After 13 years, kin of Ampatuan massacre victims continue to call for justice

“We take note of the administration's commitment, communicated through the OPS, that the government will not forget this heinous crime and hope, along with the families, that full justice will not take another 13 years.” The post After 13 years, kin of Ampatuan massacre victims continue to call for justice appeared first on Bulatlat......»»

Category: newsSource: bulatlat bulatlatNov 24th, 2022

11 years on, kin of Ampatuan massacre victims still searching for justice

Under the Duterte administration, human rights group Karapatan said the climate of impunity that has made this massacre possible has "visibly intensified," particularly as the attacks against journalists continue unabated. The post 11 years on, kin of Ampatuan massacre victims still searching for justice appeared first on Bulatlat......»»

Category: newsSource:  bulatlatRelated NewsNov 24th, 2020

Wave of violent Indonesia muggings sparks ‘shoot-to-kill’ calls

A spate of violent muggings by machete-wielding thieves in Indonesia has drawn coded calls from prominent politicians for them to be killed-on-sight by police, in comments condemned by rights groups as condoning extrajudicial murders. Last month, police in the northern Sumatran city of Medan shot dead a "begal" -- a term used to describe a type of street thief known for their brutality -- as part of what the force said was a bid to "eradicate" them. Bobby Nasution, Medan mayor and President Joko Widodo's son-in-law, lauded the officers involved, saying such criminals should be shot dead on the spot. "I appreciate this because begal and criminals have no place in Medan," he wrote in an Instagram post on July 9, sharing footage of the suspect's dead body. President Widodo has not commented on Nasution's statements. Other leaders, including the governor of North Sumatra province, have supported the comments. Rights groups want an investigation into the killing, and have condemned the rhetoric as giving officers and citizens the right to take the law into their own hands. "It is inappropriate for public officials to declare support for such extrajudicial actions," Amnesty International Indonesia director Usman Hamid told AFP. "The shooting not only violates human rights principles –- such as the right to life, the right to a fair trial -- but also the regulations." Indonesian police rules state that firearms should only be used as an officer's last resort. Indonesia's Institute for Criminal Justice Reform called Nasution's words "irresponsible". Some public sentiment, however, is on the mayor's side. Under viral videos of the begal attacks, social media users call for the thieves to be shot dead or to face the death penalty. And in a village east of Jakarta, local leaders have issued a 10 million rupiah ($662) bounty for the capture of begals. 'Begal' terror  Begals have savagely attacked their victims with sickles, airguns and rocks, terrorising Indonesians in the capital Jakarta, Medan and other urban centres. They approach their victims on scooters, usually in carefully chosen areas that have few security cameras, so that they can rapidly escape after the robbery. "They have to do it quickly and cruelly to make the victim surrender," said Adrianus Meliala, a criminologist at the University of Indonesia. "Begal run away using the city labyrinth they have mastered." Medan, Indonesia's fifth-largest city, has been hit by 45 begal attacks since January, police say, and one brutal case two months ago caused an uproar. Student Insanul Anshori Hasibuan was riding a scooter home when a man hacked him in the head with a machete, stealing his wallet. Hasibuan, 22, died in hospital after the attacker and several accomplices escaped with the contents of the wallet: just 70,000 rupiah ($4.60). Four suspects were later arrested, and face up to 15 years in jail if convicted. Such brutal attacks have been splashed across Indonesian media, raising public fear and allowing Nasution to cast himself as a champion for law and order. According to official data, the rate of robberies has risen in 2023, but experts say Indonesian criminal data is often incomplete due to underreporting. Indonesia's national police force did not respond to an AFP request for comment. The issue is a complex culmination of factors, including rising poverty in one of the world's most unequal countries, the difficulty of countering such quick and violent attacks, weak rule of law and crumbling public trust in the police. "The begal phenomenon cannot be separated from the social economic order of society," said Ida Ruwaida of the University of Indonesia. Rights groups say they are concerned that calls by prominent politicians such as Nasution to kill suspects on sight could lead to chaos on the country's streets. "We are concerned that the statement by the mayor of Medan can serve as legitimacy for more extrajudicial killings," said Hamid. "This is very dangerous." The post Wave of violent Indonesia muggings sparks ‘shoot-to-kill’ calls appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 16th, 2023

Philippine director puts women at the ‘heart’ of drug war film

Widows and mothers are at the "heart" of a gritty documentary by Philippine filmmaker Sheryl Rose Andes, who turns the camera on women left behind by former president Rodrigo Duterte's deadly drug war. More than 6,000 people were killed in police anti-drug raids during Duterte's six-year term, which ended in June 2022, government data shows. Rights groups estimate the real figure was in the tens of thousands, mostly poor men living in slums who died at the hands of law enforcers, hitmen and vigilantes. Many of the victims had wives or partners and mothers, who have had to deal with the heartbreak and hardship of losing a loved one and often the family's main breadwinner. In her new documentary "Maria", Andes follows two of these women, Mary Ann Domingo and Maria Deparine, as they struggle to survive and find justice. "We have to register that this thing really happened. And now people need to see what has happened to their families," Andes told AFP in an interview. Andes said she was inspired to make the film out of fear that Filipinos could forget, or never learn, about the brutal period in their nation's history. She got a "huge wake-up call" when one of her students in a filmmaking course she teaches at Mapua University in Manila expressed surprise that the drug war was "really happening". That moment in 2020 -- four years into Duterte's drug war, which made headlines around the world and sparked an international investigation into alleged human rights abuses -- left her aghast. Three years later, "Maria" is the first full-length documentary to compete in the country's independent film festival Cinemalaya, which opened August 4. "Maria" -- a common name for women in the Catholic-majority Philippines -- focuses on the harrowing experiences of Domingo and Deparine, which Andes says gives the film "heart and emotion". The documentary shows the women doing menial jobs to support their families and making tearful visits to the tombs of their loved ones. "I zoomed in on the details because it should not just be about numbers," said Andes. "This is a story about women. I don't want this to be remembered as a drug war story." 'It is very difficult'  Deparine lost two of her sons within days of each other in September 2016. One was with a local drug dealer when they were abducted by unidentified men. They were both shot in the head and their bodies dumped under a bridge. Six days later, a second son was arrested by police at the home of a drug-dealing couple. He was later found dead under another bridge. Since their deaths, Deparine, who works in a fish cannery and voted for Duterte in 2016, has moved multiple times with her husband and surviving son as they struggle to make enough money to pay the rent. In the same month Deparine lost her sons, Domingo's partner and teenage son were killed in a nighttime police raid while the family slept in their shanty home. Later, she and three of her surviving children had to flee for fear of their safety. Lawyer Kristina Conti, who is helping Domingo seek justice for their deaths, said the four officers who allegedly shot dead her partner and son had been freed on bail and were back in uniform after serving short suspensions. That's despite the men facing a homicide trial. "As a mother who lost her partner, it is very difficult. At times I just wanted to give up, and at times I actually did," Domingo, 49, told AFP in an interview. "This (film) is our chance to show to the world what happened to us."  'Political stand'  Catholic priest Flaviano Villanueva, who appears in "Maria", said widows, mothers and grandmothers endured "unimaginable" hardships to keep their remaining family members alive. Villanueva, who runs a support group for the families of the drug war's dead, said there was a "social stigma" that led to discrimination against those left behind. Orphans were "bullied" at school and widows excluded from government assistance because "her husband got killed for being a drug addict", he told AFP. Another woman who features prominently in the film is former Philippines vice president Leni Robredo, a vocal critic of the drug war who is seen consoling Domingo and Deparine. Robredo ran in the 2022 presidential election but lost by a huge margin to the son and namesake of the country's late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who has continued the drug war. Andes, who spent a decade working for a non-government organisation before turning her hand to filmmaking, refuses to shy away from difficult subjects. She said documentaries were a "powerful tool" in retelling history, but she feared that Filipinos preferred "escapism" and were not prepared to face grim reality. Despite Duterte stepping down more than a year ago and Marcos Jr vowing to take the drug war in a new direction, Andes said the killings "never stopped". "A documentary takes a political stand," she said. "We are not fiction and we are not here to titillate." The post Philippine director puts women at the ‘heart’ of drug war film appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2023

