Monday, March 30, 2009

2010 Presidential Campaign Issues

Readers who by now are a bit familiar with my site will notice the poll in my sidebar entitled "2010 Presidential Campaign Issues." For posterity, I now include a copy of said poll in this article.

A few clarificatory points are in order:
  1. My primary objective in doing this survey is to influence the tendency of the 2010 campaign towards issues and away from personalities.
  2. Another primary objective is to determine how well the choice labeled: "Reestablish respect for the Philippines by actively promoting Filipino cultural heritage" will perform compared with the other choices. Remember that this is a blog that was birthed by, and remains committed to, the need to promote Filipino cultural heritage.
  3. You may select up to nine (9) choices before casting your vote.  Of course, if you want to, you can select only 1 or several that you really like most. That way, your top choices will land on top.
  4. I wanted to provide more choices but ten (10) is the limit that the Vizu system allows.  This is a definite limitation in this poll which might just lead to a part 2 for this poll.
  5. This is my very first time to do a Vizu web poll. There are many things that I don't know about Vizu web polls.
  6. I have nothing at all to do with what appears at the bottom of the Vizu web poll. The words "Earn $5 Cash Now" appeared automatically when I created this Vizu web poll. I had nothing to do with putting them there.
I hope you'll find time to cast your vote on this poll. Please ask your family and friends to do likewise.  This is our chance to shape the 2010 campaign into a campaign for real CHANGE rather than just a senseless circus staged by the personalities who are running.  Many voters who are disgusted with personalities will at least look at issues and, given a decent forum, will sit down to discuss them especially if these are close to their hearts.  Polls like this one give us the opportunity to draw out these voters thereby enriching the electoral process.

When Filipino voters demand that candidates adopt the issues paradigm, that's the time when candidates will be compelled to run campaigns compatible with standards that the voters require.  Only the certified eggheads will fail to respond. 

Aside of course from the choices expressed through your votes, I'd be delighted to find your comments and suggestions on this post. 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour 2009 - The Philippines Votes for the Future of Mother Earth

29 March 2009

Last night, March 28 from 8:30 to 9:30 pm, the Philippines marked Earth Hour 2009 in what is possibly the biggest participative event in world history.  The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Department of Energy (DOE), other government agencies, commercial sponsors and the general public made the event a success. 

The following videos courtesy of GMA-7 showcase the Philippines' participation for two years running in this historic event:

Earth Hour 2009

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

Earth Hour 2008

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

After we flicked off the light switches at home and turned to a small candle's flickering power, I went outside but unfortunately, Caloocan City did not appear to have much organization as far as this event was concerned.  It seems our local government officials are concerned with other things, like looking the other way while private contractors working for the national government dig up the Monumento Rotunda.  Samson Road all the way up to the Monumento area was well-lighted.  Next school year, we should all suggest to the DepEd, the CHED, and Philippine media to conduct a year-long information campaign on Earth Hour 2010 and other related events.  

Anyway, country-wide, there is no doubt regarding the positive impact of Philippine participation in Earth Hour 2009.  This blog is proud to have participated in a small way towards that success.  Given more time to prepare, we should do a lot better next year. The fate of Mother Earth hangs in the balance.



"Walang Pera?" The GMA News and Public Affairs Global Recession Special

29 March 2009

The following video is a 20-minute special presentation by Mike Enriquez, entitled "Walang Pera?" starring Marianne Rivera as an electronics worker who lost her job because of the global crisis.  I learned about it through an email message yesterday afternoon from "Juan Maralita" of Kamalaysayan.    

Juan Maralita's email message itself, in its entirety, is as follows: 

Panoorin ang Dokumentasyon Hinggil sa Global Crisis - GMA 7

Kamakailan, nitong Marso 22, 2009, ika-10:45 ng gabi, ipinalabas sa GMA 7 ang dokumentaryong "Walang Pera? The GMA News and Publi Affairs Global Recession Special" na pinagunahan ni Mike Enriquez bilang tagatalakay, at Marian Rivera bilang manggagawang apektado ng tanggalan sa mga pabrika.

