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Philippine News Digest 105

March 19, 2003 · 

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Contents:
-Bayan Muna coordinator killed in Bataan; military blamed
-UN expert calls for ratification of treaty on migrants
-Aetas join fight to stop violence against women
-Native women participate in Subic forum marking Women’s Day
-RP bans four foreigners for alleged illegal recruitment

Bayan Muna coordinator killed in Bataan; military blamed
By Ding Cervantes
The Philippine STAR
03/20/07

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga ­ A coordinator of the party-list Bayan Muna in Morong, Bataan was shot dead, allegedly by members of the military, in the Morong poblacion earlier this month.

In a belated report, the human rights group Karapatan-Gitnang Luson (Karapatan-GL) identified the victim as Felisa Ocampo, 59, a widow and a resident of Morong.

Karapatan-GL spokesperson Sr. Cecile Ruiz said Ocampo was Bayan Muna’s overall coordinator in Morong.

Ocampo was shot in the head by one of two suspects, who approached her while she was walking in front of her sister’s store in the poblacion at 7:30 a.m. on March 2.

Ruiz quoted witnesses as saying that, the day before the shooting, four men believed to be soldiers were seen apparently conducting surveillance of Ocampo’s house. The suspects left after one of the neighbors asked who they were looking for, she said.

She cited reports indicating that Ocampo was on the military’s “order of battle” and had been invited several times to report to the headquarters of the 24th Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army in the capital town of Balanga but never showed up.

“We condemn the killing in the strongest possible terms and hold the Arroyo (administration) responsible for this,” Ruiz said, noting that the killing occurred “in the thick of Malacañang’s intensified repression and persecution of Bayan Muna and other progressive party-list groups.”

She also said that “political killings continue unabated despite the Alston findings and Melo Commission’s report” and this indicated the government was “paying lip service (in) President Arroyo’s pronouncements to put an end to extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations.”

At the same time, the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) reported uncovering yesterday several “repositories” of New People’s Army (NPA) armaments, explosive devices and medical supplies in temporary rebel encampments in Mt. Abikian, barangay Aguid, Sagada, Mountain Province and at Mt. Ambalget, barangay Baracbac, Galimuyod, Ilocos Sur in recent weeks.

Nolcom chief Lt. Gen. Bonifacio Ramos said joint elements of the 54th Infantry Battalion, Task Force Montañosa and the local police overran on March 9 an abandoned NPA camp in Mt. Abikian.

The camp yielded 96 bullets for the caliber 5.56 M193 rifle, caliber 7.62 Garand rifle and the M203 rifle, two hand grenades, two grenade pins with primers, assorted electrical wires, cans of Boysen paint, a service cable, transistor radio, calculator, computer printer ink, a notebook containing NPA songs, an Ilocano book titled “Gimong Ken Rebolusyon a Pilipino,” assorted medicines and medical instruments.

Nolcom said another intelligence operation was conducted on March 10 in the vicinity of Mt. Ambaiget that resulted in the recovery of three M16 rifles, five bandoleers containing 22 short magazines with ammunition, four empty long magazines, seven rounds of ammunition for the M203 rifle, explosive devices consisting of wires with fuses, three blasting caps, two batteries, a timing device, two meters of detonating cord and four voltage regulators.

UN expert calls for ratification of treaty on migrants
First posted 19:04:55 (Mla time) March 22, 2007
Veronica Uy
INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations independent expert on the rights of migrants has called on UN member-states to ratify the international treaty that seeks to protect the almost 200 million migrant workers around the world against abuse.

Jorge Bustamante, special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, told the Human Rights Council in Geneva that countries need to demonstrate their commitment toward improving the rights of migrant workers.

The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families was adopted by the General Assembly in 1990, but so far only 34 countries have ratified it and the treaty only entered into force in 2003. Most of the countries that signed and ratified the treaty are labor-sending countries, including the Philippines.

At the UN website, Bustamante said he hopes more states would ratify the treaty during the Global Forum on Migration and Development, to be held in Belgium in July. He also called for the creation of a voluntary fund to allow the world’s least developed countries to attend the forum.

The treaty, among others, provides for a halt to the clandestine employment of irregular migrants so that they do not work in abusive conditions but enjoy safe and decent work and equal wages.

It also provides for assistance to the orderly return of migrants to their home countries, so that they can enjoy adequate economic and social conditions for their reintegration.

