Monday, March 30, 2009

Dahil sa Earth Hour: Trahedya sa Trinoma

By Ryan Ponce Pacpaco

DISGRASYA ang sinapit ni Charles Kevin Jimenez, 15, nang patayin ang mga ilaw sa loob ng Trinoma Mall pagsapit ng Earth Hour 8:30 p.m. noong Sabado. Dahil sa dilim ay nahulog siya sa isang fountain na walang harang.

Nasugatan ang kamay ni Jimenez, estudyante, ng Bgy. Sauyo, Novaliches, Quezon City.

Inihayag ni Moises Junio, kasama ni Jimenez sa mall, na walang harang sa paligid ng fountain na ka-level lang ng daanan nang patayin ang mga ilaw.

Maliban sa sugat, nabasa ang buong katawan ni Jimenez pati ang kanyang Nokia 5310.

Nabatid ng People’s Tonight na hindi rin siya umano kaagad inasikaso ng mga security personnel sa kabila ng pagdurugo ng kanyang kamay. Ito ay lubhang ikinagalit ng ina ni Moises na si Consuelo Junio.

Bukod dito, wala ring ibinigay na tuwalya o pamalit na damit ang mga tauhan ng Trinoma sa basang-basang si Jimenez na inabot ng 1 a.m. dahil napilitan pa siyang magpa-checkup sa ospital.

“Mall sila, ang laking establishment nila. Hindi man lang nila nabigyan ng sando o kahit basahan si Kevin para mapalitan ‘yung basang damit. Five hours na basa ang damit ng bata,” reklamo ni Shella Jimenez, ina ni Kevin.

“Dapat sibakin ang security head pati ang branch manager nila dahil wala silang concern sa mga tao,” idinagdag ni Gng. Jimenez.

Sinubukan ng People’s Tonight na kunin ang pahayag ng management ng Trinoma Mall ukol sa insidente ngunit hindi sila available for comment.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bloggers to make history at G20 Summit

A coalition of NGOs - the G20Voice – and the UK government are breaking with convention and, for the first time, allow 50 bloggers to report live and direct from the G20 summit, on April 2 in London.

This unprecedented event gives the bloggers and their audience the chance to engage with and influence world leaders on issues including development, climate change and women’s rights. The bloggers were nominated by the public, with more than 700 nominations received in 12 days.

The organisations behind G20Voice are OxfamGB, Comic Relief, Save the Children, ONE and Blue State Digital. G20Voice is a collaborative effort demonstrating the breadth of commitment to ending world poverty and inequality.

The 50 include a broad range of influential, knowledgeable and popular bloggers from the G20 countries and the developing world. These include:

Sokari Ekine – a pioneering Nigerian blogger

Jotman – an undercover blogger exposing injustice in Thailand and Burma

Daudi Were – a leading organiser of African bloggers

Dr Kumi Naidoo – head of GCAP and contributor to Huffington Post

Cheryl Conte from Jack and Jill Politics - representing the US “Black bourgeoisie”

Enda Surya Nasution – the father of Indonesian blogging

Rowan Davies – representing the 200,000 members of Mumsnet

Rui Chenggang – China's leading economics broadcaster and blogger with 13,000,000 viewers every evening on CCTV

Richard Murphy – the leading expert on Tax Havens.

They will be joined by thousands of bloggers online at with audio and video livestreaming, and also via skype broadcasts from inside the summit.

There is a full programme of events for the 50 invited bloggers. The event begins on April 1 with the official launch, including a series of briefings and round table discussions. On the day of the summit bloggers will have access to briefings from senior figures and world leaders. Members of the delegations have been invited to speak with the bloggers to discuss the developments in the main summit chamber.

Journalists are invited to come to the blogging tent to meet and talk with bloggers throughout the day.

Karina Brisby, G20Voice project founder and Digital Campaigns Manager, Oxfam GB said: "The G20Voice project was inspired by the articulate, engaging and often outraged posts, tweets, podcasts and videocasts from bloggers all over the world about the current economic crisis and how that affects the issues they are passionate about such as poverty and climate change.

"We are seeing a huge increase in the number of people around the world using digital tools to inform themselves and then contribute to debates about the issues that affect their lives. G20Voice recognises the importance of bloggers and gives them a unique opportunity to report back to their audiences direct from the G20 Summit itself."

