Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sweet Child Of Mine

SWEET CHILD OF MINE: A mother plays with her child while waiting for relatives at the Manila domestic airport. (Zamboanga Journal)

Negros Press Denounces Proclamation 1017

Article 3 Alliance

No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of their grievances.
Sec. 4, Art. III of the Bill of Rights

We, members of the Negros media community, denounce the issuance of Proclamation 1017 and vow to resist its use by the Arroyo government as a pretext to curtail Press Freedom and the People’s Right to Know.

We condemn in the strongest terms this administration’s blatant attempt to muzzle these freedoms by using the media as one of the bases for placing the country a state of national emergency.

The raid on the Daily Tribune, in particular, and the threat by this administration to shut down or takeover media organizations that refuse to abide by its restrictive and arbitrary “standards,” as well as the deployment of troops to television stations, stand out as a direct, despicable assault on the Press and on freedom of expression in general.

These incidents only serve to highlight the lack of respect for our freedoms and liberties by an administration that holds the record for having the most number of journalists – 37 at last count – murdered under its watch.

We laud our colleagues in the Tribune and the threatened networks for refusing to be cowed, and our other colleagues nationwide who have vowed to resist any and all attempts by government to curtail their free exercise of our profession.

We reject and will resist all attempts of this government to prevent us from the full exercise of our profession and our duty to bring to our audiences the accurate and timely information they need in these trying times.

Lastly, we call on the people to stand with us in defending and protecting our rights and liberties from all those who seek to curtail them.


The Dag Hammarskjold Memorial Scholarship Fund announced today that it is accepting applications for its 2006 Dag Hammarskjold Fellowships, which will be awarded to four journalists from developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

The application deadline is Monday, April 17. Final selection of the 2006 Fellows will be made in May. The 2006 Fellowships will begin in early September and extend until early November.
The two-month program will provide recipients an opportunity to cover the 61st Session of the United Nations General Assembly, meet with leading international experts and diplomats, and to increase their understanding of diplomatic decision-making. The Fellowship includes airfare, hotel accommodations and per diem expenses.

Three of the Fellows selected will be young journalists, aged 25-35. For the first time, the Fund will also sponsor a fellowship for a mid-career distinguished journalist, age 35-45 with 10-15 years professional journalism experience, who is interested in foreign policy and diplomacy, and who will develop an in-depth project on a U.N.-related topic during the fellowship.

Raghida Dergham, Chair of the Dag Hammarskjold Memorial Scholarship Fund, said, "This fellowship program is about providing a unique opportunity for exceptional journalists to cover international affairs from the United Nations."

Dergham, who is also the senior diplomatic correspondent and columnist for Al Hayat/LBC added, "Coming to New York is a milestone in the lives of promising journalists interested in the UN and in international relations. And this is exactly what our mission is all about: a window to a milestone in the life of a journalist from the developing world."
Over its 45-year history, the Memorial Scholarship Fund has awarded fellowships to more than 150 journalists from 75 countries; many of them have risen to prominence in their professions. In 2005, the Fund awarded four fellowships to journalists from Ethiopia, Lebanon, the Maldives, and Nepal.
The Dag Hammarskjold Fellowship Program was established in 1961 in memory of the late Secretary-General who was killed in an airplane crash while on a peace mission. "His wisdom and his modesty, his unimpeachable integrity and single-minded devotion to duty, have set a standard for all servants of the international community," said Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Application information and full details regarding the Fellowship Program can be found at www.unjournalismfellowship.org. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@unjournalismfellowship.org.

Japan Sends Trade Mission To Mindanao, Manila

DAVAO CITY (Zamboanga Journal / 28 Feb) Japan is sending a 20-man trade mission to Mindanao and Manila Tuesday to explore explore possible areas of cooperation and investments to accelerate the growth of the southern Philippine region.
The mission is Tokyo's recognition of the importance of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) in the development and integration of the ASEAN region.
Tohru Kuramata, regional coordinator of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will lead the mission consists of both government officials and businessmen.
The mission seeks to find out the areas of cooperation and investment that Japan can engage in to effectively support the development of BIMP-EAGA.
Japan hopes that this mission becomes an opportunity in finding components that attract more investors and tourists, hastening the development of the BIMP-EAGA.

The mission's visit in Davao City includes site visits to relevant companies as well as meetings with key figures of Mindanao, including Secretary Jesus Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process; and officials of the Mindanao Economic Development Council, Automous Region in Muslim Mindanao Trade Secretary Ishak Mastura and Agriculture Secretary Sajitd Druz-Ali; Davao City Vice Mayor Louie Bunguyan; and officers of the regional Department of Trade and Industry, the Mindanao Business Council and the Davao Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The dispatch of the BIMP-EAGA Mission exemplifies Japan 's belief on the development potentials of Mindanao given its abundant natural resources that could further revitalize its industries such as in mining, agriculture, fisheries and tourism.

Gloria Vows To Work Hard

Zamboanga City (Zamboanga Journal / 28 Feb) Philippine leader Gloria Arroyo vowed to work hard to fight poverty and sustain the momentum of the country’s economy and avoid a fallout on the economy from the latest attempt to overthrow her government.
She said she was satisfied that economic indicators remained unshaken by what Malacanang branded as a conspiracy among the political opposition, communist rebels and military adventurists to bring down her administration.
"Thank God, the stock market gained Monday to close more than 19 points, and the peso strengthened, gaining 14 centavos" against the dollar," Arroyo said during a televised roundtable discussion with Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz and members of her economic team –- Finance Secretary Margarito Teves and Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila.
She said the government will pour investments into infrastructure and education even as it steps up tax collection to fund development programs."Now government will work triple time to sustain the economic momentum and avoid an economic fallout," she said.
The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) index advanced 19.43 points Monday to close at 2,089.36 compared to Friday’s close at 2,069.93.
The peso strengthened against the dollar during midday trading on Monday, gaining 14 centavos against the dollar. The peso closed last Friday at P52.20 to $1.
Arroyo explained that the State of National Emergency she declared Friday was to protect the P120 billion business activity in the country and avoid what happened in the aftermath of the 1989 coup against then President Corazon Aquino when the country plunged into an economic recession.
She said the improvement of the economic indicators could be attributed to the peaceful resolution of the Marines standoff. But she added that it is not yet time for Filipinos cheer as "the only meaningful success is to be successful in fighting poverty.We can only claim credit when we get a credit upgrade," she said.

Monday, February 27, 2006

What Arroyo's Allies Say About Proclamation 1017

Davao City (Rose Palacio / 27 February) The official Philippine Information Agency (PIA) had gathered various comments on Friday's Presidential Proclamation 1017 issued by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Newly appointed MEDCO chairman USEC Virgilio Leyretana strongly supports the President's declaration of State of National Emergency to thwart the destabilization plot.
It is very ironic that our economy is taking-off, yet the militants and opposition groups continue to destroy the gains of the President's socio economic reforms.
Leaders of the failed coup should stop their adventurism and instead respect and uphold the rule of law and the duly constituted authorities as law abiding Filipino citizens, he added.