Upang mapanood ang kabuuang 20 minuto nito sa YouTube, paki-click lang ang:

http://www.gmanews. tv/video/ 38706/SNBO- Walang-Pera

Narito ang ilang datos na ipinakita sa palabas.

1,095 nawalan ng trabaho sa wholesale at retail sector

4,056 nawalan ng trabaho sa real estate

4,971 nawalan ng trabaho sa mga minahan

40,456 nawalan ng trabaho sa manufacturing

19,242 nawalan ng trabaho sa electronics

1,800 manggagawa ng Intel

2.6 bilyong dolyar ang kita mula sa electronics exports noong 2008, source: NSO

7,303 nawalan ng trabaho sa garments, DOLE Peb. 2009

sa 15 patahian sa Clark Export Processing Zone, 6 na lang ang bukas ngayon

Peninsula Fashion Inc. - from 0.5M buwan-buwan, ngayon ay 200,000 piraso ng damit na lang ang order

sa niyugan $717M ang kita ng gobyerno 2008 mula sacoconut oil

in metric tons, kita $1,300 dollar ngayon $610 na lang

hanggang dito na lamang muna, kung sakaling may nakaligtaan ako, o may mungkahi kayo, mangyaring ipaabot nyo naman sa akin

maraming salamat

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time. ~Willem de Kooning 

Poverty is the mother of crime. ~Marcus Aurelius 

The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied....but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing. ~John Berger 

Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn't commit. ~Eli Khamarov, Lives of the Cognoscenti

I believe this video special is bound to be a classic guidepost, something which 5 or 10 years from now we'll all look back to and say --  hopefully --  "may natutunan ako sa video special ni Marianne, mahirap ang buhay lalo na kung hindi ka handa.  kailangang magtipid at magsikap . kailangang mag-aral nang mabuti at makatapos.  Kailangang gumising na at suriin kung mabisa nga ba talaga ang 'foreign investments' sa pag-unlad ng bansa, mga 'foreign investments' na sa isang iglap ay pwedeng maglahong parang bula habang ang mga umaasang manggagawa ay biglang naging kawawa ..." 

Six Degrees Could Change the World - A Global Wake Up Call

29 March 2009

Right after Earth Hour 2009 last night, I was fortunate to catch National Geographic's documentary, Six Degrees Could Change the World. It's a rude and graphic reminder that the world is an increasingly fragile place and that we need to take the warnings seriously. The docu itself is based on the book Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet by Mark Lynas. Below is a fragment of the write up on Lynas' book and a video montage, both from the National Geographic website:

Six Degrees: The Book

Photo: Mark Lynas

Author Mark Lynas

In possibly the most graphic treatment of global warming yet published, noted science writer and 2006 National Geographic Emerging Explorer Mark Lynas explains in his latest book, Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, how Earth’s climate will be impacted with every degree of increase in temperature — and what we need to do about it, now, to avert disaster.

Scientists have established that the current episode of global warming of about 0.7 degrees Celsius (1.2 degrees Fahrenheit) in the last century has pushed Earth’s temperatures up to levels unprecedented in recent history. A 2007 report by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that at no time in the past 1,300 years has our planet been as warm as it is now, while records from the deep sea suggest that temperatures are now within a degree of their highest levels in 1 million years.

I didn't get to see the whole documentary but I saw enough to realize that something more drastic needs to be done.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Jobapalooza '09, The Biggest Job Fair in the Philippines

28 March 2009

The following news item is taken from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) website.  The article is entitled "Labor unions to spearhead Labor Day Jobapalooza '09. "  Jobapalooza '09 is billed  as the biggest simultaneous job fairs event in the country. It brings the promise of local and overseas jobs across the country for those who will be fortunate enough to find favor with participating employers and recruitment agencies.   

To hasten assistance to workers affected by the global crisis, the country's largest labor unions will lead the conduct of the biggest simultaneous job fairs in all regions nationwide on May 1, 2009, Labor Day, in collaboration with the government and the private sector, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today said.

Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque said the social partners have recognized the need for collective action and mutual collaboration in mitigating the effects of the global crisis on the workers and the economy, adding they agreed to lend a hand in helping workers particularly the displaced as well as new graduates find jobs locally and overseas through the conduct of job fairs all over the country.

