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Philippine News Digest 58

July 15, 2003 · 

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Contents:

  • Equality Now airs concern over role of US military in rights violations
  • 85 dead in vigilante-related killings in Davao since January
  • Supreme Court rules gov’t owns ill-gotten money

Equality Now airs concern over role of US military in rights violations

In a letter circulated by Equality Now to its supporters, the international organization aired concerns that the Unites States military is not widely perceived as a force for the protection and promotion of human rights, particularly the rights of women. It says that in South Korea, US military forces directly participates in the commercial sex industry by assigning American “Courtesy Patrol” officers to local bars to facilitate access to prostitution for US servicemen. Many of the women in these bars are victims of trafficking, with at least 5,000 women trafficked to South Korea alone to serve in the sex industry catering to the 37,000 US military personnel stationed in the country. Equality Now says this conduct is not only a violation of applicable laws and regulations, but also a demonstration of the profound disrespect for women. It is now calling on the United States Government to institute and enforce a zero-tolerance policy prohibiting the participation of US military forces in the commercial sexual exploitation of women.

85 dead in vigilante-related killings in Davao since January

Eighty five people, including four minors, have been killed in drug-related killings in Davao City since the start of the year, according to police reports. None of these killings had been solved and none of the motorcycle-riding gunmen executing suspected drug pushers and users had been arrested, which prompted the city council to summon Senior Supt. Conrado Laza, city police director. During the question hour, Laza denied the existence of the Davao Death Squad despite the earlier confirmation by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. Rumors were rife that the operation of the Davao Death Squad had the blessings of the police which is why none of them have been arrested to date. Source: PDI Mindanao Bureau, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 17 July 2003.

Supreme Court rules gov’t owns ill-gotten money

The Philippine Supreme Court declared on July 15 ill-gotten the Marcos family’s $682 million as of June 30 in Swiss bank accounts now deposited in an escrow account of the Philippine National Bank. The decision came after the Sandiganbayan gave the government control of the United Coconut Planters Bank that had been taken over by Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., a known crony of the former dictator. The SC’s decision was hailed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government as the “biggest” case it has won against the Marcoses. President Arroyo, on her part, said that “the high court ruling should also give impetus to the landmark legislation pending in Congress to allocate part of the funds for human rights victims under martial law.” Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer, 16 July 2003.

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