"We strongly condemn in the strongest possible term this naked attempt to topple the legitimate Arroyo administration. We call on all sectors of society especially the masses in the countrysides to reject any attempt to disregard the Constitution, rule of law and the Arroyo administration," said Gov. Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar and spokesman of the Union of Local Authorities in the Philippines or ULAP.
"We urge the President to remain firm and steadfast and resolutely confront these stabilizers and power hungry. Firm and decisive actions are only but proper to put these unscrupulous elements in their proper place," he added.

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry VP for Mindanao Romeo Serra said "our economy is moving despite threats to destabilize the government. It is unfortunate that as we pursue our road to progress, the efforts of the President is being hampered by militant groups."
"We must all take responsibility in protecting our people from malicious threats and continue creating more jobs, providing livelihood opportunities and develop infrastructure and business opportunities that will benefit the people," he said.

Task Force Davao Commander Col. Eduardo del Rosario has declared that army soldiers under his command "remain united and committed in supporting the chain of command, the Constitution and our Commander-in-Chief. We will never be a party to any move against the government under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, he said.

"We have just started rebuilding our economy, we cannot allow any political instability to spoil the signs of economic recovery," said Davao del Norte Vice Governor Anthony del Rosario as he viewed the State of National Emergency as the President's way of safeguarding the welfare of the nation.

Major General Cardozo Luna, Commanding General of the 4th Infantry Division Phil Army declared that everything is under control.

"I have ordered our men in the field, particularly in regions 10, 11 and 13 to follow the chain of command. We continue to perform our duties and remain loyal to the Constitution", he said.


Uncle Sam Backs Civilian Authority, Unlikely To Support Military Take Over

MANILA (Zamboanga Journal / 27 Feb) The United States is unlikely to support a military take-over of the government of President Gloria Arroyo following a tense, six-hour standoff by disgruntled marine soldiers inside one of the biggest military camp in Manila.

"We hope and expect that the Filipino people will seek peaceful solutions to the currently situation through constitutional procedures. The United States strongly believes in the principle and practice of civilian control of a professional and non-political military," a US embassy statement said Tuesday.

Hundreds of soldiers rushed to the Marine headquarters late Monday after learning that their commandant Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda was sacked from his post, the second highest military official relieved since last week after the government said it crushed a coup by rebel soldiers allegedly tied with communist insurgents.

The Armed Forces also sacked Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim after he tried to recruit other military generals to withdraw their support to Arroyo. On Friday, police dispersed massive anti-Arroyo protests in Manila after the President declared a state of emergency.

"The United States reiterates its call that the Government of the Philippines, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Filipino people respect fully the rule of law, protect civil liberties and human rights, and reject violence," the embassy statement said.

Miranda was replaced by his deputy Brig. Gen. Nelson Allaga and military spokesmen said the former Marine commandant had asked to be relieved for personal reasons.

"It is clear we follow the chain of command, and we follow the duly constituted authority. We will not allow ourselves to be used by anybody," Allaga told reporters after a meeting with his senior commanders.

The chief of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Gabriel Habacon, on Monday said the 32,000-strong army and marine soldiers deployed in Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago remain loyal to Arroyo.

"Our troops are loyal to the Commander-in-Chief, and we reiterate our loyalty to the chain of command and the Constitution and will continue to defend democracy," Habacon said.

The Southern Command, the largest military installation outside Manila, has control over three army division, an army, air force and marine and navy command headquarters in the southern Philippines.

In Jolo island, Brig. Gen. Alexander Aleo, commander of military forces in the Sulu archipelago, earlier said troops are also behind the Arroyo government and will continue to support her presidency. "We remain loyal to the commander in chief and will follow the chain of command," he said.

Armed Forces spokesman Col. Tristan Kison said: "General Miranda requested for his relief due to personal reasons. He filed a personal action form requesting that he be relieved. And Gen. Allaga took over from his post."

Allaga said the relief of Miranda was internal to the Marines and that politics had nothing to do with the order. "This is internal to us, politics have nothing to do with this," he said.

Antonio Zumel Center For Press Freedom Urges Media To Stay Vigilant, Courageous


Press Statement

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo blames what she calls the historical enemies of the democratic state to justify her Proclamation 1017 declaring a state of emergency. In doing so, she tramples upon democracy. And yes, she blames the media for "magnifiying" the claims of these historical enemies of the state.

While stating that Proclamation 1017 does not include arrests, the police and military have begun arresting leaders of the opposition.

While declaring respect for civil and democratic rights of the people, she has ordered the violent dispersal of the people exercising their freedom of speech and assembly.

It will serve President Arroyo well to remember the fate of her predecessors who put their, their families' and their cabal's interest first before the interest of the country and the Filipino people.

Curtailing freedoms enshrined in the constitution will not solve the political and economic crisis. It will only exacerbate the crisis. Therefore, we demand the full respect of these freedoms including the right of media to bring the truth to the people.

Media should be allowed to operate and make available to the people the news and the different views on the events in the Philippines. Harassments, threats and arrests of media practitioners and personnel are clear violations of press freedom and should be condemned and defied.

The threat of Ronald Solis, chairman of the National Telecommunications Commission, that the government can close down a television or radio station during a state of emergency, the raids on newspaper offices, detention and interrogation of journalists, columnists and publishers are a vile portent of things to come.

Thus we call on our colleagues in the media to be vigilant and courageous in the face of any threats to curtail press freedom. The Filipino people have the right to be truly informed.

Southeast Asian Free Press Advocate Alarmed By Media Clampdown In RP

Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance is gravely concerned by the declaration of a state of emergency in the Philippines, and condemns in the strongest possible terms government moves to curtail freedom of the press in the context of the political chaos.
News reports from Manila say a newspaper sympathetic to the opposition has been raided and is closely being monitored by the police.
Meanwhile, the broadcasting industry is bracing for a possible clamp down. Philippine newspapers have been quoting officials as warning the media not to encourage or aid elements allegedly behind a coup attempt through their reporting.

Philippine officials also said they will discuss with publishers possible guidelines for reporting on the country's volatile situation.
"The harassment of the press is uncalled for, the guidelines are unnecessary and unconstitutional, and the whole move to control the media is suspicious," SEAPA Executive Director Roby Alampay said.
"Amid allegations that the Philippine president is either overreacting to, or overstating, an alleged threat to the state, it is imperative that Philippine journalists be allowed to do their job without fear of reprisals from the military and/or the government."
SEAPA is a Bangkok-based alliance of free press advocacy groups from around Southeast Asia.
Its members are the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, the Jakarta-based Alliance of Independent Journalists, the Jakarta-based Institute for the Free Flow of Information (ISAI), and the Thai Journalists Association.

