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A law passed last year to bring down the prices of drugs and medicines has not delivered on its promise, according to consumer and health advocates. It failed to break the stranglehold of huge transnational drug companies on the Philippine market. It also squandered an opportunity to develop the local pharmaceutical industry.

Despite public statements from Arroyo denouncing extrajudicial killings, there is a gap between her rhetoric and what it has done to address the killings, said the group from the Netherlands and Belgium called Lawyers for Lawyers. Whatever initiatives she has implemented have failed to produce actual results, it said.

Farmers and activists protesting in Congress Wednesday night.

The landlord-dominated Congress, led by the relatives of President Arroyo, voted Wednesday night to add five more years to the implementation of a 20-year-old agrarian-reform program that has failed to uplift the lives of peasants and farmers in the Philippines. And critics say the new proposed law is even worse than the original.

“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.

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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.