Category: Top Stories

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.

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?