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Philippine News Digest 10

December 12, 2001 · 

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Contents:

  • An eagle is born!
  • P1.2M shabu found in can
  • Human rights leader killed
  • Rights group questions GMA’s sincerity
  • UN joins international effort to rehabilitate Manila Bay
  • Tribal groups assail bias for foreigners
  • 60, 000 displaced by fighting

An eagle is born!

The Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) announced another successful hatching of another Philippine eagle, one of the largest eagle species in the world, last December 10 in Davao City. The eaglet, which has yet to be named, weighs 136 grams and the fifth product of natural pairing techniques. In 1992, the Center successfully hatched Pag-asa, the first eagle bred in captivity through artificial insemination. Conservation groups has been trying so hard to boost the dwindling population of the Philippine eagle whose population in the wild is estimated to be less than 400 pairs. Source Joselle Badilla, PDI Mindanao Bureau, 12 December 2001.

P1.2-M shabu found in can

A can of biscuits that was seized by the Regional Anti-illegal Drugs Task Force December 9 yielded P1.2million worth of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) when it was opened the following day. The alleged owner is Ronnie Cabillo Cuadra who had just disembark from MV Mary Queen of Peace, which came from Manila. According to police report, the prohibited substance came from a certain Rodolfo Saturnino in Taft Avenue, Manila. It was the biggest drug haul this year. Possession of over 200 grams of shabu is non-bailable and punishable by death. Source Carla P. Gomez, PDI Visayas Bureau, 12 December 2001.

Human rights leader killed

Nicanor de los Santos, secretary general of the cultural minority group Makabayang Samahan ng mga Katutubong Dumagat was killed on December 8 at about 530 p.m. just as their group is preparing for a rally to mark Human Rights Day December 10. According to Task Force Tanggol Karapatan, the death of de los Santos is another addition to a long list of human rights violations and abuses perpetrated by elements of the Philippine Army and Philippine National Police. However, police report listed de los Santos as a suspected New People’s Army Commander who was killed in a military encounter in Antipolo City. They claim to have found subversive documents, including an alleged hit list in de los Santos’ possession. His wife denied this and said that de los Santos is just an ordinary farmer involved in cause-oriented groups fighting for the rights of indigenous farmers in Southern Tagalog. Nelson F. Flores and Romulo Ponte, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 11 December 2001.

Rights group question GMA’s sincerity

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) questioned the sincerity of President Arroyo’s government in pursuing the peace process with communist and Muslim rebels. It noted that while the administration is talking peace, the State is taking “militarist solutions” to deal with rebellion. The group cited the continued military deployment against Nur Misuari (former ARMM governor) that is causing ripples in the already tenuous negotiations with the MILF and the declaration of a state of rebellion after the May 1 riot of Estrada loyalists that resulted in warrantless arrests of civilians. Estrella Torres, Today,11 December 2001.

UN joins international effort to rehabilitate Manila Bay

The United Nations (UN) system joined international and local agencies in breathing new life to Manila Bay- the premier international gateway to the Philippines and site of one of the world’s most beautiful sunsets. UN Resident Coordinator Terrence Jones, who is also United Nations Development Program resident representative in the Philippines, led the signing of the Manila Bay Declaration that seeks to restore one of the best natural harbors in the East Asian region to its original state. The declaration recognizes the linkage between economic development and environmental management, and the importance of Manila Bay to the prosperity and well-being of the people. Source Today, 11 December 2001

Tribal groups assail bias for foreigners

Environment Secretary Heherzon Alvarez is set to launch a reforestation program making the Caraga region in Mindanao the Timber Corridor of the Philippines on December 15, but a coalition of indigenous people’s groups is protesting the move due to alleged insensitivity of the environment secretary over the plight of the lumads who would be sidelined once the implementation of the project starts. The lumads are claiming the area to be their ancestral land but Alvarez was unfazed saying that the project would generate about 30,000 jobs and that the lumads will be given priority in the hiring of workers. Butch Enerio, PDI Mindanao Bureau, 11 December 2001.

60, 000 displaced by fighting

Human rights advocates appealed to the Arroyo administration to deal with the plight of some 60, 000 Mindanao residents who have been displaced by the war in the region. Records from the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Disaster Response Operation Monitoring and Information Center show that 10, 000 persons, or 2, 213 families, are still staying in 39 evacuation centers in Mindanao. There are still 30,000 displaced residents in North Cotabato, Pikit Basilan and 16, 837 in Sulu and Zamboanga. Ernesto Anasarias, coordinator of the human rights group Balay, Inc. said many resident do not want to go to their homes because of a fear that a clash between the rebels and the military, who had established their presence in the villages, might erupt without any warning. Source Estrella Torres, Today, 6 December 2001.

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