Barangay Tuakanalipao in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. February 2014

Barangay Tukanalipao in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. February 2014


Words, words, words!


Martial law in Mindanao raises rights concerns

“The declaration of martial law over Mindanao has raised concerns of potential human rights violations under an administration that has been at times hostile to the idea of upholding basic rights for suspects.”

Duterte fires drugs board chair for ‘contradicting government’

“President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday announced he was firing Dangerous Drug Board Chairman Benjamin Reyes for “contradicting your own government” by presenting drug user data based on a government-commissioned survey.”

          “But Alyson Yap, a full-time member of the faculty at Ateneo de Manila University’s Department of               Quantitative Methods and Information Technology, disagrees with the assessment and called the conclusion dangerous.”

The Forgotten War: Memories of martial law in Mindanao

“President Rodrigo Duterte has himself said that the conflict in Mindanao is rooted in Moro nationalism. Less acknowledged is how those roots were watered by blood spilled while the father of Duterte’s political ally, former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., was president.”

Undue process: The long wait for Ormoc City’s agrarian reform beneficiaries

“Vicenta Tumampo, one of the ARBs in Sumangga, is 83 years old and can no longer work the land but she is hopeful that her grandchildren will be able to live on and make a living from it. She shows up at a farmers’ meeting in Ormoc City dressed as she was last year and still as strong.”

Women in farming towns bear brunt of El Niño

“Because women are traditionally in charge of the household budget, it also sometimes falls on them to borrow money for the family’s needs.

Ironically, according to men interviewed in Esperanza town, women are allowed to borrow much less than if a farmer does.”

Elections complicate El Niño response in Sultan Kudarat

“Leopoldo Estil, a 61 year-old farmer and member of a farmers’ association in the barangay, said the mayor has asked the municipal council to pass a resolution to declare a state of calamity in the area but that that is unlikely to happen because of local politics.:

A US V-22 Osprey participates in a joint exercise with the Philippine military in Casiguran, Aurora

For GMA News Online

Sumanga farmers: Waiting for 18 years to occupy the land they own

“ORMOC CITY, Leyte — Twenty-three farmers in Barangay Sumanga in this city have been waiting for 18 years to finally till the land that was awarded to them by the Department of Agrarian Reform. But from where things stand, their waiting is not about to end soon.”

When my mother stopped being a mom to be herself

“Things began going downhill in 2007, though, when she burned out and decided to retire without telling us. She had been depressed about her mother’s death a year earlier and had been going through a tough time at work. “I am tired,” she told us before flying home.

That was the start of several bad years that our family is still recovering from. In 2009, my father and grandfather died on the same night cities apart, and she started withdrawing into herself because it is impossible to go through something like that unscathed.”

Caught in the crossfire, Mamasapano folk call for peace

“COTABATO CITY – Those calling for all-out war over the clash in Mamasapano would do well to spend time in conflict areas, according to Bassit Accoy, an official of the remote town in Maguindanao province that few had heard about until January 25, when 44 elite police troopers were killed there.

“Dapat matikman nila ang natitikman namin,” he told reporters at the Mamasapano town hall, where a row of Philippine flags fly at half mast. One of the vans used to retrieve the bodies of the fallen troopers is parked a few hundred meters away under a tattered flag also lowered in mourning.”

Muslim Filipinos hurting after Mamasapano clash too

“SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao – The families of the 44 Philippine National Police Special Action Force troopers killed in a clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao are not the only ones hurting.

In Barangay Tukanalipao in Mamasapano, the path leading to the area where the SAF’s 55th Special Action Company was caught in a firefight on Jan. 25 is strewn with banners calling for peace and for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”

How China plans to eliminate poverty by 2020

“NANNING, China – There is a folk tale among the Yao people of China that goes: The Han people got up early, so they farm on the plains and the Zhuang people got up second, so they plant along the mountains. The Yao people woke up last and so they have nowhere to grow crops but on the mountaintops.

This is less true for 90 Yao and Zhuang households in Du’an County in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China who have been relocated to flatter ground that is closer to the roads of Daxing Township. The move, part of China’s poverty reduction plan, is meant to give residents access to power, water, and markets for their crops and handicrafts.”

Watchdog accuses ex-Tagum mayor of financing, running death squad

“Hundreds of murders were carried out in Tagum City in Davao del Norte between 2007 and 2013 by a vigilante group that a new Human Rights Watch report says was organized and supported by the local chief executive and protected by the city police.”

Is it time for UP to abandon the UPCAT?

“Wealthier students will have access to better teachers and better facilities, including review materials and private tutors, to prepare them not just for the UP College Admission Test but for other college admission tests as well.

In contrast, many public general high schools suffer from a shortage of space, learning materials, and teachers. Students from some public schools might not, the study points out, even know about UP and the UPCAT at all.”
More on GMA News Online

Ormoc City


Celebrity Chef Anna Olson talks fresh flavors

“Celebrity chef Anna Olson may have three shows on the Asian Food Channel, but she believes the real stars are the ingredients.

Meeting with reporters and food writers at a recent media lunch at EDSA Shangri-La’s HEAT restaurant, Olson said sometimes a tomato is so fresh and juicy that all you really have to do is slice it open. But when it isn’t perfect, ‘you just have to help it along.'”


Pre-election Excitement: 10 Allegedly Non-political Ads
“Not so in the Philippines, where a supposed ban on early politicking can be skirted by appearing in advocacy ads and infomercials. The candidates are, after all, not campaigning for themselves, but for some abstract ideal that they would like to be associated with.

For VERA Files

For Voters With Disability, Is This as Good as it Gets?