For Reference:
Mr. Roby Alampay
Tel. (662)2 435579

U.S. Urges Peaceful Solutions To Political Storm

The United States reiterates its call that the Government of the Philippines, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Filipino people respect fully the rule of law, protect civil liberties and human rights, and reject violence.
We hope and expect that the Filipino people will seek peaceful solutions to the currently situation through constitutional procedures.
The United States strongly believes in the principle and practice of civilian control of a professional and non-political military.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

MILF Unfaze By Political Trouble In Manila, Pursues Peace Talks

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Search For Slide Victims Ends, No Signs Of Life

One of U.S. Seahawk helicopter use in the Leyte search and rescue operation. (Zamboanga Journal)

Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. forces with Joint Task Force Balikatan 2006 ended a week-long search and rescue operation at the direction of the governor of Leyte Island in the wake of a massive mudslide that destroyed the village of Guinsaugon Feb. 17.

Having declared an end to the search and rescue operations, the Government of the Philippines is now working closely with non-governmental organizations and private volunteer organizations to conduct long term recovery/reconstruction in the stricken area.

U.S. military forces in St. Bernard, Leyte, continue to coordinate relief efforts with local and regional leaders, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Red Cross, and other non-governmental and private volunteer organizations in the area.

The evacuation centers located in St. Bernard are operational and being managed by local volunteer organizations. The local police and AFP are providing security for the evacuation centers. Distribution of goods to those most affected by the disaster is being coordinated by local and regional leaders and volunteers.Search and rescue crews from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit began retrograding to the USS Essex and USS Harpers ferry today.

More than 2,500 U.S. forces positioned in the Philippines in support of Exercise Balikatan 2006 were diverted to assist in the search and rescue at the request of the Philippine government. The U.S. military role was to provide immediate, life-sustaining support, to mitigate loss of life and human suffering in the areas affected by the landslide.

The Philippine and U.S. governments have worked closely together to coordinate this humanitarian assistance/disaster relief response. The effective partnership enabled a rapid response to the disaster.

To date, JTF Balikatan 2006 has provided the following necessities: More than 3,100 five-gallon water cans, 900 1.5-gallon water cans, three pallets of bottled water, 2,500 blankets, two pallets of Meals, Ready-to-Eat, 1,500 sleeping mats, 150 pick axes, one pallet plus 500 additional shovels, three pallets of rice, one pallet of medications, 12, 55-gallon diesel fuel drums, 40 chainsaws and 5 generators.

Joint Task Force Balikatan 2006 has also provided other supplies and support, including light sets, kettles, and air and ground transportation. Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. military aircraft have flown more than 400 hours bringing in supplies and people to support the efforts in Leyte.

The fixed-wing aircraft include KC-130 Hercules and a C-17 Globemaster III. Helicopter support includes the CH-46E, CH-53E Super Stallion, UH-1N Huey, and the H-60 Black Hawk.Exercise Balikatan 2006, an annual combined bilateral exercise involving Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. military, began Feb. 20 and consists of a staff exercise, cross-training and field training, and humanitarian and civic assistance projects.

The 22nd exercise of its kind will end Mar. 5.Combined interoperability exercises such as Balikatan 2006 provide the U.S. and Philippine armed forces the ability to respond rapidly to disaster situations such as the unfortunate disaster that occurred in Leyte.

Situation Is Well Under Control, Says GMA

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assured the people that notwithstanding the existence of a state of national emergency, the situation all over the country is well under control.
The President made the assurance in the wake of the discovery of a plan by a few misguided elements in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), in conspiracy with the Left represented by the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (NDF-CPP-NPA), to overthrow the government.
"We have nipped this plan in the bud," the President said in the vernacular, adding that arrests are forthcoming for those who have conspired in the plot, including the financiers of the foiled coup attempt.
The President assured the country that except for those who have chosen to break the chain of command, the military is united behind the Constitution and the commander-in-chief.
She said she is leaving it up to the military and police hierarchy to make the necessary moves pursuant to Proclamation 1017 and its accompanying General Order No. 5 which she also issued.
The President warned that the government will apply the full force of the law against those who persist in their plot to sow chaos and overthrow the duly-constituted authority.
"Ipinapahamak ninyo ang mahihirap sa inyong paghatak ng bansa palayo sa ating nararapat na antas sa daigdig bilang kuta ng pagkakaisa, pagsasakripisyo, pagmamalasakit at kahusayan sa mundo. Kinakalas din ninyo ang ekonomiya sa kaniyang mga tumatatag na saligan," the President stressed.
She called on the public to stay calm and the media to report only the truth, even she urged them not to play up negative and distorted information.
The President’s pronouncements came following a meeting of the government’s crisis committee at Malacañang which was attended by members of the Cabinet and top military officials.
The Chief Executive called on the members of the Cabinet and local government officials to continue with their usual public functions despite the situation.
"I call on all local governments to continue serving the people. Their safety and livelihood must not be unduly put in jeopardy," she said.
During the meeting, the President said she also asked the Foreign Affairs department to make the necessary reports to the various foreign embassies in the country.
Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said the actions of the government have been well calibrated and there is no overkill.The Constitution and the institutions of government are in full operation.
The government has derailed the conspiracy to overthrow it without having to resort to stronger legal measures provided for in the Constitution.
We commend the AFP and the PNP for doing a fine job in putting under control the threats to the Republic.Mopping up operations are ongoing.
Individual conspirators will be prosecuted and brought to justice. The decision to declare a State of National Emergency was meant for the people’s welfare.
Had the President not acted as she did, we would now be under a rightist-communist junta.

A New Beginning, A New Day Is Dawning.

A new beginning, a new day is dawning. Trawlers off Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines. (Zamboanga Journal)

The Daily Tribune, Publisher's Note

The Daily Tribune
Manila -- The supervision of the editorial content of the paper since the Tribune may be conspiring with the opposition to bring down the regime of Gloria Arroyo...

Philippine Marines Commandant Relieved, Soldiers Call For People Power!

F L A S H!

(ZAMBOANGA JOURNAL / 26 Feb) The chief of the Philippine Marines Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda has been relieved Sunday afternoon (4.30 pm Philippine Time) from his post, and his deputy, Brig. Gen. Nelson Allaga is named new commandant of the Philippine Marines.

Armed Forces spokesman Col. Tristan Kison has confirmed this report and said Miranda requested that he be relieved for a still unknown reason.

"General Miranda requested for his relief due to personal reasons. He filed a personal action form requesting that he be relieved. And Gen. Allaga took over from his post," Kison said.

Military sources said Miranda was relieved after reports suggested that he was planning to withdraw his support to the embattled President Gloria Arroyo.

The commander of the elite Army Scout Ranger, Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, was also relieved on Saturday after he was linked to a failed coup.

Aside from Lim, Marine brigadier Col. Ariel Querubin is being investigated for his supposed links with military rightist groups calling for the resignation of Arroyo.