Cyber education, a must

“Digitalization is the call of today, not the call of the future, but of the present. It is here. It is needed, and it is needed today.” President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. highlighted in his second SoNA his administration’s agenda for all government agencies and local government units to digitalize all their services. He called for the digitalization of payments, business registrations, issuances of permits and licenses, loan applications and revenue collections. The digitalization efforts, he stated, should be made to streamline processes for ease of doing business, combat corruption and make decisions in a data-driven and science-based manner. I commend this push for e-governance and e-commerce by the President. He is right. The digital age is upon us and we must invest in digital technology and infrastructure for our economy to be globally competitive.   Cyber Education Law However, the very basic foundation needed for the government’s digitalization efforts should be the investment in human capital. We know that our labor is the country’s biggest asset and the factor that keeps our economy afloat. We export labor, remittances flow, and these in turn fund local consumption. That is why there is an urgent need for us to legislate the incorporation of cyber-education among our population and we must start with our basic education. Investing in cyber-education is not a novel idea. It is a model of development in many advanced countries. As the World Economic Forum or WEF found out in a study, countries like Israel (which currently ranks 8th in the Cyber Risk Literacy and Education Index) show that cyber-risk education and connected institutions can contribute significantly to the national economy by producing more jobs and greater innovation. It concluded that cyber-investment in human resources, i.e., prioritizing cybersecurity education earlier than most and regular assessment of cyber-risk literacy of children and youth at key points in their development and education, is an investment for the future and has been found to have led to a wealth of cyber-related innovation and economic growth among top-ranking countries. The UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Germany, France, and, recently, China, are also investing heavily in cybersecurity education. These countries recognize that cybersecurity education is essential to protecting the digital economy and both public and private digital infrastructure from cybercrimes and cyberattacks. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the need for cybersecurity education will only grow. Digitalization will positively impact Filipinos’ lives but concomitant negative issues have emerged related to Internet use. Some of the most common cybersecurity crimes and offenses in the world today continue to emerge and develop, some of which President Marcos Jr. mentioned in his speech, such as identity theft, phishing and other online scams. Current statistics also show the vulnerability of Filipino children in the digital space. A recent study claimed the Philippines is a global hotspot for Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children or OSAEC. A sharp increase in possible OSAEC cases has been recorded by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, from 1.34 million in 2020 to 3.19 million in 2021, the second highest in the world behind India. In 2018, the Department of Justice Office of Cybercrime received 579,006 cyber tips on the online sharing, re-sharing, and selling of child sexual abuse images and videos. According to the study, sexual exploitation negatively impacts cognitive functioning, as well as mental health, including post-traumatic stress disorder and depression; and across the life course, it can negatively impact the physical, psychological, social, educative and economic well-being of children victims. The foregoing examples are just among the many important reasons to introduce cybersecurity education in the K-12 system. We must educate users of technology, especially children, on the potential risks they face when using internet communication tools, such as social media, chat, online gaming, email and instant messaging, to cultivate cybersecurity awareness at the primary school level. Verily, investing in cybersecurity awareness among the young population will have several positive impacts on the Philippine economy and quality of life. The post Cyber education, a must appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 5th, 2023

Putting the quit on Quilter

Karl Quilter, a Chicago resident, was recently handed a sentence of 30 years in a United States federal prison for OSEC, or the online sexual exploitation of children based in the Philippines. The 58-year-old Quilter entered last year a guilty plea, claiming that the minors he spoke with on social media sites Facebook, Viber, and Skype from 2017 to 2020 were his “girlfriends.” His modus operandi, court records showed, involved dangling money transfers to persuade his victims to send the requested images. Quilter, in fact, visited the Philippines in 2017 and 2018,  but he would not admit to actually having physical sex with minors, something that could have added to his sentence. He, nonetheless, admitted to having vowed to return to the Philippines in 2020 to act out his OSEC fantasies, yet more proof that OSEC oftentimes leads to actual physical abuse by moneyed, well-traveled monsters. The successful prosecution of Quilter and others like him, however, represents only one side of the coin as there’s also a pressing need to stop the abuse at the source, hundreds of miles away. Putting behind bars adults, frequently family members, who enable this heinous crime within the Philippines and other poor countries, is equally important. Unicef, the International Justice Mission, and Interpol have conducted extensive research that indicates that the Philippines, even before the start of the pandemic, had become a major global hub for live-streaming or the distribution of videos and photos of sex acts involving children as young as two years old. According to their estimates, the incidence of OSEC in the country had more than tripled in recent years, with the Philippines receiving more than eight times as many referrals as any other country, “making it the center of the global live-stream sex abuse trade.” The IJM, which started working closely with authorities in the Philippines in 2020 to close physical channels of sexual abuse of minors like bars and prostitution houses, had warned that Covid-19 lockdowns spanning two years had significantly contributed to a threefold rise in OSEC cases. With his department as the lead agency in the government’s efforts against human trafficking, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla has gone, so far, as to warn telecom companies that they would be prosecuted if they did not provide checks and filters against OSEC materials being routed through their networks. The biggest telcos have been heeding Remulla’s call, but as technology moves fast, they have to contend not only with the traffickers but also with tech wizards, those who live off the Dark Web, and who provide the backend support to ram OSEC materials through governmental and corporate check valves. IJM has drawn a silver lining around the dark clouds, saying that significant progress has been made in reducing the availability of children for sale on the streets and for internet-based sex trafficking. The figures, the group claimed, have fallen by as much as 86 percent in the cities where they were present. The relationship between OSEC and money transfers has been made crystal clear by recent research by the Anti-Money Laundering Task Force. It said that to stop the cycle of exploitation and bring the offenders to justice, it is necessary to destroy the illegal financial networks and stop the use of legal ones for OSEC payments. Although Quilter’s sentencing represents an important development in the prosecution of foreign offenders, he is just one among the millions of pedophiles and other perverts who have fueled OSEC, a multi-faceted problem that requires creative solutions and cross-border cooperation among governments, non-governmental organizations, and communities. OSEC operations by families in far-flung barangays are an open secret in communities, betrayed by the sprouting of Wi-Fi antennas in homes that also suddenly had access to extra cash. Cracking down on them has been easier, but the additional challenge now is stopping OSEC coursed through smartphones with internet data access. OSEC has been and will always be a cat-and-mouse game. It’s a virtual one-upmanship in trying to put the quit on depravities perpetrated by the likes of Quilter. The post Putting the quit on Quilter appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 15th, 2023

AFP: NPA under ‘crushing defeat’

