"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Raping Women and Girls for your Technological Convenience

Is it possible that the Laptop and Cell Phone you are using right now may have cost over 4 million lives and lifelong miseries to tens of thousands of women and girls in Congo? Since 1998 a brutal war has ravaged the Democratic Republic of Congo, over 4 million casualties and tens of thousands of women and girls have been systematically kidnapped, raped, enslaved, mutilated and tortured by the warring soldiers. All of these atrocities for the coveted prize of plundering Congo’s natural resources of diamonds, gold and coltan (a metal used in cellular phones and laptops).

In a documentary by Lisa F. Jackson, The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo, shown on HBO an expose’ of a shocking unimaginable depth of detestable monstrosity so surreal yet grotesquely real as seen through a camera lens. The film features interviews with survivors, activists, peacekeepers, physicians and, most chillingly, two groups of rapists who are soldiers of the Congolese Army. Above all, it highlights first-person accounts of dozens of rape survivors, who recount their stories with pulverizing honesty and immediacy.

A solo documentary by Emmy®-winning filmmaker Lisa F. Jackson, herself a survivor of gang rape, travels deep inside the DRC to understand what is happening and why. Where others fail especially the media in bringing to the world’s attention the shocking plight of women and girls caught in the middle as casualties of a resources war motivated by greed in the Congo, Lisa Jackson took the challenge single handedly.

The film shocks you while at the same time offers hope in seeing the resiliency of the victims and the untiring impossible work of caring and rehabilitating the victims in a society that has shunned these victims as if they are half human beings.

It traumatize you in disbelief as the victims finally speaks out in all honesty and heart wrenching frankness breaking their silence slowly and painstakingly trying to rebound out of the miseries they have been relegated to by their criminal perpetrators.

Women and children suffering a fate so damned because they are in the wrong place and time treated worse than an animal by maniacal soldiers and Congolese armies alike who instead of defending them attacks them instead. To quote some chilling recounting of the dastardly act that is so numbingly shocking that you wonder what kind of dark human being can do such monstrosity defies any logic:

We were raped by twenty men at the same time.

They have taken their guns and put them inside of us.

They kill our children and then they tell us to eat those children.

We are all alone. Our husbands have been killed, or they have denied us.

These numerous victims’ girls as young as 5 years old and women as old as 80 years old are savagely attacked by demented perpetrators thinking they have the right to do so because they were in the jungle for too long combined with idiotic superstitious belief perpetrates such dastardly act with no sliver of remorse. What strikes me is the comment of the lone policewoman in a one person sex crime department dealing with tens of thousands of victims faced with enormous work load has not wavered in doing what needs to be done, to quote:

To diminish the case of rape I think the first thing is we have to fight the problem of impunity.

Indeed, the culture of impunity creates an environment that sadly permeates society's mindset that rape is acceptable and unless the perpetrators are held accountable for their dastardly act it will remain a problem that destroys the very fabric of society.

Think about it the technological convenience that we take for granted may have been brought to us courtesy of the plunderers of Congo at the expense of over 4 million dead and tens of thousands of women and girls suffering physical and psychological trauma for life and some hanging by a thin thread or may have been dead by now infected with aids due to the savagery inflicted on them. We can choose to ignore this problem and let them suffer in silence displaced in their own country or we can help in our own ways by lobbying our representatives to stop the outrageous barbarism in Congo, urge the media for more coverage, join some organizations at the forefront of this issue or organizations that are featured by the documentary.

Related articles:

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Outrageous Callousness of GMA Angers FilAms

Filipino Americans actively lobbying for the Filipino Veterans (FilVets) equity bill's legislative victory celebration spoiled by the outrageous callousness of Gloria M. Arroyo’s reported impending sale of Veterans Memorial Medical Center.

Ernie Gange, co founder of NaFFA and NAFVE member is asking Senators Dick Gordon, Nene Pimentel and fellow countrymen if there is indeed a CA$H SUNDUAN (shady deal) or if the sale of VMMC to private developers is a done deal, to quote:

We read Neal Cruz of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and it appears that it is true.

Defense Undersecretary Ernesto Carolina did not deny it.

The visiting delegation to the USA, members of the Committee on National Defense of the Philippine Congress led by Chairman Antonio Magsaysay Diaz, Rozzano Biazon and Roman Romulo, they admitted that they did not know that the sale of VMMC is going on.

