EDITORIAL - Another activist murdered

As of yesterday, no one had been arrested for the murder of labor leader Dandy Miguel last Sunday night in Canlubang, Laguna. Miguel, 35, was headed home on his motorcycle when assailants on another motorbike sprayed him with gunfire. He died at the scene from eight gunshots......»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarMar 30th, 2021

Colombia deadliest country for green activists in 2022

Environmental activist murders doubled in Colombia last year, making it the most dangerous country in the world for those trying to protect the planet, a watchdog said Tuesday. In its annual review, Global Witness named 177 land and environmental defenders who had been killed in 2022 -- from the Amazon to the Philippines and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Latin America again bore the brunt of the murders, including 39 killings across the vast Amazon rainforest, a vital carbon sink facing widespread destruction at a time when the world is grappling to curb climate change. The number of those killed has progressively decreased since a record 227 in 2020, however, "this does not mean that the situation has significantly improved," said Global Witness. "The worsening climate crisis and the ever-increasing demand for agricultural commodities, fuel, and minerals will only intensify the pressure on the environment -– and those who risk their lives to defend it," warned the London-based watchdog. While in 2021 most killings took place in Mexico, Colombia last year surged ahead with 60 deaths -- more than a third of all the murders globally. "This is almost double the number of killings compared to 2021 when 33 defenders lost their lives," said the report. Many of those targeted were Indigenous people, members of Afro-descendant communities, small-scale farmers, and environmental activists. At least five children, three of them Indigenous, were among the global tally. "Yet there is hope," said the NGO, praising efforts under new leftist President Gustavo Petro to boost protection for defenders -- a first in the country. Colombian sociologist and activist Nadia Umana, 35, fled her northern home after the murders of four colleagues, all of whom had been fighting for the return of rural lands taken over by paramilitaries. "Knowing that a colleague of yours was murdered is an indescribable pain," Umana told AFP in Bogota. Even the country's vice-president, Francia Marquez -- the 2018 winner of the prestigious Goldman environmental prize -- has faced multiple threats. In 2019, she survived an attack by gunmen who tried to kill her over her work defending her home region's water resources against mining companies. Mining, logging, farming According to Global Witness, almost 2,000 land and environmental defenders have been murdered over the past decade -- some 70 percent of them in Latin America. In Brazil, where British journalist Dom Philips and Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira were killed last year in the Amazon, a total of 34 land defenders were killed. Mexico, Honduras, and the Philippines also had high numbers. Global Witness said that while it was "difficult to identify" the exact drivers for the killings, 10 were found to be linked to agribusiness, eight to mining, and four to the logging industry. Aside from activists, state officials, demonstrators, park rangers, lawyers, and journalists are also among those who lost their lives. "All of them shared a commitment to defend their rights and keep the planet healthy. All of them paid for their courage and commitment with their lives," said the report. The post Colombia deadliest country for green activists in 2022 appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 13th, 2023