The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Sunday stressed that the New People’s Army’s high-ranking cadre is a “crushing defeat” to the Communist Party of the Philippines as CPP-NPA victims have long been asking for justice over various atrocities and violence by the communist terrorist groups. To recall, the Philippine Army’s 303 Infantry Battalion on Saturday declared Rogelio Posadas alias “Putin” dead following a series of encounters in the boundaries of Isabela and Balbagan on 20 April. The security forces said Posadas was a “notorious leader” of the NPA’s Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, or the KR-NCBS. It said to be that Posadas was responsible for “assassinations, extortions, kidnappings, arsons and other forms of violence against innocent civilians and government personalities” in the the Visayas Region. The AFP is now urging CPP-NPA-NDFP remnants “to surrender and return to the folds of the law while there is still time.” Meanwhile, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s Legal Cooperation Cluster spokesperson, Prosecutor Flosemer Chris Gonzales, lambasted reports that Posadas was only working as an NDFP consultant, saying he was recorded as a criminal who is “responsible for several atrocities against the people of Negros Island.” Gonzales made this remark contrary to NDFP-Negros spokesperson Ka Bayani Obrero’s statement on Friday. Obrero called on the state forces to surface Posadas and his companion “Ka Mikmik” along with two motorcycle drivers who were rented to only transport them in Isabela, Negros Occidental. “We believe Posadas and the other three were intercepted by state agents along the road. They are missing since 19 April around 6 p.m. They never reached their destination,” Obrero said. “After experiences in the past wherein revolutionaries were captured and then declared casualties in fake encounters, we are very concerned for our comrades’ safety in the hands of fascist state forces,” he added. Gonzales underscored the country’s anti-terrorism council has declared the entire party of the CPP-NPA-NDFP as a terrorist organization.” “We reiterate that this government does not recognize the existence of the legitimacy of what the communist terrorist group labeled as NDFP Consultant,” Gonzales said. “In fact, the CPP-NDF-NPA has this standing propaganda policy and pattern to call their leaders NDFP Consultants, particularly if such leaders are arrested or are killed in engagements with state security forces,” he added. Gonzales stressed any CTG member should be called a revolutionary “but are common criminals responsible for the deaths of thousands and the destruction of billions in properties over the past 54 years.” The post AFP: NPA under ‘crushing defeat’ appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsApr 23rd, 2023

Myanmar confirms deadly air strike as international outcry rises

Myanmar's ruling junta confirmed on Wednesday that it carried out an air strike on a village in which dozens of people were reported killed, drawing condemnation from the United Nations and Western powers. The official death toll from the Tuesday morning strike on the remote Kanbalu township in the central Sagaing region remains unclear, with at least 100 fatalities reported by the BBC, The Irrawaddy, and Radio Free Asia. A villager involved in rescue and recovery efforts at Pazi Gyi village -- who asked not to be named to protect his safety -- said body parts had been strewn across the site of the attack, and estimated the death toll to be higher than 120. Following a coup that toppled Aung San Suu Kyi's civilian government in 2021, the military's crackdown on dissent and armed groups opposed to their rule has left more than 3,200 people dead, according to a local monitoring group. UN rights chief Volker Turk said he was "horrified" by the deadly air strike, whose victims he said included schoolchildren performing dances, with the global body calling for those responsible to be brought to justice. On Wednesday, the villager told AFP it was difficult to identify the dead. "We can not identify anymore who is who among the dead because they all became pieces," he said. The man estimated about 80 bodies had been cremated on Wednesday, with rescuers halting efforts to recover roughly 40 more bodies "because we were afraid of more air strikes". Village strafed Tuesday's strike saw military aircraft strafe Pazi Gyi, where scores of locals had gathered to mark the opening of a local defense force office connected to junta opponents, a witness told AFP. One fighter jet and a helicopter were involved in the attack, a security source told AFP. The junta confirmed Wednesday it had "launched limited air strikes" after receiving a tip-off from locals about the event. It did not say how many were killed but insisted the military had tried to minimize harm to civilians. "We heard that more people were killed because of big explosions from weapons and ammunitions... displayed at the opening event," a junta statement said. Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun late on Tuesday said some of the dead were anti-coup fighters in uniform, though "there could be some people with civilian clothes". The spokesman went on to blame mines planted by the People's Defence Force -- coup opponents -- for some of the deaths. Sagaing region -- near the country's second-largest city of Mandalay -- has put up some of the fiercest resistance to the military's rule, with intense fighting raging there for months. The attack came as Myanmar was preparing to mark the Buddhist new year -- Thingyan -- which begins Thursday and traditionally involves public water fights, but celebrations are expected to be muted. International condemnation "As the people of Myanmar celebrate their New Year, the EU is deeply shocked by reports of the latest atrocity committed by the military regime in Sagaing, taking the lives of dozens of innocent civilians," EU foreign affairs spokesperson Nabila Massrali said. France's foreign ministry said in a statement that the "abominable" strike demonstrated "the strategy of indiscriminate violence the Myanmar junta has inflicted on Myanmar's people for more than two years". UN chief Antonio Guterres condemned the attack and reiterated his call "for the military to end the campaign of violence against the Myanmar population throughout the country", according to a statement from his spokesperson. Washington also denounced the "reprehensible" attack. "We strongly condemn the regime's air strikes and urge the regime to cease the violence," US State Department Counselor Derek Chollet tweeted. Human Rights Watch Asia deputy director Phil Robertson said the strike was likely to have a chilling effect across Myanmar society. "I think this will cause greater fear amongst the people," he told AFP. "I think in the future, communities will be reluctant to hold a... mass gathering of any sort, recognizing that they could be bombed". According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies' Myanmar conflict tracker, the military has carried out 689 air and drone strike attacks since the coup. Rights groups have called for the international community to further restrict Myanmar's access to aviation fuel in the wake of the attack. But Bangkok-based security analyst Anthony Davis told AFP that demand was "divorced from reality". "Russia is a firm ally of the junta and one of the world's largest oil exporters. Do we seriously believe Moscow will sit and watch the Myanmar Air Force being slowly grounded for a lack of aviation fuel?" he said. The post Myanmar confirms deadly air strike as international outcry rises appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 12th, 2023

Activists light candles for Tumandok 9 massacre victims

IP organizations and support networks organize a candle lighting activity and noise barrage in Quezon City to call for justice for the murdered Tumandok leaders in Panay. The post Activists light candles for Tumandok 9 massacre victims appeared first on Bulatlat......»»

Category: newsSource:  bulatlatRelated NewsJan 17th, 2021

Imperfect justice in Ampatuan Massacre

Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre. With the guilty verdicts imposed on many of the accused —most of the masterminds and many of the perpetuators—last December 2019, this year’s milestone is not as depressing as in previous years. At the same time, we must remember that what we achieved with the guilty verdicts is what I described in a Layman’s Guide to the Ampatuan Massacre verdict, published in MindaNews, as “imperfect justice.”.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsNov 23rd, 2020