Roque said the trade unions and labor groups unanimously approved to celebrate Labor Day with the conduct of what would be considered, so far, the biggest job fair dubbed "Labor Day Tayo Na! Trabaho Na! Jobapalooza 09," which will be held simultaneously in 16 regions on May 1 in collaboration with sponsoring firms, employers, recruitment agencies, local government units, Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs), and the DOLE and other government agencies.

He said that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo would launch the main celebration on May 1 at the SMX Convention Hall at SM Mall of Asia (MOA) in Pasay City. The DOLE with the social partners in other regions would also spearhead a similar event in their areas of jurisdiction.

The DOLE Chief also said that about 1,000 employers and recruitment agencies nationwide would participate in the Labor Day Jobapalooza to offer hundreds of thousands of local and overseas jobs to workers particularly the displaced and new graduates.

He said that even as the economy continues to exhibit resiliency, efforts are needed to facilitate the employment of workers through job fairs to diminish the crisis' impact on the people.

Roque hailed the organized sector and the sponsoring firms for cooperating with the DOLE in planning for the conduct of the Labor Day Jobalooza on May 1 as part of the national efforts to promote employment and, thus, mitigate the effects of the global crisis on the workers and the economy as a whole.

Apart from the job fair, there will also be skills demonstration, livelihood products display and sales, and distribution of training and scholarship certificates. To cap the night, an "Alay sa Manggagawang Pilipino" concert featuring the country's top bands will pay tribute to the country's working men and women at the MOA grounds near the SMX.

The participating trade unions are the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Federation of Free Workers, Associated Labor Union, Philippine Transport General Workers Organization, All Workers Alliance Trade Union, Trade Union of the Philippines and Allied Services, Alliance of Filipino Workers, Philippine Organization of Labor Unions, and the National Association of Trade Union.

The sponsoring partners are Globe Telecom, Banco De Oro, SM, Jobstreet,com, STI, Philippine Online Chronicles, and the City Government of Manila.

I'm just a little curious as to how large or how small a percentage of those who attend these job fairs actually land jobs.  Those who have had experience with these job fairs are most welcome to send in their comments and share their experiences.

30 April 2009 Update:
Please see the latest Jobapalooza '09 post, I Hope It's True — They're Saying 200,000 Jobs in Jobapalooza '09.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour 2009 - Switch Off Your Lights for One Hour, Save the Planet for Future Generations

28 March 2009

8:30 p.m. today, anywhere you live in the planet, is Earth Hour 2009.  From Earth Hour's official global website, this is the rationale for this momentous event:



This year, Earth Hour has been transformed into the world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming.

For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard.
Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.

In 2009, Earth Hour is being taken to the next level, with the goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights as part of a global vote. Unlike any election in history, it is not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re from. VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday.
We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.

VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour, and join the world for Earth Hour.

Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30pm.

The goal is to have one billion people join in the event.  In the Philippines, Earth Hour got prominent coverage in yesterday's evening news and top government officials have also issued messages endorsing participation.  The Roman Catholic Church has announced that church bells will ring throughout Earth Hour.  I believe this move is unprecedented and bodes well for the future of other campaigns that the Church will be minded to support.

We can all do something to help save the planet.  Let's start with Earth Hour 2009.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A "Spartan" Graduation Rites Message from PGMA

26 March 2009

In an exception to the rule. this blog now gives way to to an important message from PGMA to DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus and to CHED Chairman Angeles:

To: Sec. Lapus, Chairman Angeles
Re: No Frills Graduation Rites
Date: 20 February 2009

In time for the graduation season, the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education should issue reminders to schools that graduation rites should be lean on cost and long in the imparting of valuable messages.

It has become a habit for lavish and excessive graduation ceremonies to be paid for by collections from students.  Schools at all levels should desist from such practices.

We should usher in a paradigm shift.  Graduation rites should not be exercises in splurging and display of pomp and pageantry but should be Spartan affairs that exhort civic duties, sense of community and personal responsibilities.

