Several groups critical of the Arroyo regime met yesterday to plan their next moves. A number of protest rallies have been scheduled beginning Thursday.
Despite the rain, Filipinos protested on Wednesday against Charter change. (Photo by Glaiza May Muzones / bulatlat.com)
Opposition congressmen tried to block the approval of House Resolution 1109 that would create a Constituent Assembly, with some valiantly opposing the apparent railroading of the measure. But the sheer number of Arroyo’s allies was overwhelming.
“I thought I was going to die there and then,” Melissa Roxas says. “They held my feet and my hands down and doubled-up plastic bags were pulled down on my head and face and closed on my neck and I started to suffocate and I could not breathe anymore and I was seeing white and thinking I was going to die.” | JOHN EDWARD JANDOC, MELISSA’S COMPANION, REMAINS MISSING
Tuition in the Philippines has increased by as much as 90 percent. As a result, the dropout rate has worsened over the years as school-aged children are compelled to work and help their parents earn a livelihood. And there seems to be no stopping schools from turning students into milking cows.
Related story: For Poorly Paid Public-School Teachers, a Daily Struggle to Make Ends Meet
By defining what “dominated,” “organized” and “targeted” means in its order of battle, the army’s 10th Infantry Division practically admitted that the document indeed came from them. Some of those listed in the OB are calling on international groups to investigate this “campaign of vilification” by the AFP.
“First, Pagbabago has a post-2010 elections advocacy, unlike others which merely serve as election machineries. Second, its 11-point program is a genuine response to the people’s grievances. And third, its coordinating council is composed of veterans of the social and people’s movements and have no interests except those of the people.”
Activists protesting the VFA.
Has the Visiting Forces Agreement served its avowed purpose? Or has it only reinforced the unequal alliance between the Philippines and the United States, a relationship so tilted in the Americans’ favor that to call the VFA an agreement — with all the word’s connotation of equal rights, benefits and privileges — would be a travesty?
Although it is too early to say whether the military is involved in Evelyn Pitao’s murder, Karapatan said they are looking closely into that possibility, given the history of violence the Pitao family had experienced in the hands of security forces.
Update: Melissa Roxas Moved to Philippines to Pursue Human-Rights Advocacy
Melissa Roxas, from Los Angeles, California, has been reunited with her family. The fate of her two companions — Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc – is unknown.
The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, and the Reporters Without Borders condemned what they called as an “abomination,” the military’s Order of Battle, the latest version of which included the NUJP and journalist Carlos Conde, a correspondent for the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, and GlobalPost.com.