Congressman Tony Magsaysay Diaz will resign if the sale of the Veterans Memorial Hospital is consummated.

Where does Dick (Sen Richard Gordon) and Nene (Sen. Aquilino Pimentel) stand on this?

Who will get the commission?

And how much is the CA$H $UNDUAN?

Is it true that VMMC was a gift from the people of the United States to the people of the Philippines?

What was the condition?

Can the Philippines sell it without the consent of the donors?

What are you going to do with the sick veterans?

Will both of you agree to sell the Veterans Memorial Hospital?

We want to hear your side of this CA$H $UNDUAN. Please comment.

Luis Ramos in an email to Ernie Gange has dug deeper into the outrageous arrangement that has the makings of a shady deal through his sources reported:

From a very reliable source, the "sale" of the Veterans Memorial Hospital at Quezon City is all done and over except for the signing of the Agreements and/or relevant Presidential Proclamation. The source added that the "sale" of the VMH property is part of the grand design to commercial the entire area of 250 hectares (VMH included). VMH property is a prime area situated in the vicinity of SM Mall and the Trinoma Mall (Ayala Group). This "sale" is concocted by the QC Mayor Sonny Belmonte, Vice-President Noli De Castro (representing Malacañang/NHA) and very likely, the Veterans Federation of the Philippines. The VFP should very well know this because there could never be a "sale" without their approval.

The purported "sale" has the smack of raising funds for the 2010 presidential election. The administration party may very likely put up the tandem of Sonny Belmonte-Noli De Castro tandem for the presidency and vice-presidency position or vice-verza.

Although the deal is practically done and over but the signing, we could still stop the "sale" by vigorous lobby efforts ie going to the press and continued pressures from NaFFAA or all other groups there in the US, especially the Filipino veterans, The VMH must not be sold because its historical value and it's part of Filipino heritage which must be beyond the commerce of man. Emphasize that why you're doing your utmost best and fighting to the hilt just to have the bill passed in the US Congress, here comes the present dispensation selling the VMH. The "sale" would definitely have a chilling and negative effect on the passage of the bill at the US Lower House.
I suggest that you do this ASAP.

Indeed, it does have a chilling and negative effect on the lobby effort especially when the effort is now focused in the US Congress which is bigger in scale in terms of the number of representatives the lobbyist has to win over for the FilVets cause. Ernie Gange says it will be a tougher fight in the US House because of the need to get 281 votes, which represent 2/3rds majority of the 435-Member US House of Representatives.

This is just as sick as it can get, imagine the aging veterans in their 80’s and 90’s treated with utter disrespect by their very own president together with her minions while FilAms are at their wits end trying to improve their lot is literally being sabotaged by greed and callousness. To quote Ernie Ramos Co-Chair of NaFFA, NAFVE member and a proud son of WWII Filipino Veteran:

"Vigilance is the price of victory" so they say. So -- let's not allow another travesty of injustice sully the dignity of our remaining WW II veterans!

And let's be counseled by the words of the British poet Edmund Burke: "For evil to triumph, it's for good men (and women) to do nothing."

Luis Ramos believes that the “sweetheart” deal is not possible without the VFP knowing about it and further questioned whether there was collusion on those involved. Meanwhile Ernie Ramos calls it a stab at the back of the veterans and concurred with Neal Cruz in the purported construction of a new Veterans Hospital elsewhere is subjecting the Bataan Death March veterans to yet another round of death march……. How ironic and pathetic indeed seeing the president and her minions as the modern counterpart of Kempetai in their atrocious cruelty towards the aging veterans in the twilight of their years treated with unspeakable disrespect out of pure greed. An outrageous elder abuse I should say but what can we expect from a president with questionable mandate anyway?

It is definitely an uphill legislative battle and instead of supporting the cause of the veterans this administration only serves as an extra baggage that may derail the lobby effort, an added strain to the lobbyist they don’t need at this crucial point in time. It is up to us if we are going to allow evil to prevail............. now is the time to act, we cannot allow this travesty to our WWII FilVets. Here are some email contact info on some members of the Philippine Senate who are Chairman of different committes, Senators Rodolfo Biazon, National Defense & Security committee, Pia Cayetano, Health & Demography and Alan Peter Cayetano, Blue Ribbon in preventing the illegal and anomalous sale of property that belongs to the Filipino Veterans.

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Chastity Belts Anyone?

Indonesia’s massage parlor setting the trend and raging national debate ensues when masseuses in the hill resort town of Batu in East Java had them wore a “chastity belt” like contraption.

