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Philippine News Digest 69

February 17, 2004 · 

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Contents:
=Global inequality worsens

‘=Red tape’ hampers release of children from jails

=Street children murdered by death squad

Global inequality worsens

Corporate-led globalization has widened the gap between the world’s rich and poor as the richest 10 percent of the world population’s income is now 117 times higher than the poorest 10 percent. This a huge jump from 1980 when the income of the richest 10 percent was about 79 times higher than the poorest 10 percent. Inequalities within nations are also on the rise. Fair trading is a means to combat this growing inequality as it supports cooperatives and small business enterprises, mango and fruit farmers by providing product design, business advice and production loans to village producer groups. The PREDA Fair Trade project gives direct access to local and overseas markets in cooperation with alternative fair trade organizations and the World Shops.

‘Red tape’ hampers release of children from jails

The Philippine Commission on Human Rights issued on December 17, 2003 a resolution reiterating its recommendation to the President to provide separate detention facilities for women and children and if it can not do so due to budgetary constraints, to release children in conflict with the law on recognizance to the custody of his parents or other suitable person who shall be responsible for his appearance whenever required. Almost three months hence, children continue to languish in jails with adult prisoners and their release to their parents or a rehabilitation center is hampered by bureaucratic constraints, particularly the lack of government social workers who are mandated to make case studies of the children that would be the basis of a court order releasing them. From November 2003 to January 2004 alone, the PREDA Jail Rescue and Monitoring team has visited 20 jails and found 118 minors. Of these, 45 were already released through the effort of the team.

Street children murdered by death squad

Street children in the Philippines are in great danger and some have been killed by death squads. According to UNICEF, about 60,000 children in the Philippines are living on the streets and 20,000 depend on prostitution to survive. A street child named Anthone reported that being on the street is a matter of life and death. “I am so afraid to be killed on the street, in the last four years over 100 street children and adults have been killed. We’ve heard of a lot of boys being murdered by the Davao Death Squad,” Anthone says. There are accusations that the murders are being committed by contractors linked to officials as part of Davao City’s clean up drive against crimes. (Source: Philippine Resource Network, Children’s Page)

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