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Mother appeals to SC to act on petition to free at-risk political prisoner and baby

Political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino’s mother Marites De Asis appealed to the Supreme Court to act on the petition to release the at-risk prisoner and her newly-born baby during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nasino delivered her first born baby last July 1 in a hospital and was sent back to jail the following day.

De Asis reminded the High Court that it has been three months since she filed the petition for the liberty of her daughter.

The group Families and Friends of Political Prisoners (KAPATID) tied blue ribbons in front of the Supreme Court along Padre Faura Street in Manila last July 7 to demand for Nacino’s and her baby as well as 22 others political prisoners they said are vulnerable to infection with the virus.

Health advocates file petition for mass testing

By Joseph Cuevas

Health professionals, workers and women filed a petition before the Supreme Court last Friday, July 3, asking the executive branch to implement mass testing and provide accurate and reliable data to the people on the coronavirus 19 or Covid-19.

Citing the people’s right to health under the Philippine Constitution,  the petition for a writ of mandamus shall compel the Department of Health and other agencies to conduct pro-active mass testing, aggressive contract tracing and effective isolation, and treatment of Covid-19 positive cases to contain the spread of the virus.

The 74-page petition was filed by Citizens’ Urgent Response to End Covid-19 (CURE COVID) spokesperson Judy Taguiwalo; Coalition for the People’s Right to Health convenor Dr. Joshua San Pedro; Bahaghari bational spokesperson Rey Valmores-Salinas; Migrante International chairperson Joanna Celeste Concepcion; GABRIELA Network of Professionals secretary general Lovely Ramos; Drug, Food and Allied Workers Federation-Kilusang Mayo Uno secretary general Debie Faigmani; BPO Industry Employees Network president Mylene Cabalona; Alliance of Concerned Teachers-National Capital Region Union president Vladimer Queta; UP-Pantranco Driver’s Association vice-president Ernesto Lizada; homemaker Marites Arboleda; and K-12 student Via Leigh Hernandez.

The petition is seeks “accurate, timely and complete information with regards to Covid-19 situation including onset of symptoms, history of exposure, co-morbidities, whether the subject is a medical frontliner, data when specimen is collected and actual case validation backlog from the government.”

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, counsel of the petitioners, said that the omission of proactive and efficient mass testing amid the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that a systemic and normalized violation of the right to health engenders the impairment of other human rights and liberties, such as the rights to travel, livelihood or work, education, and access to justice

In a statement, CURE COVID pointed out that many health experts said that mass testing is very important in the country’s response to the pandemic.

Mass testing enables countries to identify the extent of the virus’ transmissions among the populace, the group said.

It added that with honest and prompt information, governments can systematically and scientifically trace, isolate and treat the infected and contain the transmission.

“Unfortunately, the [Rodrigo] Duterte administration has fallen very short of doing this. Last April 3, retired general Carlito Galvez, chief implementor of the National Task Force on Covid-19 (NTF Covid), announced that the government will implement mass testing by April 15. This obviously did not happen, as the number of testing needed to ascertain the extent of Covid-19 transmissions has consistently fallen short of the NTF’s very own targets,” CURE COVID added.

The group also said instead of mass testing, tracing, isolation and treatment, the government heavily relied on a militarist response to the pandemic, putting the country under the world’s longest lockdown that resulted to abuses, unnecessary restrictions and undue curtailment of civil liberties.

According to the health department, 38,805 have been infected that resulted in 1,274 recorded deaths as of Friday. #

Kaanak at tagasuporta, nanawagang payagang mag-testimonya si Mary Jane Veloso

Nagsagawa ng press conference ang mga kaanak, abugado at taga-suporta ni Mary Jane Veloso para magbigay ng update kaugnay sa deposition testimony niya sa Indonesia.

Kamakailan ay pinayagan ng Korte Suprema na magbigay ng deposition si Veloso mula sa kanyang piitan sa Indonesia. Ayon sa kanyang abugado, malaking bagay ang desisyon ng Korte Suprema para mapatunayang biktima ng human trafficiking si Veloso.

