3 buwan, marami na ang naalis sa trabaho, lalo na ang mga kababayan nating naroon. Ang Amerika, hindi pa malaman ang gagawin sa kanilang kabuhayan. Nalilito. Nag-babangayan. Pinasa na ang 700B bailout ng mga bangko. Ngunit tinanggihan ang 400B bailout sa automakers. At nanlulumo at naninikluhod ang mga kumpanya ng kotse at sasakyan. Lalo na ang mga manggagawa sa industriya.

Dito sa atin, maraming ofw mula sa Taiwan at Gitnang silangan ang umuuwing luhaaan. Mayroon namang inalis na sa trabaho ngunit di pa umuuwi dahil nakikiupagsapalaran pang baka makahanap, kahit arawan. At ayon sa kanilang, marami pa raw ang pauuwiin. Sa isang pabrika sa Taiwan, sabi ng isang manggagawa, takutan ang nangyayari. Kapag pauuwiin, ikukulong sa kwarto, kukunin ang celfon-at mabilisang pasasakayin ng eroplano ()upang hindi makapasumbong) Dahil hindi pa tapos ang kontrata. Inuuna ang mga bagong dating. Upang walang babayarang separation pay.

Ito ay bukod pa sa dati nang walang trabaho sa ating bansa. Na nananatiling double digit. Dagdag pa ang mga under-employed-ang mga taong minsan minsan lang may trabaho. Na halos aabot ng 20% ng ating lakas-paggawa.

Huwag nating kalilimutan, na bagaman bumaba ng halos kalahati ang presyo ng langis sa pandaigdigang merkado, at kahit paano ay bumaba ang presyo ng lpg, langis at pamasahe (ng .50 c!), tumaas naman ang kuryente, tubig at iba pang bilihin. Habang santambak na advertisement ang MERALCO sa napakaliit na pagbawas sa presyo ng kuryente, sobrang taas naman ang pinatong sa tubig. Ang mga Lopez talaga! Nakalimot nang kung hindi sa people power noong 1986, hindi nila mababawi ang ABS at Meralco sa gobyerno ni Marcos. Ngayon-puro kita na lang ang nasa isip-at kaunting limos sa pamamagitan ng abulkoy sa mga bata, kasama pa ang Gawad-kalinga! Totoo na medyo bumaba na ang presyo ng bigas mula noong krisis, ngunit ang lahat ng bilihin lalo na sa groceries ay hindi tumitigil sa pagtaas.

Iba’t ibang sakripisyo ang ating magsasaka. May naglakad mula Bicol hanggang Maynila. May nag-ayuno nag higit sa kalahating buwan. May naglakad mula Calatagan hanggang kongreso. Hindi mabilang ang mga sumuporta. May obispo at ilang paring nakiisa sa hunger strike. Ngunit awa ng Diyos, isang walang kakwenta-kwentang resolution ang ipinasa ng mga manhid, sugapa at parang walang kaluluwa nating mga kongresista at senador. Prinotektahan ang kanilang mga lupain, hindi bale nang mamamatay sa gutom ang mga magsasaka! May mahihiling pa ba tayo sa ating butihin at kagalang-galang na kongreso?

Huwag na nating isali sa usapan ang malacanang. Talagang kay Gloria lamang ang gloria. Yan naman ang batas sa yungib ng mga ahas.

Ngayong taon, anong mga sakit o pahirap ang ating inilatay sa damdamin, puso at kalooban ng ating mga kasama sa pamilya. Sa ating mga anak. Sa ating mga tinatawag na mahal sa buhay. O napunan ba natin ng haplos ng pagmamahal ang ating mga kasama, kaibigan at mahal sa buhay? Sana.

Kaya ang pasko ay paghingi ng kapatawaran.

Sa ating mga sakit na idinulot sa ating mga mahal sa buhay.

Sa ating pagwawalang bahala sa hirap, hilahil, sugat ng ating bayan.

Sa ating pagkibit-balikat samantalang garapalan tayong ninanakawan ng mga negosyante at pamahalaan.

Sa ating patuloy na pagkamakasarili.

Sa ating kakulangan ng sinop at komitment sa paglilingkod

At pagkakasya sa pwede na yan, kaysa lubusin ang sinop sa anumang ginagawa lalo na sa paglilingkod sa bayan, at pag-aaruga ng pamilya.

