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Philippine News Digest 85

October 15, 2006 · 

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Contents:
1. Children’s Month Celebration

2. International Day of No Prostitution

3. ANTI-AIDS CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN LAUCNHED IN DAVAO CITY MEET

MURDER OF FILIPINO BISHOP TRIGGERS WORLDWIDE ANGER AND CONDEMNATION
International Coordinating Secretariat
PERMANENT PEOPLES’ TRIBUNAL: SECOND SESSION ON THE PHILIPPINES
13 October 2006

“That Bishop Alberto Ramento was named an enemy of the state says more about the instance of which he was to be the enemy than about the bishop himself. The bishop was no enemy. He was a friend — a friend of the poor and of the people who have no means to participate in society and to earn their dignity as human beings. He was a friend of the excluded,” thus stated Dr. Joris Vercammen, Archbishop of Utrecht of the Old Catholic Church.

Archbishop Vercammen said these words to pay tribute to and commemorate the life of Philippine Independent Church Obispo Maximo Bishop Alberto Ramento, chairperson of KARAPATAN Tarlac Province, who was murdered October 3 inside his convent in Tarlac City, northern Philippines.

According to Philippine-based human rights watchdog KARAPATAN, Bishop Ramento is the 24th Church leader in the list of more than 750 people who fell victim to extra-judicial killings. Local and international human rights groups, such as the London-based Amnesty International and the Geneva-based World Council of Churches, have accused the regime of Gloria Arroyo as responsible for the killings and other human rights violations.

Less than a week after the Bishop’s killing, another priest of the Philippine Independent Church was murdered in his home in Tago, Surigao del Sur, south of Manila. Father Dionisio Gingging, 53, was brutalized in the early hours of October 8 by three men wearing ski masks, using butcher’s knives and handguns. The local police was quickto point out that the murder stemmed out of a “personal grudge” against the minister. Like the murdered Bishop, Father Gingging was a defender of the poor peoples’ rights and a staunch critic of the Arroyo regime.

The horrible rash of political murders and other human rights violations in the Philippines will be the main subject when the Permanent People’s Tribunal convenes in the Hague, the Netherlands on 30 October. Individual victims and organizations representing the victims have filed a formal appeal before the Tribunal to indict the Gloria Arroyo regime for gross violations of the peoples’ rights.

The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal is an independent international opinion court established in 1979 and adjudicates cases based on the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples, also widely known as the 1976 Algiers Declaration.

NORTH KOREA NOW A NUCLEAR POWER
The Manila Times
Tuesday, October 10, 2006

SEOUL: Defying worldwide appeals and threats of sanctions, North Korea has announced it had carried out its first nuclear weapons test, calling it a “historic event.”

President Arroyo, in a statement Monday afternoon, said “we condemn in the strongest terms North Korea’s nuclear device testing. DPRK’s act clearly poses a threat to the political, security and economic stability of Northeast Asia.”

The United States confirmed that the test took place and urged the UN to take action.

North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA) said the underground test was carried out safely and successfully and there was no radiation leak.

There was no immediate official confirmation in the South of the test. But the presidential office said the state intelligence agency had detected a 3.58 magnitude seismic tremor in North Hamgyong Province, where Kilju is located.

The test took place around the time Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Seoul for talks on handling the nuclear crisis and just three days after a UN Security Council statement was issued against North Korea.

The council unanimously adopted a nonbinding statement that urged the North to drop plans for a test and to return to six-party disarmament talks.

It marks a historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the KPA (North Korean army) and people that have wished to have powerful self-reliant defense capability.

ANTI-AIDS CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN LAUCNHED IN DAVAO CITY MEET
The Philippine STAR -Nation
By Edith Regalado
Publication Date: [Monday, October 09, 2006]

DAVAO CITY – The United Nations International Children’s Fund (Unicef) launched here on Saturday a campaign for a child-focused global approach to address HIV-AIDS.

UNICEF country representative to the Philippines Nick Alipui led more than 600
delegates to the 8th Philippine National Convention on AIDS in launching the “Unite for Children, Unite Against AIDS” campaign.

Organizers of the campaign hope to reduce the number of young people with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) by 25 percent globally by 2010.

Reports say AIDS-related illnesses kill one child under 15 every minute worldwide. Adolescents and young people aged 15 to 24 contract HIV every 15 seconds.

However, there are no data yet on the number of children afflicted with HIV/AIDS in the Philippines.

There were about 2,500 HIV cases in the country as of June. AIDS-HIV cases are reportedly bigger in other Asian countries.

United Nations Development Program (UNDP) country representative Nileema Noble said the Philippines should seize the opportunity provided by the relatively fewer cases of HIV-AIDS in the country by addressing the problem swiftly. [End]

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