Nagpasalamat ang ama ni Mary Jane na si Cesar sa mga abugado at grupong patuloy na tumutulong sa kanyang anak. Hangad niya na makalaya na si Mary Jane at makapiling ang kanyang mga anak.

Nakatakda sa Oktubre 28 sa Cabanatuan RTC ang huling pagdinig ng prosekusyon laban sa mga illegal recruiter ni Veloso na sina Maria Kristina Sergio at Julius Lacanilao.

Si Veloso ay nakakulong sa Indonesia nang mahigit siyam na taon sa kasong pagpuslit ng ilegal na droga at nahatulan ng death penalty. Subalit noong 2015 ay ipinatigil ng gobyerno ng Indonesia ang pagbitay sa kanya matapos mahuli sa Pilipinas ang mga recruiter ni Veloso. (Music: News Background Bidyo ni: Joseph Cuevas/ Kodao)

‘Ninakaw na sa atin ang lahat-lahat’

“Napakasaklap na sa bansang ito ang mismong paggamit ng sariling wika—pagsasalita, pagsusulat—ay isang anyo ng protesta. At ngayon, ipinagkakait na pati ang pag-aaral ng wika at ng yaman at hiwaga ng panitikan. Ninakaw na sa atin ang lahat-lahat.”–Mayette Bayuga, manunulat

‘Pinapatay ang wikang Filipino’

“Ang desisyon ng Korte Suprema at CHED na patayin ang wikang Filipino sa kurso ng General Education ay walang iba kundi ang pagtalima sa neoliberalismong patakaran tulad ng globalisasyon at internationalization ng rehimeng Duterte. Bahagi ng labor export policy, ninanais nilang sanayin tayo sa lenggwahe ng mga makapangyarihang bansa upang epektibo taong makapag-lingkod sa kanila.”—Neil Doloricon, tagapangulo ng CAP

Kung isasantabi ang wika

“Ang wika ay isang simbolo ng iyong matayog na pinanggagalingan. Kung ito ay isantabi natin, malamang wala tayong patutunguhan bilang mamamayan. Ipagbunyi, mahalin, yakapin, pagyamanin ang sariling atin.”—Bayang Barrios, mang-aawit

‘Unti-unti na tayong binubusalan’

“Sa wika at panitikang Filipino ay mas malayang naipapahayag natin ang ating mga puso at kaluluwa. Sa pagtanggal ng mga araling ito ay unti-unti nila tayong binubusalan.”—Ricky Lee, manunulat

Concerned Artists of the Philippines

Nakakadismayang desisyon ng CHED at Korte Suprema hinggil sa asignaturang Filipino at Panitikan

“Kaya nakakadismaya ito sa ating mga Pilipino dahil imbes na tatagan ang ating pagkatao sa pamamagitan ng edukasyon at kulturang Pilipino ay inilalayo tayo sa posibilidad na higit nating makilala ang ating pagkatao.”—Dr. Roland Tolentino (guro, manunulat, kritiko)

Karapatan, RMP at Gabriela, naghain ng petisyon sa Korte Suprema

Nagtungo sa Korte Suprema ang mga grupong Karapatan, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines at Gabriela noong Mayo 6 para maghain ng petisyon na writ of amparo at writ of habeas data.

Ito ay kaugnay sa paninira, red-tagging at pananakot na ginagawa ng administrasyon at Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Sinamahan sila nang kanilang mga abugado mula sa National Union of Peoples’ Lawyer o NUPL.

Kabilang sa kanilang mga respondent ay sina Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana at AFP Civil-Military deputy chief M/Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.

Ayon sa Karapatan, tugon nila ito sa tumitinding atake at pananakot laban sa mga human rights defenders.