Samantala, ang Pasko rin ay pagdiriwang

Ng ating tapang sa pakikipagsapalaran sa buhay;

Ng ating pagsisikap na makiisa sa pakikibaka ng magsasaka, manggagawa at maralita

Ng ating tapang na humingi ng tawad sa mga pagkakamali

Ng ating pag-amin sa ating mga kakulangan

Ng ating mga munting haplos ng pagmamahal at pag-aaruga

Ng ating patuloy na bigyang saysay ang buhay at kasaysayan ng bayan.

Ang krisi na ating dinadanas, at mukhang lalo pang lalala sa darating na taon ay pangako ng pag-asa- oportunidad upang lubos na iwaksi ng bayan ang nakagawian �Vnang walang taros na korapsyon, mapaniil at mapang-aping sistema ng negosyo-sa labas at loob ng pamahalaan, at ang mapantakas nating kultura ng wowowee at eat bulaga, ng lotto at raffle-

Upang ipanganak, tulad ng bagong tagsibol at taniman, ng isang bagong ani-isang bagong kaayusan na kung saan ang mga paninindigan ni Maria at Zakarias ay mahahawan:

“…pinatalsik Niya sa luklukan ang mga makapangyarihan, itinampok naman ang mga bale-wala.

Binusog Niya ng mabubuting bagay ang mga nagugutom at itinaboy namang wala-wala ang mga mayayaman.”

(Awit ni Maria, Lukas 1:52)

“.. Nagpakita siya ng awa sa ating mga ninuno

at inalala ang kanyang tipan

ang pangakong sinumpaan niya sa ating amang si Abraham

na ililigtas tayo sa kamay ng mga kaaway

upang walang takot natin siyang mapaglingkuran

nang may kabanalan at katarungan….”

(Awit ni Zakarias, Lukas 1:72-75a)

kaya,

isang mapagpalang Pasko

at mabiyayang Bagong Taon sa ating lahat!

–mula kay ka arcy–

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Time to say no to the consumerism of Christmas

Posted in Uncategorized on December 19, 2008 by MASP

The buying fervour now associated with Christmas is upon us. And with it comes the frenzied desire to follow the advertisers’ underlying message that buying certain products for ourselves or other people will make us happy.

Our television screens and letterboxes are full of images of the “must-haves” that well-adjusted consumers supposedly aspire to. Gadgetry, beauty products, fashionable clothes and toys for young and old are pictured and talked about in ways designed to make us feel inadequate if we don’t buy them.

Our homes will not be maintained properly if we don’t have the latest, noise-making garden tool, our health will be compromised if our kitchens don’t show the latest examples of food preparation, and our sense of self will diminish if we don’t wear the latest fashion. Worst of all, our children will be socially inept without exclusive ownership of the latest electronic gear.

Our senses are bombarded by repeated bursts of in-your-face advertising bullying that most of us take for granted. We trot off to the shops to buy things we have been told we need, with little thought as to whether we can afford them. The most popular method of payment is by credit card; it means that many consumers live under clouds of debt, which may become unmanageable and affect their long-term wellbeing.

So what about the happiness espoused by advertisers? How long do the latest clothes stay fashionable? How many kitchen gadgets end up at the back of the cupboard? How soon is it before a more up-to-date entertainment appliance is required to impress neighbours, friends and family?

Why do we have to be told what we need? What has happened to our ability to make decisions about what will make us happy? Gift giving is personal and unrelated to cost, size and fashion. A small, well-chosen gift can deliver more happiness to the recipient, and the giver, than something that is large, expensive and flashy.

Advertisers’ only motive is to increase their profits. It has nothing to do with the quality or suitability of the product. Short-term gain overrides any concern about the long-term effect of that product on society. Our debt-ridden community can ill afford to ignore the warning signs.
Sue Nolle, Caulfield

Akbayan voted “NO” to the Joint Resolution extending CARP without compulsary acquisition

Posted in Uncategorized on December 19, 2008 by MASP
Below is the Rep. Risa Hontiveros’ explanation of vote on the Joint Resolution extending CARP without compulsory acquisition:“To vote YES to the Joint Resolution would be to vote for the death of agrarian reform.

