Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Vol. V,    No. 18      June 12 - 18, 2005      Quezon City, Philippines











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GMA mum on OFW sentenced to death

Migrante Youth, the youth arm of the alliance Migrante International, criticized last June 9 President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s silence on the issue of Rey Cortez, the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia, as well as the reported 50 Filipino children imprisoned there.

"It appears that President Arroyo is too busy defending herself and her family from controversies such as their involvement in the multi-million peso jueteng payola,” the group said in a statement.

Migrante Youth and Migrante International have been helping the Cortez family in pressuring the government to exhaust all diplomatic means in saving Rey Cortez’s life. They also marked the 10th Migrant Workers’ Day on June 7 as an "International Day of Action for Rey and all other OFWs jailed and on death row."

There are 2,856 Filipinos languishing in 56 prisons worldwide and 13 of them are on death row. Four imprisoned Filipinos were executed last March. Aside from this, the group also revealed the 50 Filipino children in Saudi jails that desperately need help from the government. Bulatlat

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Series of pickets for power rates hike

Anakpawis and other organizations affiliated with the alliance People Opposed to Warrantless Electricity Rates (Power) staged a "rain-or-shine picket-rally" on June 9 at the Meralco main branch in Ortigas Avenue to protest the P0.1467 ($0.0027) per kWh rate increase proposed by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco).

A picket protest was first held in front of the Meralco EDSA-Kamuning Road branch in Quezon City on June 6 as the "initial salvo in a coming storm of protests.”

Anakpawis Secretary-General Cherry Clemente said that “the rate hike is based on the questionable and unjustified need of the firm for more profits to fund its expansion projects.”

The alliance announced that the Energy Regulatory Building (ERC) will be next venue for their picket.

“We will be lobbying and picketing at their complex as an advocate and watchdog, because the ERC has had a notorious record of issuing illegal decisions favoring Meralco's interests over that of its consumers," said Clemente. Bulatlat

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Japan bank anti-poor, anti-Filipino

People’s organizations in the Southern Tagalog declared the financial lending institution Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) as anti-poor and anti-Filipino, during a protest last June 9 at the bank’s office in Makati.

Hundreds of farmers, workers, indigenous peoples, fisherfolk, urban poor and the youth, led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Timog Katagalugan (Bayan Southern Tagalog) and the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK, or Association of Farmers Groups in Southern Tagalog), condemned JBIC for its Project Calabarzon (PC).

PC, according to Bayan-ST, is a grandiose development blueprint crafted by former President Ferdinand Marcos in the early 1980s with the help of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and was formally launched in October 1990 under President Aquino.

Kasama-TK chair Guillermo Bautista said that PC was to blame for massive land-grabbing and dislocation of farmers in their region. He cited the Harbor Town Project in Hacienda Looc, Nasugbu, Batangas, which covers 8,650 hectares of rich agricultural lands and spring hills and mountains beneficial to more than 10,000 farmers and fisherfolk, was allegedly grabbed by Fil-Estate Properties Incorporated (FEPI) of the Sobrepeña family and by Manila Southcoast Development Corporation (MSDC) of the Sy family. Bulatlat

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Church-led mission harassed, priests detained

Karapatan-Central Visayas (CV) reported last June 7 that the church-led relief and medical mission was harassed and detained on June 6 by suspected elements of the 34th Infantry Battalion based in Paranas, Western Samar.

Among the 70 participants in the mission who were detained were Fr. Calvin Bugho, OFM, Fr. Bob Caday, Rev. Steve Berdin, Dr. Oliver Gimenez and lawyer Noemi Truya of the Cebu-based Inter-Faith Movement for Justice and Peace (IFMJP).

The relief and medical mission was initiated by the IFMJP in coordination with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calbayog after Bishop Jose Palma issued a pastoral letter castigating Brig. Gen. Jovito Palparan for "instigating a reign of terror gripping the island of Samar."

Meanwhile, the group also reported that Bolontoy Mabag, a barangay councilor in Antol was abducted by suspected soldiers on June 6 in Brgy. Polangi, Calbiga, Western Samar. Bulatlat




© 2004 Bulatlat  Alipato Publications

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