School administrators should be reminded that it is their duty to curb excess in every form and guise, especially with the cost being borne by others.

Curbing excess also makes economic sense.  Money saved from tempering excess in graduation rites can be used to fund the cost of an elementary student going to high school, a secondary student going to college and a college graduate moving to graduate school.

Across the globe, citizens are more aware now of their civic duty to curb excess and immoderation in their lifestyles.

That the global economic meltdown was partly driven by Gilded Age lifestyles -- with excess and intemperance overridding good economic decisions -- has pushed the citizens and leaders further into the realm of prudence and responsibility and away from irresponsibility.

We are lock-step with the global movement.  In that light, the curbing of excess should start at the basic level.  That includes graduation ceremonies.

Graduation rites can be memorable, exciting and animated without the baggage of extra cost and excessive spending.

I would like to thank Mrs. Corazon Gonzales, Asst. Superintendent/OIC of the DepEd Division Office in Caloocan City for giving me a copy of this memorandum from PGMA.  

This is a seminal message loaded with recurring appeals to "curb excess in every form and guise."  The paradigm shift has began, from an unexpected quarter, and we should sustain it--  because it will benefit not only this generation of Filipinos but also future ones -- to include not only excessive graduation fees and other expenses but also to place a moratorium on increases in tuition and other school fees.  It's about time!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Government Should Give Adequate Funding to the Commission on Human Rights

22 March 2009

It has been reported in the papers that the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is asking for help from donor countries for the establishment of a forensic center in the Philippines after the Philippine Congress denied it the money.  Sa CHR, napapakinabangan ang pondo!  Sa ibang ahensiya ng gobyerno, naaaksaya lang!

I say let's give the CHR the money it needs to sustain the fight for human rights in the Philippines!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

World Water Day 2009

22 March 2009

Today is World Water Day 2009, en EspaƱol, Dia Mundial del Agua 2009, sa Tagalog o Pilipino, Pandaigdigang Araw ng Tubig 2009.

This year's theme is "Shared Water - Shared Opportunities. Emphasis is placed on transboundary waters, that is, waters shared between two or among several states. The main goal is to help build mutual trust and respect thereby promoting peace and common economic growth.

World Water Day 2009

Here's some information from the World Water Day 2009 official website:

  • Over 40 percent of the world’s population resides within internationally shared river basins.
  • There are 13 basins worldwide that are shared between 5 to 8 countries.
  • Five river basins, the Congo, Niger, Nile, Rhine and Zambezi, are shared between 9 to 11 countries.
  • The total number of water-related interactions between nations are weighted towards cooperation. There have been 507 conflict-related events as opposed to 1,228 cooperative ones. This implies that violence over water is not a strategically rational, effective or economically viable option for countries. In the 20th century, only seven minor skirmishes took place between nations over shared water resources, while over 300 treaties were signed during the same period of time.
  • The history of international water treaties dates as far back as 2500 BC, when the two Sumerian city-states of Lagash and Umma crafted an agreement ending a water dispute along the Tigris River.
As you can see, even though the tendency is towards cooperation, the potential for conflict among countries that share transboundary waters should be a cause for concern.

But we don't really need to go very far to realize that safe drinking water is really such a scarce resource. There are places such as Dagat-dagatan (a big area straddling the cities of Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas) that is awash in water many times during the year and yet, as far as access to clean water is concerned, that is also a perennial problem.

After just a brief tour of the online resources and reading materials available on the subject of world water, I quickly realized that one can immerse one's self into this subject and virtually drown in the sea of information.

So I'm now bringing forward this proposal to my comrades in Bloggers Unite (this is the website where I first learned about this important day through a tip from filipinamom), especially to the entire group of 48 participants (that includes myself and Marvia, the organizer.

Why don't we agree, among us, to declare 22 March 2009 - 21 April 2009 as World Water Month 2009?

Since we've done this now and put up our individual posts, we might as well lengthen the Day into a Month so we can explore this topic further, give it greater exposure and probably, put up another water-related blog before the Month is over or update the one's we've already posted. What do you think?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"Nicole," Victimized Again? Where to, Filipino Honor?!