‘Total lawfare’: Ukraine’s other front in the war

On 26 February 2022, while Russian tanks were barrelling towards Kyiv, Ukrainian lawyers were fighting on a different front, submitting a case against Moscow at the International Court of Justice. The gilded halls of the Peace Palace in The Hague, where the court sits, are a world away from the trenches of Donbas but Ukraine believes its legal attacks on Russia are a critical part of the fight. What cases are open in Ukraine's campaign of all-out "lawfare" against Moscow and, with little chance of Russian compliance, what's the point? Where are the legal front lines? The Hague, Strasbourg, and Hamburg. Ukraine has dragged Russia before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which rules on disputes between nations, arguing that President Vladimir Putin abused the UN Genocide Convention when he used an alleged "genocide" in eastern Ukraine as a pretext for invasion. The final arguments in this case will be heard later Wednesday. Also in The Hague, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Putin, accusing him of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children, a war crime. Neither of these courts, however, can try Russian leaders, including Putin, for the crime of "aggression", defined as an attack on one state by another in breach of the UN charter. So a special group of prosecutors from Ukraine, the EU, the United States, and the ICC has been set up in The Hague with a view to establishing a special tribunal to bring senior Russians to trial. Ukraine also has cases open at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg over alleged Russian human rights abuses. Finally, Ukraine also brought cases to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg over what it says is Russia's disregard for international maritime law. Will Russia comply? It seems unlikely that Russia would comply with any ruling from an international court -- for example, in March 2022, the ICJ ordered Moscow to immediately halt its invasion. Russia didn't even turn up to the hearings in that case. But it's far from an academic exercise, said Cecily Rose, assistant professor of public international law at Leiden University. "There are examples of cases in which Russia has complied at least partially with an adverse ruling by an international court," Rose told AFP, citing a 2015 verdict in which Moscow reportedly stumped up half the cash it was ordered to. "It shows that non-compliance cannot be cynically assumed. Most of the time, states do comply with awards and judgments rendered by international courts and tribunals." What's the point? Even if Russia doesn't comply, Kyiv and most legal experts think the international community needs to draw a line in the sand. "Some countries do not comply with the law, including Russia. However, it is still important to call them out and to bring a case against them when they do breach the law," said Melanie O'Brien, assistant professor at the University of Western Australia Law School. "The case demonstrates that other countries do not view Russia's conduct as acceptable -- but rather, as unlawful," O'Brien told AFP. A ruling from the ICJ against Russia would be a further element in isolating Moscow and confirming it broke international law, she said. "It is also an important acknowledgment for victims of human rights abuses and international crimes such as war crimes that what happened to them and their loved ones was not lawful," she added. Proving that Russia's actions were in contravention of international law could also be key in future peace negotiations, including over potential reparations, noted Rose. How long will it take? The wheels of justice grind slowly. The ICJ "genocide" case is only about whether the court even has jurisdiction. A special tribunal is politically sensitive and will take a long time to establish. But the wheels of justice also grind exceedingly fine. "Just because Putin won't comply with a ruling now, he won't be in power forever," said O'Brien. "At some point, a change of regime will occur and may lead to compliance with international law." The post ‘Total lawfare’: Ukraine’s other front in the war appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 27th, 2023

Bong Go renews call for increased health budget

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health, emphasized in an interview on Tuesday, 26 September, the urgent need to bolster the Department of Health's budget as the country navigates toward pandemic recovery even amid several existing and emerging public health concerns. "Gaya ng sinabi ko noon, full support ako sa DOH kung ano ang makakatulong sa ating healthcare system," said Go. He recalled the budget deliberations in December 2019 when there were attempts to cut the budget of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for the year 2020. "Nag-budget hearing noong December 2019, tinapyasan ang proposed budget sa RITM at DOH, di po ako pumayag noon. Dinagdagan pa natin at ibinalik natin ang pondo," he narrated. This decision turned out to be crucial then, as RITM later played a vital role in COVID-19 testing when the pandemic started in 2020. Go noted that the restoration of RITM's budget underscored the importance of adequately funding healthcare institutions, especially in unpredictable times. Go's recollection came at a critical time when the DOH was facing a P10-billion budget cut for 2024. The proposed budget cut would bring DOH's overall budget down to P199.45 billion from P209.62 billion under the General Appropriations Act of 2023. With this, Go argued that the healthcare system needs more, not less, financial support. He then underscored the urgency for increased investment in the public healthcare system. "The more we should invest sa ating healthcare system, dagdagan ang pondo," Go reiterated. "Para sa akin po, dapat suportahan natin na dagdagan ang pondo ng DOH. 'Wag pong bawasan, dagdagan pa po," he stated further. He emphasized that the funds should be used wisely to benefit patients particularly the less fortunate. "Makinabang dapat ang mga pasyente, makinabang po ang mahihirap nating kababayan na walang ibang matakbuhan kundi tayo pong nasa gobyerno," he said. Go said that those who are wealthy have the option to seek medical care in private hospitals, while the less fortunate are left with no other choice but to rely on public healthcare facilities that rely on government funding. "Ito pong mga helpless, mga hopeless nating kababayan, sila ang unahin natin. 'Yung mayayaman naman po, di pupunta sa public hospitals 'yan," he said. During the Commission on Appointments hearing on the ad interim appointment of Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa which Go presided on early that day, the senator also appealed to DOH to ensure that poor and indigent patients are given utmost attention in public hospitals. Go cited a recent department memorandum signed by Herbosa instructing medical center chiefs to ensure that all patients must be accorded with the available services in Malasakit Centers. The Malasakit Center serves as a one-stop shop aimed at helping particularly poor and indigent patients minimize their medical expenses to the lowest amount possible by collaborating with various agencies offering medical assistance programs. This initiative was institutionalized under Republic Act No. 11463, a law principally authored and sponsored by Go in the Senate. Presently, there are 159 Malasakit Centers spread across the country, and they have collectively provided support to more than seven million Filipinos, as reported by DOH. Moreover, echoing President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.’s priority of bringing specialized medical services closer to other parts of the country, Go highlighted that he has principally sponsored and is one of the authors of the Regional Specialty Centers Act which was recently enacted into law. The law mandates the establishment of regional specialty centers within existing DOH regional hospitals. Given this, Go reminded the DOH that sufficient funding must be allocated in the coming years for the proper implementation of the law. Moreover, Go also emphasized the need to continue bringing basic health services closer to the grassroots through the establishment of more Super Health Centers nationwide which he had advocated for since the time of former president Rodrigo Duterte. “Ipagpatuloy natin na ilapit ang serbisyong medikal mula gobyerno sa ating mga kababayang mahihirap na walang ibang matakbuhan. The more we should support their health needs, the more na mag-invest po tayo sa ating healthcare system,” Go said. “Huwag po natin silang pahirapan. Marami po sa mga kababayan natin sa iba’t ibang sulok ng Pilipinas na wala silang sariling health facility. Kaya importante na mailapit natin ang serbisyong medikal mula gobyerno sa mga taong nangangailangan nito,” he stressed. The post Bong Go renews call for increased health budget appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 27th, 2023