Franky Setiawan, owner of Doghado Massage Parlor who is also a clothing designer came up with the idea because their clienteles "bombarded" his staff with demands for sex after local authorities shut down the town's brothels.

Unlike the chastity belts of Renaissance Europe that are bulky contraptions made of iron plates, Setiawan’s was more of a minimalist “fashionable” black pants that zip up at the side, where a padlock is slipped through two cloth loops and snapped shut each time a masseuse meets a client.

The keys to the padlocks are safely stored in a special box at the cashier’s counter and checked once in a while to make sure no ones lifts the keys to cut copies. To quote UPI quoting an LA Times article:

“We had a hard time rejecting this kind of client because they try over and over and over again, persuading our workers with their dangerously sweet words," Doghado Massage Parlor owner Franky Setiawan said.

Meutia Fardia Hatta Swasono, minister for the empowerment of women, said bringing back the old fashioned chastity belt is offensive to women.

"It is not the right way to prevent promiscuity. It insults women as if they are the ones in the wrong," she said.

Parlor sex crackdowns come as traditional Islamic values gain popularity in Indonesia, influencing people to cut back on morally questionable activities including the sex trade, alcohol consumption and gambling, the Times reported.

This one is very innovative but indeed contentious and I tend to agree that it is indeed insulting and offensive treating women as the main culprit when it takes 2 to tangle errr tango. What is it about looking at the women as the “sinners”? To think that predominantly Muslim Indonesia as having the same mentality on pinning the blame on their women just like in the Christian Philippines is just so bizarre.

Family planning in the Philippines is a big failure because they have relied and place the burden on the women to adhere to their unrealistic “abstention” instead of providing birth control contraceptives provided gratis et amore by US-AID. Now that US-AID has stopped the freebies and with a government that has no resources of their own to provide the free birth control contraceptives hopefully they don’t resort to following the lead of the Indonesian massage parlors.....…… devising a chastity belt with the keys safely locked in the priest pulpit or with the pro-life Taliban barangay captain’s.

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Filipino WWII Veterans Win Senate Vote

Filipino Veterans of WWII who fought alongside American Forces against the Japanese may soon get their due in terms of benefits in a historic vote of 96 to 1 approval of S1315. A long hard fought battle 63 long years and counting to restore their honor, dignity and status as veterans is nearing victory.

The Senate has paved the way for all the veterans that include Filipino Veterans of WWII and the House of Congress is planning a similar bill that hopefully gets the same nod of the representatives.

While the prospect looks good it still faces an uncertain fate as the Bush administration expressed concern about the cost of expanding the benefits to Filipino veterans living in the Philippines.

The provision for Filipino Veterans creates about US$250 million in new benefits over 10 years with $84 million going to the 6,000 FilVets already in the US while $166 million would pay pension benefits for the 12,000 in the Philippines.

According to Associated Press published at LA Times, the Democrats pushing the legislation want to give 18,000 Filipino veterans of that war who live abroad a roughly $300-a-month pension. A big boost to the veterans whose numbers are dwindling who are in their 80’s and 90’s some of whom may not even be around for another 10 years.

$300 (P12,300 at P41 to $1) a month is not exactly winning a lotto but Philippine President Gloria Arroyo seems to think so and wanted her “balato” (share) by selling Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) to private developers.

While the FilVets and their supporters are lobbying hard in this long drawn legislative battle Gloria Arroyo’s greed only serves to validate the Republican Senators argument against giving Filipino WWII veterans their benefits. The Republicans pointed out that the U.S. has invested heavily in the Philippines and in case Gloria Arroyo seems to "forget" one of those was the Veterans Memorial Medical Center built by the U.S. government and donated to the Filipino veterans with a provision that it cannot be sold or alienated.

There is a long road ahead for the FilVets and their supporters and it will help if every Filipino American will do their share of lobbying but all these will be for naught if Gloria Arroyo is allowed to sabotage the gains of the lobbying effort. That is if we allow Gloria Arroyo in her illegal abuse of her executive powers in including VMMC in her development plans that will serve as an excuse to sell a property that belongs to the Filipino Veterans not the government to dispose off as they please. Leave it to the president with questionable mandate to spoil everything what could have been the most important legislative victory for the FilVets. Like a typical destructive and vindictive person afflicted with crab mentality will pull down the FilVets because they are $300 a month richer. Denying them hospital care at the twilight of their years is just plain cruel and as sick as it can get.