19 March 2009

Everyone knows the story by now.  It's all over the papers, the radio and the primetime TV news.  "Nicole," the Filipina rape victim who won her case against US Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith is in the news again.  This time, through an affidavit submitted to the Court of Appeals by Smith's lawyer, "Nicole" is telling another story and saying that she was probably too drunk to know what really happened to her.

This story is wide, broad and deep and has far-reaching implications especially in the face of renewed calls for the scrapping of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which allows the temporary stationing of US military forces in Philippine territory.  

But the call coming from "Nicole's" lawyer, Atty. Evalyn Ursua, that it's too early to judge "Nicole," should be heeded.  

In a press statement, Senator Francis Pangilinan said that "we cannot blame Nicole and her family," and asserted that this is "an indictment of our justice system that is perceived to favor the wealthy and the powerful and ... to be biased against the ordinary folks like Nicole." He added that "Nicole did not fail us; our justice system did."  But to which we should all add that before human systems fail, individual humans themselves fail first.

However, "Nicole" and her family do owe the Filipino nation a clear and honest explanation, at least, if only to provide all of us with a concrete starting point in resolving this big politico-historic, socio-cultural crisis. It is not only the Philippine justice system that is indicted here but our culture and value systems as a nation.  We have to confront this reality and deal with it right here, right now.  What really happened here?!   Filipino dignity demands nothing less.  The honor of all Filipinos -- not just every Filipina -- is at stake.  Not only here, but around the world.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Flor Contemplacion Is Dead! Long Live Flor Contemplacion! (A Proposal to Establish the Flor Contemplacion Memorial for a Fallen Filipina Heroine)

17 March 2009

On March 17, 1995, fourteen (14) years ago to this date, Filipina domestic helper Flor Contemplacion was hanged by authorities in Singapore while the entire Filipino nation, helpless to the point of despair, silently prayed and wept.  It was a calamity of untold proportions for Flor Contemplacion, her family and the Philippines.  The Filipino spirit had taken physical, psychological and spiritual beatinga from mightier nations before, like Spain, the United States and Japan -- but this was the tiny-nation state of Singapore!

The furor over the apparent helplessness and negligence of the Philippine government in somehow allowing Flor Contemplacion to be hanged forced the hand of then President Fidel V. Ramos who, on March 20, 1995 issued Executive Order No. 231 creating the Presidential Fact-Finding and Policy Advisory Commission on the Protection of Overseas Filipinos, more popularly known as the Gancayco Commission.  There's nothing like a united public outcry led by migrant worker groups and women's groups like Migrante and Gabriela to compel even an excessively contemplative President to act quickly.

The creation of the Gancayco Commission because of tremendous public outrage and its aftermath including the passage of  Republic Act 8042 (the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995) was meant to ensure that the lives of OFWs would change for the better.  As to just how much better, is still a subject of debate.  

But one thing is clear, Flor Contemplacion's death forced a nation to come to grips with the harsh realities engendered by Filipino labor migration, the Filipino diaspora.  Whether she wanted it or not, Flor Contemplacion stands as our nation's symbol of sacrifice for family and for people.   

From where I stand, this generation of Filipinos should establish a memorial to honor the life, death and legacy of Flor Contemplacion.  I don't know how long it will take for that dream to be realized but when the Flor Contemplacion Memorial or monument is established, the Filipino nation that helplessly grieved and wept in 1995 will slowly cease to exist and in its place, a Philippines united in caring for our OFWs will emerge, a nation that truly knows how to look after its very own! 

Even as I write, heaven seems to be shedding its own tears in memory of Flor Contemplacion. And since we speak of a memorial or monument, the pictures below will show you that it's raining right now (10:03 am) at the Monumento area.  

Proof, I am sure, that Somebody up there is watching intently and He is planning something good for the OFWs and the Philippines.  For that to happen, He expects us not only to pray but to join our hands in earnest effort and collective action.  Then, and only then, will true blessing come to the Filipino nation.

Filipina heroine Flor Contemplacion is dead!  Long live Flor Contemplacion!