Compulsory acquisition is the heart and soul of the agrarian reform program. The 1987 Constitution commands the State to undertake the just distribution of ALL agricultural lands. The fact that all agricultural lands should be the subject of CARP tells us that acquisition should be compulsory and not at the option or whim of the landowner. I cannot, in good faith, sign my name on a Resolution manifestly unconstitutional and grossly illegal.

Huwag na po nating kumbinsihin ang ating sarili na an gating ginagawa ngayon ay para sa magsasaka. Huwag na po tayo maghugas ng kamay sa ating magiging pagkasala sa sambayanan.

There are 1.3 M hectares of land yet undistributed. These lands are in agrarian reform hotspots like Negros and Bondoc Peninsula, where landowner resistance has resulted not only in non-distribution but also in oppression and outright violence. These are the types of landowners who would never voluntarily give up their lands. If they have managed to circumvent the law under a policy regime of compulsory acquisition, how much more under a framework of optional agrarian reform?

Hinahamon ko ang mga ginagalang na kasama sa Negros at sa mga iba pang kasama na may lupa na boluntaryo ninyong ipasaklaw sa agrarian reform ang inyong mga lupa. Huwag natin gamitin ang Kongreso at ang ating posisyon upang ipagtanggol ang sarili nating interes. Ipamahagi ninyo sa loob nitong anim na buwan ang inyong mga lupa.

Ginoong Speaker, napakalaki na po ng utang ng kasaysayan sa ating mga magsasaka. Sa Joint Resolution na ito, tuluyan na natin silang papatayin.

Tonight, Ginoong Speaker, we have managed to obliterate an entire class. The countryside will never forget this moment. We have let our farmers down.

Akbayan votes no.”

Solons want CARP extension reso amended – Lagman

Posted in Uncategorized on December 19, 2008 by MASP

MANILA, Philippines – Majority of House members have arrived at a consensus to extend the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) for another six months but minus the compulsory acquisition component, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said on Wednesday.

In a press conference after the all-member caucus on CARP, Lagman said an “overwhelming” number of congressmen instead want to draft a new resolution wherein the extended agrarian reform program will only cover lands through the voluntary offer to sell (VOS) and voluntary land transfer (VLT) schemes.

Lands that have been issued notices of CARP coverage under the compulsory acquisition classification will no longer be covered by the extended CARP, said Lagman.

“It appears that the consensus is we can have a joint resolution extending the land acquisition and distribution component of the CARP but limited to the agricultural land where land owners have volunteered to sell, that’s VOS, and voluntary land transfer,” said Lagman.

Lagman, who along with House Speaker Prospero Nograles and Majority Leader Arthur Defensor Sr, is one of the three authors of the original joint resolution seeking to extend CARP.

Lagman said he will not be an author of the amended resolution, which he said may be filed by Defensor and “many other co-authors.”

Lagman lamented that under the amended resolution, agrarian reform will now rest on the “sole discretion of the landowners.”

“This will not anymore cover lands where there is resistance from owners,” said Lagman.

“Under the Constitution what is mandated is the acquisition and distribution of all agricultural lands,” he added, saying anything less than that will possible be in violation of the Constitutional mandate. – Johanna Camille Sisante, GMANews.TV

Student Leaders Urge Government to Uphold Juan’s Human Rights; Starting with Genuine Political Reforms

Posted in Uncategorized on December 11, 2008 by MASP
In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, youth group, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, a broad network of Student Governments, will march with Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) and other multi-sectoral groups today, December 10, 2008 to pressure the government to implement crucial political reforms and as well as to denounce any moves to change the Philippine Charter before 2010.

The said mobilization will highlight the issues of the poor and the marginalized, particularly the landless farmers and the urban poor masses. The event is at the same time, a demonstration of the civil society’s discriminating view of the current efforts to amend the constitution.

“Our calls are quite simple, one, Congress has to pass CARP Extension with Reforms before they go on Christmas break on the 17th; and two, legislators should not force CHACHA before the next national polls,” quips SCAP National Secretary-General, Paula Bianca Lapuz.

“It seems that GMA allies in HoR are not wasting time in reviving moves to convene Congress as a Constituent Assembly. While we (SCAP) are busy encouraging “would-be” First Time Voters in 2010 to register starting this month, our legislators in the house are also busy gathering more signatures for CHACHA, with an open intent of extending GMA’s term beyond 2010. This is the height of unethical and trash politics,” adds Lapuz.

