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Archive for August, 2008

Padaca asks Filipinos: Replicate democratic victories

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 31, 2008

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 17:52:00 08/31/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Breakthroughs and victories against “oppressive political structures” need to be encouraged and supported to be replicated, said Isabela governor and Ramon Magsaysay awardee for government service Grace Magno Padaca on Sunday.

In accepting her award at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Padaca also said political victories were “fragile” and asked for continued support.

“Victories are fragile and they need to be supported and encouraged,” she said. “Please continue encouraging and supporting me.”

The Ramon Magsaysay Awards, recognized as Asia’s Nobel Peace Prize, celebrated its 50th anniversary today with Padaca as one of the recipients.

Padaca broke the Dy family’s grip on Isabela in the 2004 gubernatorial elections by raking in 55 percent of the votes, making headlines for toppling a political dynasty that spanned 30 years. Now on her second term as governor, she rose to fame for her campaign for democratic elections. Padaca also said that the “political victory” she achieved in her province must be replicated nationally.

“What we dared to do is to make democracy work especially in electing our leaders,” she said. “In less than two years, we will be electing our leaders and are going to the polls. We need to continue succeeding after raining hopes on our people.”

Meanwhile, Jaime Zobel de Ayala, chairman of the board of trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation, expressed hope that the Ramon Magsaysay Awards would be “Asia’s solution to global problems.”

Ayala also said that the future would not only connect countries and people but also problems.

“As we embark in the next 50 years, these global problems will remain unresolved without greatness of service,” he added. “The world will continue to become more connected and we will become more connected with each other. Wealth and prosperity will no longer have boundaries.
In the next decade, we will be forced to face the demands of growth and development.”

He said these “demands” include lack of access to resources, basic rights and accountability, among others.

Other winners of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Awards are Thailand’s Therdchai Jivacate and the Philippines’ Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CAD MRI) for public service; India’s Prakash Amte and Mandakini Amte for community leadership; Japan’s Akio Ishii for journalism, literature and creative
communication arts; Indonesia’s Ahmad Syafii Maarif for peace and international understanding; and Sri Lanka’s Ananda Galappatti for emergent leadership.


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Philippines turning into ‘Southeast Asia’s Darfur’–lawyer

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 30, 2008

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 23:59:00 08/29/2008

MANILA, Philippines—A peace advocate in favor of the Moro homeland deal expressed fears the continuing conflict in Mindanao will turn the country into “Southeast Asia’s Darfur.”

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(UPDATE) Environmentalists blockade Angono dumpsite

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 29, 2008

Serve ‘citizen’s arrest’ warrant on mayor

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 13:58:00 08/29/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Environmental forcibly closed a waste dump in Angono, Rizal early Friday morning, blockading the entrance with steel scaffolding in an attempt to put an end to what they called a “garbage bin” in Laguna Lake.

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Cleanup of Manila Bay, Laguna Lake in earnest–DENR

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 29, 2008

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 15:24:00 08/29/2008

MANILA, Philippines — With the demolition of illegal fish pens and cages in Manila Bay underway, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will begin checking factories and other establishments in preparation for cleaning up Laguna de Bay.

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Second ‘discipline zone’ in Quezon City launched

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 29, 2008

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 13:27:00 08/29/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City government will intensify its crackdown on traffic violators as it expands its “SB (Mayor Sonny Belmonte) Discipline Zone” program to cover portions of Aurora Boulevard, particularly those traversing business and university districts, Belmonte said on Friday.

The 2nd phase of the discpline zone, launched last August 27, will cover 1 and ½ kilometers of Aurora Boulevard, beginning at the Elliptical Road in Quezon Avenue going towards Marikina city. Key roads covered by the discipline zone would include East Avenue, Katipunan Avenue, North Avenue, and the entire stretch of Cubao, one of the city’s bustling areas, Belmonte said.

Key government buildings and universities are within the vicinity of these areas and Belmonte said placing them under a discipline zone would highlight the importance of “obedience and respect for the law.”

“Small offenses lead to bigger offenses. For us to revolutionize peace and order in Quezon City, we have to cooperate,” he said on Friday.

