Barangay Tuakanalipao in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. February 2014
Barangay Tukanalipao in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. February 2014


Words, words, words!


For Lumad schools, even holding class is a struggle

Often set up in what the Department of Education calls Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas that government schools may not be able to reach, the Lumad schools provide lessons in numeracy, literacy and skills like carpentry, sewing and agriculture.

“Don’t fool me. You teach nothing there but socialism and killings,” the president said in July 2017 before the Armed Forces of the Philippines said it would not take the statement as an order.

‘Thinking Pinoy’ indictment no win for free speech, advocates warn

“Such a penalty for expression, even if defamatory, is very excessive and creates a chilling effect to the exercise of free speech in this country.

A year of fighting and talking

A year into President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, the country is closer to achieving peace with communist rebels in that both sides are at least talking again.

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.”

4M drug users ‘in the realm of possibility,’ DDB insists

“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


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.”



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