DMW, DoJ get Alpha ‘scam’ probe going

The Department of Migrant Workers or DMW yesterday vowed to endorse to the Department of Justice for possible prosecution the complaints of about 400 Filipinos allegedly duped of about 3,000 euros each (roughly P181,000) by Italy-based “immigration consultancy” firm Alpha Assistenza SRL. Accompanied by DAILY TRIBUNE’s Usapang OFW, 18 of the complainants narrated to DMW for hours their and their sponsors’ harrowing experiences in losing their hard-earned money to Alpha Assistenza co-CEOs Krizelle Respicio and Frederick Dutaro. Usapang OFW broke the “massive scam” in an episode that aired on 21 September that was, thereafter, followed by a series of articles that exposed the alleged modus operandi of the owners of the firm who boasted of close ties with a Philippine official in Italy. The paper has reached out to the official and is awaiting his response to the complainants’ claim that his office has been sitting on the complaints filed by their sponsors in Italy. As this developed, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla told DAILY TRIBUNE and Usapang OFW that he would personally look into the complaints upon receipt of the DMW’s endorsement to the DoJ. The DoJ oversees the National Bureau of Investigation, as well as the government’s prosecutorial service. At the DMW, Directors Geraldine Mendez and Eric Dorig Dollete of the agency’s Migrant Workers Protection Bureau said that, aside from endorsing the complaints to the DoJ-NBI, they would also organize a fact-finding mission to Italy. Mendez and Dollete added that they would mobilize DMW’s Migrant Workers Office and Assistance-to-Nationals unit in Italy even as they assured the complainants of legal assistance. Several senators have expressed dismay over what may turn out to be one of the biggest illegal recruitment cases in the country, with a couple of lawmakers planning to call an investigation into the matter. DivinaLaw had pledged to look into the complainants’ plight. With an average fee of 3,000 euros paid by each of the complainants to Alpha Assistenza, the total amount the 400 “victims” could recover may amount to 1,200,000 euro or P72,367,182.40 at the exchange rate prevailing as of 25 September. Lawyers interviewed by TRIBUNE said the complaints may amount to a syndicated crime, the exact nature of which, they said, would be borne by the facts that must be established by investigating agencies like the NBI. The complainants said they had brought to the attention of various government agencies as early as July the purported use by Alpha Assistenza of fake work permit documents that resulted in their visa applications being denied. They also noted “irregularities” in the handling of their visa applications by the Philippine Interactive Audiotext Services Inc., or PIASI, including at least one instance of fees being paid in a coffee shop on the ground floor of the building where the PIASI office is located. [caption id="attachment_188905" align="aligncenter" width="525"] Bogus, too? A purported letter from the Italian Embassy explains why the visa application was denied on account of fake supporting documents. The letter, however, looks dubious as the name of the applicant was handwritten and not typed.[/caption] PIASI is the third-party service provider accredited by the Italian Embassy in Manila. The complainants had told Daily Tribune that they were afraid for their relatives and  friends currently working in Italy who had sponsored them in good faith. The sponsors face the possibility of being thrown out of the country, they said, just because they (job seekers) were provided fake documents by Alpha Assistenza. Eight of the 18 complainants told DMW that their passports were still with an Alpha Assistenza agent despite their visas already having been denied. “(The agent) took our passports, telling us that she would be the one to represent us in the processing of our papers. We have been asking her to return our passports but it has been more than a month, and we still don’t have them,” one victim recounted. They also questioned the authenticity of the visa denial documents that they had received from PIASI as their names were merely handwritten in what appeared to be “fill-in-the-blanks” letters. Meanwhile, two OFWs in Italy interviewed by DAILY TRIBUNE said one of two Italian lawyers featured by Alpha Assistenza on its Facebook page as officials of the company is suing Respicio for making the false claim. They said that the Italian supplier of the video wall used during the Philippine Independence Day celebration in Italy had also complained of being paid only about half of the 26,000 euros owed him. The post DMW, DoJ get Alpha ‘scam’ probe going appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 25th, 2023

US authorities return seven works of art stolen by Nazis

New York authorities announced on Wednesday the return of $9 million in art stolen by the Nazi regime to the family of Fritz Grunbaum, an Austrian Jewish cabaret performer killed in the Holocaust. The seven drawings, all from Austrian artist Egon Schiele, were "voluntarily surrendered by the holding institutions and estates," including New York's famous Museum of Modern Art, "after they were presented with evidence that they were stolen by the Nazis," the Manhattan District Attorney's office said in a statement. The move comes as a victory for Grunbaum's heirs, who have been fighting for the art's return for years. Grunbaum died at the Dachau concentration camp in 1941. "I hope this moment can serve as a reminder that despite the horrific death and destruction caused by the Nazis, it is never too late to recover some of what we lost (and) honor the victims," District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement. Timothy Reif, a judge and one of Grunbaum's relatives, thanked authorities for having "succeeded in solving crimes perpetrated over 80 years ago." "Their righteous and courageous collaboration in the pursuit of justice -- unique among prosecutors and law enforcement in this entire nation, if not the world -- shine a bright light for all to follow." As of June, Bragg's office had returned more than 950 looted or improperly acquired pieces of art worth $165 million, to countries including Cambodia, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey and Italy. 'Degenerate'  The seven Schiele drawings were seized by the office's Antiquities Tracking Unit earlier this year, from the Museum of Modern Art, The Ronald Lauder Collection, The Morgan Library, The Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Vally Sabarsky Trust in Manhattan. The works by Schiele, an Austrian expressionist artist, are valued between $780,000 and $2.75 million each, with the district attorney's office estimating their total value at more than $9 million. Grunbaum, who was also an art collector and critic of the Nazi regime, possessed hundreds of works of art, including more than 80 by Schiele. Schiele's works, considered "degenerate" by the Nazis, were largely auctioned or sold abroad to finance the Nazi Party, according to the district attorney's office. Arrested by the Nazis in 1938, Grunbaum was forced while at Dachau to sign over his power of attorney to his spouse, who was then made to hand over the family's entire collection before herself being deported to a different concentration camp, in current-day Belarus. The seven works whose restitution was announced Wednesday had reappeared on the art market after World War II in the 1950s, first in Switzerland and then making their way to New York. A judge in 2018 had ruled in favor of the Grunbaum heirs concerning two different Schiele pieces, after a London art dealer argued that a sale of 54 Schiele drawings by Grunbaum's sister-in-law after his death was a valid transfer of the work. But the judge rejected the idea that Grunbaum would have ever given her possession of the works voluntarily, writing that "a signature at gunpoint cannot lead to a valid conveyance." That ruling was one of the first to come after Congress passed the Holocaust Expropriated Recovery Act in 2016, designed to relax the s The post US authorities return seven works of art stolen by Nazis appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 20th, 2023

BARMM ‘land of peace,’ says minister

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim announced during the 9th World Peace Summit of global leaders held recently in South Korea that the “Bangsamoro region is now a land of peace.” Ebrahim issued the statement before 1,800 world leaders who attended the Peace Summit held at Grand Hyatt, Incheon in South Korea last 18 September 2023. “Today, I stand before all of you with utmost humility and say that the Bangsamoro is now a land of peace, prosperity, and justice where Muslims, Christians, Indigenous Peoples’ and our Lumad brothers and sisters co-exist and live in harmony,” he said. Ebrahim joined over 1,800 world leaders of the Heavenly Culture, World Peace and Restoration of Light and peace advocates from around the globe in celebrating the 9th anniversary of the World Peace Summit. The BARMM chief minister said the event served as a testament to over nine years of unwavering commitment to peacebuilding and conflict resolution in the Philippines and abroad. In the same forum, Ebrahim also called upon everyone to unite and continue working toward the shared vision of peace and justice. “I also shared that during that time we had ended more than 40 years of unrest in the Southern Philippines when we signed the comprehensive agreement on the Bangsamoro with the Government of the Philippines,” Ebrahim said. The post BARMM ‘land of peace,’ says minister appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 20th, 2023

Gov’t looking for ways to address child sexual abuse

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said the government is actively engaged in discussions on how to address the pervasive issue of child sexual abuse. He said the government is, at present, exploring all possible avenues, including seeking advice and guidance from the Supreme Court. Remulla said the issue of child sexual abuse is one of the problems the country is facing at the moment, which is why the government is exploring ways to address it and give importance to how to combat it and hopefully eradicate the problem. The DOJ chief has expressed deep concern over the rampant issue of child sexual exploitation in the Philippines, referring to it as an “epidemic” that has silently persisted over the years. Remulla’s remarks were prompted by the disturbing reports of alleged sexual abuses linked to a “doomsday cult” in Surigao del Norte. He said the charges against the Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. (SBSI) are not isolated incidents; rather, they exemplify a distressing pattern that extends to other regions. Remulla revealed that a similar pattern of sexual predation had recently emerged on an island in Zamboanga, an incident that had gone unreported. “They are saying a cult in Surigao del Norte is not new. Only recently, two or three weeks ago, there was an incident reported in an isle in Zamboanga. This is an epidemic in the whole country wherein the children are the victims of sexual abuse and many of those are incestuous rape, which is really a problem,” said Remulla. The allegations against SBSI, made by Senator Risa Hontiveros, are deeply troubling. The cult is accused of sexually abusing and coercing over 1,000 children in Socorro town over the years. The senator brought these grave allegations to light and called for the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality to conduct an investigation in aid of legislation. In Senate Resolution No. 797, dated 18 September, Hontiveros stressed the urgent need for action in response to “alarming” reports of rape, sexual abuse, forced labor, and forced marriages involving minors within SBSI. The post Gov’t looking for ways to address child sexual abuse appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 20th, 2023