Querubin on Sunday said Miranda's relief was unjust and told reporters that he his group join the resigned commandant in the Philippine Marines headquarters.

He said he spoke with Miranda, who told him that the relief came as a surprise.

"Our commandant was himself surprised by his sudden relief. He did not resign, but had been relieved for a still unknown reasons," Querubin said.

He called on the people to proceed to the camp in Fort Bonifacio, also the headquarters of the Philippine Army, and protect them from possible retaliation.

"We call on the people to go to the headquarters to protect us from aggression.
We will cross the bridge when we are there," Querubin told reporters in Manila.

Querubin said the Marines had originally planned to march and join anti-Arroyo protesters last Friday, but had been prevailed upon by Miranda.

"The junior officers are raring, they are agitated, and so as not to kill each other, we decided to join the protest without our arms. We also wanted to express our true sentiments, but we were prevailed upon by our commandant."

"Now, we don't know why our commandant was suddenly relieved. Gen. Miranda is my commandant and Gen. Miranda is the commandant of the Marines," he said.

Allaga said the relief of Miranda was internal to the Marines and that politics had nothing to do with the order.

"This is internal to us, politics have nothing to do with this," he said.

Dozens of armed marines, led by Lt. Col. Archie Segumalian, were spotted rushing around their headquarters obviously to reinforce Querubin's group.

"We are doing everything from Lanao, we want the elections clean and honest, we don't want the country to be in chaos, but you are putting our nation in chaos," Segumalian, commander of the 2nd Marine Battalion, said.

He was refering to the May 2004 presidential polls, where a marine brigade commander was relieved after he ignored alleged orders to rig the elections in favor of Arroyo.

"This action is unilateral on our part and we are not siding with any group. We are just showing our symphaty with our commandant Gen. Miranda. We feel bad by his sudden relief, why did they relieve him," Segumalian said.

He was also seen giving order to dozens of heavily armed soldiers. "Listen up, don't shoot your fellow marines," he said.

Marine tanks rolled inside the headquarters and soldiers were seen mounting machine guns on top of them, and soldiers, their bodies heavy with ammunition links and backpack, deployed around.

Civil society groups and leaders of anti-Arroyo protesters trooped to the headquarters after they heard Querubin's appeal for people power. Dozens of civilians have surrounded Querubin, their arms locked with each other, as more people started arriving.
Allaga exerted his authority and troops inside the headquarters dispersed before midnight.

Malakanyang has ordered Querubin's arrest. Allaga said the outspoken officer is now under his custody.

From The Los Angeles Times...

Quiet in the Streets of Manila By Richard C. Paddock

MANILA - Thousands of Filipinos had planned to gather Saturday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the "people power" revolt that ousted President Ferdinand Marcos. Instead, they were left to ponder what had become of the freedoms they had won...

Uphold And Protect Media Freedom

We the officers, members and network partners of LIGA JOURNALISTA and the PEACE & CONFLICT JOURNALISM NETWORK (PECOJON), jointly express our grave concern over the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Proclamation 1017 enforcing a state of national emergency.

We are particularly alarmed by the proclamation’s enforcement of the ban on people’s right to peaceful assembly, free speech, and redress of their grievances, “limiting” of press freedom, warrant-less arrests, among others.

In our assessment, there are no serious conditions that warrant the declaration of state of national emergency, nor of martial law. The overall economic and political country situation is indeed bad but they should not be used as justification for the use of any form of open state repression.

The government should instead stop closing its eyes, and seek together with the people, especially the aggrieved and marginalized sectors the path to moral recovery, unity, order and progress.

As of press time, the Macapagal-Arroyo government is reported to have raided and closed down the office of known opposition national news daily, the Daily Tribune, and arrested some known opposition political figures, AFP and PNP dissenters, including the reported arrest of some partylist congressmen.
We received reports that the government security forces are on the trail of countless other critics of the GMA government.

We join our colleagues in the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines in demanding the Arroyo government to let journalists and media organizations exercise their fullest freedom to air and print news and information about the current political crisis, and that it desist from undertaking repressive action against journalists and media organizations covering the crisis.

We also urge our media colleagues all over the country not to be cowed by threats, open or veiled, seeking to scare us from boldly performing our jobs as we must.

When unrest and confusion reigns, as is happening at the moment, it becomes ever more vital for the people and members of the media to jealously protect the freedom of the press and expression.

Such is a lesson learned bitterly under the past brutal dictatorship, whose downfall, ironically, Filipinos commemorated on Saturday.

Media Tinitiktikan Sa Mindanao

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Juan Magtanggol / 26 Peb) Tinitiktikan umano ng mga military intelligence agents ng Southern Command ang hanay ng mga media sa Zamboanga at Mindanao at isinasailalim ang mga ito sa background investigation.

Hindi naman agad mabatid ang dahilan ng pagtitiktik sa mga mamamahayag na nagko-cover sa Southern Command, subali't kinumpirma ito ng isang opisyal at pinag-iingat ang mga miyembro ng media.

Walang gustong umamin sa panig ng militar kung bakit pati ang mga miyembro ng Southern Command Defense Press Corps ay inilagay sa masusing pagmamasid, subali't ayon sa ibang mga sources ay nababahala ang ilang mga opisyal sa mga umano'y negatibong balita na lumalabas.

Kinondena ito ng ilang mga miyembro ng media matapos na malaman ang paniniktik sa kanila at nagbabanta ang iba na bobyokotin ang Southcom at isusulat ang lahat ng mga negatibong balita na may kinalaman sa militar.

Ang iba naman ay nagpaplanong idulog kay Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Gabriel Habacon at Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Generoso Senga at Army chief Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon ang kawalan ng respeto ng intelligence sa media at ang mistulang pagyurak nito sa malayang pamamahayag.

Noon ay na-eskandalo rin ang Southern Command matapos na ilagay sa paniniktik ng U2 (intelligence unit) ang media sa Zamboanga ng pilit na pinalalagda ang mga manunulat sa bio-data at pagsusumite ng kanilang litrato, ngunit pinagalitan ni Gen. Narciso Abaya ang mga nasa likod nito ng mabatid sa media ang naganap.