Lucky to come home: Growing up trans in Brazil can be deadly

Wearing a pink dress that matches the bow in her hair, eight-year-old Agatha flashes a smile that belies all she has been through as a trans child growing up in Brazil. Agatha's mother, Thamirys Nunes, says she vividly remembers the day her daughter, then almost four, asked the question that has changed both of their lives. "Mommy, can I die today and come back tomorrow as a girl?" Nunes, 33, who lives in Sao Paulo, says she knew then they both had a hard road ahead, in a country where the discrimination and dangers facing trans people run deep. Gender dysphoria among children, a sensitive subject in many places, is especially fraught in Brazil, the deadliest country in the world for trans people. There were 118 trans people murdered in Brazil last year, 29 percent of the world total, according to the National Network of Trans People of Brazil. Polarizing politics have only made things worse, in a country where far-right ex-president Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022) made attacking "gender ideology" a central issue in elections last year, and conservative parties hold a strong majority in Congress. Nunes says she worries every time Agatha leaves the house. "I'm afraid people will call her a freak, hit her or mistreat her," she says. "I feel lucky every time she comes home." Activist mom It was not easy for her to accept Agatha for who she is, admits Nunes. "It wasn't my dream to have a little trans girl. I had lots of doubts," she says. She remembers Agatha playing with dolls and wearing earrings from the time she was small. "She had always been uncomfortable with the gender she was given at birth," she says. A psychologist told Nunes she needed to "reinforce" her child's masculine side, she says. But "trying to reaffirm her masculinity just hurt her," she told AFP. So, overcoming her own prejudices and fears of what people would think, Nunes decided to let Agatha change her name and live as a girl. It has been a transformative experience for Nunes, too. Today, she is an activist for the rights of trans children and teens. Last year, she founded an organization called My Trans Child, which has nearly 600 members. 'Abandoned to their fate' Although Bolsonaro lost last October's elections, replaced by the more tolerant administration of veteran leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, activists say the situation for trans people remains alarming. Aline Melo, a member of Nunes's organization, says things have only gotten worse in recent years. Her son, 14-year-old Luiz Guilherme, is trans. "He's proud of who he is. But he knows he can't always be himself when he leaves the house," she says. Nunes says the lack of government protections to combat rapes and violence against trans youths is "absurd." "We want public policies to protect (this group) that is abandoned to their fate," she says. Forced to leave home Celeste Armbrust still remembers how she felt when she embraced her own gender identity, her eyes lighting up beneath her new pink bangs. "I felt like myself. I felt free," says the 17-year-old trans girl, who began hormone therapy at 16 -- the age authorized under a 2020 decision by Brazil's Federal Council of Medicine. She was brave enough to unveil her new identity at school. But she is afraid to leave the house alone. "She's fearful of being singled out and suffering for it," says her mother, Claudia Armbrust. Brazil, a sprawling country of 214 million people, has just five public centers to assist children and teens on gender identity issues. There is a long waiting list at Sao Paulo University Clinical Hospital, which is helping around 400 such minors. "We help them feel understood," says psychologist Larissa Todorov. But few in Brazil have access to such programs, which struggle with insufficient funding. Carolina Iara, 30, a trailblazing state legislator who is Brazil's first intersex lawmaker, says the country has made progress since her childhood. But not nearly enough, she adds. "There are still trans kids who get kicked out of the house at 13 and have to turn to prostitution," she says. The post Lucky to come home: Growing up trans in Brazil can be deadly appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2023

EDITORIAL — OFWs deserve better

In a country where overseas Filipino workers have been raped, tortured, mauled and bitten by their employers’ pet lion, murdered and the bodies burned and stuffed in a freezer, it would be the height of negligence if Philippine embassy personnel fail to help any OFW fleeing from abusive circumstances......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2023

EDITORIAL- Another broadcaster murdered

Even as the nation awaits the arrest of former Bureau of Corrections chief Gerald Bantag and his aide Ricardo Zulueta for the murder of broadcaster Percival Mabasa, another radio commentator was gunned down, this time in Oriental Mindoro......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 31st, 2023

EDITORIAL - Silencing criticism

As the secretary of justice prepared to brief the United Nations on ongoing efforts to strengthen human rights mechanisms in the Philippines, another journalist was murdered, this time in Metro Manila......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 5th, 2022

EDITORIAL - Justice for Villavende

As the terrible year the world would rather forget drew to a close, there was one positive development: justice is on the way to being rendered in the case of Jeanelyn Villavende, the Filipina household service worker tortured and brutally murdered by her employer in Kuwait......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2021

EDITORIAL- Tagged and murdered

With health frontliners suffering a high number of casualties in the coronavirus pandemic, the country has lost another doctor......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 20th, 2020

EDITORIAL - 18 rapes a day

As if the problems spawned by the COVID health crisis weren’t enough, a family in Caloocan City is now in deep mourning after the four-year-old daughter was found murdered after being raped......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 2nd, 2020

Cheerful and caring, Zara Alvarez was an activist who never backed down

Zara, who loved the sea, who loved to eat seafood and their local rice cake dipped in chocolate sauce, who worked tirelessly and selflessly, was murdered in one rainy evening. Yet, her fire burns eternal. The post Cheerful and caring, Zara Alvarez was an activist who never backed down appeared first on Bulatlat......»»