No place for sex cults

The recent discovery of a sex cult in the province of Surigao del Norte has sent shock waves through the nation, turning a light on deep-rooted cultural problems that demand our immediate attention. This disturbing revelation serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for the Department of Justice to actively prevent and prosecute crimes of this nature. The existence of a sex cult highlights the vulnerability of individuals, particularly women and children, who are often the primary victims of such heinous acts. It exposes the darker side of our society, where exploitation, manipulation, and abuse thrive under the guise of secrecy and coercion. This is a wake-up call for all of us to confront these cultural problems head-on and create an environment where the rights and dignity of every individual are safeguarded. The DoJ plays a pivotal role in upholding justice and protecting the welfare of our citizens. It is imperative that the department implements robust preventive measures to identify and dismantle such criminal organizations. This includes strengthening intelligence gathering, conducting thorough investigations, and collaborating with other law enforcement agencies and local communities to ensure no stone is left unturned. Furthermore, prosecution is crucial in deterring potential perpetrators and ensuring justice. The DoJ must allocate adequate resources and support to its prosecutors, equipping them with the necessary tools and training to effectively handle cases involving sex cults and other similar crimes. The legal system must function efficiently and expeditiously to provide closure to the victims, restore their faith in the justice system, and send a strong message that such acts will not be tolerated in our society. Beyond the immediate legal actions, we must address the cultural problems that allow these crimes to persist. This includes fostering a culture of respect, equality, and empowerment where every individual’s rights are upheld and protected. Education and awareness programs should be implemented to promote gender equality, consent, and healthy relationships from an early age. By challenging societal norms that perpetuate misogyny, objectification, and the commodification of human beings, we can work towards eradicating the conditions that enable sex cults and similar criminal activities to thrive. Collaboration between the DoJ, non-government organizations, community leaders, and the media is vital in combating these issues. By joining forces, sharing information, and raising public awareness, we can create a united front against sex cults and other forms of exploitation. Through collective action, we can dismantle these criminal networks, support the survivors, and prevent future occurrences. In conclusion, the discovery of a sex cult in Surigao del Norte is a stark reminder of the pressing cultural problems that our society must confront. As the vanguard of justice, the DoJ must take decisive action to prevent and prosecute crimes of this nature. By implementing preventive measures, strengthening prosecution, and addressing the underlying cultural problems, we can work towards a society that respects and protects the rights and dignity of all its members. Together, let us strive for a future where no individual falls victim to the horrors of exploitation and abuse. The post No place for sex cults appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 19th, 2023

US, Iran release prisoners in $6 billion swap deal

The United States and Iran on Monday swapped five prisoners each in one of the arch-foes' first deals in years as Tehran gained access to $6 billion in frozen funds. The five Americans freed by Iran, including one held for eight years, flew out of Tehran in a Qatari jet, hours after the unblocked funds were deposited in accounts also managed by Qatar. The White House said it was "pleased to confirm" the plane carrying the freed Americans had left Doha, Qatar for the United States, and that President Joe Biden had spoken with the families of the Americans in an "emotional call". The five had walked in the setting sun on the tarmac in Doha, three of them with arms around one another's shoulders. One of them praised Biden for ignoring the political backlash and taking the "incredibly difficult decisions" that freed them. "Thank you, President Biden, for ultimately putting the lives of American citizens above politics," Siamak Namazi, a businessman held since 2015, said in a statement. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who spoke to the released Americans by telephone after they landed in Doha, insisted the Biden administration had "no higher priority" than freeing US citizens. "It's very good to be able to say that our fellow citizens are free," Blinken told reporters in New York, where he and Biden are taking part in UN meetings. Two of the Iranian detainees arrived in Qatar, Iranian media said. The other three released by the United States have opted to remain there or in a third country. After quiet discussions led in part by Qatar, the two countries completed the exchange after the transfer of $6 billion in funds, frozen by US ally South Korea. The Biden administration has rejected criticism at home that it is paying "ransom," insisting the money will be used only humanitarian purposes, with a threat to re-freeze the funds if not. But Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani, speaking earlier in Tehran, said the clerical state will have "total access" to the assets. Political risks for Biden  Biden's Republican rivals have roundly denounced the deal. Republican Senator Mitt Romney said it would lead to "kidnappings". "The idea of basically paying to release, in this effect, a hostage is a terrible idea," he said. Mindful of political risks, Biden in a statement said he would "continue to impose costs" on Iran and announced sanctions against former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the country's intelligence ministry. The sanctions were imposed over alleged deceit in the disappearance of Bob Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in mysterious circumstance and is presumed dead. Biden in his statement did not mention that he granted clemency to five Iranians. A US official said that all were convicted or changed with non-violent crimes, with one already set to be released soon. Iran had generated the revenue through oil sales. South Korea froze the funds after Biden's Republican predecessor Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark nuclear accord and imposed unilateral US sanctions on buying oil from Iran. Iran's central bank governor said Iran would seek damages from South Korea. "We're making a complaint on behalf of Iran against South Korea for not giving access to these funds and the reduction in value of these funds in order to receive damages," Mohammadreza Farzin said on state television. The five Americans of Iranian descent -- all considered Iranian nationals by Tehran, which rejects dual nationality -- were released to house arrest when the deal was agreed last month. Besides Namazi, they include wildlife conservationist Morad Tahbaz, venture capitalist Emad Sharqi and two others who wished to remain anonymous. All were accused of spying or other crimes that they strongly reject. Tahbaz also holds UK nationality. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Britain was not involved in the deal but that he was "extremely pleased" he was free. A US official said that two more US citizens flew out of Tehran -- Namazi's mother and Sharqi's wife, who were not in prison but had ont been allowed to leave. According to Tehran, the freed Iranians include Reza Sarhangpour and Kambiz Attar Kashani, both accused of violating US sanctions against Tehran. A third prisoner, Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, was detained at his home near Boston in 2021 and charged with being an Iranian government agent, according to US officials. The two others, Mehrdad Moein Ansari and Amin Hasanzadeh, were said to have links to Iranian security forces. Nudge on nuclear?  The swap was the first deal sealed by Biden with Iran's clerical rulers, who toppled the pro-Western shah in 1979 and are deeply hostile to the United States. Biden took office with hopes of restoring the 2015 nuclear agreement, under which Iran promised to constrain its contested nuclear work in return for sanctions relief. But months of talks failed to produce a breakthrough. Prospects to restore the deal sank further after protests broke out almost exactly a year ago in Iran following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested for allegedly violating the country's Islamic dress code for women. Blinken said that the release of the prisoners "doesn't speak to anything else in the relationship," with the nuclear issue "a different track." Biden is not expected to meet in New York with Iran's president, Ebrahim Raisi, who arrived Monday. The post US, Iran release prisoners in $6 billion swap deal appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 18th, 2023