“It was 22-year-old Bae’s first time to vote on Monday. But unlike other voters, Bae, who has Down Syndrome, was at a special polling center that had been set aside for voters with disabilities like her.”

Going Up Against a Dynasty

“Christian Losano, an 18-year-old Agta Dumagat, can cite several reasons why he is opposed to the freeport zone project in Aurora province, but he gets really emotional when he talks about how the venture is tearing their community apart.”

Kiram must be given ‘honorable exit’

“The governments of the Philippines and Malaysia must soften their individual stances on the situation in Sabah to prevent further violence in the region, the president of a policy think tank said Friday.”

A civil society ‘dynasty’ to fight political dynasties

“It has taken Congress a quarter of a century to craft a law that will make the Constitutional ban on political dynasties real, but Fr. Leo Casas, candidate for governor of Masbate province, says citizens are not powerless against clans that dominate politics.”

Angara defends APECO vs. landgrabbing rap

“Sen. Edgardo Angara took the Senate floor on Wednesday to answer what he called malicious and vicious allegations against the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (APECO), which he helped create.”

Farmers score Angaras for ‘landgrabbing’ in Aurora

“Close to 3,000 families in Casiguran, Aurora stand to lose land that many of them have been tilling for half a century to make way for the extension of a Freeport zone that critics say does not benefit the community at all.”

Genetically modified crops threaten organic agriculture

“The country’s organic farmers could lose access to international agricultural markets if their crops are continually exposed to genetically-modified crops which are a source of pollen contamination.”

On Yahoo! PH

Padaca faces arrest for graft

“Former Isabela governor Grace Padaca, a founder of Kaya Natin, said she trusts the Supreme Court will treat her fairly in a petition she will file asking it to review a warrant issued for her arrest over alleged graft.”

Aquino admin failing on ending impunity, says HR group

“The Aquino administration has “really failed” in addressing human rights violations by security forces, an international human rights group said Monday, little more than a week before the Philippines is set for review before the UN Human Rights Council.”

MMDA eyes radical changes in the metro

“To develop Metro Manila, it may be necessary for the city to move out.”

Makati residents get the best perks, says NSCB report

“Residents of Makati City get the best perks, according to data compiled by the National Statistical Coordinating Board (NSCB).”

Of PH and the world’s tuna population

“The future of the world’s tuna population may be in Filipino hands, environmental group Greenpeace said after a ban on tuna fishing in a part of the Pacific was partially lifted for Philippine fishing vessels.”

Palace watching its words…for grammar

“The Palace is watching its words, not against controversy but against spelling and grammatical errors.”


Birthing Pains (Monday Magazine, March/April 2011)

“BLESSED is the nation,” the new batch of Philippine peso bills proclaims alongside cartoon presidents and parrots, “whose God is the Lord.”

The Doctor Is Still In (Sunday Inquirer Magazine, 07 November 2010)

“He’s been waging this war for the past 17 years and from all indications, former senator and health secretary Dr. Juan Flavier isn’t about to declare a truce.”

Second Wind (Manila Times: The Sunday Times, 17 October 2010)

“Father Roberto Reyes is a priest of the new school. The Post-Vatican II kind that believes leading a flock means more than just taking care of their souls.

It often also means fighting for their rights. And when fighting, Father Reyes is definitely of the old school: grim, determined and relentless.”

The Center Cannot Hold (China Business Philippines, August 2010)

“In contrast, the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council has given the country six years to do something just as daunting: keep Metro Manila from collapsing on itself.”

Against the Dying of the Light (With Valerie Buenaventura, China Business Philippines, June 2010)

“When Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to remote Toledo City in Cebu to inaugurate a new 246-megawatt coal-fired power plant, she was met with as much pomp and circumstance as the city could muster.”

The Golden Age (China Business Philippines, May 2010)

“While the Philippines is still trying to woo surfers and backpackers, it is also setting its eyes on a bigger market: their parents.”

Buzzkill (China Business Philippines, March 2010)

“Business has been bad for Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm’s Joel Magsaysay. Not because Ilog Maria products aren’t selling—they have had to ration their honey so more customers can take home a bottle or two—the problem is that three years ago, his bees just disappeared without a trace.”

Brave Old World (China Business Philippines, March 2010)

“Chef Ron Manalo of the Azalea in One Tagaytay Place Hotel Suites loves food with a passion. He keeps pen and paper by his bed so he can jot down recipe ideas, and he does this as tenderly as if he were writing a love letter.”

Interesting Times (China Business Philippines, January 2010)

“Economic analysts paint a rosy picture of the year ahead. But are new threats about to plunge us into recession perpetua?”

Electric Dreams (China Business Philippines, November 2009)

“Although the world economic crunch has put a damper on markets, Chan insists that the Hong Kong Electronics Fair—with participants from as remote as the Seychelles—proves that things are not bad everywhere.”

Open Season (China Business Philippines, October 2009)

“By this time next year, shoppers in the Ice City of Harbin in Northeast China could be snacking on something deliciously exotic: Philippine bananas. That, at least, is what the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) promises.”

Sink or Swim (China Business Philippines, September 2009)

“An estimated 107 million Asian children are malnourished and already “disadvantaged for life,” Nag said, and 1.9 billion have no access to sanitation. What’s more, 100 million Asian children are uneducated, contributing to a “serious shortage of skilled workers” in the world’s most populous continent.”

The Common Language (China Business Philippines, September 2009) “The last Chinese school in the Philippines closed its doors in 1975. Its halls would no longer echo with lessons in Chinese history and culture as they did for generations. When it reopened the next school year, the only thing Chinese about it was the ancestry of its students.”


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