This is not a walk in the park so to speak, hopefully an honest to goodness serious anti-corruption measure is instituted by the administration of Gloria Arroyo. Unfortunately this is a wish that has a bigger chance of this cyber jaywalking pedestrian getting hit by lightning while jaywalking the smog polluted streets of Manila than seeing the TraPos (traditional politicians of the Philippine kind) pursue good governance. Not exactly a bright prospect in an administration that is defined by rampant scandalous corruption that has institutionalized corruption at the very top. Hopefully Congress and the Bush administration is not in any way influenced by these realities in the Philippines and then we also have this not so encouraging news, “Fraud costs military health program $100 million-plus” and another one titled “Judge orders Philippines company to pay $100M for fraud.” While the fraud is not in any way connected to the WWII Filipino Veterans the need to intensify the lobbying effort is needed to counter these discouraging developments.

Our gratitude and heartfelt appreciation goes to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senators Daniel Akaka, Daniel Inouye, Ted Stevens for their consistent championing of Filipino veterans equity without them we would not have reached this far and to the rest of the Senate members who voted in favor of the measure

Maybe it will help if we contact some members of the Philippine Senate like the Chairman of different committes such as Senators Rodolfo Biazon, National Defense & Security committee, Pia Cayetano, Health & Demography and Alan Peter Cayetano, Blue Ribbon in preventing the illegal and anomalous sale of property that belongs to the Filipino Veterans.

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Bloggers Unite for Human Rights

Bloggers UniteBlog Catalog a social networking site I have been a member for quite a while is launching again a Bloggers Unite for Human Rights on May 15th, 2008 as a fitting one year anniversary. Human Rights have always been one of the reasons why Pedestrian Observer Group Blog exists, to be one of the voices so those who are victimized by human rights violation do not suffer alone and in silence.

One of the very first entry at POGB was the disappearance of long time activist Maria Lusia Posa-Dominado and Nilo Arado missing for a year now since 12th of March of 2007 in Iloilo a small island in the southern Philippines, feared to be victims of military abduction. Despite all the efforts of the families of Dominado and Arado and their supporters they are still in the dark on the whereabouts of the kidnapped kins with the “authorities” unwilling cooperation and silence if not outright denials to surface the desaparecidos.

Another Victim of military abduction is Jonas Burgos the son of the late Freedom Fighter during the dark days of the Marcos Conjugal Dictatorship. Inside a shopping mall in full view of witnesses and security guards unable or too intimidated to stop the abduction. The military abductors in total abuse of authority like monsters that they are even identified themselves as military operatives to prevent anyone from questioning their evil deeds. Such impunity and the gall to deny their responsibility and even pin the blame on the insurgents in broad daylight at that is just not credible and believable. Again the family and supporters are left in the dark on the whereabouts of Jonas Burgos with the victims’ mother Edith Burgos bringing this horrible incident to the international community’s attention but under a regime that has little regard or respect for the sanctity of human lives has done nothing to surface Jonas.

It is sad that our deafening silence is likened to abandoning those who are suffering from the impunity and abuses of those with low regard for human rights and there are thousands of them suffering in silence. Join and unite for Human Rights on May 15th, 2008 and use our blogs in our moral duty to stop the abuses of those so drunk with power acting likes gods deciding a person’s fate when no one has the right to take that from anyone regardless of one’s belief.

You can choose to take the case of political abductions or other human rights issues come May 15 or be the voice for others in other human rights related abuses on some of the following entries below:

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Abstinence, Baby Factories & Pro-Life Talibans

The Philippines once more scored big in terms of the fastest growing industry…. baby making factories probably even ahead of the rabbits surpassing its neighboring Asian counterparts nearing 90 million population at the rate of 2.1% growth. 1.4 million Unplanned pregnancies and an estimated 473,000 abortions annually despite a US program providing free contraceptives the Philippines still ranks 1st as the highest in coupling errr producing babies.
Condom infects users with AIDs, Lito D'Taliban Atienza

Following in the footsteps of their “devout” Catholic president to get the Catholic hierarchy not to drop her has insisted on promoting “abstinence” when the woman is not ovulating is just out of this world thinking this will work. How will abstinence work when people are really stuck in their hut staring at the ceiling day in and out with no work in sight, do they think abstinence will work? It is clear that Abstinence can't prevent the rise in baby factories producing 2 M babies a year is just ridiculous.