Category: newsSource:  bulatlatRelated NewsAug 21st, 2020

EDITORIAL - No tolerance for graft

In the “Bagong Pilipinas” or new Philippines, there is no room for corruption, abuse of power and other activities, President Marcos reiterated yesterday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated News12 hr. 48 min. ago

EDITORIAL - Out of school

A more comprehensive study is needed, but the data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority this week provides a glimpse into another troubling aspect of education in this country. In 2022, according to the PSA study, 18.6 percent of Filipinos aged five to 24 did not attend school. This translates into about 7.85 million children and youths, the PSA said......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 27th, 2023

EDITORIAL - No carte blanche

In just 11 days – not 19 as initially reported – in December last year, the Office of the Vice President spent P125 million in confidential funds, according to official records of the Commission on Audit. That’s over P11.36 million a day in people’s money, whose utilization is not supposed to be obfuscated or concealed from the public......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 26th, 2023

Famed environmental warrior graces RC Manila assembly

The Rotary Club of Manila had a brilliant, unique guest speaker at its last weekly members’ meeting at the Manila Polo Club — the famed, internationally acclaimed author, lawyer, environmental activist, and recipient, in 2009, of what is regarded as the Nobel Prize of Asia, the Ramon Magsaysay Award (non-category), Antonio Oposa Jr. For about an hour and a half last Thursday, 21 September 2023, RC Manila members, officers and guests at the MPC’s Turf Room  alternately stood up to sing along and listen to Oposa’s telling of “good stories,” his way, he said, of promoting and creating awareness for his advocacies and his passion for the environment. Oposa earned a law degree from the University of the Philippines College of Law. For a short time, he worked in a law firm, until he realized that his heart was not in the practice of law but rather with nature and the environment. He traveled to Norway and enrolled in a course on energy and the environment at the University of Oslo’s summer program and afterwards, to Boston, where he  pursued and later obtained his LLM at the Harvard Law School  in 1997. [caption id="attachment_188497" align="aligncenter" width="525"] Valiant environmental warrior Antonio Oposa: ‘My biggest achievement is that I have turned some of my adversaries into co-advocates. And what could be more inspiring now than to see their own children out there, protecting the sea?’[/caption] In 1993, Oposa made global headlines for the landmark case, Minors Oposa v Factoran where the Supreme Court ruled that the 43 children counseled by Oposa, who filed legal action against the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, seeking cancellation by the agency of existing timber license agreements and stopping the issuance of new ones, ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. “The case was brought to court amid the government’s then granting over 90 logging companies permits to cut down nearly four million hectares of old-growth forest when only 850,000 hectares remained. And forests were being logged at a rate of some 200,000 hectares per year! I told the Court how my son, only three at that time, would no longer see these forests by the time he was 10. I couldn’t help thinking, that if this wasn’t stopped not a single old-growth  forest would remain for him and future generations to enjoy,” Oposa said. The case had initially been dismissed in trial court on the ground that there was no legal personality to sue. Oposa elevated the case to the Supreme Court, and in a much-hailed case of intergenerational responsibility, the Supreme Court upheld the legal standing and right of the children to initiate action on their behalf and on behalf of generations yet unborn. What was so remarkable about the case is that Oposa sued on behalf of generations yet unborn and today that milestone case is known in Philippine and global jurisprudence as the “Oposa Doctrine.” For its part, the Philippine Supreme Court, too, carved a permanent niche for itself in environmental law with its promulgation of Oposa v Factoran. It secured its place in history, earning praises from the international environmental community and a reputation as a champion of the right to a healthy environment. Oposa also recounted at this talk at the RC Manila meeting last Thursday another epic landmark case involving the legal tussle he waged against 11 government agencies for the cleaning up of severely polluted Manila Bay. In December 2008, a decade after he filed that case, the Supreme Court issued a decision in his favor. In a continuing mandamus ruling, the Supreme Court ordered all defendant agencies to implement a time-bound action plan that would clean up Manila Bay and to give the Court a progress report on the matter every three months. Oposa talked about the Island Sea Camp he organized in 2001 in Bantayan Island where he gave children lessons on coral reefs, snorkeling and sustainable practices. In 2003, 2004, while holding weekend training camps for children in the Sea Camp “we noticed the rampant illegal fishing going on. Dynamite fishing and commercial fishing intrusions into prohibited coastal zones went unchecked. Something had to be done,” related Oposa. Thus, was born the Visayan Sea Squadron. “I organized a strike team with crack enforcers from the National Bureau of Investigation, Navy, fishermen, sea watch volunteers, lawyers, law students and even a few foreigners. The target was not small fishermen but crime syndicates and operators behind the sale of blasting caps and dynamite powder. Seizures and raids followed,” he said. Operations were so effective that word went out that his friend Jojo de la Victoria, the fearless Cebu City Bantay Dagat (Sea Watch) chief, and Oposa were targets of assassination. A local newspaper interviewed De la Victoria, revealing an intelligence report about illegal fishing operators putting up a P1-million bounty for him and Oposa. In 12 April 2006, 48 hours after he was interviewed, De la Victoria was felled by a hired gunman outside his house in Cebu City. “Jojo’s life was not in vain. After his funeral, a core team met for dinner to regroup. The tide of illegal fishing started to turn. Exploits of the Visayan Sea Squadron — and the courage and synergy of the men and women who made it happen — became known far and wide,” Oposa said. He continued, “Four years after Jojo died, Visayan Sea Squadron co-founder Alfredo Marañon was elected governor of Negros Occidental province. He gathered the other governors in the region to begin a restorative plan for the Visayan Sea which encompasses an area of over a million hectares. The governors passed a landmark joint resolution declaring the entire Visayan Sea a marine reserve.” For his valiant work as an environmental warrior, Oposa has been the recipient of many award in recognition of his valiant work as an environmental warrior. Aside from receiving the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2009, he was given the equally prestigious Center for International Environmental Law Award in 2008. Earlier, in 1997, he was conferred the United Nations Environment Programme Global 500 Roll of Honor, the highest UN honor in the field of the environment. Asked if there was anything about his attainments that gives him the most satisfaction, Oposa said, “My biggest achievement is not that I caught this violator and that violator when we were busy with our Visayan Sea Squadron operations; it is that I have turned my adversaries into co-advocates. Some of those who had opposed me are now supporting me in my advocacies. And what could be more inspiring than to see their own children helping us out there, protecting the sea?” The post Famed environmental warrior graces RC Manila assembly appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 24th, 2023