RP Press Body Calls For Solidarity

"There can be no press freedom if journalists exist in conditions of corruption, poverty or fear."
A Call For Solidarity.
For a few years now, the global media community has acknowledged the Philippines among the most dangerous places for journalists. In the past two years, our country has been second only to Iraq in the number of media killings. Philippine journalists have fought hard to rollback the tide of violence.
Today, however, the Philippine press faces its strongest challenge.In declaring a "state of national emergency," President GloriaMacapagal-Arroyo made media among her main targets. She and senior aides warned of government takeover of media facilities considered friendly to the political opposition.
Police have already raided the offices of the Daily Tribune, a national daily. Armed men in civilian clothes have gone around the offices of Abante, the country's biggest tabloid.
Police had earlier arrested Randy David, a columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer,holding the award-winning journalist and sociologist for five hours and yet prosecutors said there was no ground to charge him with any crime.
The government deployed troops to the compounds of ABS-CBN and GMA-7,the country's largest television networks. The government's claim was that the soldiers were protecting these stations from a potential takeover by destabilizers.
Police have also declared that they would not hesitate to take over media entities found "aiding" the administration's enemies. The police also said they would soon release "standards" or guidelines that journalists must follow and that investigators and prosecutors were monitoring the news.
By the government's definition, providing aid to Mrs. Arroyo's enemies includes interviewing opposition parties. In simple terms, the administration wants media to present only the side of the embattled government, using force and coercion to bend journalists to its wishes.
Filipinos, journalists included, fought a long, hard battle to regain democracy after two decades of tyranny. That Mrs. Arroyo timed this crackdown on civil liberties with the anniversary of the Marcos dictatorship's fall only highlights her break with the democraticaspirations of Filipinos.
Even as she warns enemies of feeling the full force of the law, Mrs. Arroyo flaunts constitutional guarantees to free speech and expression and press freedom. Leaders of Philippine society have spoken out against the government's iron-hand tactics.
The Philippine journalism community has also moved fast to unite against this grand assault on press freedom. Today, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines will lead various organizations and individual journalists in protesting the crackdown on media.
The Philippine media community intends to send Mrs. Arroyo a strong message: We will not go gently into the night. We call on all our colleagues in print, broadcast and digital journalism worldwide to support Philippine media in this dark hour. Please add your voice to our protest.
Let us collectively condemn the crackdown on Philippine media and remind Mrs. Arroyo that no country can be free to prosper if its media is silenced and cowed.
You can send protest letters to the government through the Office of the Press Secretary at osec@ops.gov.ph, with facsimile number (632) 735-6167 or deliver these to the nearest Philippine embassy and consulate.
You cansend solidarity messages to the NUJP through its email address, nujphil@gmail.com or post this on our website, www.nujp.org.
105-A Scout Castor Street (near Morato Avenue) Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.: (+632) 4117768 Email: nujphil@gmail.com

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Reporters Sans Borders Reacts On RP Situation

Reporters Without Borders on Saturday voiced great concern at the closure of an opposition newspaper only hours after declaration of a national state of emergency, apparently in the face of a failed military coup.
"We deplore the state of emergency imposed yesterday by President Gloria Arroyo, who is using it as an excuse to crack down on the opposition," the worldwide press freedom organisation said. "We fear a wave of arrests and more closures of newspapers critical of the government."
Police searched the premises of the opposition Daily Tribune and shut down the paper.
Left-wing coalition leader Crispin Beltran was also arrested, along with several generals. The opposition, human rights activists and church leaders have strongly condemned the emergency and some politicians have called for Arroyo's resignation.
But media outlets were warned by the government yesterday not to broadcast these calls. The crisis came 20 years to the day after the fall of President Ferdinand Marcos, on 25 February 1986. An anniversary march Friday was banned by the government. (www.rsf.org)
Vincent Brossel
Asia - Pacific Desk
Reporters Sans Frontières
5 rue Geoffroy Marie 75009 Paris
33 1 44 83 84 70, 33 1 45 23 11 51

Malaysians Free to Travel RP

Malaysia has no plans as yet to stop its people from going to the Philippines following latest developments of a coup attempt to overthrow the government, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said Saturday.
He advised Malaysians to be careful while in the Philippines and not resort to any action that could jeopardise their safety. Syed Hamid said Malaysians intending to go to the Philippines could contact Wisma Putra to know the latest political developments and security situation there.
"There are no obstacles for Malaysians to visit the Philippines now. I hope Malaysians wishing to go to the country will be careful and not take any action that can affect their safety," he said.
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared a state of national emergency Friday following an attempt by disgruntled army officers to mount a coup. In her Proclamation 1017, Arroyo cited the arrest by the military some senior army and police officers linked to the plot intended to overthrow her government.
Following the state of emergency proclamation, thousands of Filipinos demonstrated at several strategic spots in the country. The current situation in Manila, according to Syed Hamid, was an example of the importance of a government to ensure security and political stability.
Uncertainties would bring adverse effects that could undermine a country's position, he said.
Syed Hamid rejected assumptions the political crisis in the Philippines would derail the on-going peace negotiations between Arroyo's government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), with Malaysia mediating in the talks.
"The latest political crisis has nothing to do with the negotiations. Nevertheless, what's important is that we want to see a strong and stable government in the Philippines. Malaysia will continue to play the role of a go-between as negotiations have entered the final stage," he said. (BERNAMA)

A Call For Media To Take A Stand: NUJP

Recent developments, including the Friday night raid of the Daily Tribune newspaper office, the deployment of troops to "watch" over broadcast stations ABS-CBN and GMA7, and the threat implied against news organizations in the February 24 proclamation declaring a state of national emergency, all indicate that the Arroyo government is seeking to intimidate print and broadcast facilities and journalists, and scare them from covering and exposing all the angles of the present crisis.

The question is: will we be cowed?

We invite all those concerned to join us at a gathering/press conference of media groups and individuals who want to take a strong and united stand against all attempts by the Arroyo government to muzzle media all over again.

The gathering will be held on February 26, 2006, 11 a.m., at Newsdesk Café, along Timog Avenue, Quezon City.

For inquiries, call Joe Torres (0920-9276188), Weng Paraan (0910-4950095) or the NUJP office (411-7768).

From Zamboanga With Love!

We ran across this blog and were touched by the story of Josephine. We are republishing the entry and those who may have information about her whereabouts, please email us so we can give her some school things. (ed. Zamboanga Journal)

My Mail Box by Jayred of Switzerland

Friday, December 09, 2005

A 'love letter' from Zamboanga City, Philippines arrived in my Swiss mail box today -- after two and a half years. The sender, Josephine, is a poverty-stricken Filipino girl whom I met at a social service center during a medical missions trip to Mindanao in July 2002.

She became attached to me throughout my challenging editorial assignment in Zamboanga City. Josephine, who was 14 at that time, sent the long letter -- peppered with "I love you's" and cries for financial help -- to my company address in May 2003.

Alas, I was already in Switzerland at that time, and the security guard of my former office didn't know how to forward it to me. Thank goodness, a well-meaning artist-friend who was a former officemate, discovered it by chance and sent it to me last week (she meant to send it two years ago, but forgot about it due to her very hectic schedule).

Needless to say, the letter caused me pain beyond human understanding. It reminded me anew that millions of my countrymen are caught in a quagmire of poverty, and are struggling to have even the basics (food, clothing, and shelter).

In the outdated letter, Josephine asked me for "things" -- that is, shoes, notebooks, textbooks, and school uniform for her and her two siblings. The deadline she set was June 9, 2003, the last day of enrolment.