Heck this was in 2000 and 20 million babies later the women in the slums area finally decided to question the constitutionality of the order and hopefully they win unless we want to still hold on to the trophy of being the fastest growing population in Asia beating China by a thousand mile as if this was a derby with a billion people

At the rate Filipinos are staring at the ceiling in 20 years it is estimated the population will explode to 150 million. At 3 newborn babies every minute translating to 2 Million babies yearly which will naturally grow in number as more people get into the coupling errr get married and stare at their ceilings why they will even beat the rabbits and may take away their crown in baby making contest

Too many pregnancies are a health hazard according to family planning doctors and the situation gets aggravated when 500K women a year go to illegal abortion clinics due to unwanted pregnancy which puts them at even more risk. The government would rather act like a die hard Taliban inspired Pro-Life advocate and promote abstinence just does not make sense. While abortion is highly taboo in this predominantly Catholic country women still do go to these backroom clinics and quacks where women die.

Family planning organizations and NGOs are complaining that these Pro-life advocates are stricter than the church itself so they will definitely fight tooth and nail to derail the women’s lawsuit. Let us see if the court decides in favor of the poor and give baby making a rest or do we just love having 2 million babies a year and can’t have enough of them.

Thus it became only too clear that the core of the problem was not the pill, but the authority, continuity, and infallibility of the Church’s magisterium.

That I think is partly to blame but then again it is not enough where to pin the blame but a thorough understanding of the problem is needed to come up with doable solutions…… unfortunately population control pitted against religious beliefs and dogmas in a country dominated by intolerance and religious zeal in a Taliban fashion the women and the poor are always the eventual losers.

Anna of Manila Baywatch says otherwise in her post Catholic Church to blame for RP overpopulation? Hogwash! Citing DJB’s earlier article How Catholic Hierarchy Loves the Poor and Makes More of Them wherein she pointed the blame at the doorstep of the powers that be, and I quote:

My highly esteemed blogging friend, Dean Jorge Bocobo, opines, "So it would seem to me that the Catholic Bishops are directly to blame for the 24 million more people we reproduced than the Thais since 1970."; he also said, "The big difference is that they are Buddhist and we are Catholic."

In other words, Dean is laying the foundation for the blame of the nation's overpopulation and poverty-related human explosion at the doorstep of the Quiapo Church and not at the entrance of RP seat of power, Malacanang!

Blame the Catholic Church? Utterly stupid to do that! As Dean said himself, France, Spain, Italy, and let's not forget Ireland, Portugal, Belgium, and other Catholic-predominated countries do not suffer from overpopulation despite or in spite of Church admonitions against the use of contraception. (And by gum, these nations can afford to populate if they want to -- they are stable and prosperous!!!!)

Why? Simple: Their governments are strong, they are level-headed, they do not have wishy-washy leaders, they do not have a liliputian whore at the helm with gargantuan lust for power, they do not allow themselves to be bamboozled by Medieval-age superstitions (espoused vigorously during the Feast of the Black Nazarene), they believe in respecting the Social Contract, they believe that they owe their jobs to the people and not to any religious, pontificating men and women of any religious denominations but most of all, because they take their responsibilities seriously and judiciously, i.e., welfare, well-being, prosperity of their people.

Indeed, and one of the causes of poverty is our “increasing” GDP cannot keep pace with the increased in population with 70% of the population relying on Family planning “freebies” was denied access to proven medical methods with one based on prudish errrr “moral” religious dogma of “natural” family planning methods. Yeah right like withdrawal is going to work and proof of that is we have 1/3 of the population that are wallowing in despair in a deteriorating quality of life that is a bigger crime in not being able to provide better care to their offspring’s.

If ever there is anything that can be gleaned upon in these Abstinence, Baby Factories & Pro-LifeTalibans, it is certain and these combination definitely spells disaster. The problem with politicians is that they really don't think of the consequence of their decision even if it has dire consequence as long as they are assured of supporters. In the case of the Philippines where 85% of the population are Chrisitian taking an ultra conservative approach results in population explosion.

