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Philippine News Digest 26

May 16, 2002 · 



  • Protest suspends installation of tension wires
  • One in six kids has to work
  • Children speak up in UN summit
  • State of the world’s children
  • Profile of the US Congress

Protest suspends installation of tension wires

The installation by the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) of high-tension power lines at a resettlement center occupied by families displaced by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo was suspended following complaints from residents. Residents complain that they were not consulted about the project and threatened to stop construction work in the area. They also said the project would be hazardous to their health and safety because high tension power lines were found to cause various cancers. PREDA Foundation launched a campaign against a similar installation near the children’s home in 1996. The court resolved that the electric posts be moved but NAPOCOR was unable to comply until now. Source: Jun Malig and correspondent reports, Philippine Daily Inquirer Central Luzon Desk, 15 May 2002.

One in six kids has to work
A latest survey by the National Statistics Office reveal that one in every six Filipino children had to work to help support his or her family in the past year, and most of them labored without pay. This means that four million of the 25 million Filipino children aged 5 to 17, or 16 percent of the total, were “economically active”. Most of them were male aged 10 to 17 years old. Seven out of 10 children worked in the rural areas as unskilled, unpaid laborers in family farms. Others worked in shops, or as vendors in forestry or fisheries. More than one million face physical hazards including exposure to silica and sawdust, along with the danger of biological infections. The figures were almost unchanged from those recorded in a similar survey for 1994-1995, reflecting the inefficiency of intervention programs implemented by past and present administrations. Source: AFP report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 10 May 2002.

Children speak up in summit
Four hundred youngsters from different countries criticized adults for creating a world where too many children face poverty, war and disease during the United Nations Special Session on Children, May 8 to 10 in New York. Gabriela Azurudy Arrieta, 13, of Bolivia, and Audrey Cheynut, 17, of Monaco, read a statement adopted from a forum of children calling for the greater protection of child refugees, free quality education, free HIV testing, environmental conservation and cancellation of poor countries’ debts- whose payment diverts money from children’s program. “We are the victims of exploitation and abuse. We are the street children. We are the children of war. We are the victims and orphans of HIV/AIDS. We are denied good quality education and health care,” said Arrietta. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan agreed, noting that 33 percent of youngsters suffer from malnutrition before the age of five, 25 percent are not immunized, nearly 20 percent don’t attend school and far too many “have seen violence that no child should ever see.” The gathering will review the successes and failures in meeting the 27 goals set by the 1990 World Summit for Children, and will set new priorities and goals for the next 15 years. William Orme of La Times and correspondent reports.

State of the world’s children

With two billion, children compose the biggest age group in the world’s population. Their number rises exponentially especially in developing countries where demographers predict a continuation of the “population boom” of the last few decades. That given, one would expect that states and governments would focus on the rights and needs of children, however, the current situation points to the opposite direction. In the 1990s, 10 million children died of preventable diseases, among them tuberculosis, malaria and polio. Infant mortality rates deteriorated in large swaths of Africa. In the sub-Saharan region, 17 percent of newborns do not live to the age of 5. The region has 10 percent of the world’s population and 90 percent of AIDS orphans. More than 300,000 children are fighting in wars at any given time. More children are in school ever yet still 100 million have been left behind, 60 percent of them are girls. Paradoxically, aid from rich countries to the poor lagged at a time of global prosperity, and in much of the developing world, the number of those who lived on less than $1 a day shot up. Only four countries- Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway- met the goals set during the 1990 Children’s Summit. The US ranked at the bottom of the top 22 donors, with 0.1 percent of its GDP devoted to aid. Source: Somini Sengupta of NY Times News Service and correspondent reports.

Name this company

Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 500 employees and has the following statistics:

– 29 have been accused of spousal abuse

-7 have been arrested for fraud

– 19 have been accused of writing bad checks

-117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses

-3 have done time for assault

-71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit

-14 have been arrested on drug-related charges

– 8 have been arrested for shoplifting

– 21 are currently defendants in lawsuits

– 84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year

Can you guess which organization this is? It’s the 535 members of the United States Congress. The same group that crank out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of the world in line.


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