Her parting words in Filipino/Tagalog reads: "My future is in your hands."posted by Jayred at 12/09/2005 09:44:00 PM

Comments:Zamboanga Journal said... We read your blog about Josephine, may we know her address and maybe we can find a way here how to help her. Thanks, ed.Zamboanga Journal http://zamboangajournal.blogspot.com

January 09, 2006 11:03 AM

Jayred said... Thanks for leaving a comment here. It was a pleasant surprise to know that someone from Zamboanga City is willing to help Josephine.Her address is the one she wrote down on the envelope (please see image). Other than that, I don't know the exact address. She used to stay at the DSWD center in Zamboanga City. I do hope you can help her. All the best and more power to you and your team. Thanks for the visit! January 18, 2006 1:32 PM

Jayred Email
My Web Page

Media Watch Dog Condemns Raids On Press Offices

Press Statement
February 25, 2006
NUJP Position on Proclamation 1017 and Raid on Tribune office

We condemn in strongest words possible the Friday night raid by government troops of the office of the Abante Tonite, Daily Tribune newspaper, and the sending of troops to “watch” over broadcast stations, ABS-CBN and GMA7.

We reject the Arroyo government's attempts to assign blame on media for its current crisis and urge our media colleagues across the country not to be cowed by threats, open or veiled, seeking to scare us from boldly performing our jobs as we must.

We demand that the Arroyo government allow journalists and media organizations the fullest freedom to air and print news and information about the current political crisis, and that it desist from undertaking repressive action against journalists and media organizations covering the crisis.

When unrest and confusion reigns, as is happening at the moment, it becomes ever more vital for the people and members of the media to jealously protect the freedom of the press and expression.

Such is a lesson learned bitterly under the past brutal dictatorship, whose downfall, ironically, Filipinos commemorated yesterday.

Jose Torres, Jr.
NUJP Committee for the Protection of Journalists

Rowena Carranza-Paraan
Deputy Secretary-General NUJP

Raid on paper critical of Arroyo 02/24/06 11:05 PM, EST Police raided the office of a newspaper critical of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo after she declared a state of emergency to quell a coup plot. FULL STORY

Los Acontecimientos Políticos En Filipinas Desde 1965

Estos son los acontecimientos más relevantes en Filipinas desde 1965, año en que Ferdinand Marcos fue investido presidente de la República, y el origen de la actual situación política en el país.

1965. Ferdinand Marcos se convierte en presidente de Filipinas.

1968. Nace el Partido Comunista de Filipinas.

1969. El Partido Comunista de Filipinas crea el Nuevo Ejército del Pueblo para que actúe como su brazo armado.

1972. El presidente Marcos declara la ley marcial y suspende las elecciones presidenciales. El profesor universitario Nur Misuari funda el Frente Musulmán de Liberación Nacional (FMLN), con el objetivo de conseguir la independencia de la isla de Mindanao, un territorio controlado históricamente por los musulmanes.

1978. Nace el Frente Moro de Liberación Islámica de una escisión del FMLN, cuando esta organización se aparta del objetivo independentista y comienza a negociar una solución con el régimen de Marcos.

1983. El político Benigno Aquino es asesinado al llegar a Manila desde el exilio para encabezar la oposición democrática a la dictadura de Marcos, lo que desencadena una ola de protestas contra el régimen.

1984. Se celebran elecciones legislativas en las que Marcos conserva la mayoría.
1986. Marcos convoca elecciones presidenciales para aplacar las protestas.

7 de febrero de 1986. Se celebran elecciones presidenciales en las que Corazón Aquino, viuda de Benigno, se presenta como líder del movimiento democrático que lucha contra la dictadura. Los rumores de que Marcos ha vuelto a dar un pucherazo desatan un movimiento nacional de oposición.

25 de febrero de 1986. Miles de filipinas se manifiestan de manera pacífica en Manila contra el régimen y Marcos envía a los tanques para dispersar las protestas. Los tanques se rinden a la voluntad de los filipinos. Marcos y su esposa, Imelda, e hijos abandonan con sus más allegados Manila y parten al exilio. Corazón Aquino es proclamada presidenta.

1987. Se aprueba una nueva Constitución especialmente redactada para evitar un nuevo dictador y que establece un mandato único de seis años para el jefe del Estado.

Durante la presidencia de Corazón Aquino se desbaratan siete intentonas golpistas.

1992. Fidel Ramos, de carrera militar, gana las elecciones presidenciales. Estados Unidos cierras sus bases militares en Filipinas.

1996. El Frente Moro de Liberación Nacional firma la paz.

1998. Joseph Estrada, un popular actor metido en política, vence las elecciones presidenciales como el candidato más votado de la historia.

20 de enero de 2001. Una revuelta popular pacífica respaldada por la influyente Iglesia Católica, la comunidad empresarial y los militares acaba con el Gobierno de Estrada, acusado de corrupción. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, hija del presidente Diosdado Macapagal (1961-65), accede desde la vicepresidencia de Filipinas a la jefatura del Estado.

Abril de 2001. Estrada es detenido y acusado de corrupción.

27 de julio de 2003. Unos 300 militares, dirigidos por un grupo de jóvenes oficiales, se posiciona en un complejo de lujo de Manila, toma rehenes y exige la dimisión de Macapagal Arroyo y otros miembros del Gobierno, a los que acusa de corrupción. La intentona se soluciona ese mismo día de manera pacífica con la rendición de los militares alzados.

2004. Macapagal Arroyo vence en las elecciones presidenciales, aunque su principal rival, el actor Fernando Poe, amigo íntimo de Estrada, nunca reconocerá la derrota. Poe fallece en noviembre de ese año.

11 de mayo de 2005. Un tribunal militar condena a un año de prisión a 184 soldados que participaron en el levantamiento, después de que estos alcanzaran un acuerdo con la Fiscalía.

20 de mayo de 2005. Son liberados 181 militares del grupo condenado la semana anterior.

Mayo de 2005. Se difunden unas grabaciones de supuestas conversaciones telefónicas de Macapagal Arroyo con un alto cargo de la Comisión Electoral durante el escrutinio de las elecciones de 2004. La oposición mantiene desde entonces que esa grabación es la prueba de que la mandataria cometió fraude electoral.

Septiembre de 2005. La Cámara Baja del Parlamento, en la que Macapagal Arroyo cuenta con la mayoría, rechaza tres procesos de destitución interpuestos contra ella por supuesto fraude electoral.

Diciembre de 2005. El capitán Nicanor Faeldon, uno de los oficiales sublevados, se fuga.
17 de enero de 2006. Se evaden el capitán Nathaniel Rabonza y los tenientes de primera Lawrence San Juan, Patricio Bumidang y Sonny Sarmiento, del grupo de militares alzados en el 2003.

28 de enero de 2006. Es detenido Faeldon.

21 de febrero de 2006. Es arrestado San Juan en Manila y se interroga a otros 214 militares. El jefe del Ejercito filipino, Hermogenes Esperon, anuncia que han desbaratado una conspiración para derribar a Macapagal Arroyo.