The Fight for Land Reform Continues…

“There are still hectares of undistributed land across the country to this date ever since CARP has expired last June, 2008. Farmers have been waging war against undaunted landlords over the past two decades. It’s about time that we, as a nation, recognize that this struggle is not just the farmers’ alone but ours as well, this is an issue of poverty alleviation and food security,” adds Lapuz.

Although, solons in June have adopted joint Resolution No. 21, with the Senate maintaining the land acquisition and distribution (LAD) component of the CARP until December 31, 1.1 million hectares still remain undistributed.

Thus, SCAP strongly supports calls to pass House Bill 4077 which seeks to extend CARP with significant reforms.

Amidst the present global financial crisis, we must secure our local economy and resources.

The Campaign Against CHACHA before 2010 starts all over again…

In a statement last 2007; the alliance said “We believe that the Government’s motivation for changing our current political system is to ensure the political survival of the beleaguered presidency of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo. Genuine pursuit of necessary and essential reforms in our political and electoral system could never take place under the present administration.”

“And we see no difference this year, we maintain our stance on GMA’s CHACHA,” says SCAP Vice-Chairperson for NCR and UP Manila Medicine Student Council President, Tina Langit.

“To push for Charter Change amidst the pressing political crisis is a suicidal step for GMA, the people simply won’t allow it,” Langit continues.

SCAP believes that the true measure of a matured and performing democracy lies in the capacity of the State to promote and uphold the basic rights of its citizens.

Hence, the Alliance reiterates that initiatives for genuine political reforms must come from groups, institutions and individuals which/who have the moral and political ascendancy to lead the process of Charter Change, otherwise this process might just be used to further curtail the civil and political rights of our people.

Widen Democratic Spaces for Political Participation

The group stressed the importance of our people’s direct participation in their democracy.

“We call on all our lawmakers to prioritize bills such as CARPER which would ascertain our farmers’ rights to till their own lands and to give precedence to other landmark bills which can further guarantee the fulfillment of the rights of ordinary Filipinos, such that they will be able to contribute to the simplest and most intricate aspects of nation building.” Langit concludes.

SCAP reckons that maximum political participation of vulnerable / marginalized sectors in a democracy can only be achieved through the peoples’ conscious practice of their basic human rights and the State’s sincere effort to ensure that these rights are fully enjoyed by its people.###

Pinoy homosexuals unite to fight discrimination

Posted in Uncategorized on December 5, 2008 by MASP

Various groups of lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) in the Philippines have closed ranks to fight what they consider as the pervasive evil that has stalked them for decades: discrimination.

This time around, to ensure that their concerted effort would not go to waste, LGBT organizations linked up with non-LGBT or “straight” groups to press for the protection of human rights, notwithstanding their sexual orientation and gender identity.

These more than 20 LGBT and non-LGBT groups now make up a network called “Project Equality.”

Percival Cendaña, a member of the group Babaylanes Inc., said the aims of Project Equality primarily are to stop the prejudices against third sex and push the government to make policies recognizing the human rights of “LGBT people.”

“Hindi pa nga kasama doon sa ating legal language ‘yong LGBT people. For example, wala pang polisiyang pang-gobyerno that make mention of LGBT people. Ibig sabihin, as far as the government is concerned, invisible ang mga bakla at lesbyana,” Cendaña said during the launching Thursday of Project Equality in Quezon City.

For 10 years, Cendaña said different LGBT groups across the country would separately conduct demonstrations demanding a stop to discrimination. These efforts, though, were marked with frustration and disappointments.

Gender bias in the community, workplace, schools, and even within the family persists, Cendaña lamented.

“Hindi na-a-address talaga… halimbawa, up to now people would still find it difficult to accept a gay mayor. May ganoong biases sa society. Matagal ‘tong fight na ito,” he said.

This, however, does not deter the group from pushing with its goals until they are achieved. He said another five to 10 years of struggle would not discourage them.

Fresh strategy

The government’s alleged inaction to come up with policies and laws ensuring equal protection for LGBTs is being blamed for the continued prevalence of discrimination in the society.

A bill prohibiting discrimination in the private and public sectors on the basis of sexual orientation has already been filed in Congress in 1999. However, the measure is still pending.

Project Equality spokesman Jonas Bagas said what is needed is a new approach to address the problem.