To God be the glory, always!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Bonifacio Monument, Nominee As One of the Most Endangered Monuments on Earth in the 2010 World Monuments Watch

16 March 2009

                              click image to enlarge

Yesterday, as nominator, I had the honor of submitting by email the nomination form and nomination signature form for the inclusion of the Bonifacio Monument in the 2010 World Monuments Watch.  Joining me in making the nomination is Prof. Ding Reyes, as endorser in behalf of Kamalaysayan, Inc.. In the World Monuments Watch page of its website, this is what the World Monuments Fund has to say about the 2010 Watch:

World Monuments Watch 

Launched in 1996 and issued every two years, the World Monuments Watch calls international attention to cultural heritage around the world that is threatened by neglect, vandalism, conflict, or disaster. The 2010 Watch will continue this tradition of identifying endangered sites, while also encompassing sites with compelling issues or progressive approaches that could inform the field at large.

Watch listing provides an opportunity for sites and their nominators to raise public awareness, foster local participation, advance innovation and collaboration, and demonstrate effective solutions. The Watch nomination process also serves as a vehicle for requesting WMF assistance for select projects. 

Since the program’s inception, 544 sites have been included on the seven Watches. Nearly half the listed sites, representing 79 countries, have received WMF grants totaling $50 million. These WMF monies have leveraged an additional $150 million in assistance from other sources.

As the flagship advocacy program of the World Monuments Fund, the Watch is emblematic of WMF’s commitment to inspiring heritage stewardship, forging partnerships, and advancing conservation. 

In sponsoring the Watch program, WMF seeks to highlight emerging issues and opportunities in the field, confront urgent challenges, foster community engagement, and build capacities and constituencies for sustaining heritage protection in the long-term.

This is what we wrote in the Watch Listing portion of the Nomination form in justifiying inclusion of the Bonifacio Monument in the 2010 Watch:
The inclusion of the Bonifacio Monument on the World Monuments Fund Watch would leverage in a significant way the implementation of the plan of action outlined above.  Once the millions of Filipinos around the world notice the inclusion of the Monumento in the World Monuments Fund's 100 Most Endangered List, it will start a global rescue campaign unprecedented in the annals of Philippine cultural preservation and heritage conservation history. 

It will send a clear signal to Philippine government leaders and the National Historical Institute that the world community is watching and will not agree to a further desecration of the Bonifacio Monument.

Inclusion on the Watch will hasten submission by the Philippine Government to the Tentative List and should also help hasten UNESCO listing on its World Heritage cultural list. The Monumento World Heritage Global Campaign, convened by the nominator, has an online petition at http://www.gopetition.com/online/23996.html which seeks inclusion of the Bonifacio Monument in the list of UNESCO World Heritage cultural sites.
As a nation, let's join together in prayer and collective action so that the World Monuments Fund considers our submission and includes the Monumento in the 2010 World Monuments Watch. 

To God be the glory, always!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

UN Special Rapporteur on Housing Submits First Report to UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

15 March 2009

Mr. Fionn Skiotis of COHRE (Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions) sent us recently a copy of the report to the Human Rights Council from the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing, Ms. Raquel Rolnik.  The report was released 9 March 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland.  The report's summary is presented below:  

The present report is the first one presented to the Human Rights Council by the new mandate holder, Raquel Rolnik, who took up her position on 1 May 2008. In view of the current crisis in the housing and financial sector, the Special Rapporteur decided to devote this thematic report to the consequences of certain economic, financial and housing policies and approaches that have seriously impacted the right to adequate housing in the past decades and have contributed to the present crisis.

The first chapter of the present report discusses the housing/mortgage and financial crisis. The second chapter relates these crises to prevalent economic, financial and housing policy approaches and their impact on the right to adequate housing. Within the context of the globalization of the housing and real estate finance markets and economic adjustment policies, cities have become unaffordable for inhabitants of lower-income -and increasingly middle-income - groups. In the majority of countries, the market has become the regulating institution, setting benchmarks for the price, location and availability of housing and land, as well as rental housing prices, while the role of the State in the management of public housing has generally decreased. This has contributed to strengthening the perception of housing as a mere commodity and a financial asset, neglecting other dimensions of the right to adequate housing and negatively impacting on the enjoyment of human rights for all.