Aurora Boulevard will be the second discipline zone in the city, the first one being the entire stretch of Commonwealth Avenue, an accident prone area that was turned into a discipline zone last April.

Apart from stricter traffic rules, street vendors, jaywalkers, “rugby boys,” and street children, among others, will also be prohibited from the discipline zone. Violators will either be imprisoned or fined, Belmonte said.

The second discipline zone will also aim to eliminate street vandalism, littering, vagrancy, and other “disorderly behaviors,” he added.

Magtanggol Gatdula, director of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), said more law enforcers would be placed in key areas covered by the discipline zone.

“We are confident to achieve similar feats in these areas where personal discipline of the people matters most. After all, just like other foreign countries, peace and order is maintained even without the presence of policemen or any other countries,” he added.

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DPWH speeds up Catanduanes flood control project

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 29, 2008

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 23:49:00 08/28/2008

MANILA, Philippines—A major flood control project in the municipality of Viga in Catanduanes province is nearing its completion, making one of the region’s typhoon-prone areas protected against agricultural and industrial damages, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said on Thursday.

In a statement, DPWH Catanduanes District Engineer Ignacio Odiaman said the P3.8 million Viga River Flood Control Project is 86.5 percent complete.

Odiaman said the agency has stepped up construction of the project because the province of Catanduanes is located in the typhoon belt.

“The Viga river is one of the major waterways on which the rainwater from the mountainous areas in the province flows downstream and considering that the municipality of Viga is one of the populated towns in Catanduanes, it is vital to immediately complete this project on schedule,” he added.

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Erring bus drivers ‘graduate’ to become professionals

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 28, 2008

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 21:58:00 08/28/2008

MANILA, Philippines—Sixty four provincial bus drivers found violating traffic rules “graduated” at the University of the Philippines on Thursday after undergoing a three-day workshop on road safety, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said.

The drivers received from LTFRB Chairman Thompson Lantion certificates of completion in a brief ceremony after a three-day seminar on road rules, basic first aid, and road safety.

The seminar was conducted by the LTFRB, the Automotive Association of the Philippines (AAP), and UP.

Lantion said the aim of the seminar was to create “professional” drivers “able to follow traffic rules and regulations,” he said in Filipino.

“With this, we can now that they can be called world class drivers,” he added.

Participants consisted of drivers from Genesis Bus, Baliwag Transit, ES Transport, Gassat Liner, Bataan Transit, and Mega Transport.

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(UPDATE) ‘Expect massive protests in September’–Bayan

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 28, 2008

Activists pressing on despite unheeded demands

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 16:46:00 08/28/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Leftist groups on Thursday said the series of mass actions they have been holding lately would be a prelude to much larger mobilizations next month if government continues ignoring their demands for higher wages, the scrapping of the value added tax (VAT), and a return to regulated fuel prices.

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A ‘breakthrough’ in proposed ‘amparo’ expansion–militants

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 28, 2008

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 15:26:00 08/28/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Militant groups saw a “breakthrough” in the statement of Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno to study the expansion of the coverage of the writ of amparo to include the economic, social, and cultural, rights of the poor.

Bayan (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, New Patriotic Alliance) secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said Puno’s statement was a “breakthrough” and an “achievement” for militant groups.

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Major road networks in CAR closed due to typhoons

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 28, 2008

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 16:41:00 08/28/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Due to the onslaught of typhoons “Karen” (international codename: Nuri ) and “Lawin,” major road networks in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) remained closed on Thursday, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said.

The following national roads are unpassable to all major types of vehicles as of 3 p.m.:

In the province of Abra, both the Abra-Cervantes Road and the Abra-Kalinga Road remained closed due to rocks and landslides. The Claveria-Clansan Road in Apayao province is also closed because of the collapse of a retaining wall.

In Kalinga province, the Balbalan-Pinukpuk Road and the Kalinga-Abra Road are closed due to soil collapse and roadslip.

DPWH CAR office reported that total repair cost of the damaged roads was P21 million.

As of posting time, DPWH has deployed heavy equipment and maintenance crew to conduct clearing and repair works in the damaged road sections.

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