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Philippine News Digest 111

May 4, 2007 · 


=RP remains in US watchlist for IP violations
=Filipinos join protest vs US immigration laws
=DepEd extends Food-for-School program

RP remains in US watchlist for IP violationsBy Alexander Villafania
Last updated 05:58pm (Mla time) 05/02/2007

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has not moved from its previous status in the United States Watch List for intellectual property violations, as stated in the US Trade Representative (USTR) “Special 301” report.

The Special 301 is an annual report that identifies countries with intellectual property laws or monitored for IPR violations.

It is used by the US Administration as basis for foreign trade, underscoring challenges that may be encountered particularly with regards to IPR.

The Philippines was originally in the Priority Watch List of the USTR in 2005 but was “downgraded” to just Watch List after the Philippine government, through its Intellectual Property Office (IPO), was able to go after merchants of fake brand name products and pirated music CDs and DVD movies.

The office of IPO Philippines Director General has not responded to calls from INQUIRER.NET.

Along with the Philippines were 42 other countries in the Priority Watch List and regular Watch List.

Russia and China remain at the top of the Special 301 list.

Filipinos join protest vs US immigration laws
By Veronica Uy
Last updated 12:48pm (Mla time) 05/03/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos in the United States joined the thousands of immigrants who had taken to the streets to protest the “inhumane” US immigration laws, to push for legalization, and call for an end to raids and deportation, according to an e-mail to by a Filipino group there.

The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (Nafcon) said Filipinos marched under its banner and those of Bayan USA, both active coalition members of the New York May 1st Coalition for Immigrant Rights.

“Filipinos in the US have a lot at stake in this fight for immigrant rights, especially as the third largest immigrant group in the US,” said Michelle Saulon of the Philippine Forum, a community service organization in Queens and founding member of the Nafcon.

She said that the conditions in the Philippines made Filipinos leave the country and that opposing “inhumane immigration legislation in host countries such as the US when we get here is really a continuation of our fight to survive.”

Saulon and Yancy Gandionco of the Anakbayan Filipino Youth Collective were among the individual program committee members that organized a multi-cultural mix of speakers for the May 1 program.

After months of attending coalition meetings, both Saulon and Gandionco pushed for prominent Filipino representation on the rally stage.

Cling Corotan of Sandiwa, a national Filipino-American youth alliance, co-emceed the event while Christina Hilo of Bayan USA delivered a speech in Filipino, Spanish, and English. Anakbayan also offered a Filipino song entitled “Awit Ng Pag-Asa” (Song of Hope) sang by a quintet of the youth organization’s members.

Hilo drove the point of recognizing the root causes of migration when considering the ongoing immigration debate.

“We are not just human resources fulfilling cheap labor demands here in the US. We are families broken apart, mothers and fathers leaving their kids behind, and parentless generations in our home country. The bills coming out of Congress simply do not recognize the human stories, not to mention the economic reasons, behind immigrant workers,” he said.

Hilo also said that Filipinos suffered from the longest wait periods for family sponsorship visas — up to 23 years.

Nafcon said the indignation actions were also being planned in response to the number of arrests and show of police brutality against protesters in New York, Los Angeles, and other cities.

The protests were against unpopular bill proposals in the US Congress.

DepEd extends Food-for-School program
By Alexander Villafania
Last updated 11:24am (Mla time) 05/04/2007

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) is extending this summer its Food-for-Schools program, which aims to distribute rice to its supervised pre- and public elementary schools, according to Education Secretary Jesli Lapus in a statement.

The extension covers beneficiaries of the previous program that started in 2006. These are all public schools in the National Capital Region and select provinces that have been identified by their low food security and vulnerability to hunger, said Lapus.

The Food-for-School program provides a kilo of rice each day for five days to each elementary student, Lapus said.

The five kilos or rice is given once a week, particularly on Friday or the last school day of the week.

The extension of the Food-for-School program began last April 9 and will end June 1, 2007, Lapus said.

“The FSP aims to sustain government’s efforts to mitigate hunger among children and their families,” Lapus said.



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