Belmonte calls for reforms in BFP-QCFD

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Monday called on the Bureau of Fire Protection to undertake reforms in the BFP - Quezon City Fire District (QCFD). Belmonte made the call as results of the probe conducted by the city government and the Quezon City Council revealed lax inspection, backlog in the examination of businesses, and other lapses in the performance of the BFP-QCFD. "The BFP should look into how the BFP-QCFD fulfilled its mandate in the light of tragic loss of lives and properties due to recent fires in the city. Were the BFP-QCFD leadership remiss in their duties? They should hold their personnel accountable if proven guilty of inefficiency," she said. Belmonte earlier sought the relief of two officials from the BFP-QCFD following a review of the performance of the agency prompted by the tragic loss of lives caused by the fire last 31 August in Tandang Sora. An evaluation conducted by the city government of each fire incident that occurred this year showed on average, more damage, injury, and death compared to the previous year. “The capability and effectiveness of the BFP-QCFD in responding to these fires have lessened significantly. The city government recognizes that each fire has its own distinct volatile circumstances. Nonetheless, the severity of this year's incidents necessitates a call for a change in the leadership of the agency. A change is needed for the welfare of our citizens. We look forward to a better performance from the BFP," Belmonte said. The two officials were identified as BFP-QCFD fire marshall, Fire Senior Superintendent Aristotle Bañaga, and the chief of the QCFD Fire Prevention Branch, Fire Chief Inspector Dominic Salvacion. Data from the BFP revealed that from January to August 2023, there were 153 fires recorded in the city, while there were only 219 fires from January to December 2022. With a third of the year left, there have already been eight firefighters and 63 civilians injured compared to only two firefighters and 60 civilians for the entirety of last year. Moreover, there were already 24 deaths in the first eight months of this year while there were 30 from January to December 2022. There were 8,362 individuals or 2,380 families affected by the fires up to August this year, higher than the whole of last year’s record of 7,295 individuals or 2,005 families. “For this reason and to protect the people of Quezon City, I am calling upon the national leadership of the Bureau of Fire Protection to assign to us a new fire marshall for the QCFD and a new inspection head,” Belmonte added. Belmonte also called on the BFP to be more transparent in their own investigation of the Tandang Sora fire. “The BFP has failed to reciprocate the city government’s efforts to exercise transparency. They resisted our calls to be apprised of the progress of their own probe, or to our requests for coordination. We therefore ask the BFP to cooperate fully with the city government as mandated by law, to ensure full transparency and clarity in these investigations. Our people demand more, and the victims and their families deserve nothing less,” Belmonte said. Belmonte earlier ordered the City Legal Department to form a Special Panel of Investigators to probe the incident and if warranted by evidence, to file the appropriate case(s) against pertinent and surviving officers of the business establishment involved in the deadly fire in Tandang Sora. Local government personnel found to be liable after the conduct of the investigation will likewise face administrative and criminal charges. “The city government continues to thoroughly investigate the devastating fire of August 31. It has coordinated with and interviewed its departments, the barangay, the homeowners association, the relatives of the victims, and the survivors, to ascertain the circumstances that brought about this tragedy. We will leave no stone unturned, and we will not spare even our own officials and personnel,” the mayor added. The mayor assured the residents that the city government will continue to beef up the city’s fire prevention measures and efforts. On 14 September, Mayor Belmonte extended financial assistance to the families of the fire victims. Earlier, the city government helped arrange for the cremation of the remains of the victims, among others. The post Belmonte calls for reforms in BFP-QCFD appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 18th, 2023