24 de febrero de 2006. Son puestos bajo custodia un general de brigada, un coronel y un director de la Policía, en una operación que, según Esperon, ha impedido que se perpetrara hoy un golpe de Estado. (Efe)

VP De Castro Throws Support Behind Arroyo

I urge everyone to rally behind the Constitution.
Only by adhering to it will we be assured of the continued enjoyment of our freedom and our democratic way of life.

I respect the right of the President to declare a State of Emergency in order to preserve the peace, maintain law and order, and ensure the protection of human rights and civil liberties of the people for as long as there is an imminent threat to public safety.

I reaffirm my support to the people, the Constitution and the duly constituted authorities.

PGMA to Grace Gensan Charter Day Celeb

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (Julius Valmores / 25 February) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is set to grace the 67th Foundation Anniversary of General Santos City on Monday.

City Mayor Jun Acharon said he invited the President when she was here last month en route to Koronadal City.

"I asked her if she could be our guest of honor during this year's Kalilangan Festival and the city's foundation nnniversary, and she responded affirmatively," the mayor said.

But Arroyo may change her schedule because of the political situation in Manila. She declared Friday the whole country under state of emergency following a failed coup attempt by rightist soldiers and violent anti-government protests in Manila.

Acharon expressed his support to the President thanking her for her effort in negotiating with the government of Indonesia about the extension of the bilateral fishing agreement that will have an impact on the fishing industry of the city.

He also called on militant groups here to be calm and respectful and if possible set aside their plans of staging protest rally while the President is around.

"Let's set aside too much politics and work for the betterment of the Generals instead. The President has contributed much in the development of GenSan not only in this fishing agreement but also in the expansion of the fish port, among other things."

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was inked Wednesday by representatives of the two countries, Agriculture Secretary Domingo Panganiban for the government of the Philippines and Minister Freddy Numberi for the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia.

Acharon also delivered his state of the city address, which focused mainly on the various efforts of the city government for the previous year vis-à-vis the opening of the 67th Foundation Anniversary and Kalilangan Festival. (Zamboanga Journal)

Friday, February 24, 2006

US Embassy Advises Citizens In RP To Be Careful


President Arroyo declared a State of National Emergency on February 24. Secretary of Foreign Affairs Romulo briefed the diplomatic corps on the declaration on the same day.
The U.S. Government is monitoring the situation in the Philippines very closely.
The U.S. Embassy has issued a Warden Message to American citizens in the Philippines, advising them to take prudent steps to ensure their personal safety during this uncertain time.
We call on the Government of the Philippines and the Filipino people to respect fully the rule of law, protect civil liberties and human rights, and reject violence.

Our Commitment Is The Truth: PPI

The Philippine Press Institute added its voice Friday to the rising outcry against President Gloria Arroyo's decision to issue Proclamation No. 1017 declaring a state of national emergency.

The PPI, which groups together the country's newspaper publishers, described the emergency proclamation as an assault on civil liberties.
"Our commitment is to the truth. And while we have the room, however being constricted, nothing will bar us from pursuing our duty," the statement issued by PPI chairman and Malaya newspaper publisher Amado P. Macasaet said.
In a televised speech Friday, Arroyo announced the emergency proclamation and warned the media against "publishing rumors and baseless information."
At the same time administration officials said public utilities, including news organizations, face possible takeover by the government if they "aid and abet destabilizers and coup plotters."
The PPI statement reads: "The Supreme Court ruled after the siege of Malacañan on May 21, 2001 that a declaration of a state of national emergency does not add or subtract a whit to and from the powers of the presidency. The declaration, the court said, but constitutes a statement of fact, a description of prevailing conditions that require the commander-in-chief to call out the military to suppress lawless violence.

"So we view with grave concern government attempts to curtail the citizenry’s constitutionally guaranteed rights, including the right of expression and the right to assemble peacefully to seek redress of grievances.

"Permits to rallies marking the 20th anniversary of the EDSA 1 People Power Revolt have been revoked. At this very moment police and military officials are talking about arresting alleged participants and purported supporters of a supposed coup attempt. Palace officials are threatening to take over public utilities, especially media.

"Such naked assaults on civil liberties should be condemned. Twenty years ago, the people threw out a dictatorship. We should not allow – nay, we should resist – a return to those dark days of repression. We are not destabilizers or coup plotters. Our duty in the media is to report as truthfully as we could, guided by our best lights.

"We are threatened with closure, and those who fear the truth might temporarily succeed in stilling our voices. Lies, however, will in time be exposed.

"But enough of the counsels of fear and despair. Our commitment is to the truth. And while we have the room, however being constricted, nothing will bar us from pursuing our duty." (Philippine Press Institute)

Unspeakable Danger For Press Freedom


Press Statement
February 24, 2006


We demand that the Arroyo government allow journalists and media organizations the fullest freedom to air and print news and information about the current political crisis, and that it desist from undertaking repressive action against journalists and media organizations covering the crisis.
We also urge our media colleagues all over the country not to be cowed by threats, open or veiled, seeking to scare us from boldly performing our jobs as we must.

When unrest and confusion reigns, as is happening at the moment, it becomes ever more vital for the people and members of the media to jealously protect the freedom of the press and expression. Such is a lesson learned bitterly under the past brutal dictatorship, whose downfall, ironically, Filipinos commemorate today.

PGMA Proclamation No.1017, General Order No.5





WHEREAS, over these past months, elements in the political opposition have conspired with authoritarians of the extreme Left represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA and the extreme Right, represented by military adventurists--the historical enemies of the democratic Philippine State—who are now in tactical alliance and engaged in a concerted and systematic conspiracy, over a broad front, to bring down the duly constituted Government elected in May 2004.

WHEREAS, these conspirators have repeatedly tried to bring down the President;

WHEREAS, the claims of these elements have been recklessly magnified by certain segments of the national media;

WHEREAS, this series of actions is hurting the Philippine State--by obstructing governance including hindering the growth of the economy and sabotaging the people’s confidence in government and their faith in the future of this country;

WHEREAS, these actions are adversely affecting the economy;

WHEREAS, these activities give totalitarian forces of both the extreme Left and extreme Right the opening to intensity their avowed aims to bring down the democratic Philippine State;

WHEREAS, Article 2, Section 4 of our Constitution makes the defense and preservation of the democratic institutions and the State the primary duty of Government;

WHEREAS, the activities above-described, their consequences, ramifications and collateral effects constitute a clear and present danger to the safety and the integrity of the Philippine State and of the Filipino people;

NOW, THEREFORE, I Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Section 18, Article 7 of the Philippine Constitution which states that:

“The President…whenever it becomes necessary,…may call out (the) armed forces to prevent or suppress…rebellion…, “ and in my capacity as their Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction; and as provided in Section 17, Article 12 of the Constitution do hereby declare a State of National Emergency.

IN WITNESS HEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Republic of the Philippines to be affixed.