Adrian Lovett, Director of Campaigns at Save the Children said: “G20Voice will tear back the curtain as leaders draw up their blueprint for global recovery. Thanks to G20Voice at this summit the world will be watching. Bloggers will witness the summit from the inside - and the world will know whether leaders are building a future fit for the world's children, or one that rewards only the rich. Gordon Brown has set the bar for the London G20 summit next month by promising that the UK will meet its aid commitments despite the economic downturn. He must ensure other G20 countries do the same. If action to prevent children dying isn't taken now we could see this financial crisis claim the lives of a generation of children.”

Oliver Buston, Europe Director of the Africa campaign group ONE said: “At ONE we’ve always been focused on empowering individuals to raise their voices against extreme poverty. This group of citizen-journalists includes some of the most articulate voices on this issue, and it’s exciting to be a part of bringing them to this international stage. The world’s poorest people are being hit hardest by a global crisis not of their making – the bloggers will have a chance to ask tough questions of world leaders, and demand solutions that will benefit everyone, not just the wealthy few."

The race to 2010: Is it Kabayan vs Villar now?

The race for the presidency seems to be narrowing down to a duel between Vice President Noli de Castro and Senator Manny Villar based on the latest opinion surveys.

De Castro and Villar are closely followed by Sen. Francis Escudero, former President Joseph Estrada and Sen. Loren Legarda.

Sen. Mar Roxas, who has been touted as a “shoo-in” for the presidency after topping the 2004 senatorial elections, appears to be losing steam, while the rating of Senator Panfilo Lacson took a nosedive after the Dacer-Corbito issue came out.

De Castro has regained the lead with 18 percent voter preference, after losing it to Villar during the fourth quarter 2008 survey.

The first quarter 2009 (March 2-6, 2009) survey of Issues and Advocacy Center gave Villar 16 percent, and Escudero with 15%, Estrada with 13% and Legarda with 12%.

Only De Castro and Villar led in terms of geographical preference. The Vice President was the choice in Mindanao, cornering 20% of the 276 respondents in the peninsula. De Castro also emerged as the preferred candidate in Luzon with 17% edging Escudero and Estrada who both posted 16% in Luzon.

Villar was the runaway winner in the Visayas, posting a high 23% which is a clear 5% margin over the Vice President who registered 18% in the Visayas.

How Senator Villar will organize the Nacionalista Party to provide his presidential campaign with the political muscle remains to be seen.

Villar's camp, although lacking in manpower, compared to the political structure of the Lakas-CMD, is hopeful that the senator's business network may eventually form the backbone of his political organization.

The vice presidency will also be a close fight between Legarda and Escudero, who are both tied at 19% nationwide. Legarda leads in the National Capital Region with 23 percent against Escudero’s 21 percent. Escudero leads in Luzon with 19 percent versus Legarda’s 16 percent and in the Visayas with 17 percent versus 15 percent. In Mindanao, Legarda enjoys the lead with 21 percent against Escudero’s 19 percent.

Publlic Service: Reunion of activists


A grand reunion of all activists in the 1960s and 1970s is slated to be held on March 29, 2009, 9:00 AM until 2:00 PM, at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani along Quezon Avenue, opposite the Manila Seedling Bank, in Quezon City. Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo is guest speaker.

More than an occasion to reminisce the militant idealism of their youth, the gathering aims to solicit ideas and discuss a program to link up with the current people's movement for genuine social transformation.

The veteran activists may take along their families. They are also enjoined to bring food and drinks.

The event is being sponsored by the First Quarter Storm Movement.


MOBILE PHONE 09176291241

Thursday, March 12, 2009

F Sionil Jose on Mindanao

National artist F Sionil Jose wrote his thoughts on Mindanao in a rare occasion. Read his column here: The challenge of history: Mindanao - sana!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rice Terraces to be declared GMO-Free Zone

The Ifugao Rice Terraces will be declared a genetically-modified organism-free zone on March 17, the environment group Greepeace announced.

The rice terraces, an important center of rice biodiversity in the Philippines and one of the country's most iconic symbols, will be declared a GMO-Free zone by Greenpeace and the provincial government.

The media is invited to cover the event.