Religious ultra conservatism in the city of Manila has no place in how the government should run its healthcare system. As if the city does not have enough problems to deal with the city officials should have rescinded the order 10 years ago promoting natural methods in lieu of contraceptives. Page 15, last par. Of Misery as Policy:

The Arroyo government is the first administration since 1969—the beginning of family planning policies in the Philippines—to weld its policies not to medical standards, but to the moral standards of the Catholic Church. President Arroyo is adamant that in focusing solely on NFP her government has not violated any law, since modern contraceptives have not been banned in the country and are available commercially nationwide and in DOH facilities,21 a position similar to that taken by the Manila City government. However, given that the majority of Filipino incomes fall below the poverty line, expecting families to purchase contraceptives when they can barely meet their most basic needs is out of touch and cruel. DOH facilities also will no longer be a reliable source for artificial methods, given that national government resources will be focused on NFP.

I believe DJB and Anna are both right and if I may add it is not just the Catholic Church or the Pope per se that should take the responsibility in the looming crises of starvation due to the unchecked rise in population but the government as well. The point is there is a need to curb the proliferation of baby making factories but that is easier said than done when you have quite a number of couples staring at the ceiling night in night out after toiling desperately in trying to put food on their table. How do you prevent people from coupling when that is the only pleasure they can indulge in easily for “free” but with consequence because they are denied access to proven effective birth control methods.

Rina Jimenez-David aptly puts it in her article Misery as a policy, based on a report Imposing Misery, The Impact of Manila’s Ban on Contraception by Linangan ng Kababaihan, Inc. (Likhaan) during Talibani pro-life Lito Atienza now the Secretary of natural Resources. A policy that allows the Talibani Catholics of the Pro-Life faction that literally dictates like Hitler their ultra-conservative stance at the expense of women’s right to choose.

Lito Atienza during his reign as the Catholic Taliban pro-life mayor of Manila signed in 2000 Executive Order 003, which declared that “the City promotes responsible parenthood and upholds natural family planning not just as a method but as a way of self-awareness in promoting the culture of life while discouraging the use of artificial methods of contraception like condoms, pills, intrauterine devices, surgical sterilization, and other.”

This is the guy who promotes ignorance saying that condoms does not guarantee against sexually transmitted disease such as AIDs because they are tiny microscopic organism that can seep into the condom. The guy is a certified idiot and a hopeless moron, of course accidents do happen and nothing is guaranteed in this life but sex without condoms is just like playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun if one partner is infected.

Now that "Dirty harry" or Alfredo Lim is back as mayor of the City of Manila they have started to document the consequence of Atienza's idiotic "natural" family planning while denying access to medical birth control to its residence arresting people selling the devices even at pharmacies. But then again now that the Pro-Life Taliban is out, there is no freebies anymore because the USAID program that gives free birth control contraceptives to the Philippines will stop the aid so local governments will be self-reliant...... oh gee tough luck if during the time that the government gets these freebies La Gloria is reallocating funds for political of corruption reasons like the US$888,000 from a contraceptive programs fund to a NGO called "Couples for Christ" in 2003 and has consistently blocked HIV-prevention efforts, according to Human Rights Watch what's the prospect that the government will be self-reliant?

1/3 of the Filipinos not able to afford rice to eat, earning less than US$1 a day and barely eating enough with more mouth to feed, while being denied access to safe birth control contraceptives things are not looking bright unless something is done now....... But will La gloria and the corrupt politicians take the honorable recourse of serving the peolple through good governance? I doubt it............ at the rate the plunder goes on unabated and whistleblowers are harrassed and intimidated what will it take for these idiots to change? Nada............ its all about the moolah and more of it....... and in a Taliban Fashion impose their religious belief that spells disaster that is being felt now.

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Call to Action on S1315 to benefit FilVets

Pedestrian Observer GB received an email from Ernie Gange one of the supporters of FilVets alerting us regarding S1315 a bill sponsored by Senator Akaka, Chairman of the US Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Said bill will include all US Veterans as well as those who saw action in Iraq, a bill that has more chances of being approved rather than a stand alone bill for FilVets.

On Tuesday, April 22 the Senate floor will vote on S.1315 that includes the Filipino WW2 benefits, Naffaa is appealing for immediate and urgent action to call our own US Senators to show up and vote this Tuesday for S1315. Things to do:

  1. Contact both your Senators: Send calls, e-mails and faxes and call on them to cosponsor the Filipino Veterans Equity Act (S. 1315) and to vote for it when it comes to a floor vote.

  2. Oppose efforts to water down the provisions of the current bill: Our unity in support of the current bills sends a message that we support equity for our veterans.

  3. Call on Senators to push this bill through: Senators can vote for "cloture" to help close debate and bring this bill to a final vote.