Sunod-sunod ang atake laban sa kanila kabilang na ang pagpaslang sa upisyal ng Karapatan sa Negros na sina Bernardino “Toto” Patigas na pinatay nito lamang Abril 23.

Para naman sa Gabriela, target na sila ng ganitong paninira simula nang maitatag ito noong dekada 80.

Dapat na umanong matigil ang ganitong atake laban sa kababaihan at mamamayan.

Umaasa sila na tutugunan ito nang Korte Suprema tulad ng inilabas na utos nito pabor sa NUPL na dumulog noong nakaraang buwan para sa katulad na petisyon. (Bidyo ni: Joseph Cuevas/ Kodao)

Rights, religious, women’s groups seek protection vs govt red tagging

By Visayas Today

The human rights group Karapatan, the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, and women’s organization Gabriela have filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to issue writs of amparo and habeas data against their continued vilification by President Rodrigo Duterte and officials of the government and security forces.

The petition, filed Monday, May 6, with the help fo the National Union of People’s Lawyers, “is a response to the worsening attacks, terrorist-tagging by the Philippine military and the ongoing smear campaign against human rights defenders,” Karapatan chair Elisa Tita Lubi said in a statement.

It names Duterte, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, General Benjamin Madrigal Jr., Brigadier General Fernando Trinidad, Major General Erwin Bernard Neri, Lieutenant General Macairog Alberto, Major General Antonio Parlade Jr., Alex Paul Monteagudo, Vicente Agdamag, Senior Superintendent Omega Jireh Fidel, and Undersecretaries Joel Sy Egco, Severo Catura and Lorraine Marie Badoy.

The petition sought the high court’s protection for the petitioners “who are constantly threatened and harassed, red-tagged and maliciously terrorist-labeled only because of their advocacies in various fields of human rights work” and to order the respondents to “produce and, if necessary, to update and rectify, or to suppress and destroy, data, information, and files in their possession, under their control, or contained in their data base that relate to or which concern (the) petitioners.”

It cited six speeches in which Duterte himself accused Karapatan of being a “communist front.”

Karapatan pointed out that, from 2001 to 2019, 48 of its human rights workers have been killed. These include three under the Duterte administration.

The three are Elisa Badayos, Karapatan Negros Oriental coordinator, who was killed on November 28, 2017 by motorcycle-riding gunmen along with peasant leader Eleuterio Moises while they were with a fact-finding mission; Mariam Uy Acob, a paralegal of Karapatan member-organization Kawagib Moro Human Rights Alliance, who was shot dead by two gunmen while riding a motorcycle home on September 23, 2018; and Bernardino Patigas, councilor of Escalante City, Negros Occidental and a founder and former officer of the North Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, who was murdered on April 22 this year.

“Human rights advocacy is not a crime, yet human rights workers are being killed, threatened, harassed, and jailed on trumped up charges,” Lubi stressed, noting that Duterte and his officials’ “dangerous rhetoric,” accusing Karapatan of being a rebel “front,” has led to murder and other abuses against human rights workers.

“Most, if not all, of our human rights workers, even our former colleagues, are subjected to threats, surveillance, harassment, red-tagging, and judicial harassment,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.

“These attacks can only come from those who see our work and advocacy for people’s rights, our monitoring and documentation of human rights violations, our direct assistance to victims and kin, and our provision of platforms for human rights education as threats to the current status quo. Human rights defense and activism is not a crime; it is a right protected by international covenants and agreements as well as the Philippine Constitution,” she added.

The petition said the Duterte and his officials have persisted with their vilification of activist groups despite concerns raised by United Nations special rapporteurs, particularly “over the impression that such alleged statements, which distort the public narrative on human rights defenders and conflate their work with threats to national security, may have on the public and civil society, especially when delivered by the Head of State.”

In fact, the government went so far as to send a delegation to Europe where they accused several activist organizations, including schools for indigenous people in Mindanao, of being communist fronts.

Reacting to these, a number of Belgian NGOs spoke up in defense of their vilified partner-organizations. #