U.S. backs probe on Sikh’s slay

An American official has supported a call by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for India to cooperate in the investigation of a Sikh leader’s assassination in Vancouver in June. “We want to see accountability. And it’s important that the investigation run its course and lead to that result,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters in New York, where he was taking part in the United Nations General Assembly. “We would hope that our Indian friends would cooperate with that investigation as well,” Blinken said, referring to Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Nijjar, who was wanted in India for alleged terrorism and conspiracy to commit murder, was shot dead by two masked assailants. Blinken’s statement came four days after Trudeau linked Indian intelligence agents to the murder of the activist campaigning for the creation of a Sikh homeland called Khalistan. New Delhi insisted it had nothing to do with the killing, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “completely rejected” the accusation when earlier raised privately by Trudeau. Following Trudeau’s bombshell, Sikh leaders in Canada demanded justice for Nijjar’s killing. “We want a full investigation that brings to justice the people involved in this assassination, including those who pulled the trigger and the ones who plotted this assassination,” Harkirt Singh Dhadda, a lawyer and prominent member of the Sikh community in the Toronto area, said. Nijjar’s son also demanded the arrest of his father’s killers. “Hopefully, you can take this a step further and get specific individuals,” Balraj Singh Nijjar told reporters. Jaskaran Sandhu, co-founder of Baaz News, a website for the Sikh community, warned that “if the government doesn’t take a strong stance and send a strong message, all it declares to the world is that it’s open season on our citizens.” Jagmett Singh, the leader of the left-wing New Democratic Party and a Trudeau ally said Trudeau’s announcement confirms suspicions that India was interfering in the democratic rights of Canadians. Canada must also put an end to intelligence sharing with New Delhi, Sikh officials said. Since 2018, the two countries have established cooperation on counter-terrorism activities which commits them to financial, judicial and police cooperation — an agreement eyed warily by 770,000 Canadian Sikhs today.   WITH AFP The post U.S. backs probe on Sikh’s slay appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 24th, 2023

