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Philippine News Digest 137

November 19, 2007 · 

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Week: November 19-23, 2007

Contents:

  • Guards in ‘hot water’ over escape of 7 minors
  • Student leaders defend rights of indigenous people
  • Nitrates in drinking water found

Guards in ‘hot water’ over escape of 7 minors
Manila Bulletin Online
Friday, November 23, 2007

CEBU CITY — Personnel at the Cebu City Operation Second Chance (CCOSC) facility, a jail facility for minor offenders here, will be subjected to investigation following the escape of seven youth offenders at the height of tropical storm Lando last Monday.

Regional Trial Court Judge Olegario Sarmiento, co-chairperson of the CCOSC, said he will order an extensive investigation on jail personnel who had failed to notice the seven minor offenders who cut the iron grills and made their escape during last Monday’s storm.

Sarmiento said appropriate actions will be imposed on those who will be found liable for the escape of the seven minors.

The minors are mostly facing robbery charges. Two of them, including their leaders, were already recaptured.

Senior Insp. Jennifer Joyce Abar, OSC warden, said escapees sawed off the metal bars of their cell using a triangular blade they’ve been using in their workshops.

CCOSC officials found out about the jailbreak only at dawn Tuesday.

The escapees sawed off the iron grills that led to a basketball court, usually deserted at night. Upon reaching the basketball court, the boys then sawed off the cyclone wire of the perimeter fence.

Abar said that the group’s leader revealed the whereabouts of the five other escapees, who are now being hunted down by at least six law enforcement teams.

Two minors detained at the Regional Rehabilitation Center for the Youth (RRCY) in Argao town also managed to escape by scaling the fence of the facility.

RRCY center chief Bibiana Horvath said the two 17-year-old minors escaped Sunday night. Horvath said that they have informed the police of the escape as part of their standard operating procedure. The boys were suspected of committing theft.

Horvath, however, said the escape is not unusual for those youth who were just placed in the facility. One of the boys who escaped was just sent to the center Saturday. His companion, on the other hand, had been in the RRCY for three weeks.

Student leaders defend rights of indigenous people
Manila Bulletin Online
Friday, November 23, 2007

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — Hundreds of student leaders from six countries in the Asia-Pacific region strongly condemned yesterday the gross violation of human rights of indigenous people worldwide.

They said this is primarily caused by globalization, perpetrated by powerful multi-national companies, and allowed by nations.

The student leaders from the Philippines, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Myanmar gathered in this vegetable-producing province for the Southeast Asian Program (SEAP) with the theme “Students and Indigenous Peoples: Walking Hand-in-Hand for Human Rights,” which was organized by the International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Asia-Pacific in partnership with the Center of Cordillera Peoples Concerns.

“We can now truly feel the plight and understand the sufferings of the indigenous people. Despite their struggles, they continue to practice their values and principles, which promote holistic relation between humans and nature,” they said in a statement.

They pledged their all-out support on actions in their countries to help solve human rights violations just like what Jesus Christ did as He lived among the poor, saying that their hearts are touched and they chose to be on the side of the oppressed people.

We will use our academic trainings, skills, and experiences in being one with the indigenous people in the development of their rights to life, they said.

As we continue to learn and grow in wisdom about the indigenous people’s spirituality, we are optimistic that the rights of indigenous people as well as their identity will be truly respected by the governments and be given the basic rights, particularly the right to self-determination and holistic education opportunities, they added.

Nitrates in drinking water found
The manila times
Friday, November 23, 2007

Thousands of people in rural Thailand and the Philippines face serious health problems from drinking water contaminated with nitrates, a report by the environmental group Greenpeace said Thursday.

The study released in Bangkok and Manila said intensive agricultural practices and excessive use of nitrogen fertilizers have polluted artesian wells used for drinking water.

Greenpeace said it sampled water from 30 percent of all groundwater wells from both countries and found nitrate levels above the World Health Organization’s safety limit.

The report said contamination was greatest in those areas that used large quantities of nitrogen fertilizers.

It said the greatest risk of nitrate poisoning was “blue baby syndrome”, which occurs in infants given nitrate-laden water, and particularly affects babies under four months. It can cause headaches, stupor, fatigue, coma, convulsions, asphyxia and even death, the report said. –AFP

updated November 23, 2007

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