Please make the following points:

  • The 1946 Rescission Act took away U.S. Veterans status and the Filipino Veterans Equity Act will not only restore this status, but will give them the honor and recognition of their service that they deserve.

  • Nationals from more than 60 other countries who also served under U.S. command received U.S. veterans status- Filipinos were singled out for discriminatory treatment.

  • All of our veterans deserve to be treated the same- we are committed to full and equal benefits in line with what U.S. veterans currently receive.

  • It is important to us that we leave NO veteran behind- we stand in full support of ALL our veterans, but want to make sure that we take care of the veterans who are part of the "Greatest Generation." S. 1315 allows us to provide needed services and benefits for ALL veterans, as well as correct a 62 year injustice to veterans who held the line for us in WWII.

  • Pass the Filipino WWII Veterans Equity Act NOW!

For more information about the bill, or about the National Alliance for Filipino Veterans Equity, contact Ben de Guzman, NAFVE Campaign Coordinator via email.

While the Filipino American community and the Filipino Veterans of WW2 are fighting tooth and nail rallying together with their supporters and detractors (those who think they can also do it based on their delusional egoistic I am superior above the rest) La Gloria de Makapal Arroyo is screwing the veterans as pointed out by Neal Cruz in his column AS I SEE IT:

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is still at her old tricks, bribing people while stabbing them in the back. At the Bataan Day rites last Thursday, she signed a law increasing to P5,000 the monthly pension for war veterans. Big deal! She also announced that a Philippine delegation will go to the United States to lobby for US pensions for the veterans. Nice to hear, beautiful words written by speech-writers, but listen to what you do not hear and is being kept secret:

While extolling these same war veterans at the Bataan Day rites, she was stabbing them in the back. How? The veterans will be deprived of their hospital. Yes, the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC), near the TriNoMa shopping mall in Quezon City, will be sold by the government to a land developer, to be replaced by high-rise condominiums and business offices.

The hospital and golf course do not even belong to the Philippine government. It was built by the US government and donated to the Filipino war veterans. The donation has a provision that it cannot be sold and alienated. And it is not even included in the development plan for Quezon City’s North and East Triangles which will be turned into the city’s business district.

But the President issued an executive order including VMMC in the development plan, as an excuse to sell it. I do not think an executive order can overrule a condition in a deed of donation. And I think the veterans should protest and the Senate should investigate this latest caper of the administration. We cannot allow this to happen.

The government also tried to sell the national police headquarters Camp Aguinaldo and the tuberculosis hospital Quezon Institute but it was told that these were donated property and that the deeds of donation have a condition that if no longer needed by the donees, they should revert to the donors. The government also tried to sell the Manila Seedling Bank Foundation on North Triangle but the MSBA sued because it has an existing lease.
MSBA won.

That is why the government has issued an executive order in the VMMC case. You have to hand it to the Arroyo administration: If it does not succeed the first, second or third time, it tries and tries again until it succeeds.

The government is also selling the National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong City, the nearby Welfareville compound, and the Bilibid Prisons compound in Muntinlupa City.

Why is the Arroyo administration on a selling spree? Because it is going out in two years. Its officials are providing for their future. Make hay while we are still in power. What are we in power for? Also, there will be a presidential election in 2010 and candidates will need plenty of campaign funds. The selling spree is in aid of election.

Are we going to allow the administration to sell everything that belongs to the people just to ensure the election of its candidates?

Now how sick is that? While the WW2 Filipino Veterans are slowly dying trying to fight for equity denied to them all these years the President of the Philippines shamelessly denies them hospital care by trying to sell VMMC that is badly needed now in their advancing years........ While you're at it you might as well call their attention to stop the immoral if not illegal act of selling what rightfully belongs to the Veterans, or better yet why not ask Gloria Arroyo to resign thru Ambassador Willy Gaa at the Embassy of the Philippines, 1600 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC, USA, Telephone 202-467-9300 Facsimile 202-467-9417 or email phembassyusa@verizon.net.


UPDATE 4/24/08 courtesy of Ernie Gange, Senate Approves Filipino Veterans Equity; Bill Now Moves to the House. S1315 passed this noon after some interesting debates between proponents and oppositors. We had some moments during the vote on the Burr amendment but it was defeated by a vote of 56-41. After that the vote on S1315 was a breeze 96-1. ...... read the rest at Filipino WWII Veterans Win Senate Vote.

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