Aetas join fight to stop violence against women
Native women participate in Subic forum marking Women’s Day
By JONAS REYES
Manila Bulletin Online
03/21/07

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — A group of Aeta women here has joined the fight to stop violence against women (VAW)

The Aeta women had participated in a forum on women empowerment that marked recently the celebration of Women’s Day in Subic Bay. They said they are sometimes victims of violence.

The forum was held at the Subic Bay Arts Center (SuBAC) here.

Dubbed as “Babae Po Ako 2: A Forum on Women Empowerment,” the gathering tackled issues on family health care and laws penalizing violence against women and violations of women’s rights.

Gabriela party-list Rep. Liza L. Maza spoke before the forum participants despite fears that she might be arrested by lawmen in the wake of the arrest of Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo.

Masa, who has been at the forefront of the campaign to raise awareness of the provisions of Republic Act No. 9262 (Anti-Violence against Women and Children Act of 2004) and related laws, clarifying some details of the law that provides protection of the rights of women and children who are often victims of violence.

Some 335 women, including the Aeta women and employees of the locators in and around the communities of the Subic Freeport, participated in the discussions.

As a manifestation of their awakening, the participants expressed their interest in joining the fight against VAW.

The forum, which initiated a movement for the empowerment of women in the Freeport, introduced two new activities undertaken for the first time in the Freeport — introduction of the USAID Family Wealth Care Program in the Workplace and a survey on the incidents of domestic violence in communities within and around Subic Freeport.

The survey served as a record on the first attempt of the Mondriaan Aura College and the People Management Association of the Philippines, Subic Bay chapter (PMAP-Subic), to document incidents of domestic violence at areas within the Subic Freeport.

The survey, which had 252 respondents, concluded that the higher the educational attainment and the higher income of a woman, the lower is the risk of VAW to take place. It was also found out that older women are more prone to violence.

Meanwhile, resource speaker Dr. Orlando de Ocampo of the USAID-Private Sector Mobilization for Family Health (USAID-PRISM) said most of the workers are in their reproductive age.

This is when the importance of maternal and child health and family planning comes in because with a healthy mind and body, a worker is efficient and does his job well, he said

Men were also welcomed in the forum because they were regarded as partners of women in the advocacy of the MCHFP and in the fight against VAW.

PRISM is a non-government organization (NGO) involved in strengthening the involvement of the private sector in the implementation of maternal and child health and family planning program, particularly in the workplace.

A brainchild of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Feliciano G. Salonga, the forum was a joint project of SBMA, PMAP-Subic, Mondriaan Aura College, and the Subic Bay Workforce Development Foundation Inc. (SBWDFI).

“The second most important advocacy is education to equalize opportunities for each of us regardless of gender. This is so because learned people are fair, open-minded and happy for themselves and for others,” Salonga said.

“Babae Po Ako” was launched on March 30 last year in honor of women workers in the Subic Freeport in recognition of their great contributiony to economic growth, especially in the manufacturing sector in which more than 55 percent of the workforce are women.

RP bans four foreigners for alleged illegal recruitment
Manila Bulletin Online
03/20/07

Manila (dpa) – The Philippines has banned three Egyptians and a United Arab Emirates citizen from entering the country over allegations they were engaged in illegal recruitment of Filipino workers, the immigration bureau said today.

Roy Almoro, associate commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration, said the four foreigners were placed on the agency’s blacklist to prevent them from victimizing more Filipinos.

Almoro identified them as Egyptian nationals Tarek Mohamed Raslan Hammouda, Mohamed Raslan Hammouda and Hanan Mohamed Raslan Hammouda, and Hamad Muftah Mohammed Sultan Al Aryani, of the United Arab Emirates.

”Most of these men’s victims are Filipino women who were brought from Manila to the UAE where they ended up working as housemaids instead of other jobs that were promised to them,” he said in a statement.

”The Filipino women were allegedly enticed to go to Abu Dhabi after being promised that they would be working as sales ladies or waitresses,” he added.

Almoro said the bureau took the action against the four foreigners after the Philippines’ ambassador to the UAE reported the alleged illegal activities of the four recruiters, who were working with two Manila-based agencies.

He did not say how many Filipinos have been victimized by the four foreigners.

Thousands of Filipinos leave for work overseas everyday amid a lack of job opportunities in the Philippines despite government data showing that unemployment has been declining. There are currently an estimated eight million overseas Filipinos workers.

-End-

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