Nina Lim-Yuson  — A lifetime of girl scouting

The president of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines, Nina Lim-Yuson, grew up in a family and home of Girl Scouts. Her grandmother, Pilar Hidalgo-Lim, was one of the co-founders of the GSP.  “It was actually my Lola Pilar who suggested to Josefa Llanes Escoda, the GSP founder, to go to America to learn about girl scouting.” This tidbit of history, Nina shared in an online interview with the DAILY TRIBUNE. Pilar Hidalgo-Lim became GSP president, and so did Nina’s mother, Estefania Aldaba-Lim, who served as secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Nina’s sister too, the eminent broadcast journalist, Cheche Lazaro, was a Girl Scout. Coming from a lineage of women achievers, Nina could not have chosen a different path. It was scouting that formally introduced the family to social responsibility, skills development and citizenship. Her brothers were also Boy Scouts. “I started when I was six years old and it was my Lola Pilar who inducted me as a Brownie. It used to be called Brownie because we were still using the American pattern,” she related. She belonged to Troop Number One, the first to be organized by the GSP national headquarters. In high school at the Jose Abad Santos Memorial School of the Philippine Women’s University, she became a junior and later a senior Girl Scout.  College would briefly end her Girl Scouting as she focused on her studies. Along the way, she also danced with the Bayanihan Folk Dance Company. It was not unexpected that she would return to scouting, her first love, and her first extra-curricular activity.   For the last 36 years, she has been active in various organizations and volunteer work.  She founded the Museong Pambata. She is a recipient of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service and is active in its various social development efforts. What Nina brings to her post is the legacy of leadership that had been passed on to her through generations of women leaders in the family.  “My Lola Pilar was my idol.  She was such a nice person and I never knew her totally as a president. I knew her more as a loving lola from all the stories she related when we rode up to Baguio. “My mother, on the other hand, was the opposite. She was very career-minded. I learned naman from her a lot of things, like being thrifty and having a list of things to do. In terms of organization, she was like that. Because she was in government. And, you know, when we started Museo, while it was actually my concept, I learned a lot from her. She would call me up at 5 o’clock in the morning and she would rattle off what needed to be done, like ‘number one, number two and so on.’ That was her. And I’m glad that I worked with her for six years in Museo. She was the president and I was the executive director for six years. I took over in 2000 as president and chief executive officer. And then, I stepped down in 2017.”   Girl Scouts who read and tell stories Nina was elected president of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines for the term 2021-2024 during its 2021 national convention. From day one, she shared, “My purpose was to reach out to the community-based troops because we have always been school-based. Many young women now have social problems so we need to reach out to the communities through our community-based troops.” Also on top of her priorities is literacy development, a cause that she addressed even in the Museo Pambata. She explained, “My advocacy has always been education. So, I was very concerned because the Asian Development Bank reported in 2022 that the World Bank found out that our Filipino children at ages 9 and 10 cannot read. So, I felt that because girl scouting is all over the country, with 96 local councils, the organization could serve as a vehicle for improving literacy in our country. “We started the Girl Scout Storyteller project because storytelling affects the heart first before the mind. When young people start with storytelling, they will love the stories and then the written word. They would then want to read. “We now have storytelling in economically challenged communities and we have partners. We sent out 2,500 books throughout the country with the help of our partner couriers.” Initially, she sought the help of her family foundation “to give a donation. I also sought the help of Ging Montinola, who is into literacy development. Together, we founded the literacy program. We are building this fund to cover the cost of buying children’s books. We will have a storytelling contest next year.”   Raising funds for Camp Escoda Nina then shifted the conversation to another major endeavor that she is spearheading as GSP president — fundraising for the 27-hectare Camp Josefa Llanes Escoda in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, which was donated by the provincial government during the term of Governor Amado Aleta, the father of consul and civic leader Fortune Ledesma. “Palayan is beautiful because it has rolling hills, but it doesn’t have electrical and water facilities and roadworks. It doesn’t have a swimming pool, and it’s so hot in Nueva Ecija. It also does not have a conference hall. This is a big one-time fundraising project because it’s for the future of the girls who are going to the camp. Because as of now, if you go camping there, you have to walk up the hills to get your drinking water. You have to make buhos to take a bath.” She recalled, “In my time as a young Girl Scout, which was of another era, we had to walk in the dark to fetch water to fill up two drums. I was so scared because there were tuko in Los Baños. That taught me to be courageous. Camps really build up your lifetime skills and attitude. Camping is very integral in girl scouting and boy scouting. So, this camp will serve a purpose. It just needs various basic facilities to make it world-class and convenient with the proper amenities, but the girls will continue to learn all those survival techniques and appreciate nature right on the camp.” She praised architect Pippo Carunungan, “who is an environmental planner. He surveyed the site and drew up everything. It will be a beautiful camp, he said, because it’s a gift of nature.”   First Lady as Chief Girl Scout Nina recently led the Girl Scouts in a fundraising ball attended by the “First Lady, Liza Araneta-Marcos, who is our Chief Girl Scout. It’s mandated in the GSP constitution that whoever is the female president of the country or the First Lady is the Chief Girl Scout. In the past, we had Imelda Marcos, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  All the first ladies were all Chief Girl Scouts. “Mrs. Liza Marcos spoke before us and she promised to help. She said, ‘We will make it the best campsite.’ Everyone was excited to see her and she obliged everyone who asked to have selfie with her. She is very friendly. She is really a Girl Scout.” Nina shared, “A generous couple is sponsoring the swimming pool at P6 million, while a gentleman entrepreneur is sponsoring the perimeter fence at P1.5 million. Many other businessmen and leaders have pledged to help build this dream GSP project. “We really need to raise about 50 million to have a very good camp. But when the First Lady heard about it, she said, ‘It has to be P250 million.’ But, really, when we have the funds, we can have deep toilets that have running water instead of tabo-tabo. Since we have a little Pampanga river that runs across the camp, we can build a bridge that crosses it and then the girls can have white-water rafting there in the Pampanga river. “Camp Escoda will be a very important and significant venue for our Girl Scouts to gather, bond, learn new skills and develop as morally upright citizens of the country and the world. It is especially so because camping is integral in any Girl Scout’s life. If you don’t have camping, it’s like half of your scouting life is missing. Every Girl Scout remembers that time of her youth. And being the national camp, it will welcome Girl Scouts representing the 96 councils from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao who will participate in various events and trainings.”   Girl Scouts of all ages As GSP president, Nina travels to various parts of the country. “We have regional conferences aside from the meeting of the Central Board when regional heads and executives come to Manila. “I had just come from Baguio where I stayed for two-and-a-half days. I met our young Girl Scout representatives from ages 14 to 18. I enjoyed listening to them and exchanging ideas with them. I am so happy that we have a wealth of intelligent girls who want to serve the country. They are the ones who are going to take over. “It’s amazing that GSP is no longer limited to old people on the board. We finally have young ones on the board. Our Escoda committee is headed by Jade Delgado from Iloilo. Then we have Justine Bautista. She’s a psychometrician. She heads the Program Committee, which is a big committee because when we were in Baguio, we had 86 girls from all the councils throughout the country. Many of them are running for SK. “So, in my 70s now, which I don’t feel at all, I don’t take any medicines or something like that. Being with young people is what inspires me. Because at 15, 16 or 17, they already know that they have some kind of a mission.” Nina proudly shared that the venue of the Baguio conference, 'Ating Tahanan' on the South Drive was bought during the tenure of my Lola Pilar. We have four buildings there, including the houses of Senator and actor Rogelio de la Rosa and Carlos Valdes, the accountant. Lola Pilar, according to Carlos Valdes, twisted his arm to get a low price. I’m so thankful for all those who preceded me because they bought these places. It’s on South Drive which is so valuable. We even have a reserved forest behind us.” As she looks forward to the next camping and gets even busier raising funds for Camp Escoda, Nina feels elated that “every one of us in the Girl Scouts has been together in our various undertakings. The nice thing is we are now intergenerational because we try to bring in the old with experience, institutional memory and their wisdom born of their long life, and the young who are full of enthusiasm, energy and new ideas.”   A star scout for a granddaughter While Nina does her part for the bright future of girl scouting in the country, her personal family too has not stopped contributing to the roster of members to this worldwide organization. Today, a granddaughter of hers, seven-year-old Rocio Yuson de Guzman, is a Star Scout. She is the daughter of Nina’s daughter, Nicky. No grandmother could have been prouder. Nina said, “Rufio loves being a star scout. When I arrived from the recent world conference in Cyprus, I came back with some badges and I gave some to Rufio who is very proud of the little badges that I got for her.” For sure, Nina will pass on not just the badges to Rufio. More importantly, she will give her granddaughter the once-in-one’s-childhood experience of being a Girl Scout and learning “the values that are identified in the Girl Scout Promise and Laws. I think that while there is so much to enjoy and learn, it is the inculcation of these values that would mold her into a well-rounded human being. As we all know, a Girl Scout’s honor is to be trusted. A Girl Scout is loyal, thrifty, courteous… and so on. It’s like a mantra -- the values that one lives by. “I have reached that point when it is not about success or what one accumulates in life, whether awards or accomplishments or material things. It is more about what I can share and scouting gives me that honor and privilege — to do my part in helping mold our young girls and making them aware even at an early age that they have a mission and worthy purpose in life. It is not just about being good and outstanding on your own but it is also about helping others to become better in what they’re doing and live better lives. “And I need not look far. As a grandmother, I dote on my Star Scout granddaughter, Rufio. There’s a world out there for her to discover and in which she has a role to play and use the skills and values she will learn from scouting.” The post Nina Lim-Yuson  — A lifetime of girl scouting appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 17th, 2023

Franco’s Spain: a long and haunting dictatorship

What was one of Europe's longest-running dictatorships comes under scrutiny on Friday as a victim of alleged torture by the forces of General Francisco Franco testifies for the first time in a Spanish court. AFP looks back at the dictator's repressive 36-year legacy, which continues to divide Spain nearly half a century after his death in 1975. Civil War Franco rose to power during the Spanish Civil War, which began in 1936 when he led a coup against the country's left-wing Republican government. A three-year battle for control of Spain ensued, pitting Franco's Nationalist rebels, backed by fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, against the Soviet-backed Republicans. The Nationalists won the conflict, which ended in 1939 with hundreds of thousands of dead. Among the killing sites was the Basque town of Guernica, which was bombed by German war planes -- an atrocity immortalised in a haunting painting of the same name by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. In his book "The Spanish Holocaust", historian Paul Preston estimated that 200,000 people died in combat during the conflict, and another 200,000 were murdered or executed -- 150,000 at the hands of the Nationalists. Atrocities were also committed by the Republican side. After WWII broke out, Franco held talks with Hitler on joining the Axis Powers but ultimately decided against direct military involvement. Executions and stolen babies Franco ruled for another three decades with the backing of the military and the Catholic Church. During his first five years in power, he executed tens of thousands of Republican prisoners and dumped their bodies in mass graves. Spain's prison population shot up, and half a million people fled the country as their property was seized. Newborns were snatched from opponents and poor families to be passed on to couples unable to have children, many of them close to Franco's regime. Campaigners estimate there were thousands of "stolen babies" over the decades. Reckoning with the past After Franco's death on November 20, 1975, King Juan Carlos succeeded him as head of state and led the transition from dictatorship to democracy. The authorities opted for a "pact of forgetting" over the dictatorship's crimes, to avoid a spiral of score-settling between Franco supporters and opponents. For decades, all attempts to bring Franco-era officials to justice were blocked. A major shift took place under Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who has driven efforts to commemorate those who died or suffered violence or repression during the civil war and dictatorship. One of his most controversial moves was to remove Franco's remains from a vast hillside mausoleum north of Madrid that drew a steady stream of right-wing sympathizers and move them to a more discreet family tomb. Right-wing parties have accused Sanchez of needlessly dredging up the past and vowed to reverse a new law that commits the state to searching for victims of the dictatorship buried in unmarked graves. The post Franco’s Spain: a long and haunting dictatorship appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 15th, 2023