The Special Rapporteur believes that these crises provide an opportunity to reflect on the current housing system and the adoption of a human rights-based approach, to introduce changes to make the system sustainable and allow the provision of adequate housing for all. She calls on the Council to consider the different issues tackled in the present report and gives a number of preliminary recommendations: the multiple dimensions of housing should be recognized; it should not be considered as a mere commodity or financial asset. The report argues that markets alone cannot provide adequate housing for all, and in some circumstances public intervention is needed.

The Special Rapporteur advocates the adoption of human rights-based public housing policies which support access to adequate housing by different means, including through alternatives to private mortgage and ownership-based housing systems, and through the development of new financial mechanisms and tenure arrangements. 
The work that COHRE does as well as by the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing and by the United Nations in general is invaluable in addressing a problem that is at the core of the poverty spectre that haunts the world's poor.  

COHRE's International Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland – the centre of the United Nation's human rights system. The International Secretariat acts as the coordinating office for all of COHRE's worldwide offices and activities and COHRE programmes. 

The COHRE International Secretariat office is located at 83 rue de Montbrillant, 1202 Geneva (directly opposite the UN High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR). 
Telephone: +41.22.734.1028, 
Fax: +41.22.733.8336. 

We should all support the UN Special Rapporteur's call for an "increase in public funding for housing and the construction of public housing, in order to address the impacts of the crisis in human settlements and the enjoyment of human rights."  Greater public funding for housing is a big step forward in asserting that every human family has the right to safe, adequate and decent housing.  

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Run for One Life, One Earth, World Creative Youth Forum 2009, March 27, 2009

14 March 2009

This message just came into my inbox from Mr. Walter Caancan, spokesperson of Consumers and Communicators for Truthful Information (CCTI).  It's an invitation to join the formal launching activities of the World Creative Youth Forum on March 27.  I reproduce it here faithfully:

Subject: Please help us spread this event on March 27 Salamat

Run for One Life, One Earth
We are inviting everyone to come and join us on MARCH 27, 2009 at the PEOPLE POWER MONUMENT, EDSA, QUEZON CITY for the FORMAL LAUNCHING ACTIVITIES for the World Creative Youth Forum, 2009.   The launching starts at 5:00AM. To join please DOWNLOAD THIS CONFIRMATION FORM or visit www.worldcreativeyouthforum.net and send it to us asap. (HELP SPREAD WCYF DOWNLOAD POSTER HERE ).
Among the planned activities are: 
This fun-run and tree planting activity is a pre-event of the first World Creative Youth Forum endorsed by UNESCO. This event aims to raise awareness in environmental protection through sustainable living. The tree planting ceremony shall be simultaneously conducted with other countries and similar activities will also be conducted in other locations in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.  Amongst the expected VIP’s in this event are: SenLoren Legarda, Mayor Sonny Belmonte, Vice-Mayor Herbert Bautista, MMDA Chair Bayani Fernando, and other key organization supporting WCYF 2009.
5:00 AM    ……………………    ECUMENICAL MASS 
                                               EDSA Shrine, Ortigas Center                                               

6:00 AM    ……………………    OPENING CEREMONIES                                                                                People Power Monument, 
                                                   EDSA, Quezon City 

6:30 AM    ……………………    FUN RUN                 
                 1st Leg:  People Power Monument – Araneta Center
                   2nd Leg:  Araneta Center – Bantayog ng mga Bayani
                   3rd Leg:  Bantayog ng mga Bayani – Q.C. Circle 

8:30 AM    ……………………    ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RUNNERS                                                        SOLIDARITY MESSAGES 

9:00 AM    ……………………    TREE PLANTING                                                                                                   Quezon City Memorial Circle 

10:00 AM    …………………..   PRESS CONFERENCE                                                                                       Quezon City Memorial Circle 

Co-Chairperson WCYF 2009
National Secretary General / International Council
Brotherhood of Destiny (BROOD)
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Here's how the poster looks like:

Nice!  It will be even nicer if we can all make it there!  See yah!

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