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Philippine News Digest 19

March 15, 2002 · 



  • Deaths of 11 million children ‘preventable’- UN
  • Group pushes bill vs. abuse of women by their partners
  • 15 senators file bill to scrap death penalty
  • Death squad ends vacation, kills 3
  • Operations in Davao crime havens confirmed by cops

Deaths of 11 million poor children ‘preventable’- UN

Almost 11 million children, most of them babies, die each year of preventable causes, according to officials of the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The two UN agencies identified diarrhea, malaria, measles, pneumonia, HIV/AIDS and malnutrition as the main causes of these deaths resulting from the impoverished conditions of 600 million children around the world. Malnutrition affects 150 million children, causing about 60 percent of the deaths. Though progress has been made in the 1990s, such as immunization programs and the increase in the percentage of mothers who breastfeed infants, contributions by rich countries for development aid have gone down, leaving the poorest countries struggling to meet their population’s basic needs. Gro Harlem Brundtland, director general of WHO, said investing $66 billion annually could save eight million lives a year. The agency also said that 1.5 million teenagers die each year as a result of accidents, substance abuse, suicide, violence and disease. Source: Elizabeth Olson, The New York Times in Today, 15 March 2002.

Group pushes bill vs abuse of women by their partners

A coalition of women’s rights advocates known as Sama-samang Inisyatiba ng Kababaihan sa Pagbabago ng Batas at Lipunan (translated literally as Collective Initiative of Women for Changes in Law and Society) is pushing for the passage of the Anti-abuse of Women in Intimate Relationships or Anti-AWIR bill. The group is pushing for the Anti-AWIR bill because of its distinction of abuse against women occurring within relationships in marriages, cohabitation or intimacy and the need for specific legislation that provides distinct remedies. An alternative bill, still pending in the House, uses the term in “domestic violence” and its proposed title is “Anti-domestic Violence Act of 1999.” Source: Ayan C. Mellejor, Philippine Daily Inquirer Mindanao Bureau, 15 March 2002.

15 senators file bill to scrap death penalty

Fifteen senators led by Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel filed March 12 a bill repealing the Death Penalty Law and replacing capital punishment with 30 years imprisonment without parole as penalty for heinous crimes. Pimentel said the death penalty ran counter to the major purpose of modern penology, which was the reformation of the criminal. He argued a criminal who is to be executed can no longer be reformed. The move was immediately condemned by anti-crime crusaders, specifically the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) headed by Dante Jimenez. To them, it is “a brazen ploy to save the neck of (former) President Estrada” who is facing plunder charges which carry the death penalty. Source: Cynthia Balana and Jerome Aning, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 13 March 2002.

Death squad ends vacation, kills 3

After a brief vacation, the Digos Death Squad struck again by killing three suspected drug pushers in a span of two days. The victims were Sonny Anito, Reynante Cansancio, and Bernardo Solaña. Anito is a convicted drug pusher who was out on probation on theft charges. He died on the spot when he was gunned down March 10. Two hours before Anito was shot to death, Faustino Villegas, an official of Barangay San Miguel, killed Cansancio after the latter allegedly ignored his plea to stop peddling shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride). Villegas claimed Cansancio even taught his son to sell shabu. Solaña was killed on March 9 by one of six motorcycle-riding gunmen, who were all wearing camouflage uniforms, with .45 cal. pistol. Source: Anthony Allada, Philippine Daily Inquirer Mindanao Bureau, 13 March 2002.

Operations in Davao crime havens confirmed by cops

Police officials in Davao City confirmed they have conducted overt and covert operations in the city’s known hotbeds of crime after Mayor Rodrigo Duterte warned that he may employ a martial-law type operation on Isla Verde. City Police Director Wilfredo Garcia identified Isla Verde as “one of the most problematic areas in the city.” He said the police has been around the place, conducting intelligence work although his command has also put up two outposts. He further added that another big headache for the city’s officials is juvenile delinquency that has become synonymous with drugs, particularly rugby-sniffing. Source: Manuel Cayon,Today, 13 March 2002.


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