“A decade is just too long. We can’t allow ourselves to be silenced or paralyzed by inaction on the part of Congress,” Bagas said.

If going to the national government has yielded little results, Bagas said their network is eyeing the local government units to push their equality agenda.

Project Equality lauded the Quezon City government for its anti-discrimination ordinance in employment. “And we commend the Albay local government for tackling the same matter in a draft ordinance,” it said.

The group said it would also bring its campaign to Manila, Marikina, Cebu, Davao, Bulacan and other areas.

Babaylanes’s Cendaña said it is also seeking the help of women’s groups and labor unions. He is also not discounting the possibility of holding a dialogue with churches.

Project Equality also vowed to launch series of activities calling for the immediate passage of anti-discrimination bill and other “LGBT-friendly policy proposals.”

These measures include the reproductive health bill, students rights and welfare bill, Commission on Human Rights strengthening bill, amendments to the HIV/AIDS law, repeal of the anti-vagrancy law, amendments to the anti-trafficking law, and amendments to the civil registry law to allow change of sex.

The group is planning to seek intervention from the Supreme Court to ensure that the human rights enshrined in the Constitution are also extended to LGBTs.

“We hope that the petition would create a legal remedy to stigma and abuse. We shall persist with our sole agenda, equality for all,” it said.

As for same-sex marriage, Burgos said: “We will not surprise the public with same-sex marriage. But we will conduct awareness campaigns to remove flawed notions on same-sex partnerships to prove that same-sex couples are fundamentally no different from heterosexual couples.”

The group is joining the annual “pride march” on Saturday afternoon in Malate, he said.

Not exclusive

The lack of official statistics on the number of LGBTs in the country only proves that society has not yet fully recognized their existence, according to Cendaña.

And yet, in any given population, 10 to 15 percent fall under the LGBT group, he estimated.

Cendaña pointed out that LGBTs’ fight against discrimination should not be their struggle alone.

After all, he noted that almost every heterosexual has friends who are homosexuals.

Farmers rally to push Carp extension

Posted in Uncategorized on December 5, 2008 by MASP

HUNDREDS marched to the House of Representatives Wednesday afternoon to appeal for the passage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) extension.

Banners such as “PGMA Reverse Ermita’s Decision,” “Land to the Tiller!” and “No to Killer Amendments” were raised by farmers, who walked from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) national office in Quezon City to Batasan.

But members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) blocked the farmers from entering the Batasan gates.

The holding of the rally Wednesday was in time with the celebration of the National Day of Carp extension. Simultaneous gatherings were likewise organized in other provinces.

One of the farmers’ main cries was the reversal of the decision of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.

The Palace official earlier opposed the decision of the DAR and cancelled the titles given to farmers. They will instead return said lands to their original owners.

The Banasi Agrarian Reform Farmer’s Beneficiary (BARFBA), one of the groups present in the rally, said the office of Ermita ignored the Supreme Court (SC) decision, which says the lands under Carp cannot be intercepted by the government.

The group considered Ermita’s decision “against the law.” It also called for more funds in Carp, especially for the distribution of large tracts of land.

“If our President will continue ignoring us and will not enforce the law, we will lose our land and we will be forced to leave our lands… We will not let this happen! We fight for our right to our lands in a peaceful way,” the BARFBA statement read.

Other groups joining the rally were Akbayan, Reform Carp Movement, Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (Pcarrd), Mapalad Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Kilusang Magbubukid sa Bondoc Peninsula, Kongreso ng Malayang Manggagawang Pilipino, Paragos Pilipinas, Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan ng Kanayunan, and Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka.

House Bill (HB) 1257 aims to extend Carp to seven years but with significant reforms, of which measures include the revocation of non-redistributive schemes such as stock distribution option (SDO), voluntary land transfer (VLT), leaseback arrangements, and the reorganization of the DAR — the main implementing agency of the program.

Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez, in the House session on Wednesday, called to hasten the passage of HB 1257.

Rodriguez is a co-author of the bill.

“When are we going to give justice to our farmers? When are we going to pass the Carp extension bill?” he said, after mentioning that farmers were outside the gates of Batasan.

“We should be able to discuss (the bill), irrespective of the result,” Rodriguez added.

The next House meeting on the Carp extension is set on December 10. The lawmaker said by that time, there should already be a votation since the deadline of the passage is on December 31. (Justine Paredes/Sunnex)