EDITORIAL — Pastillas scam: A laughable penalty

An angry Rodrigo Duterte summoned them to Malacañang during his presidency, although he did not carry out his threat to make them eat paper rolled up like pastillas or local milk pastry. Last week, one of 50 Bureau of Immigration employees accused of facilitating the entry of 143 foreigners, mostly Chinese, between 2017 and 2020 was fined the princely sum of P5,000 by the Sandiganbayan......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 24th, 2023

EDITORIAL - POGOs: Time to go

The secretaries of finance and socioeconomic planning are in favor of banning Philippine offshore gaming operator or POGO firms......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 24th, 2023

EDITORIAL - Smothered by smog

The last time Metro Manila and neighboring provinces were blanketed by ashfall, grounding flights, forcing the cancellation of classes and disrupting office work was in January 2020 when Taal Volcano erupted......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2023

Defector’s plea: Don’t send me back

A Chinese activist who fled to Taiwan is holed up in a local airport, pleading authorities no to send him back to his country. “I hope to seek asylum in the United States or Canada. I request for friends to appeal to Taiwan’s government to please not send me back to China,” Chen Siming wrote on X from the transit area of Taoyuan International Airport. Chen said he fled China three months ago because the methods used by authorities “to maintain stability are becoming more brutal.” He also alleged that Chinese authorities had detained him in the past, confiscated his phone, and conducted a psychiatric evaluation on him. “I could no longer endure (it)... so I fled China on 22 July,” Chen wrote. “On September 22, I finally arrived in Taiwan, the island of freedom.” According to Radio Free Asia, Chen first traveled to Laos after leaving China in July, before crossing into Thailand. But due to worries about being sent to immigration prison in Thailand — a country with a track record of deporting dissidents — he bought a return ticket to China that transited via Taiwan, RFA said. Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council has not responded to requests for comment on Chen’s current status. In 2019 two Chinese dissidents spent more than four months trapped in limbo at Taiwan’s airport after fleeing China. WITH AFP The post Defector’s plea: Don’t send me back appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 22nd, 2023

EDITORIAL - Little to love at NAIA

From arrival to departure at the Philippines’ main gateway, it’s no fun. In February this year, a Thai tourist’s last memories of his visit in the Philippines were of being shaken down at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport by personnel of the Office for Transportation Security......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 22nd, 2023

Etta Rosales makes an appeal to the young to ‘Never Forget’ Martial Law

On the 51st Anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law, Former Member of the House of Representatives of the Philippines and Martial Law survivor, Etta Rosales, makes an appeal—especially to the young—to never forget the atrocities of that era in our history. In an interview on ANC's Headstart, she said: "Ako’y nangangampanya, nag-aapila sa mga kabataan natin, dahil mga kabataan nating ang syang mulat…dahil yung mga tatay ninyo, mga nanay ninyo, hindi sila nagsasalita, either takot or hindi naman nila alam kung ano ang katotohanan, pero kayo, mulat na kayo, wag kayong maniniwala dun sa distortions of truth na nangyayari ngayon dahil sa Marcos atrocities, kelangan ilabas natin ang katotohanan." There was a huge outcry when the Department of Education insisted on removing the "Marcos" from the Diktaduryang Marcos in Aralin Panlipunan textbooks, with various historical groups decrying the whitewashing and historical distortion.   "DepEd has no business distorting the truth on Martial Law," said Rosales. Rosales was an activist during Martial law and was arrested in 1976. In a news report from AFP in 2022, she recalls "boiling-hot candle wax was poured on her arms and she was waterboarded as well as strangled with a belt. Her abusers delivered electric shocks to her fingertips and toes." According to Amnesty International  Philippines Director Aurora Parong, the Dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.'s security forces "killed, tortured, sexually abused, mutilated or arbitrarily detained about 70,000 opponents".     The post Etta Rosales makes an appeal to the young to ‘Never Forget’ Martial Law appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 21st, 2023