For more information:

Contact in Ifugao: Ms Beng Bimohya, +63 906 192 6414
Contact in Manila: Ms AC Dimatatac, +63 917 868 6451

Survey: Kabayan still on top

Some friends in media got hold of a copy of the latest Pulse Asia survey that revealed Vice President Noli de Castro is still leading the pack in the race for the presidency in 2010.

De Castro got a 22 percent preference rating followed by Senator Francis Escudero (19), Senator Manuel Villar (18), Former president Joseph Estrada (16), Senator Loren Legarda (10), Senator Manuel Roxas II (7) and Senator Panfilo Lacson (5).

Escudero leads in the National Capital Region with 29 percent while Villar got 15 percent. It’s a toss between Villar and Escudero in Luzon with 30 percent followed by De Castro (19).

Tinolang Bariles

Breakfast of tinolang bariles at Iligan bus terminal at seven o'clock in the morning.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Provincial Media

I was in the South over the weekend to meet with about 30 journalists. As usual, when journalists meet, there were food (kinilaw, tinolang bariles, okra with ginamos, bulad nga bolinao, etc), drinks (Red Horse, San Mig Light and Pale, Generoso, Gran Matador, etc) and stories.

The stories were a mix of the funny, sad and the bizarre. A “tough-talking and hard-hitting” journalist supposedly survived an assassination attempt when the assassin thought he shot the wrong person because the journalist cried “like a woman” when a bullet went through his body. The killer did not fire the fatal shot and ran away.

The common thread of the stories is poverty. They talked about how they have to sell advertisements to politicians to get a 20 percent commission – their pay for working their asses off to cover war and conflicts.

Most journalists in the provinces are not employees. Some of them own weekly papers, which cost them about P5,000 per 500 copies to print, edit stories that they themselves write, solicit ads (a full page would cost from P5,000 to P10,000) from news sources and deliver the printed paper to subscribers and newsstands.

Broadcasters pay from P5,000 to P10,000 to radio stations to have a one-hour daily show. The prices vary depending on the station or the province.

Many provincial journalists admit that some of them are on the payroll of politicians. “We have families to feed,” they said, adding that anyway politicians own the radio stations or newspapers.

People depend of these radio stations and provincial papers as sources of information. Despite the growing reach of national television and radio networks, people in the provinces prefer local broadcasts that tackle local issues. Sometimes, these journalists are even looked up to as heroes, especially when they hit local warlords and politicians.

Provincial journalists agree that “irresponsible journalism” is a problem and that they encounter ethical dilemmas every day. They said these might have caused most of the attacks and killings of media practitioners. But they pointed out that the bigger problem they face is survival.

They, however, said there is hope for the provincial media and they can do better, but something must be done about their economic condition.

Unless the owners of big broadcast networks, national papers and small-town publications improve the lot of provincial journalists, there can be no end to the killings, attacks and threats on media workers.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Waking up a monster

By proposing the revival of the controversial Bataan Nuclear Plant, lawmakers have only awakened a monster of an issue that has been sleeping for almost three decades now.

For people who were too young to remember the heat of battle against the nuke plant during the Marcos era, I suggest that they familiarize themselves with its history. The issue can hog the headlines in the coming months.

Groups like Greenpeace can start educating the public not only about the perils of the plant but also its history. The group has maintained that studies conducted on the plant revealed that it is unsafe.

Among Greenpeace's assertions are:

1) Nuclear power is the most dangerous way to generate electricity, there is also no known scientific solution to safely storing plutonium, its deadly radioactive waste-product which remains radiotoxic for 240,000 years;

2) it is the most expensive source of power: aside from pricey construction costs, nuclear power involves expenses for decommissioning, as well as storage for nuclear waste, each of which can cost considerably more than new power plants;

3) Nuclear power cannot solve climate change—the contribution it can potentially make is negligible, and studies show that the entire nuclear power plant life cycle contributes significantly to climate change, and

4) it cannot give the country energy security, and will further render the Philippines dependent on the supply of uranium which is a limited resource found only in a few countries.

No discussion in Congress can reverse any of the above arguments, Greenpeace said.

Aside from political and scientific discussions, I look forward to anecdotes and stories how the Filipino people fought the operation of the plant years ago. Maybe by doing so, we can again unite and not only put the monster back to sleep but kill it once and for all.