Done in the City of Manila, this 24th day of February, in the year of Our Lord, two thousand and six.

President, Republic of the Philippines



WHEREAS, over these past months, elements in the political opposition have conspired with authoritarian of the extreme Left, represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA and the extreme Right, represented by military adventurists — the historical enemies of the democratic Philippine State — and who are now in a tactical alliance and engaged in a concerted and systematic conspiracy, over a broad front to bring down the duly-constituted Government, elected in May 2004;

WHEREAS, these conspirators have repeatedly tried to bring down our republican government;
WHEREAS, the claims of these elements have been recklessly magnified by certain segments of the national media;

WHEREAS, this series of actions is hurting the Philippine State by obstructing governance, including hindering the growth of the economy and sabotaging the people’s confidence in government and their faith in the future of this country;

WHEREAS, these actions are adversely affecting the economy;

WHEREAS, these activities give totalitarian forces of the both extreme Left and extreme Right the opening to intensify their avowed aims to bring down the democratic Philippine State;

WHEREAS, Article 2, Section 4 of our Constitution makes the defense and preservation of the democratic institutions and the State the primary duty of Government;

WHEREAS, the activities above described, their consequences, ramifications and collateral effects constitute a clear and present danger to the safety and integrity of the Philippine State and of the Filipino people’

WHEREAS, Proclamation 1017 dated February 24, 2006 has been issued declaring a State of National Emergency;

NOW, THEREFORE, I GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, by virtue of the powers vested in me under the Constitution as President of the Republic of the Philippines, and Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of the Philippines, and pursuant to Proclamation No. 1017 dated February 24, 2006, do hereby call upon the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), to prevent and suppress acts of terrorism lawless violence in the country;
I hereby direct the Chief of Staff of the AFP and the Chief of the PNP, as well as the officers and men of the AFP and PNP, to immediately carry out the necessary and appropriate actions and measures to suppress and prevent acts of terrorism and lawless violence.

City of Manila, February 24, 2006.


By the President:
EDUARDO R. ERMITA Executive Secretary

Bitter Foes Finally Unite For Peaceful Cause In Zambo Norte

Back row, left to right: Lino Tii - SSAI Council of Elders (Anoy/Mato side), Oglen Tii - SSAI Council of Elders (Anoy/Mato side), Chirino Limpuson – TVI Liaison Officer and SSAI Secretary, Vic Bagasao – TVI Community Relations Manager, Onsino Mato – former SSAI Secretary General, Mayor Cesar Soriano, Col. Ramon Florece – 4th Infantry Battalion Commanding Officer, Jose Boy Anoy – former SSAI Chairman, Tabayo Barangay Captain Bonifacio Patoh, Subanon Virgie Tialan, Lydia Dandana – SSAI Council of Elders (Tumangkis side), and Perfecto Pantalita – DENR Forester.Front row, left to right: Danilo Bason – SSAI Vice President (Tumangkis side), Atty. Pablo Bernardo – Legal Counsel of SSAI (Tumangkis side), Rey Jalandoni – DENR Forester, Vicente Anoy – SSAI Council of Elders brother of Anoy but on Tumangkis side, and Crispin Lumantang – SSAI Council of Elders (Anoy/Mato Side).

ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE (Rock Dimaculangan / 24 Feb) The scene, while tense, was inspiring. Current and former leaders of the Subanon indigenous people in Siocon town in Zamboanga del Norte province shook hands and agreed to work together for peace and progress.
They also vowed to end bitter disagreements within the tribe, exacerbated in recent years by conflicts as well as by differing opinions and principles pertaining to the administration of the gold-rich Subanon ancestral domain in Mount Canatuan.

Siocon town Mayor Ceasar Soriano recently called the meeting between the two Subanon factions and their opposing leaders: Juanito Tumangkis, and Jose “Boy” Anoy and Onsino Mato in the presence of representatives from the National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The meeting followed the recommendation of the Congress Committee on National Cultural Communities, led by Rep. Solomon Chungalao, who called on the mayor during the Committee’s visit to Canatuan in late January to continue his efforts to get the two sides together to effect a reconciliation.
The parties were seeking to resolve questions on the leadership of the Siocon Subano Association, Inc. (SSAI); on benefits sharing; and on the 2002 ambushcade that killed 13 Subanon and TVIRD in Siocon.
Tumangkis chairs the 2000-strong SSAI, recognized by the NCIP as the legal representative of the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) holders in Canatuan. He also heads the Subanon Council of Elders composed of 30 traditional tribal leaders whose legitimacy has been upheld by the NCIP as the policy-making body of the Subanon IPs of Siocon.
SSAI is represented by Anoy and Mato who were the group's former chairman and secretary. Since losing to Tumangkis in an election in November 2001, they formed and currently lead Apu’ Manglang Glupa’ Pusaka’, which is composed of Subanon members from the Zamboanga Peninsula.
“Sa tinoon lang lisod kaayo ang kahimtang sa LGU, apan mao mania tong responsibilidad nga hiusahon ang tanang nagkaaway (Truth is, this is difficult for the local government but it is our responsibility to unite all those who have conflicts),” Soriano said.
“Let this be a meeting where we can freely talk about our differences,” Mayor Soriano said, adding that the process will not be easy but assured the groups that the local government will be fair enough to listen both sides.
The six-hour meeting went through a three-step process: the opening statements before tribe members and observers; individual-group processing where members of each group separately and alternately discussed their concerns with a panel composed of representatives from NCIP, AFP and the municipality; and one-on-one talks between leaders of the opposing groups, i.e., Tumangkis and Mato; SSAI legal counsel Atty. Pablo Bernardo and Boy Anoy.
Of the total 8,213 hectares under the CADT, 508 hectares are covered by the Philippine government’s Mineral Production Share Agreement (MPSA) with TVI Resource Development Inc. (TVIRD). The company’s presence is supported by the current SSAI leaders and members.
TVIRD is the Philippine affiliate of Calgary-based TVI Pacific Inc., and focused on acquisition, exploration and development of polymetallic mineral deposits in China and the Philippines.
Prior to its operations, TVIRD received free and prior consent for its mining operations from the Subanon Council of Elders at a meeting officiated by the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP).
Hopeful of the reconciliation between the two groups, TVIRD welcomed the initiative of Mayor Soriano. The company views the leadership issue as internal to the IP community.
NCIP Resource Management Chief Noella Zunega believes that reconciliation is a possibility and that the unity meeting was a good start.
“Naniniwala po kami na sa pamamagitan sa ginawa natin ngayon, nagkaroon tayo ng simula tungo sa kauswagan. Tayo ay makakaiisa dahil tayo ay iisa ang atin lahi, bayan at mithiin. (We believe that because of what we achieved today, we have gained a fresh start towards development. Let us unite because we all belong to the same race and country, and we all share the same aspirations.)”
The two Subanon parties agreed to meet again next week in Siocon town.